Sunday, January 29, 2006

another mediaman gunned down

Saturday, January 22, another mediaman was gunned down in Bataan.

Gary Aquino, a journalist was gunned down in Morong, Bataan by still unidentified men. He wrote for the provincial newsweekly Central Luzon Forum. Police suspect that members of the RHB (Rebolusyong Hukbong Makabayan) killed Aquino. Aquino suffered two gunshot wounds on the nape and was killed on the spot. He was shot during a cockfight in Bgy Panibatuan, Morong, at 1530h, during the barangay fiesta.
Supt Arnold Gunnacao, the deputy police director for operations said that the RHB may have suspected that Aquino was a police informer. (Source: The Daily Tribune, 20060123)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

how to extend

The words of a Pacquiao fan: “This is how we celebrate a clean victory.”

The politicians were out in full force yesterday, over at Manny’s victory party, soliciting votes.

Sometimes you get the feeling that for everyone we vote into office, it’s like we’ve gotten ourselves into a bad marriage. They’re always there during the good times and absent during the bad. You long for divorce, but it’s messy.

This is why we should all strive to go into a long courtship, so that we can get to know the people who’re running after our votes; not just pencil in the name of anyone who’s gotten themselves into the box office (or who makes herself look like the box office). Sometimes, I don’t know why we like to punish ourselves.

We don’t, of course. I get the feeling that during elections, the lot of us are like wanderers who’ve gotten lost in the desert, running after chimeras. The problem is, after we realize that all we’ve been running after is a mirage, we’ve had already spent a great deal of our energy chasing after it.

Meanwhile, vultures are flying above and around us, waiting for us to finally expire (and feed on our corpses).

I didn’t get to see the Pacquiao match Sunday. I was desperately trying to finish a paper I had to submit. Plus, it didn’t help that my friends already told me who was going to win, and when, right when the match started. It made for a very good betting position (which was what I did to the hapless during the Barrera match, haha), but I was feeling honest last Sunday (even when I’d yet to hear mass- I’m going to lay off the unaware obtuse awhile, haha) so I held back. And anyway, I wasn't really into boxing. (Excuses.) All that mattered was that Manny won.

It’s really an amazing thing when you realize that everyone’s at home watching the match. The streets were totally bereft of people, if you happened to check. The closest we’ve come to this was during the heyday of Ginebra, each time it managed to claw its way to the Finals. But even then, not everyone rooted for the same team. Sunday, we were all for Team Philippines. For ten rounds, we were all united. How can we extend that into a couple more years?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

coup? nah.

Weekend coup rumored.

Granting that our DOJ Secretary didn’t mention this one to the Press in his sleep, I really doubt anyone will be even thinking of mounting a coup right when Pacquiao has a match.

broadcaster down

Another broadcaster gunned down.

Yesterday, Rolly Canete was gunned down by gunmen who drew up beside his motorcycle. Canete, who was also a spokesman for the spouses Cerilles (Antonio, erstwhile environment chief, is- again- the Congressman of Pagadian; and his wife, Aurora, is the governor of Pagadian), was also a broadcaster on three radio stations. He "frequently criticized their political opponents”.

When will all this end?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

rare week day

it's the rare week day when the amount of effort that's needed for you to slog through it is: zero.

no class at noon. the prof needs to meet with some clients. though i have one at 4pm, it's one that i really won't have to study for because i'm not on-deck for recits.

woke up at 0800, which isn't normal for me. i'm usually a morning person. my consciousness seeps in at 0530. (my IQ and civility creep up after it, but only after i'd have downed my morning's worth of coffee.)

since i woke up at eight, my head's flashing warnings of oversleeping. i should have myself rewired. is that possible? (what counts is the number of hours you slept, not the hour of awakening.)

what to do?

being the NBA fanatic i am, i scanned the schedule of games for the day. hmmn...

nets v philly
washington v the magic (tragic?)
phoenix v the clips

okay. good games. i'll be online till way past noon, checking on the scores. sigh.

saw Rumor Has It (Aniston, Costner, Ruffalo, Maclaine) last night. what can i say? it wasn't much of a rumor. all i could think of as the movie progressed was, wow, Jen's using the Brangelina thang to beef up her acting. which acting was... passable. though i couldn't help thinking that she looked considerably older than her Friend's days. which is just me being moronic. (of course she's older.)

meanwhile, mark ruffalo was being... mark ruffalo. seems like he acts the same way in all his movies. of course, it doesn't help any that the first time i saw him was as a detestable (for me) detective in In the Cut (with Meg Ryan, where she had a nude scene... i think). but, yeah, see for yourself. ruffalo in 13 Going on 30 (Garner), Just Like Heaven (Witherspoon), and Rumor.... it's the same ruffalo in each one.

let's just say that Rumor... is an SM movie. or an Ever movie. meaning, i wouldn't be caught dead paying upwards of a hundred pesos for it. watch it on a nice, clean cinema... that's it.

Family Stone (McAdams- i love her, Parker, Wilson, Mulroney, Daines, Keaton) is better fare. though you can deduce how the movie will end from the getgo, it's a lot of fun sitting through the plot and subplots. when a lot of writers will tell you that the ending's the hardest part to get right, in ... Stone, since the ending's one that's to be fairly expected, the road to the end is what counts. much. and the telling of the story's okay. (my lack of a caffeine fix is limiting my vocabulary to okay.)

sigh. beautiful morning. 'morning. =)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Yesterday, I was lost in thought: wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could live my life in a bubble, just floating around, and watching the world go by, insulated from world events, and happenings. Just be a Watcher?

Flubbed recit yesterday. When Prof Baviera went in for Civil Law Review, I was busy trying to arrange the assigned cases in the order that they were to be discussed. I came upon this one case which I hadn’t read? What the?!? Why did I bring this case? Is this for next meeting?

I checked the outline.

Yikes! It was assigned! And it was the first case!

I speed-read the case while the Professor was calling the roll.

“Mr. Mercado, tell the class what happened in the case of Republic v the Court of Appeals.”

Haha. My luck. I read everything, including the kitchen sink, save for one case; and I’d have to be called to recite that one case I didn’t read. The Fates, somewhere, must be laughing.

Strange thing, Fate. You don’t know whether to believe in them or not.

By our words, we do believe in them, but not completely. I think deep down, we’re all aware that whatever happens to us is mostly due to the consequences of our actions. And yet, when we want to ascribe something magical to a circumstance, we call it Fate. As in, I met my future wife because of Fate.

Or when tragedies happen, we also ascribe it to Fate, so that we justify losses, and tell ourselves that it wasn’t our fault- and so that we can help ourselves move on.
(What are we all fated to be?)

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Jokes that crop up when you find yourself suddenly missing a tooth...

C’mon, Cheer! You have to exert your molar influence. (Uhum.)
You’re not a good person. You have no molars. (Not news to me.)
Brrr. It must be cold in the molar regions. (Burn in hell, creep.)

Tuesday, our Poli Review class was talking about the Freedom of Expression. “But can you imagine, class..?” our professor asked. “What do you call someone who talks and talks even when no one’s listening to him?”

You, I thought. The whole class was doing something other than listening. Pink was talking to her seatmate. The Queen was studying for her next class, etcetera, etcetera. Cas was… we-ell, he was listening to the prof, but he’s gonna top the Bar anyway, so… that’s his excuse. Ben was… where was he?

Finally got through the Commercial Law midterms. For the moment, meaning, for the morning half of this day, I’ve become uncloistered. (I have lots to do! Oi.) I hope I didn’t flunk spectacularly. Prof Catindig has very high expectations for his classes, thus he has absolutely no qualms about flunking anyone, even if they’re graduating this March. That’s why there were only ten of us who enlisted in his class. (The usual class size is around 20.) Which is such a shame because he’s such an expert; and he’s an expert who knows how to teach. That’s as rare as they come.

He proctored the exam himself. You kind’a appreciate that, when a big shot lawyer wastes his Saturday evening on you. Makes you feel that he’s really devoted to teaching.

The cool thing about him is, he came in listening to an iPod. I don’t know of anyone older than 55 who listens to an iPod. Do you?

He was singing along to the songs. Nice voice.

He was also reading a book while we scratched our scalps off doing his exam. I would’ve wanted to come over, after, to see what he was reading, but I found myself suddenly afflicted with this malady that I had to rush home immediately after the exam. (I wasn’t able to check my answers.)

So… I won’t have to worry about the exam anymore. All I have to worry about are the results. Goo goo ga ga.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


In the case of Goitia v Campos-Rueda (1916), the wife left the husband because he constantly asked her to do unchaste and lascivious acts on his organ….

Whew. I suppose she should be grateful he asked her to leave the piano alone. (Hah!)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

i salute you

Before this morning, I was ready to consign all dentists to my hate list. That was before this morning.

Since Wednesday, I was having this terrible toothache in the evenings. Nuts to that toothache. I couldn’t do anything but stare at my television and pity myself.

For the lot of people who have had toothaches, they know that a toothache is one of the most tormenting pains in the world, almost at par with your basic heartache. Of course with heartache, you can’t cure it with a pop of ibuprofen, or mefenamic acid. The rub is, with your garden variety toothache, while it subsists, you can’t just honestly ignore it. You have to suffer through it.

Maybe I can dishonestly ignore it you say? Yes, well, while I was in a bout with the frigging toothache last night, I honestly wanted to smash my chin with a hammer. Right on the spot where the offending tooth is. Dishonest, because I would be robbing the dentist of expected income; and also because it was the kind of fix that would probably be gratifying only in the split second that the hammer’s head hits my poor jaw. Dishonest, because I would be robbing myself of several sets of teeth; and, maybe, even a jaw.

Tonight, I’m enjoying a nice cup of tea and wondering what my molar, the one the dentist removed, is doing. Probably grinding it out with the other molars in the dentist’s office. (Get it? Grinding it out…. Okay. Hey doc, am I still high on morphine? I'm not? Can I be?)

Okay. Maybe it’ll be best to tell the tale by rewinding to the start of my morning.

I woke up at 0700h, prepared to brew my daily pot of coffee (4 cups). I dialed myself online so I can read or download the day’s newspapers. (And yes, because reading the news is injurious to my blood pressure these days, I’ll often just download them from their websites, upload them on my Palm, and erase them in a week, so that I can claim some more storage space for next week’s papers. [I’m too cheap to buy a bigger multimedia card.])

My brother stopped by to say Hi at around 0800h- and to remind me that I'll be paying for his wedding’s video coverage. (What? I specifically said that I’ll take care of the Invitations. What? Somebody’s already signed a contract with a printer? Fine, I’ll handle the video coverage. What? The food too? No-uh. This is the reason why I’m not getting married. Too many expenses. I can’t even buy a bigger multimedia card.) He went out of the house laughing.

Anyway, before he dropped the bomb of the video coverage, I was asking him where I could find a good dentist- a good dentist who’s not expensive. (I can’t even buy a bigger multimedia card.) He told me that it just so happened that our father had just taken him to his dentist early this week. Where was that, I asked. At the Royale Place, in front of the Ever Gotesco Mall. Okay. I know where that is. Thankyou. What? I have to pay for the video coverage…?

So I sent my dad a text message, warning him that I’ll be going to his dentist before lunch. He answers, Good. They’re okay. Here’s their number.

Then he adds, “Tell them that I’m your father. They know me.”


The last time I gave that I’mthesonofMr.Mercadospeech I was met with responses of, “Hunh?” And probably with thought bubbles of, who cares? I’m not going to use that speech later. Though I did use it. Okay, I told. But only because I was scared.

A secret technique that was used in Vietnam… and this is the first time that this technique will be revealed to the whole world: The reason why the Vietnamese beat the Americans in Vietnam is… when they captured an American, to prod the American soldier to confess, and generally blab about state secrets, what the Vietnamese do is… they wave dentist’s tools in front of the American GI while he’s strapped in a dentist’s chair.

My battalion? It’s over there, it’s over there!

Yes! Yes! The moon landing was staged. It was a fake! Just… please… don’t hurt me…!

So anyway, yes, I was scared of going to the dentist, but so were the Americans.

But my tooth was really hurting. Should I go? Maybe I can learn to live with a toothache that was there only in the evening? I asked God for a sign.

I switched on the teevee to look for an NBA game. What was on was… the Utah Jazz versus the Memphis Grizzlies.

Okay. I drove to the dentist’s.

I asked for references (to a dentist) because if there was the distinct possibility that I was going to have my tooth pulled it wasn’t going to be pulled in a holeinthewall.

Anyway, I knew that any dentist won’t give me the option of pulling out my tooth because they’d have to get rid of the swelling first.

“We’ll have to pull the tooth out.”

“What? Aren’t you going to give me something for the swelling to go down?”


Is he on to me? Does he know that once I’ve inveigled from him the name of the drug that’ll bring down the swelling in my tooth, he won’t ever see me again?

“Are you sure?”


The crappy thing about having a tooth pulled when you’re in your late twenties is that when it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Sort of like virginity.

Wouldn’t it be fun if we could be virgins as many times as we have teeth? (I once knew this girl who goes on pretending to be a virgin. Men aren’t that stupid, I’d tell her. In my head. How do you say that to someone, and not lie. Men are stupider.)


As I was contemplating teeth and virginity (See? Stupider), the dentist was already sticking a needle in my mouth.

“Wamoooltenten deehyoooda?” I asked.

“Dentists only use topical anesthesia for milk teeth. Yours is more complicated, so I have to inject you with this.”

“Yeeeeebah ee sill huh?”

“It won’t hurt.”

After that brief exchange, my anxiety level eased somewhat. This dentist had obviously topped his class in dentistry classes. He could understand me! How cool is that? I should be in safe hands.

“Aww ooooo eeee eykkkk?”

“Maybe I should inject you with anesthesia twice more so you can stop talking.”

(Ouch. Ouch.)

The dentist finally pulled my tooth out, after wrestling with it for more than an hour. And to think that among his first words to me were, “I have gentle hands.”

Yes, I felt his gentle hands for an hour. They were grasping pliers. And the pliers were grasping my tooth. The pliers, I will have to tell you, don't have "gentle hands". Come to think of it, our earlier exchange probably consisted of him saying, "I have gentle hands (winkwink)."

The result of everything is that I am now pain free. Except, that is, for the nagging void in my gums where my molar used to be.

There is also a nagging void in my pocket, where my wallet used to be. (Almost grappled with that one too.)

All in all, I don’t know how you dentists do it, to stick your hands in other people’s mouths day in and day out, and actually help people. I salute you.


Thursday, January 05, 2006


Not a few things bothering me today, among of which is something I overheard.

Ganyan naman talaga ang justice system dito, eh. Pera lang nagdidikta sa hustisya. Kausapin mo’ng Executive Judge. Baka puwede niyang kausapin ‘yung mas mababa sa kanya para ayusin ang MR. Pera-pera lang ‘yan.” (That’s the way the justice system is. Money dictates what justice should be. Talk to the Executive Judge. Maybe he can convince his subordinate to grant your Motion for Reconsideration. It’s all about money.)


Granted that not a few of the judges here are corrupt. It doesn’t mean that we should all haul our asses over to the bandwagon. It is wrong wrong wrong. What we should do is ride it out. Stay the course. Follow the rules and have faith that true justice will prevail. If we’ll just go and do what everyone apparently (it’s not apparent to me) does, we’ll only be perpetuating a wrong. A Very Big Wrong. Among millions of other Wrongs that need to be made right. And you know what, if so much wrong is perpetuated, I won’t be surprised if everyone will suddenly decide to turn domestic and clean the bedpans of the people of the First World.

Ito ang bayan ko. Naaasar ako sa mga taong naninira nito.

Monday, January 02, 2006

you brain is putty

It’s back to sleepless nights again. Classes start tomorrow- (later! Oh sweet jeepers...), and I am too painfully aware that I haven’t studied yet for tomorrow's classes. (And, of course, the Bar is fast approaching. But that's another Panic subject I don't want to get into now.)

When will I ever learn?

Before sunrise starts (what time is it?) I will have to go through my semi-annual ritual of bopping myself on the head.
Why didn’t you study?
Why didn’t you study?
Why didn’t you study?


My last movie for the break is The Machinist (Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh). I’d first seen the trailer for the movie After I’d seen Batman begins. It was like I’d just come from a different planet. Or one of those situations Marty McFly (from the BTTF- Back to the Future movies- gawd, I love them) gets into after he returns from the future- or the past. Things have changed.

In Batman, Bale is buffed up for the role. In the Machinist, Bale is a skeleton with flesh. Take a look for yourselves….

Trevor (Bale) is a machinist who hasn’t slept for a year. Suddenly, he starts seeing things that normal sleeping people can’t see. Has he locked on to a hidden dimension because of his sleep deprivation?

The Machinist is a study of guilt. The Machinist- also: Twilight Zone the Movie Part MCX (was there ever a Part Two?- hay, those were the days), or Memento-lite (Memento stars Guy Pearce and Carrie Ann Moss). The movie feels like an extended episode of the Twilight Zone. It’s also in the same category as Memento. (If you haven’t seen it, See it.) What category is that? The yourbrainisputtyIcanmakeyoufeelinsane category.

Therefore: if you want to be in a happy mood after watching a movie, don’t see this, or films in its category. But if you want to be a little bit of in the mood for discussion, you gotta see this movie. Goes well with popcorn and white wine. Trust me.

The movie looks like it’s done in sepia. I guess I’m not technical enough to define it. But it’s all of gray and light hues of blue. Not bad; not bad at all.


Two days ago, the 31st of December, 2005, Judge Henrick Gingoyon, aged 53, was killed. He was the presiding judge of Branch 117 of the Pasay City RTC. He was shot by two gunmen on a Honda motorcycle while he was returning home from the gym, at 12:45pm. Noon. High noon. Shot in the back. Four bullets were recovered. 0.45 caliber.

Judge Gingoyon presided over the PIATCo case, where he ruled that the government could take over the NAIA Terminal 3 if the government will pay Php3B to the Consortium.

The Supreme Court upheld his ruling with certain modifications, and remanded the case to him so that the proper amount of just compensation could be weighed and decided.


Journalists killed.

Judges killed.

Militants killed.

Freedom killed.

Are we free?

Requiem, my Pearl of the Orient, my P.I., my Philippine Islands.

No wonder people deign to flee from your shores- when they see that all hope is lost.

Tell me there is Hope.