“Shut up,” said one netizen to another, “Don’t you want a Filipino to win the Nobel Peace Prize?”

That Filipino, of course, is President Aquino. And in the past few days, rumors have circulated that Malacañang is lobbying for him to receive the award for his role in the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The Palace was quick to deny the rumors, but not without a parting word from Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda: “It would be an honor for the Philippines if we’ll have President Aquino nominated. It is, in the eyes of the international community, a big milestone for the promotion and propagation of peace.”

It was a kind of statement that fuels the type of mentality that we often see among ourselves. Never mind the fact that the law on the creation of the Bangsamoro has yet to be approved by the Congress. Never mind the fact that lasting peace in Mindanao has yet to be achieved.

What is important is that the country, a Filipino, is recognized by the international community. It would be an honor, they say. An empty one, I say.

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Opinion: What does Erice want?



Caloocan second district Rep. Edgar Erice. Image from the House of Representatives website.

Caloocan City second district Representative Edgar Erice was accused of being the attack dog of the Liberal Party (LP) when he criticized what he called as Vice President Jejomar Binay’s “two-faced” attacks against the ruling party in a privileged speech in June 10.

Erice was fuming, challenging the vice president to resign from his post in the cabinet and be “the true leader of the opposition.” He even asked Binay, of all things, to show his true colors.

The speech was repeatedly described as fiery, although I would rather call it a waste of plenary time – which could have been instead used to discuss relevant legislation – for political and personal purposes. The content might have been different, but I view it as something similar to the ones given by Senator Bong Revilla in the past months.

In subsequent interviews, Erice denied being the attack dog the LP. He even revealed that he did not get the permission of the President or his party to deliver the said speech, apparently entitled “In Defense of the Grand Old Liberal Party.”

While it may seem impossible that no one from the party leadership knew of his speech, I am inclined to agree with his claim that his actions were not on the orders of the President or someone from LP.

Erice designated himself as the party’s attack dog – the counterpart of UNA’s Toby Tiangco – because he wants something from the leadership.

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[Updated] Opinion: ‘Pia Cayetano for President’


Senator Pia Cayetano. Image from the Senate of the Philippines website.

The alternative to Vice President Jejomar Binay and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, according to earlier reports, is Senator Grace Poe – a predictable choice, considering she topped the 2013 senatorial elections.

Since then, we have heard other possible contenders: Rodrigo Duterte, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Ramon Revilla Jr., Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Alan Peter Cayetano, and even Leni Robredo.

I have decided to throw in another name in the fray: Senator Pia Cayetano.

This is not a statement of support – at least for now. Rather, this is an appeal for the public to view her as a possible contender in 2016. She is one, even if most of us would agree that she will not win if the elections are held today.

But the elections are two years from now, and President Aquino and Secretary Mar Roxas would agree that a lot of things can happen in such a period of time.

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Opinion: Caught with our pants down

Have we been caught with our pants down?

When US President Barrack Obama arrived in the Philippines on Monday, I was engaged in a rather interesting discussion on what happened at the town hall meeting with young ASEAN leaders in Malaysia the day before.

The topic, which has flooded my Facebook newsfeed that day, revolved on the supposed weakness of the questions thrown at the US President by those who were dubbed as “future leaders” of the region. A Yahoo article, for instance, highlighted the supposed wasted opportunity when questions about happiness and regrets were asked instead of directing the conversation towards US foreign policy and interests in the region.

There were those who echoed the sentiments aired in the article, and there were those who defended the so-called “young leaders” and the questions that they asked. A colleague from Malaysia, who also expressed her disappointment on the set of questions, provided an insight on what happened – “Some people just want to learn more about him. That’s really understandable when you take a closer look at who the questioners were, how the program itself was packaged and promoted, and the aims of the town hall… This was a town hall for young leaders on leadership. Expect some young (read: naïve) questions on leadership.” Read more of this post

Opinion: Lady Gaga, Mideo Cruz, and Freedom of Expression

Lady Gaga Born This Way Ball in the Philippines. Image from

I disagree with the idea that the success of the two-night Lady Gaga concert in the Philippines amid protests denouncing her “artistry” attests to our country’s high regard of freedom of expression. That’s a joke. What transpired, despite the favorable ending, is hardly a cause for celebration.

The fact that you have prominent personalities who tried to use their influence to stop the concert reveals how little some of us value artistic freedom. And while it is their right to voice their opinion and organize protests, the vehement opposition to the concert of an artist whose music is played over and over again on television, radio, and the Internet  is just absurd. Read more of this post