I was very sad upon hearing that Frank Ephraim, author of Escape to Manila, passed away on Sunday, August 27. He was laid to rest yesterday, in Washington, D.C. Farewell, Frank: we never got to meet again, as we thought we would.
He’d been diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year; he’d hoped to reach the expected birth of a granddaughter in September. Last year, the President conferred the Order of Lakandula, rank of Komandante, on him, a distinction he valued greatly. The Philippines honored him for his scholarship and dedication in telling the story of Jews like himself, who found refuge in Manila. Among the fruits of his research was information that helped complete a database of the 1,318 individuals who received visas to the Philippines.
Today is another cause for remembrance. Mike Tan reminds us it’s also the International Day of the Disappeared.
And it’s the birth anniversary of President Ramon Magsaysay today tomorrow. Under normal circumstances, a proclamation would have been issued by now, kicking off a Ramon Magsaysay Centennial Year, since next year marks the centennial of his birth (and the fiftieth anniversary of his death). But no such executive issuance has been made.
The Philippines Free Press blog has several articles on Magsysay, from his being named Man of the Year for 1951, the story of the Nacionalista Party convention that proclaimed him the party’s candidate, his colossal popularity, and his first day in office, to the manner in which Magsaysay distinguished between personal and official expenses, the support he enjoyed from different groups, and attacks from his critics as well as his final hours: all make for an engrossing story. Amando Doronila ponders what might have been, had Magsaysay been reelected in 1957.
Honored with the Magsaysay Award today are Eggie Duran Apostol and Antonio Meleto, together with Gawad Kalinga, among other Asian laureates for 2006.
Listen to the original, and most famous, version of the Mambo Magsaysay. The campaign song, composed and with lyrics by Raul Manglapus, was revived during the Edsa Revolution.
Listen to Mambo Magsaysay in Ilocano. Magsaysay’s fellow Ilocano, President Quirino, called the Mambo craze “a national calamity” (I discovered this, to my delight, in the liner notes of a Perez Prado album).
Raul Lambino, after allegedly forged signatures are pointed out, says its all a plot. Says signatures collected based on official lists of voters provided by local officials -but I think what may happen is a doctrine lawyers call “fruits of the poisoned tree.” Davao signatures found to be unverified. Mike Velarde gets ornery with the President.
Bolante claims to have more than a boo-boo.
Spectacularly ill-conceived: government bans Estrada documentary that otherwise, no one would have bothered to watch. Recall Jove Francisco’s account of Diosdado Macapagal’s politically-disastrous ban of the Marcos biopic. (And please, what are those figures about “hits” for the online presence of the documentary? They sound as fishy as the Legion’s!)
Telephone cable theft takes place in Davao. I think there’s a story here. There have been similar epidemics of telephone cable theft in Quezon City and other places. Copper wire at a premium for sale to China?
Watch Dirty Dancing with Gloria, a CENPEG production.
Students will continue viewing Pluto as a planet, for now.
In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is GMA Expert at Manipulating Events So That Plausibility Remains.
Manuel Buencamino says the House had an Alice in Wonderland time during impeachment. He’s too kind: I can’t imagine administration stalwarts getting through a reading of “Jabberwocky.”
Bong Austero on blogging and media, and he plugs some of his favorite blogs.
Interesting discussion arising from Mexico’s close election:
Mexico’s crisis is the ideal time to consider new variants of presidentialism. One alternative, called “parliamentarized presidentialism,” retains direct presidential elections, which many societies still demand. If a candidate emerges with at least 50.1 percent of the popular vote, he or she is declared president. In these circumstances, the model functions as classic presidentialism (even if it does not produce legislative majorities).
If, however, no candidate receives 50.1 percent of the popular vote, the elected legislature chooses the president, who thus would begin his term with a legislative majority.
Unlike a directly elected president in classic presidentialism, such a legislatively produced president could be voted out by a “constructive vote of no confidence,” leaving incumbents subject to “coalition requiring” and “coalition sustaining” incentives.
Of course, there is no guarantee that such a system would bring greater democratic stability to countries like Mexico, but it would provide many more mechanisms to resolve crises than are currently available. There is much more thinking to be done. Now is the time to do it.
Note that they don’t suggest abolishing the presidential system; they are interested in making it work better. This is what the Indonesians did when they established run-off elections for the presidency, a change I advocate adopting here at home.
In the blogosphere, Newsstand thinks the petering out of anti-Jueteng efforts is a sign elections are certain.
JJ Disini believes the President will be looked upon well in retrospect, for insisting the political crisis be resolved within constitutional parameters. He may have a point, but I think it’s the public -overwhelmingly hostile, to my mind, to transitional regimes or military-backed solutions- that was most emphatic.
The Philippine Experience uncovers an impostor.
Belmont Club on the pros and cons of an American presence in Iraq.