Juan L. Mercado


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Inquirer columns elicit comments worldwide. On the Internet, the opinion pieces spur heated debates. Here are samples - from professors abroad to Ilocos Sur students.


“Prof. Paul Stephen Lim sent me Viewpoint’s  ‘Payback,’” e-mailed University of Kansas Prof. Emeritus Grant Goodman. This recalled then president Manuel Quezon’s offer of sanctuary to Jews fleeing Nazis.

Today, places and streets bear Quezon’s name. But “the man and his accomplishments are unfamiliar to most Filipinos. This is disheartening to one (who) spent an academic lifetime working on the Commonwealth period…

“My research began in 1959 when I worked on the deteriorating Quezon papers in a rat-infested warehouse on Arlegui Street. No one else showed up to do research… Those were the days before xerox. I hired a typist to copy the documents word for word… Because of my advanced age, I have donated all of my Quezoniana to the Bentley Historical Library at University of Michigan.”

From Sinait National High School in Ilocos Sur, students Geriennezana Garcia, Precious Azcueta, Louise Tagavilla and Vanessa Yadao e-mailed: “Our teacher Romelinda de Guzman asked us to react to a newspaper article, as part of our fourth grading period project. We chose Viewpoint column titled ‘Relentless surge.’”

That piece showed the connection between the pork barrel and the Pine Island Glacier on Antarctica now rapidly melting. The column pinpointed links between climate change and increasingly severe storms even in once typhoon-free regions here.

“The P10-billion pork barrel spent on bogus nongovernmental organizations is enough to fund disaster preparedness. Resources for essential projects vanished into thin air. We definitely agree with the last sentence of Viewpoint: ‘As Revilla and company defend themselves in the pork barrel scam, sea levels fed by the Pine Island Glacier’s meltdown surge relentlessly.’”

“Whistle-blowers’ vindication?” dealt with the Inquirer’s selection of six whistle-blowers as the collective “Filipino of the Year” for 2013.  Three days after the announcement, they linked former senator Ramon Revilla Sr. to the widespread pork barrel scam. That drew spirited comment.

“The American ‘Deep Throat’ (Mark Felt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation) sent to jail five White House officials. And it caused US President Richard Nixon to resign,” Tarkin e-mailed. “The Filipino ‘Deep Throat’—the late Rep. Romeo Candazo—exposed the pork barrel scam in 1996.  Yet, no one has been jailed—so far. In fact, the [Countrywide Development Fund] scam grew exponentially into the [Priority Development Assistance Fund] up to 2013. That’s the glaring difference between American and Philippine justice.”

“If People Power worked to unseat Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada, why not the thieves in Congress and the Senate?” e-mailed Eman. “Let’s do it again in Edsa. Now  na. Because Edsa was a fake revolution,” claimed Mariano Renato Pacifico.

“Hello Marcos. Are you still alive? You were supposed to be dead,” Eman snapped back. And Boldyak added: “If Edsa was fake, then the overthrow of Marcos was a fake? All this time, we’ve had fake governments? All elections held after Edsa 1 were fake? Hahaha. Where have you been all these times? OMG.”


“Get a seeing eye dog,” suggested john_kruz. “They say it helps those who are also afflicted with a mental disorder.”

“Nice one!” Spartan Akon Ismagul wrote to john_kruz.

“What part of my comment you thoughting (sic) I have mental disorder?” responded Mariano Renato Pacifico. “Or Filipinos find logic mental disorder (sic). That is why they have faulty decisions on whom to put in public office that is dogging them yesterday, now and forever will be. You Filipinos are totally sick.”

Basta. That gives a flavor of the brawl on the Internet. Here are some of the more relevant comments:

“Aldous Huxley was not a scientist. He was a fiction and nonfiction writer well-known for his novels like ‘Brave New World,’” Jun F. Teoxon pointed out. “Was Benhur Luy’s claim that Misamis Oriental has a municipality of Clarin a typographical error?” asked Virgo Yap.  There is a Clarin town. But it is in Misamis Occidental.

“I remember watching Clarissa Ocampo disputing that (Jose Velarde) signature during the televised proceedings, and thought it was incredibly brave of her,” Walter Paul Komarnicki recalls. “But it took people power to get things moving at the end of all those proceedings.”

Eirons 1043 agreed. “Expect the cases against ‘Tanda,’ ‘Seksi’ plus ‘Pogi’ and other PDAF cases to be forgotten by Jan. 1, 2016. That’s when election fever sets in. President Aquino may become like her mother: very honest but clueless.”

“Cruel,” said the 83-year-old former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, “Did Imelda mean the US federal court (9th Circuit) who whacked her and Ferdinand Jr. (Bongbong) with a more than $353,000 fine?” asked Manuel de la Torre, a UP graduate now resident of Idaho. “They tried to secretly ship out of the United States paintings and other artworks, from court-contested holdings, for a 25-percent, tax-free share. Or was it belated Marcos contrition for martial law salvaging?”

No, she meant the court-ordered detention of former President Gloria Arroyo at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. “She is visited only by her husband, her children, from noon to 9 p.m. Then she has no one. So cruel. So unjust. Not human. I am sorry, so sad to be there.”

Did Imelda tell that to the 7,526 victims of martial law abuses across town? They just got a second tranche check, from the $2-billion judgment awarded by a US district court in Hawaii in 1995 to “New Society” victims. Silly question.


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