Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Collaboration Still

I was a little bit uncomfortable with the recent decision of Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza, two candidates for the senatorial race belonging to the progressive Left, to ride as guest candidates on the political wagon of the Manny Villar-Loren Legarda tandem (as shown in the photo above this entry).

This recent collaboration between “militant forces” and “reactionary politicians” reminded me of a sample ballot, actually a campaign material, from left-wing groups in Occidental Mindoro endorsing certain local candidates last 2007. Today, rumors are still spreading that a certain political faction or its key leaders are backed-up by the remaining leftist personalities in the province. And vice-versa.

But do the “national democrats” seriously support such candidates or they are just using their voting blocs to wangle funds and other logistics from seasoned or traditional politicians? For the record, militant party-list groups got the highest number of votes among their rivals in the last election. I firmly believe that Ocampo and Maza can win independently without any backing from traditional politicians. With full support of the people even those who are not members of any militant organization.

But please don’t get me wrong. I am for the open participation of ALL social forces in democratic processes such as elections. In 1987, I campaigned for the senatorial slate of Partido ng Bayan or PnBnamely, Bernabe "Dante" Buscayno, Crispin Beltran, Jose Burgos, Romeo Capulong, Horacio “Boy” Morales, Nelia Sancho and Jaime Tadeo. I have high respect for individuals who emanate from the masses or from legitimate pro-people movements joining the legal and non-violent means like the electoral race. Even most of the time they are targets of malicious labeling from hostile security or elite sectors. Nationalists who are for people’s power, genuine land reform, nationalist industrialization, human rights, free education, women’s rights, self-determination, repudiation of US-sponsored bloodbath and non-aligned foreign policy.

In 2007, specifically in Sablayan town, anti-Communist propaganda were painted in every corner of said municipality with this slogan : “Gabriela and Bayan Muna, Party List of the CPP-NPA-NDF!” CPP-NPA-NDF refers to Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front. The propaganda was perhaps launched by civilian rightist groups in our place or from the military itself. But it is not my intention here to disclose my opinion on the allegation that been lobbed since time in memoriam but still remain what it is : just an allegation.

But is there any possibility that a particular local political leader or his group, in one way or another, forged and continue to establish linkages or support the Communist insurgents in our locality? How many of our politicians willingly submit to Permit to Campaign (PTC) fees being imposed by the so-called “enemies of the state”? Was the collaboration only during elections? I don’t know.

Just imagine, in case the traditional politician wins, it is highly probable that s/he use government machinery, public resources and the taxpayers money to secretly support each endeavor of the armed extremists in exchange of votes coming from their mass base during elections. On the other hand, the police and the military could also be used (or was it being used already?) by,- say, an incumbent politician that would result to militarization and blatant violation of basic human rights of citizens that they are supposed to protect and to serve. Or even used as private armies in order to be at par with his/her political rival who are identified with said non-state armed groups. In a situation where armed agents and entities are identified to a certain political group, it is the majority of the people that would suffer most. The common people from the countryside, the upland community dwellers, the ordinary, unpoliticized citizens and voters. Are they going to sacrifice our lives and limbs for their own political ambitions? Wasn’t it treason or terrorism to the highest degree?

When I aired this sentiment to a ND friend some years back, she responded with ideological lecturing summed up to what she calls as “tactical collaboration” and “strategic collaboration”. Without understanding her long explanation I retorted back , “But it’s a collaboration still!” To tell you, call me dumb if you wish but its one of many things I do not understand in party politics up to now. For me its treachery to the people, to the other party, to your own party and even to your self. It’s plain and simple opportunism. Correct, opportunism is the art or practice of taking advantage of opportunities or circumstances, or of seeking immediate advantage with little regard for ultimate consequences. With this, opportunism for me in whatever form is not acceptable. Opportunism is not and will never be a positive and desirable value. Besides, according to Lucius Annaeus Seneca and Stephen Crane: “Every sin is the result of a collaboration."

My bias on this issue of “tactical collaboration” and “strategic collaboration” now centers on this line of thought I’ve learned just recently from one of the Church’s Social Teachings : “The value of any political goal stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes. It can be manipulated for reasons of power. Democratic practices without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism, regardless of ideological principles and leanings that its sponsors believe in.” Also, I am more concerned with the truthfulness of any relation,- be it hostile or friendly, than dwell with its technicality. I’m saying this taking the risk of being branded as Clerico- facist.

But the truth is, I am unfortunately not a systematician (if there is such a word referring to the laity) and it’s naturally hard and difficult for you to understand me. I’ve never been a political strategist, a tactician or a theorist (now I’m sure that these words refer to everyone) that is why I am seeing this thing from this odd and narrow angle. And I apologize for that. Also, that is why we are called TORATs by the ITITs during our prime.

TORATs stands for Task Oriented Rats,- while ITITs is short for Ivory Tower Intellectuals and Theorists…

(Photo from www.pagodkanaba.com)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

First Christmas : From Darkness to Light

The innkeepers probably lied to them. Their places are not yet fully occupied and probably there were still available room inside. But as businessmen, they would not dare to risk their potential monetary gains letting this bearded old man and his pregnant wife whose money are enough for their taxes, to stay because chances are, they would not be paid accordingly. When you, as an innkeeper, is so sure that they belong to the lower class and living, probably, in the slums of Nazareth. When you are certain that way back home, they mingle with the lepers, the poor and fish-stained peasants because they are one of them. So, you do not have any other choice but arrogantly drive them away. These kind of people are not worthy being your distinguished clients or guests.

The town of my birth,- San Jose, here in Occidental Mindoro, has this same dark side where business and political elites often neglect basic and immediate needs of the poor from our far-flung rural communities. But if you were in Mary’s sandals, would you consider Bethlehem and the first Christmas as merely a time of anguish and trial? Certainly it was. Nobody could carry her soon-to-be born son away in an inhospitable and business-oriented city and out to an animal stable without feeling a grief and poignant pressure.

It was indeed a stressful situation. No immediate relative or midwife who intervened between her and his child. But the discriminating Bethlehem in its darkest side, was utilized by God as the ideal birth place of the King of Kings. If Joseph and Mary were permitted inside one of the inns and she gave birth there, other occupants would surely interfere, perhaps throw a party or celebration but devoid of divine and solemn feeling of kingly adoration. Anyone’s birth at least deserves public attention. This way, baby Jesus will be snatched away from his mother and his foster father by false revelry and all of the birth’s temporal richness.

Compared to other progressive cities in the Philippines, San Jose is still a developing town. It can be likened not to a five-star hotel but to the nativity manger where Jesus was born. This town of ours, sans its dark socio-economic and political side, is the place where we should truly nurture hope especially this Christmas and the coming New Year. Because Pandurucan (my town’s old name) though as hideously desolate (in terms of buildings and skyscrapers) as the first Christmas’ stable, there is enough room for us to love this place more warmly, fully and richly. And this love would make this humble little town transcends from darkness to light.

We must learn from Mary who made up to baby Jesus despite the absence of all pre and post natal amenities in Bethlehem. Even our local political and business leaders repeatedly turn us away...

Merry Christmas to all!

(Photo : http://www.goddessgift.net/images/nativity-scene-TL-1822.jpq.jpg)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not Unlike Hollywood

Michael Medved,- American radio program host, conservative political commentator, film critic and author, in his December 1995 Reader’s Digest article “Hollywood’s 3 Big Lies” commented on how the US entertainment industry justify making offensive movies and TV shows. To know more how the man criticize Hollywood, you may click here. But allow me to juxtapose some of Medved’s insights to the on-going trash talks between the two local political factions in Occidental Mindoro over their respective radio stations.

Let us focus on the authors so- called Hollywood Lie No. 3 : “We give the public what it wants. If people don’t like it, they just can always turn it off!” Election time is just around the corner and the on-air mudslinging become more and more intense each day. Do the voters, especially the youth, really want or have a craving for excessive and even senseless political propaganda by “barkers” whose motive is to gain political mileage? I do not think so. The tertiary students of Occidental Mindoro State College or OMSC who invited me as a resource speaker for the topic, “Enhancing Right to Suffrage for Responsible and Effective Voting” last November 27, 2009 headed by Ms. Aleta G. Ramos,- adviser of the Supreme Student Government of Labangan Campus, told me that they are so tired of such free-for-all and subjective statements . Oh, those heartless and childish talks. The students have noted that the commentators even display their below- the- belt comments to defeat their rivals instead of their ability to inspire their listeners. We are like blood-thirsty spectators in a car race who are not interested on who will turn out to be the winner but to enjoy every crash and wreckage!

Again, here’s Michael Medved for you : “The last part of the lie, which says, “If you don’t like it, just shut it off,” has the same logic as the statement, “If you do not like smog, stop breathing.” Politics and politicians are everywhere like the air we breathe. Without exaggeration I am asking : "Is this verbal war over the air can be considered as an environmental issue?"

In one of the house I chanced to visit, I heard a little boy hurled this insult to his elder brother, “Ikaw nga, garapata na, extortionist pa!” They are fighting over a toy given to one of the boys as Christmas present from his godfather. The two kids probably do not listen to public affairs program but they still getting the message perhaps from parents themselves, teachers or other adults from their village even unwillingly or accidentally. The truth is, you cannot elude neither escape,- regardless of your age, sex, creed or religious belief, etc, the power of mass media,- specifically radio. Any message from radio personalities or mass media practitioners have impact or ripple effect in our lives as citizens and as human beings.

Now tell me, will turning off our transistor radio or changing its tuner change this reality which is an assault to our humanity and decency? When will our political and public affairs program be meaningful, rich and fundamentally decent? The answer lies in our hands.

In Mary’y visit to Elizabeth, the former offered her selfless presence,- without any self-serving motives or ulterior political agenda, but to truly care beyond words. To give witness beyond mere appearances, beyond mere presentation of pseudo-achievements in public service. This is one of the many messages of the Third Sunday of Advent. Pope Paul VI said it well : “The modern world is sated with words; it no longer listen to teachers. It only listen to witness; only true witness, can speak to people in our time.” But let me add : “And not the political-politician propagandists and commentators among us who are laying their lives on the line serving only their earthly taskmasters and not the Immanuel.”

Every radio personality is expected to be a true witness accompanying Mary on the roadways of Galilee carrying her Son to the world…

(Photo : http://gocalifornia.about.com/od/toppicturegallery/ig/Hollywood-Sign/From-Gower-Gulch.htm)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

PCOS and Hoes

Our recent visitors from Commission on Elections or COMELEC assured us that the Precinct Count Optical Scam,..err, Scan (PCOS) machines that will be used for the 2010 automated elections will be 99.9999% free of any manipulation or cheating. In the recent PCOS orientation and demonstration held at the Occidental Mindoro State College (OMSC) Main Campus Gymnasium held last December 15, 2009, Atty. Jocelyn Villanueva-Postrado, Assistant Regional Elections Director and Ms. Ma. Victoria S. Dulcero, COMELEC Public Relations Officer, stressed that the PCOS-Optical Mark Reader or OMR have been proven successful in elections in other countries.

COMELEC’s Special Bids and Awards Committee last June 3, endorsed to the en banc the awarding of the contract to Smartmatic-TIM to supply some 82,200 PCOS machines that will be used in May 2010 local and national polls. We have 80,122 precincts all over the country. We are around 100 individuals who attended the activity notably from the ranks of local aspirants from different posts in various municipalities of the province including their watchers. Representatives from the provincial chapter of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV)were invited that is why I was there. This was their second destination in their information caravan and the first was in Mamburao held a day before the San Jose activity.

Ms. Perlita Villangca, OIC Provincial Election Supervisor made public that series of such information and education activities will be held soon in eleven municipalities of Occidental Mindoro.

These are what I’ve learned : Under the automated system, the voter would simply the figure beside the name of the candidate of their choice. The counting machines are in front of everyone to ensure transparency and prevent possible switching of votes. The feeding of ballots by the voters will be one by one. The only thing that the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) will do is to open and close the machine for voting after the prescribed time. Postrado likewise stressed the important role played by poll watchers from different political parties since the machine is new. Under the new system, no one, except the BEIs, would touch the ballot that would be electronically transmitted and the transmission of results could be done in just half a second.

But I have said in one of my Facebook discussion thread, there is no surefire techno fix in any political problem of the nation. The PCOS, like what commonsense dictates, is not an assurance that a true leader would emerge and solve the present socio-economic chaos of our locality. For elections is not just a question of clean and honest election so still, we must educate the people,- especially those in rural areas, to chose honest and capable persons who have the ability to serve, lead and govern. What are the assurance that this technology would not lead to wholesale cheating that would lead to possible failure of elections? Remember, those who control the system, controls the elections.

But here is another issue to consider. The PCOS technology go against basic democratic principle of “public counting”. It makes the counting, canvassing and consolidation of election results hidden from the public eye contrary to what the Constitution and RA 9369 require. Is there are no other systems available that would assure transparency? These are the issues being raised by the Center for People Empowerment and Governance or CenPEG. Let us keep our fingers crossed and our arms and legs ready that this new automated system would not lead to automated cheating come May 2010 or beyond.

Another thing. Under the new system, the proclamation of winner will be held only two to three days from day one. It is extremely impossible to file any election protest making it advantageous to the politicians who employed cheating. But how about the ones being cheated?

Everyone must be vigilant. May the IT-savvy Filipinos and specialists, and the IT expert that the COMELEC would hire from our municipality and province to supervise the specialists of Smartmatic-TIM would not put under hypnotic spell of the “hoe characters” in our local political scene…

(Photo : http://www.newsflash.org/2004/02/hl/hl108600.htm)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Priest-Governor, Anyone?

It’s now official. Fr. Ronilo M. Omanio will be again gunning for gubernatorial position in Occidental Mindoro in 2010. In our interview with OIC Provincial Election Officer Perlita Villangca last week over DZVT, Fr. Omanio, together with incumbent governor Josephine Ramirez-Sato and a certain Regalado Dimayacyac, filed their respective Certificates of Candidacy (CoC) before the provincial Commission on Election (COMELEC) office in Mamburao within the prescribed filing period.

I do not wish to deal with the issue regarding Church’s law for I am just an ordinary layman not competent to discuss matters pertaining to Canon Law specifically Canon 282 Paragraph 3 which states, “Clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the experience of civil power” and Canon 287 Paragraph 2 which says clerics, “are not to play an active role in political parties or in directing trade unions unless, in the judgment of the competent ecclesiastical authority, this is required for the defense of the rights of the Church or to promote the common good.” I am not in a position to interpret neither present my opinion on the subjects for I do not have any formal course on Canon Law. Let us leave that to competent ecclesiastical authorities of our local Church say our respective parish priests because it's one of their pastoral duties to enlighten us on such matter. They, not us workers of the social communication apostolate, are the most credible when it comes to said universal law. Besides, in a typical Filipino family, children are told, “Huwag sasabat sa usapan ng matatanda.” Unless of course when you are given go-signal like what I get before I open my mouth in our radio show.

What really made me feel sad is the fact that some quarters, presumably also from the Catholic circle in our province, have even gone as far as hurling accusations against Church personalities via this post created by an unknown blogger in 2007. Today, some quarters even questioned Bishop Antonio P. Palang’s issuance of Circular 4, s. 2009 or the “Decree on Fr. Ronilo M. Omanio’s Candidacy” dated 3 December 2009 which says in part : “As you publicly know, Fr. Omanio was suspended last March 30, 2007 after he filed his candidacy for governor of Occidental Mindoro, Philippines. …This time, he filed again his candidacy as governor of Occidental Mindoro. It is unfortunate that this thing would happen : an open defiance against the Universal Law of the Catholic Church.” The Decree further states : “Holy Mother Church could not tolerate this thing to happen, but this happened anyway. We therefore give him a six-month warning." Here’s the parting statement of Bishop Palang in said Decree : “I therefore decree that he cannot use the name of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose or the Roman Catholic Church, for they have nothing to do with his candidacy. I further warned Fr. Omanio that he should not and cannot administer the sacraments. Finally, I shall not hesitate to recommend later to the Holy See in Rome for his dismissal from the clerical state.” The Decree was signed by Bishop Palang and his Chancellor, Msgr. Mario R. Ronquillo. One political patron even alleged that our incumbent governor influenced the church hierarchy to mar Fr. Omanio’s candidacy but citing no single instance, evidence or proof to support his claim. Or was the kingpin just fed by wrong information and half-truths? But see how traditional politics complicate this very serious matter of defying Church’s law by one of her lost sheep or,- should I say, shepherd.

To those who are Catholics who want to study or dig deeper into the subject, it is recommended to read this book to enlighten us on the phenomenon of priests going into politics. It’s a long read that requires patience. Please finish it and find out why it is forbidden anywhere in the world.

In our Gospel today (Luke 3:10-18), three times people asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” Each time he told them to give up something or not to be greedy. Because greed is everywhere, we need men and women of faith,- especially men of cloth who are completely identified with Jesus and not with politicians. That was the journey John the Baptist asked his hearers to make. A journey where we are challenged to make this Advent an occasion to realize the true joy and happiness given to us by the Immanuel and not any political patron and patroness disguised as messiah in our midst.

As a Catholic voter, no matter who will come out as governor in 2010, I am praying that may s/he live an upright private life and morally sound public agenda and change their old ways, and be competent and capable public servant/s. Nobody is stopping him to run but Fr. Omanio have to choose : be a fulltime priest or a fulltime politician. Life indeed is a decision after another. And conversion is not only expected from politicians but also of us, voters. Over and above, as followers of Christ.

Just a personal reflection : Any cleric, the very moment he left his active priestly ministry is indeed a big loss for the Church and the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). The Church already lost Fr. Omanio in 2007 and it’s so hurting then. But God utilize time to heal all the wounds and to remember the lessons we have learned (or unlearned?) since then. This time, his euphemistical slip is not only showing but can be subjected to public scrutiny.

Is Fr. Omanio’s recent filing of his CoC already a sign that he wants to,- once and for all, be laicized and be fulltime politician? I don’t know. Let’s hear from him …

(Photo of the book "Priest-Politicians" by Bishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz, Doctor of Canon Law. Image taken from CBCP.net)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Caminerus’ Advent(ure)

My name is Caminerus and I proudly declare that I am the most sought-after errand boy here in Nazareth. I clean every mess left by carpenters and blacksmiths in their workshops every weekend and oftentimes, I work as a street sweeper for a dime or two. But there are also times that I accompany residents when they travel to other districts to tend their belongings and merchandize including their asses,- I mean, donkeys. That’s what I do in the last fifteen years of my life.

But I am also a dreamer. I dream someday I'll find my place in Rome, the capital of civilization. Or in Alexandria, the grain and food capital,- even only, let us say, as a warehouse apprentice. Forget about Athens, the cultural center or Corinth, the great university city. We, people of Nazareth, at least in the eyes of those who do not live here, do not belong in those known places. But I am proud I lived in this small provincial town, so irrelevant that people summed it up contemptuously in a single query : “Can anything of good come from Nazareth? Poor Nazareth!”

I am not only the errand boy of Nazareth. I am Nazareth. Without fame, with no natural advantage or historic association and cultural background or prestige and a lowly peasant city in the eyes of the civilized and modern world. Like me, Nazareth is just a “yokel” town a people of Jerusalem, the holy city of worship, would call it.

But I have a confession to make about a horrible incident that caused me goose bumps until this very hour. The incident happened last night inside the kitchen of the elderly couple named Joachim and Anne when I was cleaning their neighbor’s animal barn. I saw a winged man from the sky zoomed into the place like a lightning and immediately appeared in front of Mary who was then washing dinner plates and wiping oil from her hands. The winged creature’s voice sounds like thunder. But sweet little Mary seems not afraid of the birdman and they started a conversation. At a very tender age, she had the advantage of staying at the temple as a cleaner. Perhaps, her exposure to the truth and beauty of the Scripture made her fearless. Unlike Mary, I am a damn coward so I ran away.

Curiously, I went to see her the next morning and to my surprise, it seems that nothing unusual happened. I want to ask her about the last night’s incident but I don’t know what’s stopping me. “Someday, if I had a chance, I am going to find out.” I told my self. “If you had the courage.” My conscience said in return.

But that moment suddenly came. I met the old man Joachim at the tavern offering me another escorting job. He asked me to accompany her daughter and their close family friend Joseph, the best carpenter in town. She’s going to visit her elderly cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zachary in Hebron. It was not convenient for Mary to travel alone. It was certainly an uphill task for Joseph and Mary so they need an escort or a bodyguard of sort. And that’s me, your friendly neighborhood errand boy, the Amazing Camenirus. “It’s a deal!”, I told the bearded old man.

While on our road to Hebron, Joseph told me that we will at once return to Nazareth not only because of his works but for Mary to stay with her cousin who is six months pregnant. Elizabeth needed a helping hand for she would no longer be able to go and draw water from the village well or to look after the crops in the field and the animals in the farm. She would no longer be able to go to the market to do her shopping. Mary will stay in Zachary’s house for three months until Elizabeth ‘s baby is due. Joseph will be coming back after three months and fetch Mary.

Though I never had the courage to ask Mary about the winged man who appeared in their kitchen, but knowing her as a child who grew before my very eyes, I know that she is deeply aware of her low position in society which had been elevated by a blessing from the Lord that all generations would recognize. She is a humble maid. She connected her own experience that God is now helping His servant Israel, since He had scattered the proud and put down the mighty while exalted those of low degree and filled the hungry with good things. That’s how I put into one capsule the things we have discussed while traveling the lonely and dangerous road from Galilee to the hills of Judea.

But there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Joseph for most of the time he's been so silent. I presume that something is bothering him. Hope that winged man from the skies would ease all Joseph’s tormenting doubts. Caminerus’ surefire hunch is telling him that the winged man will soon appear before Joseph or even only in his dream.

The reunion of Mary and Elizabeth only taught me one thing : we ought to give the gift of our very presence and this is the hardest and the best gift of all. Everybody needs encouragement. Everybody needs the interior peace and joy that comes from the Holy Spirit. This is what Mary's visit did for Elizabeth. Mary's visit was an inspiration to Elizabeth.

This was the inspiration I learned from my recent travel or adventure. And at the break of dawn, Joseph and I travelled back to Nazareth who surely missed the presence of the Amazing Caminerus. I am Nazareth, remember? ...

(NB: Another fiction try.- NAN. Photo from http://www.brigidmarlin.com.)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

An Assassin’s Tale

Today is December 5, 2039. I am here at my safe house in downtown Maharlika preparing for the biggest mission in my career : to kill John De Bap, that popular preacher-singer who has been drawing followers and crowds all over-Rizalandia and even around the world. I am out to assassinate him tomorrow in exchange of a huge sum of money that I needed so badly. I will be get paid the soonest my mission is over.

You just have few hours to live now, John De Bap and I swear. Big politicians and influential businessmen are so irritated in the message of his songs that is why they sent me for this job. His songs and poetry, they say – at least according to the people who hired me, are the biggest threat to them. Their businesses, their power, their authority. John De Bap even emphasized that essential to repentance is the issue of social justice, especially in his carrier single entitled “Luke Thirteen, Eleven”.

Call me an old fashioned assassin but in this age of robotics, laser technology and modern weaponry, I prefer to use my vintage Turkish Bora JNG-90 sniper rifle given by my late father, a war hero who died in Afghan war in 2012. This rifle, weighing 6.4 kilogram, has sentimental value to me. I caress my gun just like how my father fondled me when I was a boy. I promised him that I will follow his footsteps but because of greed and lust for money, I landed in this ruthless job. What the heck, I am getting sentimental!

After wiping my rifle’s night vision scope and blast compensator, I switched on the television and a close-up shot of John De Bap occupied the screen. He is a thin man, poorly dressed and unshaven,- but no doubt, with a look of great intensity about him. His free concert tour last summer was a big blockbuster. The freak's tour was held in the wilderness and deserts. To tell you frankly, the diversity of those who came out and be his followers amazes me - whores, gamblers, and thieves mixed with pseudo-religious leaders . Every time he performs and renders a song, the crowd fall to their knees instead of the usual dancing and shouting.

I carry in my wallet a picture of my fourteen -year old little girl, Suneta. I promise that after this job, we will begin a new life. She’s at the ICU of a hospital way back home suffering from bone cancer. She needs to undergo radioactive surgery but it would cost a lot of money. My sweet little girl is also a big fan of June De Bap as well as her late mother. I am happy seeing her, even in his hospital bed trying to cover her sorrows and pain, singing the lines of a song of his idol called, “Prepare, Prepare” : “Somebody is coming and I have been sent to prepare his way/Turn from your sins!/Prepare your self from the coming of the Almighty!...” But you have to die, John De Bap, for trying to bring back the true essence of Christmas tradition. You have to be exterminated for saying that Christmas is an event highlighting spiritual and religious values rather than pure commercialism, and you are gaining followers because your songs bring false hopes and lies.

I am studying the floor plan of the Manny Pacquiao Memorial Field where the concert will be held tomorrow. I am scanning all the pictures and documents from my palm top computer, having every single detail and information that would lead to my perfect and biggest kill come night time. Shown on TV is a pre-concert special called “The Word Among Us” featuring cuts from his previous concert tours and interviews. In the interview, he said something that really pierces my heart : “I have come to turn the heart of fathers toward their children to prepare them for the Lord.” Why this so-called Lord or God and this goddamn John De Bap so concerned about my family, about my sweet child Suneta? Why does this God want me to draw closer to my family so that I could receive His grace? I then suddenly remembered Papa. How I prepared his things and waiting for his return even though I know that he already died in the war. But as time goes on, I am aware of the fact that the memory of my father comes to me in all the events of my life. His memory made me more vigilant but each passing day, I become a dishonor to his valor, gallantly and our name.

I am almost in tears when my personal phone rang. I immediately recognized her voice but there is something unusual about it. Her voice is full of jubilation instead of pain and sorrow, “Please come home, Dad. Together let us watch John De Bap’s concert on TV. Don’t worry about my ailment for I am prepared no matter what will happen. I want to be with you when that day comes. I want to see you and together we enjoy the songs. Surely you will find me here filled with wonder and praise…” And she clicked off. I cried.

Peacefully, I packed up my things leaving my Bora JNG-90 behind and promised my self not to go back to this place anymore…

(NB : Just a small attempt to write a fiction - NAN. Photo from : www.battlefieldsports.com )