The Inconvenient Truth of Ma. and Maria

There was a time – as late as the 1990s, in fact – when Filipinos with the name Maria had some of their records with the abbreviated name Ma. Most women – and some men – of this predominantly Catholic country were baptized and recorded with the civil registry with Maria as primary or secondary name. While most had it in full in their birth certificates, many have found it in their names abbreviated in their other official documents as Ma. Hence, Maria Corazon became Ma. Corazon and Jose Maria became Jose Ma.



We don’t know how this started or the motives behind the act by those records clerks in government and private institutions – expediency or just plain laziness – but for sure the practice was culturally and officially accepted. In fact, the institutions that computerized personal data early in this nation’s history like the Social Security System (SSS) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) found it necessary to do so because it fit in the eight-character format of their database fields. In fact, LTO does it until today because of space limitation in the driver’s license card.

The problem started with globalization, and with it the credibility of the Philippine passport. There was a time when our passport issuer – the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) – simply accepted the abbreviated names because the it was still the applicant’s name. The Birth Certificate basically attested to the name even if it was abbreviated. Besides, it was such a chore to fully spell out the names because the information on the passports were handwritten. Poor clerks.

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Don’t write off Bato De la Rosa’s Korean Mafia claim just yet.

MET WITH much skepticism – at least in my Facebook timeline – is today’s news of Police Director General Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa’s press conference yesterday that some Korean mafia is responsible for the slay by policemen of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo last October.

The Philippine National Police has suffered so much negative publicity through the decades that anything they do or say is always suspect, no matter how true or noble. From being used as a tool for suppression during the Martial Law days, to being employed as private security and goons by local warlords and vested interests, the country’s armed services – civilian or military – cops have been eyed by Citizen Juan and Maria with doubt and suspicion.


Ano Bato? The latest angle. Click here to read.

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A Storm Trooper’s Story in Martial Law

BINGE watching on Star Wars fan films at 4 AM, I came across this particular flick. The creators veered away from the usual Jedi Knight struggles with the dark side of The Force to the perspective of a Storm Trooper recruited to ensure the survival of The Republic.


It made me think hard about soldiers. Our Filipino soldiers.

It made me think of our troops mobilized to save the republic 44 years ago, in 1972, when Martial Law was declared.

It made me think of EDSA, the People Power Revolution, and EDSA Dos, and all those coup attempts in between, of how they were tormented, faced with choosing sides, following their immediate officers, thinking of their families.

It made me think about them watching their comrades fall while fighting the very people they’ve sworn to protect.

It made me think about looking at their worn out boots while reading the papers or watching television news about the excesses of their leaders and the political decision makers.

It made me think about our soldiers today, gallant, brave, underpaid, overworked — subjected to the whims of their Commander in Chief.

Just another Star Wars fan made movie on YouTube.

Watch. Enjoy.

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The DeLimaNovela and getting national juices flowing

OF LATE the arrest and presentation to congress of drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan have opened a new chapter to the travails of Senator Leila De Lima, flooding social media with much discussion and vitriol.

The gameplan of this administration, apparently, is to expose De Lima as corrupt drug lord who used her power and office as justice secretary in the past administration by linking her directly with payoffs from known drug lords, some of which were convicted and allowed to continue their operations at the national penitentiary which was under her jurisdiction and command. And, allegedly her lover-bodyguard, Dayan, was the go-between, agent, and bagman in all these.


Photo/ graphic depiction (not to be taken seriously) from Screen Junkies.

So it is no surprise that the Dayan-De Lima affair is part and parcel of the administration’s narrative of the whole crime, without which there would be no connecting the dots.

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Confirming the political leverage used for the Marcos LNMB burial

RECENTLY we wrote about how the various administrations from Cory Aquino all the way to her son Noynoy and now Rodrigo Duterte had dealt with the Marcos Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) burial for political leverage. Basically, they recognized during their campaign for office and tenure that the Marcoses were a political force to contend with and that such dealings – whether to keep the peace or just plain horse trading – were necessary.

Two recent events basically upheld the events we chronicled in that article. First was the press conference of Fidel V. Ramos last Monday, 21 November 2016, whose presidency saw the return of Ferdinand E. Marcos’ body into the Philippines. According to the presscon report by

At his press conference Monday, Ramos reminded the public of the agreement his administration entered into with the Marcos family, which says that the latter is to be buried in Batac, Ilocos Norte. Ramos had said this was the main reason he agreed to allow Marcos’ remains to be repatriated to Manila from Hawaii, where he lived in exile since the 1986 EDSA people power revolt until his death in 1989.


Page one of the MOU between the Ramos government and Imelda Marcos

To recall, we had written in the article:

Among the deals made by the Ramos campaign was to allow Marcos’ body home. The strength of the Marcos family was obvious to them as Bongbong Marcos, who ran in that election for congressman of Ilocos Norte, had started their reinstatement in their political stronghold. Their support for Ramos was among the factors that helped in the slight victory over Santiago. In 1993, Ramos fulfilled his promise and lifted the ban on Marcos’ body being brought home. But he put his foot down on the burial and allowed the body to be flown directly to Ilocos Norte. Not wanting to force the issue and take their victories one small step at a time, the Marcos family did as was told

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Reality Check – booting President Duterte out

A PETITION in entitled “18 Million Signatures a PLEA for Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s Peaceful Resignation and Removal” has been circulating on social media and as of this writing it has been there for 14 hours and garnered 3,666 supporters.


It started as a call to “oust” President Duterte, but apparently the petition’s author, one Maria Lota Matias of Bacoor, Cavite, scaled it down a notch for fear of legal ramifications:

I have changed the name of this petition upon research and advisement of an acquaintance from the Media.
Please use the new hashtags:

I maintain that this petition’s objective is a simple plea for PRRD to resign and a pray for removal of FM remains at LNMB. (I know we can’t do this alone. We need everybody’s help. We can’t change the court’s judgement, but we can let our thoughts be heard through this petition.)

Terminologies like “oust” of “kick out” was just a term and does not necessarily mean the literal idea. We changed it as per advisement that it could be viewed as an “offensive term”.

The petition is basically a rundown of articles and stories that justify the plea, and it is addressed to “The Filipino People” for action.

Nice, I believe, using this form of social media engagement in for fist-pumping street mobilization. I don’t know if she will reach her 18 million supporters, but good luck to her. To say the least, this should be an interesting thing to watch from the standpoint of a communications practitioner and student of social media.

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The Marcos Burial: Duterte fulfilled his promise to the family, Noynoy screwed them

PAST presidents made deals with the Marcos family in varying degrees. The family’s ultimate goal: to restore full recognition of his legacy. And in those different deals and circumstances these leaders approved the Marcos requests, in great measure for their own political protection since they recognized that Marcos forces were still something to contend with. This is especially true because of the vast financial resources at their disposal.

Cory Aquino had rejected the offer of the dying Ferdinand Marcos made through her Vice President Salvador Laurel that considerable wealth will be given to the Filipino people if he was allowed home. The catch was, of course, that the money would go to a foundation that will disburse it. And Cory and her inner circle saw through the ruse: a medium for their return to power.


Bosom buddies – No, this is not photoshopped. This is the actual video grab from GMA News’ Saksi during a 2011 event.

Later, after Marcos’ death in 1989, the compassionate Cory agreed to let Imelda and the family back into the country, partly for leverage in the hidden wealth cases since she would be returning to face graft and tax evasion charges here. It was also for political cover for her family and Hacienda Luisita as Cory’s term was coming to an end. Imelda returned in 1991 and eventually beat all graft and tax charges in the country.

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