Manila, 16 September—I was talking with friends from high school about the fall of Harry Roque. One of our former batchmates was a lawyer who used to view Roque as a mentor. Used to, because we lost Jason to a heart attack a few years back. He was far too young. We wondered how Jason would have reacted to Roque's role now as the presidential spokesperson, had he still been alive. I commented on how much of growing up has actually been about losing our heroes.

Harry Roque, appointed spokesperson in October last year, is no stranger to the limelight. He has been involved in high profile cases in the past, and has actually been parading himself as a human rights crusader. He even founded a non-profit lawyers org focused on prosecuting extrajudicial killings. He resigned from Centerlaw to become a partylist representative in 2016, after being rebuffed once from a Senate run. At the time, he was branded a "nuisance" candidate. 

Now, there's no stopping Harry Roque from getting that Senate seat—not even his previously trumpeted human rights advocacy or at the very least his moral compass. These days, he does his best to defend whatever the President says. Long story short, he'll do anything to land on the administration's senatorial line-up in the 2019 elections. It's disgusting.

I'm glad Jason did not live long enough to witness it.


Anyway, after much drama, the President went on TV on Wednesday with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo to showcase the many ways he can work in Sen. Antonio Trillanes' name into whatever sentence fragment he could muster.

People had eagerly tuned in to the much-awaited public address, thinking and hoping that the President would have something confidence-boosting to say about the brewing inflation crisis, at the very least. Anyway, I have lost count of the many times this President has disappointed me.  


This weekend's rains over the Metro, while crazy, were perhaps no match to what our families in Northern Luzon encountered. Saw some worrisome images of Tuguegarao airport, for example, as well as some shots of totally wrecked gas stations in Ilocos and floods in Baguio and La Trinidad. Crazy weather is crazy. The current lack of news is a bit unnerving, although friends with families in Cagayan have said that their families are okay. If you have family in the area, I pray they are well.

Goyo, ang batang heneral

Jerrold Tarog's movie about legendary boy general Gregorio del Pilar has me fascinated yet again about side-stories glossed over during our history lectures in school. Compared to Heneral Luna, however, Goyo is a bit more muted. Kumbaga sa sakit, yung Luna trangkasong bongga; etong Goyo, sinat lang. But just the same, they are portraits of illness, somewhat.

For the most part, I don't know what to do about the thoughts that the movies put in my head; that our country has always been problematic does not surprise me, but I have a feeling the solutions to our current dilemmas can't be found in the past.

But the movie is beautifully shot, and Tarog's sound work has always been impressive. Art Acuña, short as his appearance may be as Manuel Bernal, is golden, and so is Carlo Aquino as Vicente Enriquez. Paulo Avelino may have gotten the Goyo charm down pat, but I expected something more... sympathetic. At the end of the thing, despite all attempts at nuance, I did not feel for the young general who was killed by Americans, as much as I did for Luna, who was killed by Aguinaldo. Maybe if he were a little less babaero and a little more Laban muna bago Landi.

Then again, maybe the deconstruction was the point. I'm just saying, if they wanted to deliver the point that Filipinos are all too often blinded by their devotion to personalities and not to the country, then they should have ended the movie when Manuel Bernal died.