Hello world!

papa2I shall be writing topics as it comes to mind. It could be topics, past or present, but relative to the times. I shall also be reacting to articles published, whether domestic or foreign, and voicing my opinion. My views shall always be objective.

Every now and then I shall also be sharing with you videos, photos, sayings and graphics of people, animals, places, etc., that I find interesting, which I hope you will appreciate.

Also, there are times when I will be posting articles about facts – why it happened that way or what could have been if something else happened.

I welcome you to my blog site and I look forward to inter-acting with you.

Your participation, your thoughts and commentaries, either for or against, will be very much appreciated.

We may have differences in opinion but that is the essence of being rational, to be able to agree to disagree. It is my aim that as we go along we enlighten not only ourselves but also those that finds the opportunity/chance to visit this site.

Let us enrich each other in knowledge and build each other up in friendship.

Thank you.

Jesus Sievert a.k.a  Quierosaber

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¡Hola mundo!

Escribiré temas como estos vienen a la mente. Esto podría ser temas, pasadas o presentes, pero con relación a los tiempos. También reaccionaré a artículos publicados, doméstico o extranjero, y expresaré mi opinión. Mis vistas siempre serán objetivo.

De vez en cuando también compartiré con ustedes vídeos, fotos, refranes y gráficos de la gente, animales, lugares, etc., que encuentro interesante y espero que lo aprecian.

También, hay tiempos cuando fijaré artículos sobre hechos – por qué pasó así o lo que podría haber sido si algo más pasara.

Bienvenidos a mi sitio de blog y espero colaborar con Vd. en el futuro.

Su participación, sus pensamientos y comentarios, para o contra, serán muy apreciados.

Podemos tener diferencias en la opinión pero eso es la esencia de ser racional, ser capaz de consentir en discrepar. Esto es mi objetivo que como continuamos, aclaramos no sólo nosotros mismos sino también aquellos  que encuentran  la oportunidad/posibilidad de visitar este sitio.

Déjenos enriquecer el uno al otro en el conocimiento y en la amistad.

Gracias.

Jesus Sievert alias Quierosaber

Laude’s death and the Phil-US relation

VFADon’t get me wrong.

I am not denigrating the death of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in the hands of US Marine Joseph Pemberton. Anytime a heinous crime is committed against a person, regardless of his/her sexual orientation, it is always understandable that an uproar ensues and the clamor for justice demanded by the victim’s family, friends and supporters who identify with the victim.

The circumstances surrounding Laude’s death made it a perfect crucible for disappointment and anger for those concerned that it resulted to the demand of abrogating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the US and the Philippine governments.

But think about it again – do we really have to do that?

Yes, the death of Laude is an issue because an American soldier is involved, but while the case is admittedly still under the purview of the VFA, it should be legally treated separately and distinctly without really jeopardizing the importance and the bigger significance that the VFA is all about.

The Phil-US relationship, through the VFA, is a bigger concern and people should be aware of this. Let not the death of a person, no matter how brutal, overshadow the benefits the country get out of this agreement.

The VFA is not only about strengthening the common security interest of both nations, but it also allows us to develop better the capabilities of our troops through crisis-action planning, enhanced training to conduct counter terrorism operations, and promoting interoperability of the forces.

Let us face it. If the Philippines won’t play a role in supporting the US in its critical pivot to Asia strategy, what would become of us and from whom shall we seek help especially that China is already poised to take over the control of the South China Sea and practically has already a foot in our own territorial waters?

Yes, we have the troops in the AFP but what good are they without the much needed military equipment to protect our land, the sea and the sky? Courage, determination and pride are good to have, but it takes training and military hardware to fight for your country.

So it does not make sense therefore that in crying for justice we take away the umbrella that helps us get shield from evil internal and external threats against the security, stability and sovereignty of the country.

Not only that but even during calamities – like the onslaught of Yolanda. Without asking, America was the first to come to our aid and even now they haven’t stopped helping us.

The current Ebola pandemic is something to worry about and where do you think shall we be turning around for help if, God forbids, it gets to some of our oversea workers and start contaminating people here?

These are just some points to ponder before one starts acting irrationally in condemning a nation that has also done some good to us.

The more Binay snubs senate probe, the guilty he is perceived to be

Vice President Jejomar Binay

Vice President Jejomar Binay

Vice President Jejomar Binay has to retrace back his steps and start on the right foot because by snubbing the senate probe about his ill-gotten wealth and making sorties to the provinces in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to explain what he claims are lies, baseless allegations and politically motivated charges against him are steps started by the wrong foot.

Obviously one cannot discount political motivation, but the existence of serious testimonies, documentations, corroborations and video presentations of his alleged wealth brought about by his corrupt practices during his stint as CEO of Makati City cannot just easily be fabricated or dreamed up unless all those coming forward to divulge the real identity of Binay have mental cases.

But the fact that they had been invited to the senate by the blue ribbon committee to expose the alleged blatant anomalies committed by Binay, to include his wife and children, as rulers of Makati for several decades now, only mean that they are all mentally stable and deserved to be heard – for whatever purpose it will serve the senate.

As the senate venue must be a welcomed forum for the invited resource persons to unmask the real identity of Binay, so are majority of the Filipino people relieved and indebted for the invited individual’s brave attestations considering that their revelations will help us decide whether or not Binay deserves to be the president of the country in 2016.

As a recap, the issues raised against Binay ranges from the alleged P2.28-billion overprice in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II, the alleged kickbacks received from infrastructure projects when he was mayor, and his alleged use of dummies to hide his assets, including the now infamous 350-hectare Binay hacienda.

During the last senate hearing, the arrogant businessman Antonio Tiu, who claims he owns the scandalous 350-hectare hacienda and not Binay, only succeeded in putting the latter dismally in his rut. He and his lawyer finally fall into the trap that Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano set for them, which is admitting that the P11 million down payment, out of the total cost of P446 million, was only for the use of the property and not an absolute ownership of the estate as he don’t even have the title yet. Legally the owner is still one, Gregorio Laureano Jr., from whom Tiu allegedly bought the property. Now it remains to be seen if Laureano has the title and whether or not it has his name on it.

Since the last hearing, some developments have surfaced already. One is that Tiu will be filing a civil case against Trillanes for “defamation” – for saying that he is a “dummy” of Binay. Another is that Binay has challenged Trillanes to a debate.

Now, what a way to defend oneself!

Is wanting to find the truth from somebody an act of defamation? If you are not a dummy then prove it beyond reasonable doubt. Or is it just about braggadocio?

Is wanting to absolve oneself from graft and corruption charges attained by debating a soldier-senator? Why not challenge a more fitting foe – Cayetano?

But that is not my point.

My point is: since the senate has become a forum for these scandalous issues against Binay and if he is a lawyer worth his salt, why not face his detractors at the same venue so his explanation can be easily and speedily brought to the Filipino audiences, who might just change their corrupt perception of him.

But Binay must be articulate otherwise he will just end up convincing the Filipinos that he is what he has been woefully described – a corrupt politician, the likes of those lawmakers in police custody now.

Catholic synod says no to open acceptance of gays and same sex marriage

Pope Francis with Catholic church bishops.

Pope Francis with Catholic church bishops.

Pope Francis seems to have a suffered a setback when his insinuations and attempt to persuade Catholic Church leaders for merciful attitudes towards gays and same sex marriage failed to muster support during the recently concluded Synod of the Bishops on Pastoral Challenges to the Family held in Rome.

So, has the image of the amiable and popular pope been tarnished?

Well, not really. It would have been a different matter if he insisted on imposing his will, but such hubris is not in Francis’ character. Instead he left it up to the Catholic bishops to decide while having encouraged them to speak candidly and “without timidness.”

And that is just what they did during the debate with the conservative bishops warning their liberal colleagues that the job of the modern church leaders is to guard the 2000 years of accrued layers upon layers of belief, teachings and traditions instead of changing them. They termed this accrual as the ‘deposit of faith’.

“The Pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other doctrine of the faith.”

While the earlier draft had said that homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community”, the revised document only said that discrimination against gay people “is to be avoided”.

The final report, which has been rewritten many times during the synod also insists that although there can be no analogy between same-sex unions and marriage between a man and a woman, “men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy”.

So for the moment it is enough that the gay’s “gifts and qualities” in a Christian community is recognized but not fully embraced/accepted to be part and parcel of the Catholic doctrine. The same goes with same sex marriage.

Is there any way that this could change?

Those belonging to the ‘3rd sex’ should not despair because about this time next year the synod will reconvene to discuss these issues again, among other things.

The Jeffrey/Jennifer Laude case

The victim, Jennifer/Jeffrey Laude and the accused, U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton.

The victim, Jennifer/Jeffrey Laude and the accused, U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton.

‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’

Could these famous lines from the play Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare be applicable to Jennifer Laude?

Hardly, really, for while Jennifer may have been medically transformed partly to look like a rose and smell like a rose, she was, however, for all intents and purposes, anything but a rose – he was, and until his death, a man named Jeffrey.

To me the sad case of Laude is not about understanding and acceptance of gay people. For crying out loud, the issue of gays and lesbians has been hammered out for so long all over the world that we have learned to be tolerant of their existence. Even the pope himself expressed openly and praised the “gifts” gays and lesbians have to offer in our Christian society and people have acknowledged this.

But, showing to people how you want to be identified through your movements, feelings and looks is one thing, and it is another being forthright about that which doesn’t make you yet a complete, full-fledged gender identity of your choice.

Since I am talking now about ‘gender identity’, let us try to put the term in the right perspective with help coming from a reliable source/institution.

John Hopkins University (JHU), in their internet page about LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, or Questioning), has this to say about gender identity: Gender identity is the self-image that one has about one’s own gender as masculine, feminine, or otherwise. Often, people assume that gender identity is congruent with biological sex; they believe that a female will identify as feminine, and a male will identify as masculine. However, this is not true for everyone, since some people with male biology feel strongly feminine, and some with female biology feel themselves to be masculine. Others do not consider their gender to be either feminine or masculine, but a blend of both; still others feel that they are neither masculine nor feminine, but some other third gender. It is important to remember that gender is a malleable and variable category.

I purposely had the word Trans above in bold letters because this is how Laude has been described to belong, it being a gender identity.

JHU also had this to say about transgender people: Some transgender people report feeling that they were born in the wrong body. For this reason, some transgender people choose to have surgery to take the physical form of their desired sex. This person is sometimes called a post-operative transsexual. Someone can also be pre-operative, or can choose never to have surgery (in this case, she or he might be known as “non-op”). Hormones are used to promote secondary sex characteristics, such as breast tissue or facial hair. Often, the word “transitioning” is used to describe the period of moving away from one’s assigned sex. Physical transitioning may describe surgical, hormonal, or other changes to one’s body. Socially transitioning may describe legally changing one’s name, asking friends to use a chosen pronoun, and other acts of disclosure.

It is in this context that I postulated above that if a person has not undergone physical surgical procedure for sex exchange, then he must be forthright enough to confess to people whom he wants to enter into relationship with that he still has his original sex identification. For sure female hormones, like in the case of Jennifer Laude, made him grow breasts, but it didn’t change at all Jeffrey Laude’s male organs. If at all, perhaps it simply atrophied it.

Having said that does not mean that I am not enraged at what the American Marine, a member of a military contingent which participated in a recent naval exercise with Filipino forces in Zambales, under the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the US, did to Laude and the manner he killed the person he thought was a real, authentic woman.

If only Laude was straightforward and explicit about herself – that there was still a Jeffrey left on her, then events would have turned out differently. The least that the soldier could have done was dumped her and go bar hopping for a real girl.

There are men like Laude’s German boyfriend who loved her and was on the verge of marrying her. It is all within his right to make that choice and be contented with whoever and whatever Laude is or was.

There are also men, like the American Marine, who wants to go to bed with the opposite sex. That is with whom he can derive pleasure of the flesh and that is what he was seeking and expecting to bed.

So why the deception?

Cebuana psychologist attends international pediatric conference

Dr. Angie with cancer-stricken children.

Dr. Angie with cancer-stricken children.

Dr. Angie Sievert-Fernandez, PhD, CCLS, a Manila based psychologist, will attend the 46th Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) that will take place on October 22-25 in Toronto, Canada.

Dr. Angie’s abstract, “Addressing The Psychosocial Needs Of The Hospitalized Child: The Role Of The Kythe Child Life Program”, was accepted for an e-poster presentation. The poster will be displayed electronically and will be available for viewing on e-Poster stations throughout the congress.

The abstract is based on a study Dr. Angie did with Nina Nerissa Sumpaico-Jose that seeks to determine and compare the levels of anxiety in children aged 5-12 years old, diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses and exposed to the Kythe Child Life Program (CLP) against those who have not been exposed to the Kythe CLP. Children’s drawings, specifically, the Child Drawing: Hospital (by Clatworthy et al., 1999), a validated and reliable tool used to provide a measure of the anxiety level of the child as expressed by the child himself was used in the study.

Kythe CLP is learning about what the child-patient thinks and feels while confined in the hospital and making sure that “the hospital is not only a place to heal, but also a place to learn, play and grow.”

Dr. Angie will join the group of Dr. Julius Lecciones, Medical Director of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and Drs. Kathryne Pascual and Cecilia Leongson-Cruz. They are part of the program My Child Matters – Philippines (MCM), supported by the Sanofi Espoir Foundation that works to raise awareness on pediatric cancer and to educate nurses, doctors and allied medical professionals working with children with cancer and their families throughout the Philippines.

Dr. Angie finished her BS Psychology (cum laude) at the University of San Carlos in 1996. She completed her MAsters in Family Life and Child Development at UP Diliman in 2001 and earned her Ph.D. Counseling Psychology in De La Salle University in 2012. She is one of two Certified Child Life Specialists in the country and is practicing developmental psychologist at the Pain Clinic of St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City, Taguig.

CBCP barking at the wrong tree

CBCP-selective-justiceI understand there is no love lost between the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and President Benigno Aquino (PNoy), but they should put their expression of dismay, and hatred, if you may, against the president in the right context.

Don’t tell me the high ranking officers of the Catholic Church don’t have the capacity to hate at those who don’t kowtow to their own vagaries and perversities. If they can show love to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for her ‘Pajero benevolence’ for some bishops, why not distaste for PNoy?

But what I do not understand is that, if the Church authorities are raising uproar over the dismissal of Sandiganbayan Justice Gregory Ong, citing abuse of power and injustice, then don’t blame it on PNoy – for Chrissake!

Instead of supporting and amplifying further the statement given by San Beda College Graduate School of Law Dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino that the Ong case was a “selective justice and a perversion of justice”, the bishops should have been more discerning in their approach and delivery because, after all, it was not PNoy who sacked, nor he recommended that Ong be dismissed, but it was the Supreme Court itself that did him in.

According to reports, by voting 8-5 with two abstentions, the high court found Ong guilty of gross misconduct, dishonesty and impropriety, upholding key recommendations of retired SC Associate Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, who led a fact-finding investigation into allegations against the dismissed magistrate.

I don’t think PNoy had really a hand in Ong’s dismissal. I think the penalty was more about Ong’s action that was definitely an affront to the integrity of the justices themselves.

Ong, who was then member of the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division that handled cases against corrupt and erring government officials, to be dismissed, was himself corrupted by the system.

The administrative case against Ong stemmed from his dismissal of the case for malversation through falsification of public documents against pork barrel scam brains, Janet Lim-Napoles, in connection with her anomalous sale in 1998 of 500 Kevlar helmets to the Philippine Marines.

The SC cited findings that Ong met with Napoles twice at her office after the anti-graft court Fourth Division acquitted her in the case.

“By his act of going to (Napoles) at her office on two occasions, (Ong) exposed himself to the suspicion that he was partial to Napoles,” the high tribunal ruled, adding that the “totality of the circumstances of such association strongly indicates (Ong’s) corrupt inclinations that only heightened the public’s perception of anomaly in the decision-making process.”

The SC noted that Ong was “no longer fit to remain as a magistrate of the special graft court” because he has had a record of breaching rules and ethics.

So there you go.

Talking about CBCP being corrupted, too, by unjustifiably supporting a rotten justice.

 

Closing bank accounts will not make Revilla a saint

Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla

Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla’s admission that he had closed several bank accounts at the time when the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), also known as “pork barrel”, was reported to have been funneled into Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) for an enormous and scandalous fee called “kickback”, is not really helping his graft, corruption and plunder case before the Sandiganbayan any.

In fact withdrawing his accumulated millions in cash involving some 81 bank accounts for fear that the government will freeze it during the course of the investigation is only adding more woe to his already desperate predicament.

The woe that I am talking about here is how Revilla can be able to establish his credibility, which is his main defensive game plan in absolving himself, now that he has withdrawn all that money?

He has been saying all the time that the truth will set him free and that he can prove it in court that all the money he has amassed are legit, considering that he is an actor who started the trade at a young age and, now, a highly paid actor to boot, so, then, why the closing of accounts if he is that confident about his scrupulous earnings?

What is so striking about the bank accounts of Revilla and his family, according to Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) investigator Leigh Vhon Santos, is that all deposits were made in cash.

This prompted Santos to comment that to be paid large amount of money in cash is “not usual business practice.” And neither is depositing large amount in cash.

It will be remembered that during Revilla’s bail hearing for plunder case over the pork barrel scam, Santos said opening multiple bank accounts is indicative of a money laundering scheme.

He also said Revilla’s closure of all his 81 bank accounts when the scandal was blown wide open indicates illicit activities.

“The closure of bank accounts when the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) circulated in the media is indicative of a criminal mind,” Santos said.

The AMLC lawyer’s explanation cannot get better, clearer and more damnatory than this.

I can only wonder where Revilla is keeping all his withdrawn millions now.

The bath tub?

Like his benefactor, Janet Lim-Napoles, why not?