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Church assets and the laity

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December 30 is marked as Rizal Day everywhere in the country. But in the small town of Betis in Pampanga, where I grew up, this special day is also celebrated as the feast day of St. James the Apostle (Santiago Apostol). There was a time when the annual procession of the town’s religious icons at [...]

Posted: January 6th, 2014 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

Permit to campaign

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Bizarre as it is, politicians running for local positions have come to accept it as part of the political reality: that in some remote Philippine communities, candidates must secure a clearance from armed illegal groups before they can enter an area and campaign. The permit to campaign is normally given in exchange for a cash “contribution” to the kilusan (movement), a cryptic reference to the armed struggle led by the Communist Party and the New People’s Army (NPA).

Posted: April 26th, 2013 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

Is the Catholic Church in crisis?

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A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in February this year highlights three interesting findings on the state of Catholicism in the Philippines. First, that weekly church attendance has significantly gone down from a high of 64 percent in July 1991 to a low of 37 percent in February 2013. Second, that only [...]

Posted: April 15th, 2013 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

A question of heroes

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Of the varied fare produced by this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, it was “El Presidente,” the film depicting the life of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, that I was most eager to watch. Films about a nation’s heroes are always tricky affairs. If they show nothing new about the persons or the circumstances in which they lived, they risk becoming utterly boring. If, on the other hand, they set out to project heroes in a new light, they are likely to face the question: What is fiction and what is fact?

Posted: December 30th, 2012 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

Forty years ago

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Martial law aimed to wipe out the communist insurgency, but ironically it turned into the single most important recruitment tool of the communist movement. How did this happen?

Posted: September 24th, 2012 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

Engaging China

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It’s been three weeks now since the start of the standoff with China at Scarborough Shoal, a group of mostly submerged rocks in the West Philippine Sea that the Philippines and China are claiming as part of their respective territories. While a diplomatic way out of the impasse is being sought, a complex signaling exercise involving the deployment and withdrawal of maritime vessels is also going on. What further complicates matters is that the standoff began just a few days before the start of the US-Philippine joint military exercises. The Philippines insists the two events are unrelated, but that is not how the situation looks from a geopolitical perspective.

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

The ‘altruism’ of China’s death convicts

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China is probably one of the most practical nations in the world when it comes to the treatment of condemned criminals. They are not merely executed. As soon as they are killed (usually by a shot in the head), their warm but lifeless bodies are rushed by waiting ambulances to a nearby hospital, where their healthy organs are harvested for immediate transplantation to patients who urgently need them.

Posted: March 26th, 2012 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

The ‘upper’ house

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The word “senator”—like “sir,” “senior” and “senile”—comes from the Latin “senex,” meaning an old person. In many countries, the Senate is largely an honorary assembly of wise elders who occupy their seats either by inheritance or by appointment.

Posted: March 5th, 2012 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

Constitutional crisis

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My understanding of a so-called “constitutional crisis” is that it occurs when the basic law of the land can no longer regulate the conduct of a nation’s collective life. This happens when an existing constitution is superseded by political events, as in a revolution, war or coup d’etat. Or, when there is a stalemate between the legal system and the political system, with neither one willing to recognize the authority of the other. I do not believe we are in a constitutional crisis as a result of the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order stopping the presentation of foreign currency accounts at the on-going Senate impeachment trial. Nor are we in any immediate danger of falling into one.

Posted: February 13th, 2012 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

Impeachment as a political process

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Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed so many unfit and corrupt people to public office during her presidency that, by this measure alone, she should have been impeached several times over. For, apart from treason, nothing perhaps can be more injurious to the State than to have people like them run the government. Yet, her political allies in Congress and loyal magistrates in the highest court repeatedly came to her rescue each time she was threatened. Today we are reaping the consequences of allowing an unaccountable president to remain in office for a long time.

Posted: January 6th, 2012 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

Births and parenthood

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Come and say hello to your grandson,” my daughter Jika beckoned to me the other day. She was caressing her distended belly now fully occupied by the six-month-old fetus growing snugly inside her. My wife put her hand on the spot where it moved beneath the skin and asked me to feel it. “Xavier, this is your Lolo,” Jika said, as I rested the palm of my hand on what could be the unborn child’s head or elbow.

Posted: December 27th, 2011 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

Lessons from the Maguindanao massacre

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It has been two years since the gruesome mass murder that took place on a lonely dirt road in Maguindanao shook and awakened us to the terrifying reality of local warlords who conduct themselves as if they were beyond the reach of the law. Were it not for the fact that the majority of the [...]

Posted: November 25th, 2011 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

Faith and the Church

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Faith is so intertwined with nearly every aspect of the daily lives of Filipinos that it is hard to say precisely where religion ends and the rest of society begins. A quick look at our mass media and the way we conduct politics and business will show how blurred the boundaries are. As a sociologist, I often find myself wondering if the strict differentiation of faith matters that is supposed to come with secular modernity will ever happen in our society.

Posted: November 7th, 2011 in CDN - Opinion,Cebu Daily News | Read More »

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