One Quezon

Quezon Province, no doubt, is one big stretch of a country. A former governor once mused that Pres. Quezon, being a semi-dictator in his time, personally delineated the metes and bounds of his province, Tayabas, using a pencil in the presence of the chiefs of the Bureau of Lands and the present day National Mapping Authority. He made it a point that Tayabas had a taste of the Pacific, the belly of China Sea, the cheeks of Sierra Madre, the heels of Mts. Cadig and Labo, and the sharp elbow of Ragay Gulf. LAND IS A MAJOR ASSET OF QUEZONQuezon is indeed geographically unique. It pre-empted Laguna and Rizal from the sea. Thus, present day development plans integrate the geography of Quezon allowing the landlocked provinces access to the waterlines. This might also be the reason why our neighboring provinces look at our tie lines with envy.

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Investors, Anyone?

The other day I was talking to a “veteran foreign investor”, that is, someone who has clinched a project or two during the last twenty six years starting with the LRT and other forgettable ventures with local businessmen. He said nothing can top Marcos’ time by the way one foreigner like him did business in this country. All that Marcos did was to call each one who matters in one deal and with a couple of this and that bottomlined the instructions, “I want this project handled by Mr. Foreigner and may you please coordinate with him.” And the next day Minister So and So beats a path towards your doorsteps and then you have the entire timetable morphing before your eyes. What he was saying was that it was so easy doing business during martial law. You were only talking to one man. Were those circumstances present today, the Philippines would be the sweetheart of investors of substance. But as the song goes, “some good things never last.”

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All Rise

Of all the three branches in republican government, the judiciary is unique. It is described thus because the persons appointed in it are insulated from the people’s popular approval. Unlike the legislative and the presidency, the members of the courts are not popularly elected. In the former agencies, the ethical and the academic qualifications do not largely matter among the electorate so long as the candidate is perceived to be the popular one (coupled of course with the usual financial wherewithal to wage an impacting campaign).

Appointments in the courts entail the tedious selection among the many applicants who among them has not only the credentials as magistrate but the inclination to an isolated and lonely reflection in weighing the conflicts of litigants. The parties to a suit must never be on speaking terms with the judge. This is the ideal situation where we place the taxing role on the person on the bench the proverbial “cold neutrality of an impartial judge”. One may ask however if there is still a species of a neutral arbiter?

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Quo Vadis Quezon?

Now that the sound and the fury of the May 2004 elections have dissipated, where is Quezon going?It is not going to the dogs as some of us fear, but our fears are certainly real since we are going straight not to the wailing and hungry canines but to a long, cold, and stormy night. The only thing certain is the uncertainty. Our newfound leaders have nothing to offer but fear itself.

This writer has not encountered any blueprint of the next provincial administration, except the much-publicized conversion of the Quezon Memorial Hospital into Quezon Medical Center . The construction cost of this new edifice is placed at P700M! So that for the next three years the sitting governor’s concentration is focused on this task, and therefore expect nothing for the rest of the province. Nope, SOP is not our main concern here, sorry.

We have to give it to the sitting governor for his burning ambition of practically burning the provincial coffers to put up the edifices of his obsession. Who can blame him? He has seen the Parthenon in Rome , the pyramids of Egypt , the Empire State Building of New York, the Petronas of Kuala Lumpur, etc., and they have stood the test of time. He is now setting his eyes on history, and he wants to be remembered as the chief of the greatest mischief in these parts.

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Anti-Poor Supreme Court

The Constitution mandates that the Supreme Court shall promulgate rules and regulations that foster inexpensive litigation and the rendition of justice is conveniently made available to all. Thus, it shall

(p)romulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged . Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade , and shall not diminish, increase, modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. {Art. VII, Section 5, 1987 Constitution, emphasis ours}

lawyer’s stupidity binds the client.

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Crimes increase as education, opportunity, and property decrease. Whatever spreads ignorance, poverty and, discontent causes crime…. Criminals have their own responsibility, their own share of guilt, but they are merely the hand…. Whoever interferes with equal rights and equal opportunities is in some … real degree, responsible for the crimes committed in the community. – Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822-1893), U.S. president. Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes: Nineteenth President of the United States

Quezon is the promise land

In 1996 the legendary Gordon Wu and the slipform engineering expert Stewart Elliot of Hopewell Holdings were in town to personally sign the preliminary contracts (memorandum of understanding) in the construction of the South Luzon Expressway Extension all the way from Calamba to Pagbilao. Officials of Philippine National Construction Corporation were on hand in the signing. It was no doubt a flagship project of FVR.

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When Summer is Gone

For those approaching half a century, gary lewis and the playboys made that monster hit ” i’ll see you in september “

The rains are with us already indicating the fading of summer. To everything there is a season. But in the tropics where we are, we only have the sun and the rains, the wind and the storms.

We can’t have summer all throughout, or we transform ourselves into a sahara .  Forests we’re used to, never a desert.

With the changing of the seasons, so too are we reminded of the seasons of our lives. The passage of time when the sun erupts in the east, the high noons, and the rituals of the sun burying itself.

And so summer has scurried ” like a frightened child ” chased by the staking rains heaving from the cheeks of heaven.

For a hundred years or as far as we can remember, school doors open in the wet month of june.

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People’s Voice Again

With the coming elections in May, 2004, the people once again are excited since they reaffirm their supreme rule.

They crane their neck in knowing who the candidates are. This coming electoral exercise is unique because the filing of certificates of candidacy is a well-nigh 60 days from the start of the campaign. Early on, voters are already aware of who the prospective contestants are.

The first favourites are those who are the native children of a barangay, a town, or a district. People from the candidates’ provenance come a-rooting for their bets. Their bets’ entry in the electoral foray attests to the inner longing of the locality to send their best and the brightest in the municipio, capitolio, and congreso. It is with extreme pride that they talk animatedly on those who tossed their hats in the exercise. They cite anecdotes of their personal encounter with a particular candidate. They show their unabashed excitement on the possibility that their acquaintance may someday be the mayor, governor, or congressman. Think of the spectacle where a political leader utters in the presence of some constituents their first name at that. This is the ultimate event of a true leader placed by the people on an honorific pedestal with the expectation that sincere public service is at hand. May malalapitan na tayo, ika dahil kilala natin hindi tulad ng naka-upo laging wala.

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