Angelhouser | A Journal By Angelica Bautista Viloria

Friday, March 27, 2009

Have You Chosen Your Presidential Candidate?

May 2010 seems so far away still but I am beginning to sense a good amount of desperation in my bones. I look at the current crop of candidates who appear to be jockeying to run for president of the Philippines and I am reminded of a line in one of my favorite children's story Mitchell is Moving -- same old, same old.

People who are respectable and who may have the capability and have actually done a lot of good, even without occupying a political position, do not desire to run. Politicians who have been around for years, and who have not effected any real change in the way politics has progressed (why does that sound so wrong and inaccurate?) in this country, seem to want to convince us that they are the change that we will need. Hohum.

As early as now, I hear people talking about the "lesser evil" that I wonder when a candidate for the "greater good" will show up. I likewise hear individuals saying that "honesty is not enough to be President." I worry about the influence of wives, girlfriends, mothers and the ability to govern alongside strong name recall. Sometimes, I really think that an ideal President would be an orphaned only child, with no desire to marry, and one who hardly had any friends or relatives. If that were the case though, how would he get the most number of votes?

In a democracy, the person who gets the most number of votes wins. In my imaginary world, sometimes I dream (it's ridiculous and unacceptable but of course, it is just a dream) that the opposite is true. The person with the least number of votes wins. Why? The crowd is not always correct. There are more average people than brilliant ones.

In my imaginary world too, candidates do not need to spend millions and billions of pesos. In fact, they are not allowed to campaign the usual way. The Comelec will buy spots on TV, radio, newspapers, blogs and YouTube and will give each candidate equal airtime and space. The major dailies and magazines will ask each candidate to answer the same ten questions and will publish the answers for all to see and read. Each candidate will need to spell out the first three things that he/she will do after assuming office and each voter will have access to each candidate's complete biography covering areas like family and educational background, professional experience, and achievements.

I don't have a presidential candidate to vote for yet but I assure you that I will vote. Whether I vote for someone I totally believe in or someone who is acceptable but may not be the best will depend on the crop of candidates that will come up. I hope that there will be more acceptable candidates to choose from. Let's wait and see.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Blog or Be Defeated

I look back at the year that was and I remember several controversies or fights or brawls that took place. One thing that stands out in all these developments or situations is: "Ang walang blog, talo." (He who does not have a blog, loses.)

Why is that the case? A blog gives anyone the medium to write his or her thoughts or opinions down instantly. What you write in your blog need not be factual or accurate all the time but written properly, it can sway public opinion and gain support for a thought or idea.

Caught in the middle of an issue, one does not need to wait for mainstream media (like newspapers and television and the like) to get your side of the story. You make your own story and document it for all to see. And while yesterday's newspaper may end up wrapping tomorrow's fish purchase, what you have written down in your blog will be retrievable years down the road, courtesy of our friends at Google.

So still debating whether you should start blogging or whether blogging makes any sense at all? The year 2009 may be a great time to start that blog that you have always been putting off. Don't wait for the time when you actually need it, before you start it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Obama or McCain?

Election Day in the United States is about three days away and the whole world waits with anticipation to see if America will actually vote Barack Obama into office. I wonder when we will ever see just two candidates and parties competing here in the Philippines for a presidential election.

Barack Obama is lucky that he isn't running in an election here in the Philippines. If he were, Hillary Clinton would have set up her own party, and then run as president anyway.

I like Barack Obama's tag line: Change We Need. Obama supporters see him as America's chance to move in the right direction. People who are voting for McCain see Obama as the candidate of individuals badly in need of hope -- they look to this prospective president as a chance to improve their lot in life.

Oh well, all eyes are on America on November 4, 2008. After that, Filipinos can think of May 2010. Don't the prospective candidates for president scare you at this point? When will we get the change we need?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stewardship in the Philippines

Are you happy about the way things are going today in the Philippines? Do you think that each Filipino is being given the opportunity to live the "best life" possible?

Well, I'm not very happy with the way things are going but there's no other place where I would like to be than here. I believe that those "who have more in life" can do extra things for those who have less and that most of our problems as a nation stem from people thinking only of themselves and from viewing resources as theirs and theirs alone -- even if in truth, these are not theirs!

We have seen 3 EDSAs in my lifetime, have put different presidents and leaders in position but our problems remain the same and seem to be getting more difficult to address from year to year. I have come to a point where I do not think changing people occupying particular positions will change things. We must change people. Period.

A few years ago, I came across the concept of "stewardship." Stewardship is a way of life focused on gratitude, responsibility, generosity, and giving back to the Lord with increase. Stewardship recognizes that all the good things that you have are gifts from the Lord and these gifts must be used to do His will.

What is the Lord's will? "Love one another as I have loved you." Such a simple command -- so difficult to carry out. But if you think about it, if each person will only think about his or her neighbor in a manner similar to how he or she thinks of himself or herself, the world's troubles would probably be few, if not non-existent.

Stewardship is the answer to our problems and concerns. Stewardship, however, is not an instant thing. It is a consciousness that is built and strengthened over time but we must start somewhere.

Stewardship will change individuals. Stewardship will transform communities. Stewardship will change the Philippines and the world for the better.

To get a quick introduction to Stewardship, why don't you check out

The book Mom's A Stewardess (Or Why There is No Vacation from Your Vocation) -- Stories of Stewardship, my very first book published by Claretian Publications will be out in the market this July 2008. Do get a copy for yourself, for your family, parish, organization, or community. It is my hope that after you read it, you will want to do more for the Lord and for your fellowmen, wherever you may find yourself.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Of Fresh Mandates

It is GMA's birthday today and of course, we wish her a happy birthday. Birthdays are a good time to reflect too, about the things we have accomplished and on the direction that we will take.

It is a known fact that a lot of people and sectors in Philippine society have been asking GMA to step down since some years back. Given this scenario, I was quite surprised to see the write-up about her in the Philippine Star today were I found the following portions which were taken from GMA's own websites.

"...more fondly known as GMA..."
" of the most popularly elected officials since her debut in politics in 1992..."
"...she won the Presidential elections for a fresh mandate..."

You have got to hand it to her publicists. They continue with their positive statements even when they know that more and more people are expressing greater dissatisfaction with how things are in the country now. Some people, for example, just call her GMA (instead of PGMA) as they do not recognize her as the legitimate president. One of the most popularly elected officials and winning the elections for a fresh mandate? Hello Garci remains unresolved and continues to haunt her to this very day.

Well, to each his own. If the publicists don't write such positive and glowing articles, then they might be out of a job by now. The trouble begins when they all start to believe what they have been writing all along.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Of Lies and Hidden Truths

It has been almost a month since Jun Lozada testified at the Senate and we still do not know the complete story. People are still telling us conflicting stories.

This is a great time to own a newspaper. Have you noticed those numerous, expensive one page ads that have been appearing left and right in the last few days? They can be in support of or against GMA. From the Assumptionistas, to the former Cabinet officials, to the congressmen, mayors and governors -- you name them, they have a statement to make.

Some years back, I asked a priest about "white lies." He was a strict priest and this was how he replied: "It is either the truth or it is a lie."

More recently, I asked another priest about not telling the truth in the need to accomplish something. This priest being more lenient -- talked about motives and intentions and how not telling the truth should be weighed against the danger or harm that it may cause another person or individual.

In this whole Jun Lozada episode, I ask, is it enough not to tell a lie or to just unmask the lies? What about truths that need to be told? It is very possible for someone not to tell a lie and still be not totally truthful. Which is the greater sin?

I have always believed and have always been told that just to avoid doing something bad is not enough. We must also do good. At the end of our days, we will all be judged not only according to the lies that we lived with but also according to the truths that we left unsaid.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Of Goats, Guava Trees, and Paying this Country Back

By this time, we all know what transpired during the Senate hearings on the ZTE deal when Jun Lozada appeared last Friday. I may believe him. You may not believe him but I guess that is beside the point. There comes a time when circumstances may force you to do something -- not for the good of anybody else but for yourself. More than anything else, I think Jun Lozada was concerned about saving his soul. If he saves our country, the Philippines, in the process, then that would be a pretty good bonus.

I am usually amused by Tita Miriam and this case was no exception. My personal favorite was her reference to the imported goats that Jun Lozada bought while he was president at Philippine Forest. With the goat expose and the other things that she mentioned, she had meant to "test the credibility of the witness." I guess that was tit for tat. The witness, after all, was heavily testing the credibility of government and several of its institutions.

You have to hand it to Mr. Jun Lozada. He uttered a lot of memorable lines as he told his story but I particularly liked his tale (a real one) about the guava trees. He narrated that he traveled to the province once and noticed that the guava tree had plenty of fruits. He suggested to the man that he was talking to to get the guavas and sell these so that the man could earn some money. The poor man answered: "Hayaan nyo na yan sa mga ibon." (Let's leave the guavas for the birds.) It was at this point that he felt uneasy about what he had suggested initially. He found it ironic that the man that he was talking to, who did not have much could still be focused on caring for the birds while prominent, well-off people in Metro Manila were so greedy.

Asked about his motivation for doing what he did, he brought up the story of his Chinese father. His father was so poor in China and decided to come to the Philippines. After coming to the Philippines, their family's life improved and his father's businesses prospered. His father then loved the Philippines so much and would remind Jun Lozada from time to time to "pay this country back." To his mind, Jun Lozada had been paying this country back to "pay honor to his father."

That's as good a message as we will be able to get on any day. We all need to pay this country back in our own little ways. For us to pay this country back though, we must first realize just how much good we have received and appreciate just how beautiful and blessed this country is.

What will come out of this Jun Lozada incident? Not much I think. Government will probably remain the way it is and real change will not be effected. Clarissa Ocampo and Jun Lozada can probably have coffee in the near future and talk about the time when they each paid the country back. I hope that they don't need to wait too long though to see more Filipinos doing the same thing.