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Serious look at cartoons

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The Inquirer’s “Comic Relief” page includes social critique in the form of humor, and we take pride in the Filipino cartoonists whose careers and artistic lives have found a home there. A prime example is “Pugad Baboy” which, for more than two decades, poked fun at the Filipino, the better for us to understand ourselves.

Posted: June 15th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Missing the forest as well as the trees

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The debate about the protest by Carlos Celdran exposes fault lines in the way Filipinos think. The reactions have been most telling: Filipinos still love their churches and their courts, however much and often they had been let down in the past.

Posted: February 8th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘When a great tree falls…’

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Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said: “When a great tree falls, we are surprised to see how meager the landscape seems without it.” Legal academia lost two icons the past weekend—Araceli Baviera who taught civil law and Domingo Disini who taught labor law, both at the University of the Philippines.

Posted: February 7th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Anti-RH, anti-poor and anti-women

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The members of the parliamentary opposition to reproductive health must face the music. They owe their power to the democratic process. They mustn’t disdain the democratic verdict. If only to show respect for the source of their power and all the perks they now enjoy, they must stop delaying the vote. It isn’t kosher to enjoy democracy’s bounties while shrugging off its burdens. President Aquino said it more diplomatically when he convened the pro-RH congressmen in Malacañang: “Leadership comes not just with perks but also with responsibilities, and among those responsibilities is that of making a choice.”

Posted: December 7th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Purging the (party) list

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This week I retire this column upon assuming my new responsibilities as Inquirer publisher. I wrote Passion for Reason every week over the past eight years, and was always surprised at how much more Filipinos preferred to find solutions in laws and institutions rather than in themselves. What should make me exalt as a law professor would make me grieve as a citizen. When we abdicate our prerogative to make hard choices, we empower others to decide for us. A free, robust and intelligent press should help the Filipino everyman reclaim the public sphere and, happily for the youth and their computer-savvy elders, recreate that sphere in print and just about every new digital medium that empowers readers to talk back and shout out.

Posted: October 26th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘A Framework with missing Agreements’

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One more not rise to a standing ovation for a trailer even before the movie is made, lest unrealistic expectations spoil the actual viewing. Similarly, the Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is a milestone for sure, but unrestrained hype may well derail peace in the end. The Framework says little but the public has been conditioned to believe it says everything. What will happen when our people check under the hood and discover what’s not there?

Posted: October 18th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Bar exams: rote memory rather than real MCQs

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The so-called Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro uses words to conceal rather than reveal. For instance, it grandly declares: “The relationship of the Central Government with the Bangsamoro Government shall be asymmetric.”

Posted: October 11th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Misdirected critiques of Cybercrime Law

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Critics of the Cybercrime Law (RA 10175) err when they target its punishment of defamation. Libel has been punished in the Revised Penal Code since 1930, and presumably before that in the Spanish-era Codigo Penal. The Cybercrime Law didn’t invent it. That is completely understandable. After all, libel is defined as “a crime against honor,” [...]

Posted: October 4th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Responsible to future generations, and the present, too

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Recent debates on mining allow us to go beyond the usual skirmishes over minutiae and draw us into the war over bigger ideas. It’s about time, the better to confront the tyranny of political correctness and expose our underlying attitudes and philosophies.

Posted: September 27th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Martial law and the ideological time warp

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WHY DO those who are old enough to remember martial law make great effort today to mark its 40th anniversary? Because many of us are worried that the next generation seems blasé about a return to dictatorship and some even sound like they would relish it. I have in the past looked at the pedagogical [...]

Posted: September 20th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Tightened rules on OFW domestic labor

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On Thursday last week in Kuala Lumpur, I opened the newspaper and, lo and behold, saw the banner of Malaysia’s Star (“The people’s paper”): “Bye, Bye, Filipinas.” The report opens thus: “With the Philippine Government’s plan to phase out the sending of citizens overseas to work [as domestic helpers], it’s as good as saying goodbye to Filipina maids.”

Posted: September 13th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

OJT as disguised exploitation

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Finally, someone high up in government has raised the alarm about the rise of on-the-job training (OJT) requirements as a cover for unpaid or underpaid labor. Vice President Jejomar Binay has rightly called our attention to a phenomenon that opens the door to the exploitation of Filipino students. Abroad, such internships have been called the modern-day form of slave labor.

Posted: August 30th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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