Day 44

 

(As I write this, it is 8:30 pm Monday in London).

In Manila, at 2pm Tuesday, will be the Day 44 and hopefully the last day for the Impeachment Trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

I have watched almost the entire proceeding – either through replays or live streaming. I have read and followed columns of several journalists. I have monitored comments in Twitter. I have made sure I read the headlines not just from one broadsheet but also from several news websites.  I tried to follow out-of-court interviews of senator-judges. And if I have a contact in Senate Secretariat, I probably would have compiled my own set of evidences.

There were tons of drama – at times very well crafted but most of the time pedestrian in nature.  Sometimes, I feel insulted by the actions and actuations of few key individuals in this trial, as they seem to undermine the intelligence and common sense of Filipino people.

I must say that I have been biased since Day 1 of the trial – not so to the guilt or innocence of the Chief Justice against the articles of impeachment – but simply because he was an appointee (a midnight appointee for that matter) of Gloria Arroyo. I didn’t like him because of that. But I tried to hear and listen to him. I empathized with him during his 3 hour opening speech – only to lose my compassion when he asked to be excused (I didn’t use the word walkout even though I am convinced it was a walkout!).

So much has been written about this impeachment proceeding and I am in no way near to be an expert to give a sensible opinion about the matter. But I am writing this anyway – just so to express my anticipation for tomorrow’s verdict. Anything can happen tomorrow – while the actuations of some senators are very telling and their vote tomorrow are kind of predictable already (i.e. Santiago, Marcos, Arroyo would definitely vote for acquittal while Drilon, Pangilinan, Trillanes would vote for conviction)– I still think tomorrow will be a defining moment in Philippine History. Call it drama – call it waste of people’s money – call it a useless exercise – but in the last 43 days of trial, I would say, I have known my senators better and I will have a better idea on who to vote for next election. There were also few individuals who made me proud as Filipino – first in the list of course is no less than the presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. It was also interesting how lead defense lawyer Justice Serafin Cuevas has established himself to be a rockstar since day 1 only to find his match through Ombudsman Morales and in the last two minutes of the final day of the proceeding, found himself succumb to the wit and wisdom of JPE.

House Speaker Sonny Belmonte closed the oral arguments on behalf of the prosecution and addressed it to the senator-judges by saying, ‘May the truth be your guide, your honors. May the truth be your guide.’

Tomorrow, I am not sure if the level of interest of Filipino people (both those who are in the Philippines and those who are based overseas) will be the same level of interest they have shown during the American Idol Finals last week.

Tomorrow, there will be no Ryan Seacrest who will say, ‘Dim the light… (and then announce the winner!)’

Tomorrow, all 23 Senator-Judges will have two minutes each to state and explain their vote. Sixteen votes are needed to convict the Chief Justice.  As each senator-judge state their verdict – the light of justice will either become dimmer and dimmer or brighter and brighter.

I can’t wait! May God bless the Philippines!

Bus Stop 7001

I walk past this bus stop every time I will hear mass at Brompton Oratory Church. It is along Brompton Road, is in front of Victoria and Albert Museum, just several meters away from the famous Harrods Department Store and is between South Kensington and Knightsbridge tube stations.

It could just be like any of the hundreds of bus stops in London except that, in late January of this year, when my spirit was so low and I was down on my knees begging God for a much needed favour, I noticed the ad from this bus stop. It’s an ad for a movie titled, ‘BIG MIRACLE’. I took a photo and that day and the days after, I pleaded God for a big miracle.

Months passed — I still strive to walk past the familiar route and this bus stop once again caught my attention. It has a new ad. No words. Just a plain picture of a rather tiny but precious heart, encapsulated in what seemed to be a bubble or crystal – I couldn’t properly decipher but it kind of articulated what I thought I would ask God.

Dear God, I have a tiny, fragile heart. Please tuck it in within the warmth of your protection and love and please bless those that this tiny little heart loves and care for. Amen.

Donuts


By virtue of the number of years that I have been taking public transport in London, one would expect that I am already accustomed and used to the thrills and frills of daily rush-hour commute. But no, I still struggle and I do not have a standard drill and don’t have standard route.  Most commuters have their daily rituals while on bus or tube (reading books/newspapers/iPads, playing solitaire on their phones, listening to music, some take the time to get more sleep, while others just stare in oblivion). My morning train ride would depend on many things!

If I find a seat (very rare), chances are I would read emails I received the previous night or draft an email  response to someone. If I don’t get a seat and there’s enough room to extend one arm to at least 45deg angle, enough to be able to hold my Kindle and read, I would read. Or if someone catches my attention and curiosity, I would stare at that stranger until the time comes when one of us gets off the train.  Or if I am lucky and the train is not loaded with giant commuters and I can see and read train adverts, I would read all sorts of adverts – from mobile phones to gallbladder problems to holiday promotions, dating websites, etc. But most of the time, the train is jampacked and the distance between people are just few inches. That’s when I will do my mental prayer and at times, would ask extra help from my angel so I will not pass out from suffocation.

Today, my train ride was different for I missed my stop! Soon as I hopped on the train, I smelled something similar to the smell of Dunkin Donuts! I tried to look around to see what it was but there were no signs that someone was eating a donut! Plus, knowing the fact that there’s no DD in the UK – it must be something else. But, my sense of smell and recollection suggested it was DD. And in my heart, I believed it was.

From that momentary sniff of something familiar, my thoughts traveled back to Manila! I remember a very dear friend who used to do part-time job at DD and everytime we would meet for our regular YMCA meeting, he’ll bring some donuts for us. I also remembered my college days.  On my way to school, along Aurora Blvd was one of the main DD shops. Despite the pollution, one can smell a freshly baked donut when you pass by that area. There’s also a DD shop near school. Having DD for snacks is a luxury during those times! One would normally eat banana que or fish ball or pande-coco but if it’s Monday (when you normally have your full week’s allowance), one can afford to buy a donut! My favourite all through these years are choco honey-dipped and choco butternut! 🙂 I also remember all the bus terminals and airports in Manila! I can guarantee that even until now, a bus terminal will not be a bus terminal if it doesn’t have a Dunkin Donut or Mister Donut stall within the vicinity! Airport terminals sell boxes and boxes and boxes of these donuts. I do not know what’s with these donuts and we Filipinos are maybe not aware that these donuts have actually been part of our culture and history! I remember when Gonuts Donuts opened their first store at The Fort. One would think that people are queuing up for a major lotto draw but they were actually queuing up to buy a box of donut! I was one of those who would drive to the Fort either during lunch time or after work and even if I can only eat at most two donuts, I would buy two boxes! Then came Krispy Kreme! I think their first store was also at the Fort (Serendra)! I was also there, queued up – during their first week!

Aaaaarrrghhhh! I missed my train stop! I missed my destination! All because of very compelling thoughts about donuts! Made me realise that no matter how gripping my feelings and thoughts are towards certain matters, I should not lose track of my journey and my destination!

Postcard to Heaven

Today, if I could send a postcard to heaven, I will send this to my parents, who, for the first time, are celebrating their wedding anniversary in paradise…

(photo taken at Edinburgh, Scotland)