MANILA, MARCH 29, 2010
(STAR) THE FREEMAN - SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Valeriano Avila (photo top left) - Today is the beginning of Holy Week and Straight from the Sky also observes this most holiest of events in the calendar of the Catholic Church as we commemorate the passion and the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is unfortunate that too many Catholics these days use the Holy Week as their vacation or family reunion time. They have forgotten that we Catholics should be using this week as a time to reflect and think about our spiritual life. It is also a time to reconcile with God; hence, Catholics are urged to go to confession so that when Easter Sunday comes, we can greet the risen Lord who is present in the Holy Eucharist with a clean heart and soul.


So tonight we have with us, Fr. Dan delos Angeles, a priest from the Cebu Archdiocese who has become a media personality in his own right. He has a radio and television program on ABS-CBN, GMA Channel 7 and on Bantay Radio. Fr. Dan will present to us the “Seven Last Words” and its doctrinal meaning for our better understanding of the Catholic Church. So please watch this very interesting show on SkyCable’s channel 15 at 8:00PM tonight.

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To start the Holy Week right, I will do a series of reflections, not necessarily from church doctrine, but perhaps on the state of the nation that we have today. With the local and national elections now in full swing, once more the voter is the king and all who seek national and local elective positions are going to exhort, motivate, court, convince, debate, sweet talk or cajole us to vote for these political candidates.

I have experienced being in the heat of the campaign since the 1969 Presidential elections when our family home was used by then Sen. Serging Osmeña Jr. as his official headquarters. Unfortunately for Cebuanos, Serging lost that race (because no one believed that Marcos would cheat) and Cebuanos paid the hefty price of not getting any political largesse from the Marcos Administration. Should we Cebuanos be on the losing end because we voted for the wrong candidate? Isn’t Cebu one of the biggest contributors to the national coffers?

Then came Martial Law in Sept.21,1972 where our civil liberties were suspended. Martial Law was supposed to exorcise the country from the hated oligarchy that controlled 80% of businesses in this country. Just like the Nazis before him, Marcos systematically plundered the businessmen who did not support his regime. Many companies were taken over by a new group that replaced the hated Oligarchy. They were called the “cronies.”

Then came the 1986 elections where I was now with the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO). Our titular head, then Sen. Salvador “Doy” Laurel slid down in order to unite the opposition and allowed Tita Cory Aquino, the widow of the slain Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. to run for President. The rest is Philippine political history!

While the results of that election was inconclusive because both parties claimed victory and took their respective oaths of office, this resulted in the now famous EDSA Revolt where the Marcos Dictatorship skedaddled out of the country. We thought that finally the face of Philippine politics would change forever for the better. How wrong we were!

It’s been 24 years since the EDSA Revolt and we Filipinos feel like the ancient Israelites who left the bondage of Pharaoh only to roam the desert sands of Egypt for 40 years! Why did God allow this to happen to his chosen people? It is because after they left Egypt and Moses was called by God to Mt. Sinai to get the Ten Commandments, when he came down from the mountain, his people cast a golden calf and made it their God. God was so furious, he wanted to destroy the Israelites, but Moses prevailed upon God and only the guilty ones were punished by death.

While the EDSA Revolt booted out a dictator, we replaced it with mini-dictators, like the 24 Senators who act like spoiled brats instead of public servants. Corruption which was focused only with the Marcoses was now liberalized… now every Tom, Dick and bureaucrat has his own corruption deal on the side. Everyone, not just the government people has become corrupt; it is like a cancer in our society.

How do we turn around from this national malaise? I dare say that we should take the bull by its horns and face this problem head on. I have said it here so many times before that the Philippines was a brand new bus in 1946 when the United States give us our independence. Today, that bus is old and decrepit and needs to be overhauled. This can only happen if we unite behind the candidate who will call for Constitutional change. If and when that happens, only then can the Philippines truly progress as a nation, ready to take on the world with a new constitution.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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