Category Archives: Atty. Benji’s Column

COVENANT FOR PEACE, ORDER, FAIR, CLEAN AND HONEST LOCAL ELECTIONS IN THE PROVINCE OF SORSOGON

The campaign period for local election has started last 26 March 2010, In today’s local politics, the only way by which candidates will assure victory is to engage in wholesale vote-buying or any act of bribing voters, ”umpisa ng mamulat ako sa isyung pulitika, ay wala akong natatandaan na halalan na walang nagaganap na bilihan ng mga boto. As always, the victors and the losers are guilty of vote-buying or bribing voters, an election offense, but nobody has been charged nor punished for such offense. Now, it’s time to change this culture and state of mind of the “Kandidatos” in bribing the “Botantes”, On the other hand, the Botantes would look up to the Kandidatos as an instant charitable institution/s,  the giver of money to the deprived people in the community.

 To change this culture, I would encourage all the Kandidatos in Sorsogon to be the catalyst of change for clean, peace, fair and honest elections, by signing in the proposed COVENANT herein below. The signing of the peace covenant will assure our constituents in Sorsogon to have an honest and peaceful election this May 10, 2010, san vote-buying, etc.

 The covenant enjoins all the candidates to uphold the fundamental principle of democracy that sovereignty resides on the people and all government authority emanates from them.

It also enjoins the candidates not to resort to vote-buying or intimidation in any manner and destroy the voters’ power and freedom of choice.

Furthermore, the covenant enjoins all of the candidates from Governor down to municipal/city councilors to campaign in accordance by the law and rules in the spirit of good grace and friendly rivalry.

Finally, the candidates will be answerable to the public if and when they will violate the covenant they have signed by voluntary withdrawing their certificate of candidacy. /

 Atty. Benjamin Gaspi

———————————————————————

 

 

PROPOSED

COVENANT FOR AN HONEST, PEACE, FAIR

AND CLEAN LOCAL ELECTIONS IN SORSOGON 

 

This Covenant made and entered by and among:

 

ALL CANDIDATES IN THE FORTHCOMING MAY 10, 2010 LOCAL ELECTIONS IN THE PROVINCE OF SORSOGON

 

- WITNESSETH -

 

 WHEREAS, Undersigned signatories are Candidates in the May 10, 2010 local elections vying for the position of Governors, Vice Governors, Board Members, House Representatives, Mayors, Vice Mayors and Councilors in the Province of Sorsogon

  WHEREAS, the Constitution declares that the Philippine is a democratic and republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people (the electorates/voters) and all government authority emanates from them. And, the same charter guarantees every citizen of the state (of competent age) to have equal access to public service (and prohibit political dynasties as maybe defined by law), regardless of the status in the society.

  WHEREAS, in order to ensure a fair, honest, peace and clean elections in the Province of Sorsogon as well as to prevent electoral fraud, bribery, unnecessary spending, vote buying/selling and that every bonafide candidate/s be free from any form of harassment and discrimination in the upcoming local elections, the undersigned candidates have entered into this covenant in the spirit of peace and order electoral exercise regardless of political party affiliation, principle and belief.

 IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the parties hereby agreed and covenanted, as follows:

 

 Section 1.

COVENANTS AND STIPULATIONS

 

The following are prohibited acts during the start of campaign period or election.

 As candidates, undersigned signatories are duty bound to abide by and comply with, in conscience and in principle, the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code (BP Blg. 881) specifically ARTICLE XI (Re, Electoral Contributions and Expenditures) under Section 96, (Soliciting and Receiving Contributions from Foreign Funds), Section 97 (Prohibited Raising of Funds), Section 99 (Report of Contributions), Section 100 (Limitations upon Expenses of Candidates), Section 101 (Limitations upon Expenses of Political Parties), Section 102 (Lawful Expenditures), Section 103 (Person Authorized to Incur Elections Expenditures), Section 104 (Prohibited Donations by Candidates) and to also observe religiously the mandates as stated in the following provisions ARTICLE XXII (Re, Election Offense), particularly Section 261 and all sub-paragraphs as provided in the said Code.

 Furthermore, the candidates who joined the peace accord have agreed not to engage in either vote buying or vote selling, not to bribe voters with money, directly or indirectly nor to intimidate them through violence or threat.

 They have also agreed to abide by the COMELEC rules and regulations not to carry or transport firearms and other deadly weapons as well as to hire security aides and bodyguards more than the allowable limit prescribed by the COMELEC.

 They have also agreed to a friendly rivalry and to observe the rules and regulations on prohibited propaganda such as the posting of posters, billboards, streamers and other propaganda materials outside the COMELEC poster areas.

 Any of the undersigned candidate who violates, or attempt to violate the afore-quoted stipulation, re, engaging in vote-buying, and giving money or material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions, committed acts of terrorism to enhance his/her candidacy, spending election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by the Code and among other acts constituting election offenses, shall motu proprio voluntarily withdraw his/her certificate of candidacy from the COMELEC. No court action is necessary, but in conscience, she/he must tender and withdraw his/her from the political race for committing such violations.

 Undersigned commit themselves to be catalysts of reformation and transformation for a better society, insulated from the old system of traditional politics or politics of patronage and promise not resort to vote-buying to enhance the chances of winning in the election.

 

Section 2.

BINDING EFFECT OF THE COVENANT

 

This covenant shall remain in force and effect until May 10, 2010 local election, and shall be binding between and among the undersigned candidates, who are law-abiding citizens.

 

Section 3.

 EFFECTIVITY

 

This Agreement shall be effective immediately upon signing by the parties hereof.

 

 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties, hereto signed this _____ day of April 2010 in Bulan, Sorsogon, Philippines.

 

 

SIGNATORIES CANDIDATES

(To sign online, please use the reply or comment  box  with your name, official e-mail and relevant candidate’s profile information. Or the candidates may print out this covenant and sign it among themselves.)

4 Comments

Filed under Announcement, Atty. Benji's Column, Legal Corner, Politics, Views and Concern

BENJIE GASPI DISCLAIMER

 

February 27, 2010

Sta. Ana, Manila, Philippines

 

Mr. Jun Asuncion;

 Dios marhay na hapon po.

 Last Thursday (Feb. 25), on my way to Manila from Davao City, I was bombarded with calls and text messages from friends and relatives abroad and also in the Philippines to confirm the message/s appearing and circulating in the email accounts, particularly the accounts of my contacts, allegedly coming from me that I am asking people for financial assistance amounting to 1600 pounds to pay for my hotel bills, as I was stranded in UK for a project and that I am in dire need of money and asking for financial assistance, etc.

 Apparently, the same messages were sent and forwarded to my other contacts, if not all, by the impostor, who was able to gain access to my password (benjiegaspi@yahoo.com). Even  “dora the mouse” (Angelita Kowalewski) was shocked upon reading the message, and according to her, she was already contemplating of sending money to me, had she not received my email to her disclaiming the doing of the hacker/swindler. Worst, upon my arrival in Manila, I could no longer open my email account, its password has been altered or changed by the hacker/swindler. Even worst, I could not recall the email addresses of all my other contacts out there, and because of this incident, I could not anymore send information or clarification to them on the matter.

 Jun, thru your blog (BO), I would like to take this opportunity to inform everyone that the message/s appearing below (italics in Red) are not true and fictitious. Because, I’ve never been to UK and I did not even attempt to enter UK. I am here in the Philippines, working as Legal Officer in the anti-narcotics agency of the government. I would assume that the message/s herein below is the work of a swindler/crook to deceive the public, using somebody’s name for personal gain, advantage and interest.

 I denounce and condemn this act in the strongest possible terms. Thank you very much, Jun.

 Sincerely,

 Benjamin “Benjie” Gaspi

 

 NB: My new official email add: (attybenjiegaspi@yahoo.com) but, I am also using (gwapo_sagitarius@yahoo.com) as my unofficial alternate email. Kindly disregard or delete the email add (benjiegaspi@yahoo.com), salamatunon tabi, mabuhay ka!

 REPRODUCED  hereunder are the email message/s sent by the swindler/hacker to all my contacts to deceive people, and enrich himself/herself at my expense.

——-

From: Benjamin Gaspi benjiegaspi@yahoo.com

Sent: Thu, February 25, 2010 5:38:02 PM

Subject: Please help

“Hope you get this on time, sorry I didn’t inform you about my trip in UK for a Program, I’m presently in UK and am having some difficulties here because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money and other valuable things were kept. presently i have limited access to internet, I will like you to assist me with the loan of 1600 pounds to sort-out my hotel bills and to get myself back home.

 I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively, I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, I’ll Refund the money back to you as soon as i return,let me know if you can be of any help.I don’t have a phone where i can be reached.

Please let me know immediately.

 Regards.

Benjie”

 

—————————

5 Comments

Filed under Announcement, Atty. Benji's Column, Disclaimer

Kidnapped ICRC Workers: Good News And Bad News

by: attybenji 

 

The good news is – Filipina hostage Mary Jane Lacaba was rescued and recovered alive from the kidnappers (April 2, 2009). Some reports alleged that she was handed-over formally by the captors to the negotiators, not rescued, upon payment of ransom!

The bad news is – the Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni are still under captivity, sad to say, a day after freeing Lacaba, the kidnappers threatened to execute these two remaining captives. We do not know when? May awa ang diyos, huwag po naman sana!

With this new development, authorities are readying the evacuation of over 21,000 residents in 5 towns of Sulu for a possible worst case scenario or armed confrontation between security forces and the Abu Sayyaf bandits, as reported in various newspapers (April 3, 2009)

In retrospect: Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni have been kidnapped and remained in the jungles of Sulu since January 15, 2009. They were abducted after a visit to a local prison where the Red Cross is funding a water project.

Recall that barely an hour before the ultimatum would lapse, Philippine Red Cross Chairman Senator Richard Gordon asked the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers for proof that the three Red Cross volunteer workers were alive as government troops and tanks moved closer amidst the threats to behead the captives. (April 1, 2009)

Senator Gordon’s messages to the captives, while uttering the words of comfort and inspiration, suddenly tears fell from his eyes, saying – “The whole family of Red Cross prays for you and I’m proud of the way you’ve comported yourself”. “I’m sorry I should be stronger than you because I’m not in the midst of the ordeal you are in now.”

And to the captors he pleaded, – “There was no glory in what the captors are doing. You are just pinning yourself down. These people are not your enemies. They were here to help the prisoners in the city jail by providing them with water and other needs”.

As the crisis deepens, the Catholic Church is urging Filipinos to pray for the release of the kidnapped ICRC workers.

The CBCP circulated copies of a pastoral letter in all catholic churches exhorting all Filipinos as brothers and sisters to reach out to both kidnappers and their hostages with prayers, saying that let it be a whole nation praying that all may experience true freedom and security. Likewise The CBCP is appealing to both kidnappers and the government to use every peaceful means to address thought peaceful process what ever is the root of this on going problem of kidnapping in Jolo, Sulu and the whole country.

We, as peace loving Filipinos, are sympathizing with the plight that the hostages are facing right now in the hinterlands of Sulu. They are facing the uncertainty of tomorrow, “nangangamba tayo na baka gagawin ng mga bandido ang kanilang banta”, God forbids!

- Just try to sympathize with their families, and imagine the sufferings, anguishes, mental torture, psychological-emotional pains, sleepless nights, mental shocks, fears and insecurities. As, anytime from now, the captives would be caught in the crossfire of the battle between the kidnappers and government forces once the latter commences its rescue operations. Also, anytime from now, they can be executed and beheaded by their captors.

From a distance, we can only offer our prayers for the lasting solution to this horrible situation in Sulu and for the release of the two other captives from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

After freeing the Filipina, the fate of the hostages is still uncertain and unknown, and the fear of bloodshed is inevitable once the military begins its rescue operations in Sulu. Madaming inosenteng civilians ang madadamay sa bakbakang militar at mga bandidong grupo!

- Also, try to dramatize the situation, and imagine a scenario, or put yourself in the shoes of the families or relatives of one of the hostages, or of all the hostages, coupled with the shocking news update every now and then that the kidnappers are threatening to behead the hostages one by one. For sure, “hindi ka mapapakali, hindi ka makakain, maiihi ka, matatae ka, iikot ang tumbong mo at hindi ka makakatulog”, why? Because these group of kidnappers are known for their barbaric acts in the past. By all means, they have the capacity to exterminate the captives when their demands for ransom, or otherwise, are not heeded, and not taken seriously by the government negotiators, etc.

In fact, I was monitoring this incident for weeks now, and believe me guys while I was watching the news update on TV, a day before Lacaba was released, “naluha ako at naiyak”, because I could not help but to reminiscence the sad memories of the past, similar to the ordeal and nightmare that the hostages have gone thru for months in the mountains, and the tormented mind of the victims’ families as well, …… I cried, and tears fell from my eyes because some years ago my father, Ceferino was kidnapped by the NPAs, and my brother, Edilberto, was also victim of kidnapping years back in Nigeria.

In local parlance, malungkot ang alaala ng kahapon, kaya hindi ko mapigilan ang maiyak at maluha sa ganitong sitwasyun!

——————————

RE; Kidnapping of my father, Ceferino!

Sometime in 1995, my father was kidnapped by the NPAs in San Ramon, Bulan. While my brother, a seaman-engineer, was held captive by the Nigerian rebels in Warri of 2007.

My father, a municipal councilor then, and was active in local politics in Bulan. All of the sudden, one gloomy afternoon, the NPAs had snatched my father in our house and was forcibly brought to the jungle of the unknown, and of place of no return, where most, if not all, of the civilians, who have been held hostage by the rebels were buried thereat after being strangulated, stabbed, or buried alive according the reports; my father used to describe the place as between the boundary of the towns of Juban and Magallanes overlooking the sea from a far. He was held in captivity for almost a week, blindfolded and his hands were tied, and could not sleep well due to the pestering sounds and bites of the mosquitoes, known carriers of malaria virus (hindi pa uso nuon ang sakit na dengue).

Fear of not seeing his husband anymore, my mother has already entertained a thought of committing suicide due to hopelessness, frustration and despair. No news, no update of the incident, or the whereabouts of my father is still unknown, no means of communication, no telephone, no text, no cellular phone to connect thru to the captors at that time. But, worst, the NPAs had advised my mother not to tell anybody about the incident, nor report the kidnapping to the authority, which my mother obligingly did.

Despite said warning, some concerned citizens reported the said incident to the police, and minutes thereafter, the police proceeded to our house in San Ramon to confirm the reported kidnapping of my father, but my mother, for fear of reprisal from the captors opted to remain silent about it and when asked about the incident, she even diverted the interrogation made by the men in uniform saying that my father was in Manila for his regular medical check up, but the men in uniform did not believe her claim, because my mother at that time was uneasy and crying and tears were falling from her eyes uncontrolled by cotton handkerchief.

Luckily, prayers really paid off, because after week long of captivity my father was finally released unharmed somewhere in the mountainous barangay in Irosin.

The reason why he was kidnapped? According to them, my father is a spy for the military, and is having an illicit relationship with another woman. Oh my Gulay, this is a silly accusation? This is a blatant lie and not true. A fabricated and concocted charge purportedly made by his political rivals, who have personal grudge to grind against my father, “mga inggitero” in our barangay. But, this is politics anyway, a dirty politics I should say!

In consideration of his release, a board & lodging had been charged to my father’s account, he was asked to defray of the amount of P45-Thousand pesos, which we obligingly complied with (note: from the first demand of 100thousand pesos, natawaran hanggang umabot ng 45thousand nalang), on the condition that said amount would be treated not as a payment for ransom, but to be referred to as sort of a Donation to the KILUSAN, or as payment for the board & lodging of my father while under captivity. Silly, is it not?

————————————–

RE; Kidnapping of my brother, Edilberto!

My brother, Edilberto, a seaman-engineer, was kidnapped along with the other 23 Filipino crew while their ship was navigating along the Delta River in Warri, Nigeria.

They were held in captivity for 24 days in the jungle of the Warri by the rebels who called themselves, the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (or, “MEND”), the dreaded and most notorious group of rebels in Nigeria, engaged in piracy, kidnapping and extortion, whose leader opted to remain as a mysterious leader of the group, called “General”.

Within 24 days of captivity, we, the families, have suffered several days of sleepless nights, anxieties and mental shock, and like the ICRC Workers’ hostages, we’re also facing the same fate of uncertainty at that time. Because, the MEND rebels also threatened to execute one by one the Filipino hostages as reported in the CNN and BBC if the government of Nigeria and the ship owner would not heed to their demands. To resolve the problem, the Nigerian government has already called its men in uniform to prepare for the worst case scenario to rescue the captives at all costs, but luckily the purported plan did not push through, because the rebels threatened to use their hostages as human shields once the military pursues its plan.

We were then in constant contact with the representatives of the DFA, OWWA and the Hamonia Shipping Agency, the local manning agency, for more updates, these representatives would always advise us (families of the hostages) not to allow each one of us to be interviewed by media people in order not to jeopardize the on-going negotiations between the Nigerian government and the rebels, as well as the representative of the shipowner.

Amidst the advisory from the DFA and OWWA to shun away interviews by media people, feeling uneasy and worried of the situation, I then defied said warning, and taken the cudgel for all the families of the seamen-hostages by writing a letter of appeal to a local newspaper in Nigeria (the “Guardian”) via email. The contents of my letter was published in Nigeria and in also in various newspapers in Manila. Because of that incident, I was summoned by the DFA and that of Hamonia representatives in their office advising me to please avoid further making an appeal to the MEND rebels because in so doing I might be able to complicate or jeopardize the on-going negotiations. Their reason is “lalaki daw ang ulo ng mga rebelde at mas lalong magdedemand ng malaki dahil umaapela ang pamilya ng biktima for humanitarian considerations”.

——————————-

The Picture below, (courtesy of CNN) – where kidnappers displayed their high-powered guns to the Filipino crew hostages in the undisclosed place in Warri, Nigeria.

pix-of-hostages_1

Hereunder is my letter to the Guardian newspaper in Nigeria which was published thereat, viz:

Families’ Plea to Captors: Release Seamen in Nigeria
02/03/2007 | 10:48 AM
Email this | Email the Editor | Print | Digg this | Add to del.icio.us

Families of 24 Filipino seamen abducted in Nigeria last month appealed anew to the captors over the weekend to release their hostages.

In a letter published Friday in the Nigerian newspaper “The Guardian” (www.guardian.newsngr.com), Benjamin Gaspi of Manila sought a win-win solution to end the crisis.

“We, the families of the abducted Filipino seamen, are hereby appealing to the Nigerian militants for the immediate release of the seafarers from weeklong captivity … Once again, we appeal to the kidnappers to release the captives,” Gaspi said in his letter.

“We hope and pray that both the government and the militants should find a way to come up with a win-win solution to end the crisis. The families of these hostages in the Philippines are suffering from severe anxiety, stressful days, wounded feelings, moral shock, depression and sleepless nights,” he added.

Although Gaspi did not specify his relation to any of the abducted seamen, he indicated he was writing the letter on behalf of the families of the abducted seamen.

He said the crewmen should not have been abducted because they were “not interfering nor are they intervening in the internal and political affairs of Nigeria.”

“These seamen have nothing to pay because they have no money to pay the ransom (if any). If they really want money they can let go the crew, then take full custody of the vessel and its cargo, then the owner can now pay as well as all those people who have interest in the vessel and cargo,” he said.

Negotiations are still ongoing for the release of the 24 Filipino seafarers and crew of Baco Liner 2, a German owned-vessel held hostage by Nigerian militants last Jan. 19.

At least seven of the crewmembers were brought to a safe house while the others remained inside the ship under the control of the militants.

Gaspi also voiced concern that the hostages may contract malaria and diarrhea.

“We are very much worried and anxious because we do not even know the names of the seamen who were taken ashore and those who were held hostage inside the ship,” he said.

———————————

 AT HINDI PA RIN PO AKO MAPAKALI, kaya sumulat ako sa Ambasador ng Pilipinas sa Abuja, Nigeria. Ito ang nilalaman ng follow-up letter ko kay Ambasador Umpa, thru email, viz:

February 1, 2007

HON. MASARANGA R. UMPA
Ambassador Plenipotentiary
Philippine Embassy in Abuja
Abuja, Nigeria

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

Warmest Greetings!

Sir, unless the those captives are released from nearly month long of captivity; anxiety, mental anguish, low morale, boredom, sleepless nights, despair and depressions will always be part of the day to day routine of the wives, families and relatives of the 24 abducted Filipino seafarers since they were held hostage last January 19, 2007 by the so called Nigerian Militants-MEND.

Considering Sir, that the DFA has imposed a news black-out on the progress of the negotiation and even told the families to cooperate with them by not entertaining interviews from the local media so as not to derail the negotiations, may we respectfully ask an update or breaking news directly from your good office on the progress or status of the negotiation between the rebels and the delta state government, including the chances of having them released as soon as possible.

We understand also that your good office is doing its best to fast track the release of the hostages. Just to calm down, pacify and appease the feeling anxieties among the families of the kidnapped seamen, please give us an update on this incident.

We hope also that you will not get angry at us for being so “MAKULIT” in asking an update from your office every now and then, after all, the lives of the Filipino people are at stake here.

Thank you so much sir for accommodating always my request.

Very truly yours,

BENJAMIN G. GASPI & FAMILY

——————————

Another picture, (courtesy of CNN) – where kidnappers performed their native dance and rituals carrying with them loaded high-powered guns, firing their guns down the soil and up in the air.

pix-of-hostages_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon receipt of my letter, the Honorable Ambassador Umpa readily replied to my query, as follows:

PASUGUAN NG PILIPINAS EMBASSY OF THE PHILIPPINES
ABUJA

01 February 2007

Mr. Benjamin G. Gaspi
benjiegaspi@yahoo.com
MIS- 43 -2007

Dear Mr. Gaspi:

The Philippine Embassy in Nigeria acknowledges receipt of your letter dated
01 February 2007.
We understand your concern for the welfare of your brother and the rest of the
Filipino seamen abducted in Warri. Rest assured that the Embassy is doing all
its best to work out the release of our Filipino brothers.
I have personally led a six-man Embassy team to make sure that negotiations
are fast-tracked and that the Filipinos are treated well and are in good
condition. Daily contacts with the chief government negotiator are maintained
since Embassy personnel and the Delta State Government officials involved
are staying in the same place.
As regards the conflicting reports, the Embassy assures you that we are
closely monitoring every phase of the negotiations and as such, has the
higher authority to verify and confirm what transpires in the course of the talks
to release the hostages, in close coordination with the chief government
negotiator and other Delta State officials.
Thus, more weight should be given to the Embassy reports than to the articles
written in Nigerian local papers. We reiterate that the 24 Filipinos are safe and
are in good condition. The German office of the ship’s owners, as well as the
representatives of the local manning agency here in Warri have denied being
contacted whatsoever by anyone regarding the critical situation of some of the”
hostages.
Further, the Embassy would also like to inform you that it is coordinating with
the German employers in the event of release of the 24 seamen.
Finally, we are hoping for the best and we are counting on your prayers and
the rest of the Filipino nation’s so that we could see light at the end of the
tunnel soon.

We appreciate your continued support and please feel free to communicate
with the Embassy any time and be up dated with any developments.
Thank you once again and best regards.

Very truly yours,

MASARANGGA A.R. UMPA
Ambassador

——————————

Also, picture below (courtesy of CNN), as told by my brother, sometimes kidnappers would point the barrels of their guns to the captives to intimidate them, and more significantly to catch the attention of the international community. (you see how worried they are in this picture).

pix-of-hostages_3At Last, after marathon negotiation with the kidnappers, the 24-Filipino crew, who were held hostage by the MEND militant rebels, were finally released upon paying of, allegedly more or less, 50M U.S. dollars as ransom.

Released Finally: as published in Manila Times, and other local newspapers and tabloid, viz:

Emotional Reunion for Released Seamen

Monday, February 19, 2007
REUNITED with her husband Roberto, chief engineer of the ship seized by rebels in Nigeria, Jocelyn Arcangel said she and her family would take a holiday before deciding on their future.
Roberto was among the 24 Filipino seamen recently released after being held captive at gunpoint for 24 days. They flew home Saturday to an emotional reunion with loved ones.
“We will have a very long family vacation after this incident and we’ll decide after whether he [Roberto] should leave again,” Jocelyn said.
“My sons don’t want him to leave anymore. It was very traumatic. We have not heard from them for a long time and there are fears that they were harmed,” she said.
Roberto said he just wanted to be with his family before declining to talk further with reporters.
Glenda Cagas said her husband, Herculano Cagas, the ship’s third engineer, would probably ship out again after resting in Manila, despite his traumatic ordeal.

“It is difficult, but we don’t have any other choice. We need the livelihood for the family,” Cagas said, noting that their two children aged six and four have yet to enter primary school.
“The hardest part for us was when we saw them on cable television being threatened with guns by their captors in masks,” she said.
Looking haggard after their ordeal but smiling and waving, the men were met by government officials and a throng of journalists after disembarking from a commercial flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“We are very happy. Thank you very much President [Gloria] Arroyo,” they said in unison to an explosion of camera flashes.
They were quickly taken to Malacañang and tearfully reunited with family and friends.
Gunmen seized the oil workers on January 20 from a Nigerian-flagged, German-owned cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria.

They were held captive under constant threat by masked gunmen in muddy swamps of the oil-rich Delta region, as Philippine and Nigerian negotiators worked for their release.
It is still unclear who was responsible for the seizure, although a high-profile militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, has fingered a rival outfit identified as Fndic.
The men declined to comment on negotiations that led to their freedom on February 13 for fear of jeopardizing the safety of two other Filipinos seized separately. Filipino diplomats are in Nigeria working to free them.
A Filipina woman was abducted on February 7 in Port Harcourt in Rivers State. Gunmen abducted the woman from the center of the city, at the heart of Nigeria’s oil industry.
A day earlier a Filipino employee of Netco Dietsmann-the Nigerian arm of a Monaco-based oil services company-was seized from a company car heading for the airport in Owerri, the capital of Imo State.
Nigeria is one of the biggest employers of Filipino workers in Africa, with some 3,900 Filipinos employed there at the end of 2006.
The Philippines is one of Asia’s biggest exporters of manpower, with an estimated eight million of its citizens working as maids, seafarers, oil rig workers and in other labor-intensive jobs.
President Arroyo has banned further deployments to Nigeria in the wake of the kidnappings.
On Sunday she instructed embassy officials assigned in conflict areas to ensure the safety of Filipinos in their areas.
Besides Arcangel and Cagas, the crewmembers of Baco Liner 2 are Ruben Roble, master; Elmer Nacionales, chief officer; Carlos Abellana, 2nd officer; Mauro Agacid, 3rd officer; Cirilo Nebit, 2nd engineer; Engr. Edilberto Gaspi, electro tech officer; Sukarno Landasan, Rogelio Garcia, Jonel Bernales, Manolo Isidro, Marlon Mendez, Ronaldo Corpuz, Joven Hidalgo, Jose Talde, Samson Mayo, Henry Sebastian, Jonie Saguid, Edgardo Ellera, Evelio Nacionales, Marcelino Caladman, Nelson Aquino and Herman Valez.

The President said the government would maintain close watch over the welfare of Filipino workers worldwide.
“We continue to pray with the same fervor for the remaining hostages in Nigeria in the hope that their situation will also come to a happy ending,” she said.
The President also thanked the officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs who were involved in the release of the Filipino seafarers.
“To those who work to ensure the safety of our Filipino men, thank you, particularly Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Estevan Conejos Jr. and Special Ambassador to the Middle East Roy Cimatu,” she said.
-AFP and Sam Mediavilla

——————————

The Picture below of jubilant Filipino crew upon their arrival at the NAIA, after being released from the 24 days of captivity. My brother, Edilberto, is at the center raising and waving his left-hand to the media people. He is the tallest among the crew.

freed-hostages4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PGMA Welcomes 24 Freed Seamen and their Families in Malacañang

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2007 | OFW

Twenty-four Filipino seamen, who were freed recently after almost a month of captivity by their Nigerian captors in the oil-rich Niger Delta in Nigeria, thanked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last night for her immediate action to secure their release.

The seamen, who arrived at 6:40 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from Nigeria via Hong Kong, proceeded to Malacañang to personally extend their gratitude to the President.

The President, together with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, hosted a sumptuous dinner for the 24 seamen along with their family members, relatives and friends at the Palace Heroes’ Hall.

During the emotional family reunions, the President went from table to table and had brief talk with the newly-arrived seamen and their family members.

“Maraming salamat po, Madame President, sa inyong mabilis na pagtugon sa aming panawagan na kami ay mapalaya agad,” said the seafarers as they echoed their gratefulness to the President.

“Welcome back to the Philippines. Praise God! Salamat sa inyong pag-sakripisyo. Have a nice reunion sa inyong mga pamilya,” the President told them.

The Chief Executive had earlier thanked Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo for “taking a direct hand” in the release of the Filipino seamen.

She also lauded all diplomats who were involved in the immediate release of the 24 seamen, particularly Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. and special envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimatu.

“Salamat sa mga nagtrabaho nating diplomat para masiguro ang inyong kaligtasan, katulad ni Usec Conejos at Ambassador Cimatu. Araw-araw ay sinasabi ko na siguraduhin ang inyong kaligtasan at 24 oras silang
nagtrabaho. Praise God that everything had ended well,” she said.

The released Filipino crew members of Baco Liner 2 who called on the President at Malacañang were Ruben Roble, master; Elmer Nacionales, chief officer; Carlos Abellana, 2nd officer; Mauro Agacid, 3rd officer; Roberto Arcangerl, chief engineer; Cirilo Nebit, 2nd engineer; Herculano Cagas, 3rd engineer; Engr. Edilberto Gaspi, electro tech officer; Sukarno Landasan, Rogelio Garcia, Jonel Bernales, Manolo Isidro, Marlon Mendez, Ronaldo Corpuz, Joven Hidalgo, Jose Talde, Samson Mayo, Henry Sebastian, Jonie Saguid, Edgardo Ellera, Evelio Nacionales, Marcelino Caladman, Nelson Aquino, and Herman Valez.

They were abducted by Nigerian gunmen on Jan. 20 and freed unharmed last Feb. 13 without any ransom paid.

Meanwhile, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio R. Bunye said President Arroyo is hopeful that the two remaining Filipino hostages in Nigeria would also be released soon by their captors.

“The government maintains a close watch over the welfare and well-being of our workers all over the world, and President Arroyo always takes a personal hand in critical events such as the last one,” Bunye said.

“Active diplomacy at a high level and the active presence of our diplomats on the ground will continue to be our strategy to keep our beleaguered workers from harm’s way and to bring them home,” he added.
- – – xxx

Actually, may isa pa akong kapatid na seaman na si Alberto, ay muntik na rin makidnap ng mga Somali pirates in 2007, buti nalang daw nai-locked nila lahat ang doors ng ship, kaya hindi nakapasok sa loob at umalis agad,,, the rest is history na.

SANA WALA NG SUSUNOD NA INSIDENTE NG KIDNAPPING NG MGA FILIPINO O BANYAGA SA MINDANAO O SAAN MANG SULOK NG PILIPINAS AT MATIGIL NA RIN ANG SUNUD-SUNOD NA PAGKIDNAP NG MGA PIRATANG SOMALIA SA MGA FILIPINO SEAMEN.

GOD BLESS US ALL. SHALOM!

Long live Bulan Observer.

attybenji

                                                                                 ———–end———-

3 Comments

Filed under Atty. Benji's Column, Bulan Municipal, Legal Corner, Views and Concern

THE ELUSIVE JUSTICE AFTER 25 YEARS!

Or, the Prepared Speech That Was Never Read.

By attybenji

Ninoy Aquino said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.”

In retrospect, Twenty Five (25) years after Ninoy Aquino’s death, only his murderer, the alleged hired killer, Rolando Galman (RIP) and the other alleged conspirators, (mostly members of the defunct AVSECOM-MIA), now languishing and serving their sentence in the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, have been convicted.

Until now, these convicts are still denying their participations in the alleged grand conspiracy in killing Ninoy Aquino.

But what/how about the alleged mastermind of this heinous crime of all time? Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos, Fabian Ver & Danding Cojuangco, et al..

Imelda Marcos and Danding Conjuangco were not formally charged nor indicted for their alleged participations in the conspiracy, same thing with the late Ferdinand Marcos, who is now 6ft. below the ground, and also the late Fabian Ver was acquitted already by the Sandigan Bayan many years back. Similarly, the Agrava Fact Finding Commission, which was established by the government then to conduct full-blown investigation on Ninoy’s death, has concluded that his (Ninoy) death was part of the grand military conspiracy.

In his grave probably, Ninoy is still crying out for justice, his ghost continues to haunt his real killer/s, and we, Filipinos, are likewise crying out loud for justice to Ninoy. And hoping to see the light ahead.

Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, Today, August 21, 2008, we are celebrating the 25th Death Anniversary of one of our National Heroes, “Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.

truly, Republic Act No. 9256 was passed and approved in to law on February 25, 2004, AN ACT DECLARING AUGUST 21 OF EVERY YEAR AS NINOY AQUINO DAY, A SPECIAL NONWORKING HOLIDAY, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”

Apparently, prior to said event, president GMA has issued an order commemorating Ninoy’s death on August 18, 2008 instead of August 21 as what the law provides, and declared the former date as non working holiday.

In restrospect, when Ferdinand Marcos declared Presidential Decree 1081 on September 21, 1972 placing the entire country under Martial Law, the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended. Many Filipinos were arrested for subversion including Ninoy. He was arrested, imprisoned and exiled along with the other activists at that time. He suffered a heart attack and was put on exile in the United States. He decided to come back to the Philippines on August 21, 1983 at the expense of his own life.

“if it’s my fate to die by an assassin’s bullet, so be it”.

His death ignited the hearts of every Filipino, who longed for freedom and were long sufferers of a country governed by a dictator. His death catapulted the EDSA Revolution, famously known as “People Power.”

Until now, the perpetrators of his assassination were not yet convicted. His case is one of the mysteries in history that will never be unveiled although deep in our hearts (Filipinos) we know who the mastermind/s was/is – are/were.

“The Filipino is worth dying for.”

Twenty five years after Ninoy’s death, in retrospect, is the Filipino still worth dying for?

Today, heroes are only found on the peso bills, decorative statues on building façade, parks, and streets, and institutions named on their behalf.

His death has in fact triggered the EDSA revolution that toppled the former dictator Marcos from Malacañang, and installed Cory Aquino to presidency.

The younger generation today lost the fire that ignited the revolution in EDSA. Twenty five years have passed since Ninoy’s death and 22 years after EDSA “People Power” Revolution… What happen now? The answer is yours!

Some writers say, we need another Ninoy to fuel our nationalism/love of country, not just loving oneself, one’s family, or loving one’s community.

I do not have the authority to preach, teach, or dictate about the current level of nationalism of us, Filipinos, but I could definitely say that we have forgotten the true meaning of Ninoy’s death and the true message of EDSA UNITY, FREEDOM, JUSTICE, and PEACE!

Analogous to this, I would like to quote & reproduce hereunder the most famous undelivered and never read speech in Philippine history of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. This speech, as we all know, was made and prepared by him while he was still in the United States, or said speech was drafted prior to his arrival in the Philippine soil on August 21, 1983. And, as expected based on his premonition, and apprehension, upon his arrival at MIA Tarmac, he was brutally murdered point blank, and failed to deliver his message to the entire Filipino people.

The UNDELIVERED SPEECH!
By Ninoy Aquino, Jr.

“I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through nonviolence.

I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice.

I am prepared for the worst, and have decided against the advice of my mother, my spiritual adviser, many of my tested friends and a few of my most valued political mentors.

A death sentence awaits me. Two more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been filed since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts.

I could have opted to seek political asylum in America, but I feel it is my duty, as it is the duty of every Filipino, to suffer with his people especially in time of crisis.

I never sought nor have I been given assurances or promise of leniency by the regime. I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified in the faith that in the end justice will emerge triumphant.

According to Gandhi, the WILLING sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.

Three years ago when I left for an emergency heart bypass operation, I hoped and prayed that the rights and freedoms of our people would soon be restored, that living conditions would improve and that blood-letting would stop.

Rather than move forward, we have moved backward. The killings have increased, the economy has taken a turn for the worse and the human rights situation has deteriorated.

During the martial law period, the Supreme Court heard petitions for Habeas Corpus. It is most ironic, after martial law has allegedly been lifted, that the Supreme Court last April ruled it can no longer entertain petitions for Habeas Corpus for persons detained under a Presidential Commitment Order, which covers all so-called national security cases and which under present circumstances can cover almost anything.
The country is far advanced in her times of trouble. Economic, social and political problems bedevil the Filipino. These problems may be surmounted if we are united. But we can be united only if all the rights and freedoms enjoyed before September 21, 1972 are fully restored.

The Filipino asks for nothing more, but will surely accept nothing less, than all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the 1935 Constitution — the most sacred legacies from the Founding Fathers.

Yes, the Filipino is patient, but there is a limit to his patience. Must we wait until that patience snaps?

The nation-wide rebellion is escalating and threatens to explode into a bloody revolution. There is a growing cadre of young Filipinos who have finally come to realize that freedom is never granted, it is taken. Must we relive the agonies and the blood-letting of the past that brought forth our Republic or can we sit down as brothers and sisters and discuss our differences with reason and goodwill?

I have often wondered how many disputes could have been settled easily had the disputants only dared to define their terms.

So as to leave no room for misunderstanding, I shall define my terms:

1. Six years ago, I was sentenced to die before a firing squad by a Military Tribunal whose jurisdiction I steadfastly refused to recognize. It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my IMMEDIATE EXECUTION OR SET ME FREE.
I was sentenced to die for allegedly being the leading communist leader. I am not a communist, never was and never will be.

2. National reconciliation and unity can be achieved but only with justice, including justice for our Muslim and Ifugao brothers. There can be no deal with a Dictator. No compromise with Dictatorship.

3. In a revolution there can really be no victors, only victims. We do not have to destroy in order to build.

4. Subversion stems from economic, social and political causes and will not be solved by purely military solutions; it can be curbed not with ever increasing repression but with a more equitable distribution of wealth, more democracy and more freedom, and

5. For the economy to get going once again, the workingman must be given his just and rightful share of his labor, and to the owners and managers must be restored the hope where there is so much uncertainty if not despair.

On one of the long corridors of Harvard University are carved in granite the words of Archibald Macleish:

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by determination and faith.”

I return from exile and to an uncertain future with only determination and faith to offer — faith in our people and faith in God.”

-End of Speech-

This is a very informative one, and considered as one of the famous political speeches of all time in Philippine History.

Until Now, or 25 years after Ninoy was assassinated, the real mastermind of the killing and other conspirators have yet to be indicted in court or convicted.

Justice to Ninoy is justice to all.

2 Comments

Filed under Atty. Benji's Column, Education, News, Politics, Views and Concern

A CALL FOR MORAL REVOLUTION?

Or, A Change Must Come From Within!

by: atty. benji

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
Watch your words, they become actions;
Watch your actions, they become habits;
Watch your habits, they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
-Anonymous-

Ours is a nation (or a town, province) gravely afflicted with interlocking diseases of poverty, passivity, cheating, graft and corruption, exploitative patronage, nepotism, factionalism, political instability, love for intrigue, lack of discipline, lack of patriotism, greed for power and the desire for instant gratification, etc. A cancerous growth is affecting the vital organs of our society to the extent that we seem to be in a state of paralysis; the patient is not responding to the problems confronting it. The times call for analysis of the social cancer.

And, we are both the doctor and patient. As Jesus Christ said in quoting the proverb: “Physician, heal thyself”.

Many years back, then former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, in her sponsorship speech calling for Moral Recovery Program (MRP), has emphasized that “the sickness afflicting this country is moral in nature.” It is her view that at the bottom of our economic problems and political instability is the weakness and corruption of the moral foundations of our society. We don’t need an economic recovery program; we also urgently need a moral, intellectual and spiritual recovery program.

Senator Shahani continued that “aside from the widespread problem of corruption, there is violence, hatred, hostility, greed for power, divisiveness which has become part of the everyday atmosphere which we breathe. We have to cleanse our national body, to rid it of its poisons and toxins, if the country is to survive. This times demand self-examination. Let us remember the words of the Greek philosopher, Socrates when he said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Let us translate this wise saying to the national level and examine our own character as a people to ensure that we are growing in the proper direction, with proper values and proper priorities.”

Why concentrate on the weakness of the people, it might be asked? and you might be asked too?

-Because, as in every sick person, we must analyze his disease or diseases. There is a need to examine how society shapes our character, of how Filipino children are brought up. If the children and youth age 12 to 16 years old are already encouraged by their parents to practice child prostitution to add to the family income, can we expect these children to be upright and law abiding citizens? If the child sees so much physical violence and brutality at home and in society, is it normal to expect that he will long to handle guns and keep company with goons at a later age, not only during the period of elections but on a daily basis?

Is the economic situation so desperate that thousands of our women refuse to learn other skills other than selling their bodies several times over every night? Why do we always disobey traffic rules and regulations? Why has cheating become a normal way of life in the Philippines particularly during the elections?

Several years ago, the Philippine was considered one of the most promising counties in Asia. Today, the Philippines is still called the “Sick Man of Asia”. What has gone wrong? Can’t we put our own house in order? Why is there such a big demand for pornography and smut?

It is also important to realize the extent of this sickness and to be aware that in order to eliminate graft and corruption, society as a whole must change and we must change too. This means not only the government but the private sector and the entire people as well.

Do we have the political will to change ourselves, undergo a major surgery, make the necessary sacrifices and go back to the basic virtues of honesty, self-reliance and responsibility for the community and the nation, and in our town, too. Can our educators realize that it is not enough to change the child and the homes but also the whole of society?

“Let us minimize our weakness and strengthen our virtues, of which we have many. Let us look inward and cleanse and heal ourselves before it is too late. We cannot expect to implement our national vision unless we have a clean hands and pure hearts”, said President Fidel V. Ramos in his Proclamation No. 62 .

After the sponsorship speech of then Senator Shahani on the Urgent Need for Moral Recovery Program (MRP) and the Senate Resolution No. 10 adopted on September 18, 1987, which directed Senate Committee on Education, Arts & Culture, & the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Development to conduct joint inquiry into the strengths and weaknesses of Filipino character with a view to solve the social ills and strengthening the nation’s moral fiber.

-Reinforced by Presidential Proclamation No. 62, issued by then, President FVR on 1992 declaring a Moral Recovery Program of the government & calling for the active participation of all sectors of the society in the MRP.

After that mukhang walang nabago sa ating mga Pilipino, ganun parin tayo!

Sa kabila ng itinatag na Moral Recovery Program ng ating gobierno upang itaguyod ang mithiing maka-BAYAN, maka-TAO, maka-KALIKASAN at maka-DIYOS, ay laganap parin ang kurapsyon at kawatan sa lahat ng sangay ng pamahalaan, dayaan sa eleksyon, gahaman sa poder, palakasan o padrino system, laganap ang prostitution, talamak ang bintahan at paggamit ng bawal na gamot o droga sangkot ang kapulisan at tagapagpatupad ng batas, kawalan ng paggalang sa magulang at nakakatanda, tahasang paglabag sa batas trapiko, walang disiplina sa sarili, kulang sa pagmamahal sa bayan, kanya-kanya o walang paki-alam syndrome, crab mentality at iba pa.

In short, bagsak ang “moral character” o “moral values” nating mga Pilipino.

Thus, there is a need for self examination as a means to transform the nation, as advocated by Senator Shahani.

There is an urgent need for moral revolution to eradicate moral decadence in our community, and government, (or in the municipal government of bulan). Mabuhay ang maka-tao, maka-bayan, maka-kalikasan at maka-diyos na Pilipino.

It is the moral character which determines the destiny of an individual as well as that of the nation (town, or province). For an individual and nation to survive with dignity and prosperity that character has to be based on moral and ethical values.

Our greatest hope lies within ourselves! Sabi nga ni dating Presidente Marcos, “Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan”.

Tayo ba ay may disiplina sa sarili? tayo ba ay masunurrin sa ating batas? tayo ba ay masunurin sa ating mga magulang? at may pagpapahalaga sa ating kalikasan at sa bayan?

9 Comments

Filed under Atty. Benji's Column, Education, Over a Cup of Coffee, Politics, Views and Concern

HONOR THY FATHER & THY MOTHER!

Or, Belated Happy Mother’s Day.

by : attybenji

Honor thy Father and thy Mother – is the best and everlasting presents that child can give to the his/her parents, specially the mother (free of charge), when we all celebrated the MOTHER’s DAY a week ago – though the message is a little bit late, but it does’nt matter, as the saying goes “better late than never”.

This fifth commandment (in the Old Testament) is a command rather than a request. No “ifs” no “buts”. That regardless of their character, (whether they’re wicked, irresponsible, etc.) children are bound to honor and respect their parents. No condition! That’s an order…

Hereunder are the lyrics of “Nanay ko Tatay Ko”, a popular bicol song has a sentimental message to the “ANAK” – to shower her “TATAY y NANAY” with love, care and respect without condition, because of his “Dakulang Utang na Boot sa Magurang”.

“Si Nanay si Tatay”

Si Nanay si Tatay di co babayaan.
Balaquid na boot an sacuyang utang
Si pagdara saco nin siyam na bulan
Gatas cong dinodo di co mabayadan.

Ay Nanay ay Tatay con ako humale,
Hihidawon mo man sa gabos mong aki
Macacoa ca man nin macacasangli
Dai macaarog kan sacong ugali

Ay Nanay ay Tatay kun ako maraot
Pogotan nin payo ibontog sa lawod
Con mahiling nindo na naganod-anod
Ay Nanay ay Tatay sapuda man tolos.

But today, the realities of life differ from the actual message of the above song under the following incidents, please consider the day to day headlines news as published in the newspaper tabloid, FRONTPAGE headlines: such as, Ama pinatay ng sariling Anak: Drug Adik na Anak, kumitil ng sariling Ama: Anak minasaker ang kanyang Nanay at Tatay: Anak na pasaway, binaril ang sariling Nanay: Anak naghuramentado, pinagpapatay ang sariling pamilya: Anak na ayaw padisiplina, tinaga ang sariling Ama; etc…

The reason is simple – kawalan ng disiplina sa sarili at paggalang sa magulang, at sa batas.

What many seemingly have never learned or forgotten is that duty to parents does not end with childhood days at home and under parental supervision.

A very famous song entitled “ANAK” popularized by Freddie Aguilar has another message – is about the child who disobeyed his parents despite love and care given by his parents, but in the end, “Ang Anak ay Nagbago at Nagsisi”.

“ANAK”
by: freddie aguilar

Nang isilang ka sa mundong ito,
Laking tuwa ng magulang mo.
At ang kamay nila
Ang iyong ilaw.

At ang nanay at tatay mo,
‘di malaman ang gagawin.
Minamasdan pati pagtulog mo.
Sa gabi napupuyat ang iyong nanay
Sa pagtimpla ng gatas mo.

At sa umaga nama’y kalong
Ka ng iyong amang tuwang-tuwa sa iyo.
Ngayon nga’y malaki ka na,
Nais mo’y maging malaya.
‘di man sila payag,
Walang magagawa.

Ikaw nga’y biglang nagbago,
Naging matigas ang iyong ulo.
At ang payo nila’y,
Sinuway mo.

Hindi mo man lang inisip
Na ang kanilang ginagawa’y para sa iyo.
Pagka’t ang nais mo masunod ang layaw mo,
‘di mo sila pinapansin.

Nagdaan pa ang mga araw
At ang landas mo’y naligaw
Ikaw ay nalulon
Sa masamang bisyo.

At ang una mong nilapitan
Ang iyong inang lumuluha.
At ang tanong,
“anak, ba’t ka nagkaganyan?”
At ang iyong mga mata’y biglang lumuha
Ng ‘di mo napapansin
Pagsisisi ang sa isip mo,
Nalaman mong ika’y nagkamali.

What is the true way to honor parents? To live a godly and decent life before all men! The greatest honor a child can bestow upon his parents is to live a consecrated and faithful Christian life.

True honor begins with genuine love for parents. It is manifested even in “little things,” like keeping in contact with them, showing interest in their lives, as well as doing those things for them that need to be done. Letters, calls, gifts, remembrances, words, visits, honor of their views and respect for their advice are such things that parents may lawfully claim and expect from their children.

Charity is not the only thing that begins at home, but also thoughtfulness, truthfulness, honesty, uprightness, good citizenship and respect for authority all begin in the home. Lawlessness often begins in the home because there one can learn to disrespect authority as well as learn to respect it. If the world is ever going to be a better place there first must be better homes.

The welfare of society rests in the family and the reconstruction of family virtues and values, parental authority and responsibility, and the obedience of children to their parents.

The fifth commandment, learned, believed and obeyed is one of the surest safeguards, and is a near guarantee for correct and righteous human behavior. It gives the blueprint for the reign of law and order. It makes possible a life of peace, security and happiness. It will provide, especially for the young, a solid foundation upon which life can be built and lived as God would have it. When children obey their parents they learn to obey those in charge of schools, government officials, employers, and all others with whom they will have to deal in life. While children obey parents they are doing more than learning the right ways and obeying parents.

Christ set the example for honoring parents. His first miracle was undertaken at the request of His mother. As He died on the cross He remarked, “Woman behold thy son,” and to another (probably John) He said, “Behold thy mother.” In this fashion, even as His life was going from Him, He showed care and concern for His mother and instigated the means for her continued provisions in this life.

The obligation children have to parents is not a one-way street. Parents have obligations to their children. There is no law of God that says children must obey their parents in doing that which is wicked. Many parents are not respected because they are not respectable. To be honored one must strive to be honorable. Parents must in some measure earn and deserve respect as well as demand it. Parents earn it and children learn it. It is futile to expect children to respect parental authority when the same parents do not have respect for divine authority.

Belated HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the mothers out there! Kayo po ang ILAW NG TAHANAN. Mabuhay!

1 Comment

Filed under Atty. Benji's Column, Culture, Education, Over a Cup of Coffee

THERE’S NO FAILURE, ONLY SUCCESS DELAYED!

 

“I have persevered against difficulties,
I rose up against defeats &,
I conquered the failures of the past”.

 

by atty. benji

A billboard in one of the sweepstakes ticket outlets in Quiapo, reads “A quitter never wins; a winner never quits”. Of course, if you quit or stop dreaming you will never win in any contest, challenge or any kind of endeavor that you wanted to carry out. If you fail, never, never, never, give up! Failing is a vital component of growing up process. It’s a baptism of fire!

If you encountered fiascos and failures in your board exams in the past, this is a must read article for you! – Be inspired and enlightened!

If you encountered setbacks in your political career or business in the past, this is a must read for you, too.

If your experienced frustrations and desperations in your chosen profession or vocation, this is a must read for you, also.

And, if you encountered denials and rejections in courting a woman of your choice, never give up, this article is probably a must read for you. I hope so, he-he-he. -Be inspired! Believe that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

I would like to share this article to all of you, who, or to whomsoever, (as an inspiration, motivation or a challenge) had experienced the pain and nightmare of failing in their chosen career, business & profession several times already (e.g. exams, sports or politics, etc). Failure is an inevitable circumstance! That’s  life!

I did experience several tumultuous failures and frustrations in my chosen career. I did encounter my first major debacle in my chosen profession in 1996 onwards when I flanked the bar exams. But, failure/s did not stop me from pursuing my dream until I claimed victory over it, and conquered the disaster of the past!

Despite depression, I did not surrender; despite desperation, I did not quit; despite anxiety, I did not give up my dreams, my mentor called it, “Spirit”.

The “pyerdido” (loser) of yesterday will be the “ganador” (victor) of tomorrow, I believe so, after all, our past does not define our future!

With this, I was reminded by a comment of a certain “Lazarus” in the sorsogonnews blog against the Guyalas branding them as “pyerdido na politico”. The comment of Lazarus, regardless of his motive or intention, (whether to insult them or otherwise) is uncalled for. For nobody knows, and who knows in the near future, the Guyala will become the next Mayor of Bulan, or Congressman of the 2nd District, or Governor of Sorsogon, or even Senator of the Republic someday. Time will come that a loser will emerge as the victor, and time will come that Guyalas’ debacle will be translated into victory someday. (Sabi nga sa Biblia, an mga nauuna ay mahuhuli at ang mga nahuhuli ay mauuna) –And, time will come, I’m sure, na an kadaghanan san mga botantes sa Bulan magsasawa man sa mga de Castro sa maabot na panahon! And that time is yet to come. Though, the Guyalas, particularly (atty. rene) had lost several times in his political bid many years back but time will come he will emerge as victorious man on earth.

The case of the late Senator Rene “Compañero” Cayetano is a classic example of success after so many setbacks in politics. He lost several times in his bid to challenge then incumbent Congressman Dante Tinga of Taguig-Pateros District (laging talunan nuon si cayetano, hindi man lang nakatikim ng panalo) but when the opportunity comes right during the Ramos Presidency, he instead ran for Senator and topped the senatorial elections. You see! For man’s past does not define his future.

Likewise, the compelling story of Abraham Lincoln is one of the best examples of success after so many defeats in politics.

Lincoln had a very strong desire to make a difference, so he entered politics. In August, 1832, he finished eighth out of 13 in a race for the Illinois House of Representatives.

In 1834, while practicing law in a firm he had established with several partners, Lincoln ran for and won a seat in the Illinois Legislature. He served a four-year term, and he soon developed a reputation as a capable and honest politician.

Unfortunately, over the next decade he experienced numerous business and political setbacks. But unlike most people, Lincoln did not let any of these challenges — including a business and personal bankruptcy — discourage him from going after his dreams.

In 1836, Lincoln won an election to Congress. It was during this time that he took an unpopular stand against President James K. Polk regarding the Mexican War. Abraham thought the war was unjust.

After his term ended in 1849, Lincoln took the next five years off from politics and focused on his law practice. Again, he encountered more business setbacks. But again, he persisted, and did not let “so-called” failures discourage him.

In 1854, he returned to the political arena. One of the first things he did was to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which threatened to extend slavery to other states.

In 1855, he ran for the Senate but was defeated. The next year he went after the Vice Presidency position, and was also defeated.

With so many failures, a lot of people, in Lincoln’s position, probably would have given up. But because he was determined and committed to make his political dreams come true, he would get up each time he was knocked down. He knew the only way to gain ground, to move forward, to march on, and to turn his goals into reality, was to learn from his setbacks and failures.

Finally, in 1860, Lincoln’s years of persistence and hard work paid off when he was elected the 16th President of the United States of America.

Abraham Lincoln represents the finest example of persistence. Although he faced countless defeats throughout his life — many that must have seemed insurmountable — he never gave up on his dreams.

LINCOLN LOST EIGHT ( 8) ELECTIONS, failed in business many times, and suffered a nervous breakdown. He could have quit many times, but he didn’t. Instead, after each defeat he would pick himself up and press forward until he achieved his aspirations.

Malaysian international speaker, Billi Lim, in his Dare to Fail magazines’ series said that from school days we are indoctrinated to adore success. Success and failures are like heaven and hell.

Heaven forbids that you should fail. Many believe when we fail, we are condemned. Failure is not an irreversible chemical reaction. Numerous success stories have their origins in failures. Sowing the seeds of failure brings the fruits of success. A lot of successful people were once called failures.

Failure is not a black hole that we fall into and get stuck there permanently. It is only temporary. Failure is success delayed. We have merely postponed our success. David Ireland authors the book aptly entitled “Failure is Written in Pencil”. Failure is erasable. It is not cast in stone. Erase failure now and begin a new life on a brand new page!

Failing must be courageous!
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever hope to achieve greatly” says Robert F. Kennedy

During World War II, Japanese Kamikaze pilots sang patriotic songs before they flew their fighter planes in suicide mission. They pledged to their beloved country that they will strike deep into enemy’s territories and would perish in their dangerous missions. Because of their courage to die for their country, kamikaze pilots often returned alive.

Failing is a privilege!
Failure is not an option. We don’t chose to fail neither we opted to become a loser. It is an honor to fail. Failure is the baptism of fire. Failure is a wake up call. From failing, we evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. We scout for opportunities and prepare for threats.

Failure is not final!
“Success is never ending; Failure is never final” says Robert Schuller. Failing does not issue death sentence. It is not the end all. There is always another opportunity to try again. Likewise, success is not a final destination. It is a journey that we strive continuously. Failure shall not drown us. Instead, it is the bridge that connects us over troubled waters to success. “He is no failure. He’s not dead yet” say W.L. George

We must not be ashamed of failures!
It is a daily test of our courage and ingenuinity. Failing is not a taboo. Failure occurs mainly in isolated cases and is often beyond our control.

We must distinguish failures from the acts of failing. If we cast ourselves as failures, it leaves behind a psychological scar. Don’t take failure as an act of not attaining certain bench marks, we can still walk upright with pride. “We do not fail ourselves; it is primarily the work we do that fails”.

We must permit ourselves to fail!
“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel”, says Eloise Ristad

We must not fear failure. The minute we stop trying is the minute that heralds failure.

We must not stigmatize Failures!
“He that lies on the ground cannot fail” according to Yiddish Proverb.

The Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) practice a traditional ritual for gang members who failed in their missions or assignments. They chop off their fingers to atone for their failures. Failing is not a stigma. We must not punish ourselves for failures like Yakuza members whose cut fingers are permanent reminders of their failed missions. Failing is honorable. It is not a misdemeanor. Just remember every genius was once a failure. Ask any genius!

“Even the best of men get knocked down many times in a lifetime. Occasional knock downs are not anything to be afraid of. In fact, they make the game of life interesting; they are the hazard and bunkers and sand traps that force us to keep our mind on the game and play our best”, says Clinton Bernard.

Failure is a prelude to success!
We treat failure as the wrong answer and success as the right answer. Failure is not actually the opposite of success. Failure is actually the step preceding success. If we make a decision, it will inevitably result in two results – failure or success. If the result is failure, acknowledge it is a learning process before success beckons. Failure is necessary part of success. In the book entitled “Think & Grow Rich”, I forgot the name of the Author, it says that “failure is a fertilizer of success”. That’s correct!

In fact, many people on the failure track are so close to success when they call it quits. Only if they persevere a little longer, success will be attained. Success is like the bride waiting at the end of the aisle. Thomas Edison hit the nail on the head when he said “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”

Failure is an asset!
“Every adversity, every failure, every headache, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”, says Napoleon Bonaparte

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart”, says Robert Ingersoll.

“Our greatest glory is not never falling but rising every time we fall”, says Oliver Goldsmith.

Never, never, never give up!
“There is no failure except in no longer trying”, says Elbert Hubbard. The annals of history were laced by great people who failed. Sir Winston Churchill once admonished, “Never, Never, Never give in, in whatever you do”.

Do not judge people who try and fail but those who fail to try. Tom Hopkins, Americas Top sale trainer, advocates, “I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed. The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying”.

The genius, Sir Albert Einstein failed many times! He disliked schools because of strict regimentations and structure. At 15, he dropped out of school, He taught himself calculus. Einstein’s poor memory especially for words led to his dismal performance in Greek. His teacher belittled Einstein, “No Matter what you do, you will never amount to anything”. Another teacher ridiculed him, “Your mere presence spoils the respect of the class for me”. His father once sought his head master’s advice on what profession Einstein should pursue. The head master admonished, “It doesn’t matter, he will never make a success of anything. Albert Einstein was named by the Time Magazine as the Person of the Century. Einstein famous theory of relativity led the foundation for the atomic bombs that were dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It forced the Japanese to surrender and brought WWII on an abrupt halt.

Another genius, Sir Thomas Edison has failed several times too!
At a press conference, a young journalist asked Sir Thomas Edison how many times he failed before he invented the light bulb. Thomas Edison politely replied, “I was actually successful in knowing 1800 ways of how not to make a light bulb. In his wisdom Edison further enlighten him, “In every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”.

If you fail once, twice, thrice and more already in your chosen career, don’t be discourage, and don’t lose hope for there is always sunshine after darkness, as there is always a rainbow after thunderstorm. That’s for sure!

Believe that there are no failures. We merely postpone our success. There are no failures in life, only delays.

But I’m sure you can remember Robert F. Kennedy, the man who failed to be President. You can remember Martin Luther King Jr. Nelson Mandela waited 27 years to be President. And President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea; he has been beaten, kidnapped, imprisoned, sentenced to death but he not only became President, he has also been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2000.

Many of us don’t understand why sometimes we have to lose. In fact sometimes to win we have to yield just like the grass yielding to the great wind. Those who can’t yield sometimes got uprooted by the great typhoon.

Kusog lawas, labanan an mga Kabiguan sa buhay! Mabuhay kita gabos!

God bless us all. Keep fighting, never give up!

7 Comments

Filed under Atty. Benji's Column, Education, Over a Cup of Coffee, Views and Concern