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EDITORIAL - THE DEMISE OF THE OSCARS


MARCH 2 -It was not the mix-up that marred the announcement of the year's best picture that will forever taint the 89th Academy Awards. In fact, all things considered, it will be the least of the snafus anyone might care to remember deep into the future of the Oscars, if there is still such a future to even look forward to. The way things are going, the Oscars is no longer what the Oscars is all about. It has become something else. Perhaps the signs of demise started farther back. Not being truly Oscars watchers, it is difficult to be clear about that. But by last year, things have become really apparent - that there is a conscious effort by certain sectors of the American public, and not just in the entertainment industry, to reconfigure what America is all about, including its institutions, of which the Oscars is one of the more popular. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Aven Piramide - Why divide our country?


MARCH 2 -By Aven Piramide
The headline of a national broad sheet last Sunday seemed to tell me all. That we are a divided country, as opposed to the ideal of "one nation," was the message. There were events in the past few days that somehow, essayed the perception that something has gone so wrong that our dreams and aspirations as one people are irreversibly fragmented. To check whether I got correctly the message contained in the paper's banner story, I tried recalling what I thought were two most dominant incidents that took place recently. It was my intention to match them with the news stories spread in the daily. The first incident that came to my mind was the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima. There were times in the past that elected high officials of our land were ordered jailed. Joseph Estrada was the first president of the republic to have been incarcerated followed by another president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Well, Estrada's prison and Arroyo's hospital room were not really jails in our usual concept of the term but the fact was that they were subjects of warrants of arrest for appropriate detention mattered. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - The dilemma of de Lima


MARCH 2 -To those who have not seen it as clearly as the vast many have, all the noise being made by Senator Leila de Lima concerning the predicament she is now in are motherhood statements and generalizations ("justice will be served," "I will prevail in the end," "this is all harassment," "I am a political prisoner"). There is not the slightest material repudiation of the charges being levied against her. Of course she is expected to do that in court, where her real battle now lies. It is just a pity that she does not seem to realize that. By being noisy, she only succeeds in attracting attention to herself. The problem is, despite the almost unrestrained access she is being given to media, nothing of what she has said so far has extricated her from the hole she built for herself. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Bobit Avila - The temptation of Jesus -Isn't life more than food, the body more than clothes?


MARCH 6 -By Bobit Avila
It is the 1st Sunday of Lent and indeed the time has come for the Catholic faithful to slow down, after all, just a couple of months ago we finished celebrating the Christmas season, then we enjoyed the festive Sinulog Festival, the Chinese New Year, and, yes, Valentine’s Day. All those celebrations nourish our bodies with food and wine and nice clothes. But if you recall last week’s gospel reading when our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Indeed, life is not just to focus on material things simply because man by our very nature is made of flesh and spirit and while we nourish our flesh, our spirits too need nourishment and to do so means for us to slow down a bit, visit the Blessed Sacrament and commune with God. I’m sure that when we celebrated Ash Wednesday last week, millions of the Catholic faithful went to our churches and had their foreheads marked with ashes and went on fasting and abstinence to prepare themselves for the coming Holy Week. So let’s start this 1st Sunday of Lent with today’s reading of the Holy Gospel in Matt.4: 1-11. “4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” READ MORE...


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EDITORIAL - The demise of the Oscars

MANILA, MARCH 6, 2017 (THE FREEMAN) Updated March 2, 2017 - 12:00am - It was not the mix-up that marred the announcement of the year's best picture that will forever taint the 89th Academy Awards. In fact, all things considered, it will be the least of the snafus anyone might care to remember deep into the future of the Oscars, if there is still such a future to even look forward to. The way things are going, the Oscars is no longer what the Oscars is all about. It has become something else.

Perhaps the signs of demise started farther back. Not being truly Oscars watchers, it is difficult to be clear about that. But by last year, things have become really apparent - that there is a conscious effort by certain sectors of the American public, and not just in the entertainment industry, to reconfigure what America is all about, including its institutions, of which the Oscars is one of the more popular.

READ MORE...

In last year's Oscars, there was a ripple of palpable dissent about the Awards being too racist for being "too white." Throughout its history, people, not just in America but all over the world, were of the belief that the Oscars was all about excellence in the art and science of movie-making. Last year, for the first time, color was introduced into the Oscars. And by that we do not mean Technicolor.

Suspiciously as a direct result, this year the Oscars was no longer "too white." Whether that was by accommodation and design, we do not know. What we know is that while the "non-whites" who won this time were truly deserving of their awards, it can no longer be held certain whether they did win on that account or were only made to win in order not to appear "too white." That is what happens when you start introducing a meaning that was not there in the beginning.

Apart from race, religion, too, has been introduced into the Oscars. The best supporting actor has been invariably described as the first Muslim so honored by the Academy. Okay, the fact that he is Muslim is acceptable as an aside. But that is not why it is being rubbed in in all the accounts of his winning. The emphasis is all part of the anti-Trump narrative that laced the entire Oscars night. The destruction of the Oscars is just a precursor to the destruction of America.

An Iranian filmmaker who won the foreign film category did not show up to receive the award in protest against Trump's ban against seven countries with terror links. But he still wanted his award and had someone receive it for him. He also had a message read for him to the American people. In it, he insisted foreigners had the superior right to enter America than the Americans to determine who gets in and who is kept out. The American (?) audience erupted in thunderous applause.


Why divide our country? OFF TANGENT By Aven Piramide (The Freeman) | Updated March 2, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


By Aven Piramide

The headline of a national broad sheet last Sunday seemed to tell me all. That we are a divided country, as opposed to the ideal of "one nation," was the message. There were events in the past few days that somehow, essayed the perception that something has gone so wrong that our dreams and aspirations as one people are irreversibly fragmented.

To check whether I got correctly the message contained in the paper's banner story, I tried recalling what I thought were two most dominant incidents that took place recently. It was my intention to match them with the news stories spread in the daily.

The first incident that came to my mind was the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima. There were times in the past that elected high officials of our land were ordered jailed. Joseph Estrada was the first president of the republic to have been incarcerated followed by another president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Well, Estrada's prison and Arroyo's hospital room were not really jails in our usual concept of the term but the fact was that they were subjects of warrants of arrest for appropriate detention mattered.

READ MORE...

Then, three senators, also upon apparently lawful judicial orders, were likewise imprisoned. However differently conditioned their jails were compared to the cells of ordinary criminal did not seem to matter to us more than the fact that they were deprived of their liberty pending resolutions of their respective cases.

The case of De Lima did not appear to me as of the same nature as those of Estrada and company. While Estrada, and others, became the subject of meticulous and protracted investigations, there was indecent haste combined with nebulous accusations that seemed to attend to the situation of De Lima.

In fact, a video footage showed by a national television, a number of times, gave me the angle why the senator gathered sizeable support.

In that file photo President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said that he would "destroy (Senator De Lima), in public". But, nowhere in the same footage did it contain any reason of the president to predicate his plan to "destroy the senator." It looked like the president was on a personal vendetta. It therefore did not surprise me that public sympathy grounded on a cry for justice seemed to pour for the lady legislator.

The president's insistence to withhold information that could be tied to public welfare, as distinguished from private wrong, generated the support for the senator resulting into the perceived division of this country. If the president only gave us a hint why he was so obsessed to destroy the lawmaker, perhaps our people would not have been so parlayed into opposing quarters.

The second incident was the yearly celebration of the so-called EDSA Revolution. I thought there was only one such event to recall. Without bloodshed, we put an end to a dictatorship. That was the event and there was a particular place, EDSA, where such part of our history was written.

Yet, why should we divide our nation with gathering another crowd, mandated by a memorandum issued by the government, to dwell on another topic like generating support for the president?

Why should the president diminish the importance of EDSA and mass another group designed not to commemorate the peaceful revolution but instead to declare allegiance to him?

Has the apparent presidential imprimatur for the slaughter of thousands of suspected drug addicts made the president so paranoid that he would treat EDSA a world-acclaimed peaceful revolt with grave apprehension? Why Mr. President would you light the wick of our division?


EDITORIAL - The dilemma of de Lima (The Freeman) | Updated February 28, 2017 - 12:00am 4 32 googleplus0 0

To those who have not seen it as clearly as the vast many have, all the noise being made by Senator Leila de Lima concerning the predicament she is now in are motherhood statements and generalizations ("justice will be served," "I will prevail in the end," "this is all harassment," "I am a political prisoner"). There is not the slightest material repudiation of the charges being levied against her.

Of course she is expected to do that in court, where her real battle now lies. It is just a pity that she does not seem to realize that. By being noisy, she only succeeds in attracting attention to herself. The problem is, despite the almost unrestrained access she is being given to media, nothing of what she has said so far has extricated her from the hole she built for herself.

READ MORE...

Even worse than attracting attention to herself and her problems is the fact that almost every time she opens her mouth now she contradicts herself. She beats her breast as a victim of injustice, and the picture that comes to mind is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She screams about the haste of a judge in issuing her warrant, and she brings to mind the swiftness with which she obtained a warrant against Arroyo.

She seeks Supreme Court intervention in her case, and she brings to fresh recall how she ignored a Supreme Court order allowing Arroyo to seek medical attention overseas. Everything is really coming full circle for de Lima. And it is truly sad that she is not the only one that is going down, she is bringing down all of those who have cast their lot with her.

Her partymates, out of a compelling need to show solidarity, are recklessly exposing themselves to be on the side not just of one criminally accused but of the accusation itself when the political yarn no longer hacks. Even her insistence on the Ombudsman as appropriate venue inadvertently brings to bear on that office the unavoidable question why — is it friendly to her, hence her insistence, or is it unworthy of the DOJ's trust, hence the case being filed with RTC?

There is nothing political in her case just because she makes it appear to be one. Her public admission of a dalliance with her married driver opens her to a vulnerability from which she can never recover, no matter how much she protests her innocence. It is a relationship that brings her to the core of Bilibid action. That the media chose not to dwell so much on this vulnerability is only a matter of taste than evidence, Filipinos being that chivalrous to a fault.


The temptation of Jesus SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit Avila (The Freeman) | Updated March 5, 2017 - 12:00am 1 3 googleplus0 0


By Bobit Avila

It is the 1st Sunday of Lent and indeed the time has come for the Catholic faithful to slow down, after all, just a couple of months ago we finished celebrating the Christmas season, then we enjoyed the festive Sinulog Festival, the Chinese New Year, and, yes, Valentine’s Day. All those celebrations nourish our bodies with food and wine and nice clothes. But if you recall last week’s gospel reading when our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Indeed, life is not just to focus on material things simply because man by our very nature is made of flesh and spirit and while we nourish our flesh, our spirits too need nourishment and to do so means for us to slow down a bit, visit the Blessed Sacrament and commune with God. I’m sure that when we celebrated Ash Wednesday last week, millions of the Catholic faithful went to our churches and had their foreheads marked with ashes and went on fasting and abstinence to prepare themselves for the coming Holy Week. So let’s start this 1st Sunday of Lent with today’s reading of the Holy Gospel in Matt.4: 1-11.

“4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

READ MORE...

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

***

This incident happened at the beginning of the Galilean ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, where after his baptism he withdrew to the desert to pray and went fasting for forty days and forty nights. After he had completed this, Satan appeared and he knew that Jesus was by now very hungry and in his weakest state of body, but instead of offering the Lord food or bread to eat, he told Jesus “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

We know enough later that our Lord could turn water into wine, so turning stones into bread would have been easy for the Lord, but Jesus was not about to show Satan that he could do miracles and dismissed the latter saying that “Man shall not live by bread alone!”

Failing to tempt the Lord, Satan tried tempting him two more times, one for Jesus to jump from the highest point of the Wall of Jerusalem where Jesus told him, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Failing all that, Satan shows the Lord all the major cities that he would give to Jesus if he worshiped Satan. “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the Lord banished Satan from his sight and the angels came to minister to him. For this season of Lent, we too must banish evil away from us and return to the fold of God through the sacrament of reconciliation and have a very spiritual Season of Lent rather than have a Holy Week vacation.


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