What should Philippine bar exam flunkers do?

I was surprised that Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno didn’t advise bar exam flunkers to just automatically retake the exams.

Emphasizing the enormous amount of resources devoted to studying law, Sereno said people who enter law school should be better off when they leave it.

The chief justice’s comments during a media forum I watched on TV completely changed my worldview about bar flunkers. I’ve always thought that retaking the exams was the only recourse for them.

For example, she said that those who didn’t make the cut but got marks close to the 75% passing grade could possibly be given certain responsibilities.

In a nutshell, what Sereno said was whenever you take someone under your wing, his or her situation should actually improve.

Cellphone with TV (or TV with cellphone)

My fascination with cellphones with TVs began the moment I saw a fellow bus passenger using one. I knew it wasn’t some saved video because an antenna was attached to his cellphone.

I wanted to know how it worked so I bought one yesterday. At 1,699 pesos, or roughly $36, I think the fully functional touchscreen phone with a TV is quite cheap.

In my case, however, the device could also be considered a TV with a cellphone because I bought it for its TV function.

This cellphone/TV thing makes me wonder: how would this change people’s viewing habits? How would TV ratings be measured? Would, or could, it eventually replace the “conventional” TV set?

Anyway, if you’re curious, here are the phone’s specs (which I just copied from the box):

my81 DTV
* 4″ Display
* 5 MP main camera
* 2 MP front camera
* 1.2 GHz Quad-Core
* 4 GB ROM
* 512 MB RAM
* Android 5.1 Lollipop

Odd-looking spider

For the first time in my life I saw a spider that wasn’t all black:


Sorry the pic is kinda blurred. I used an ordinary cellphone camera and searching for odd-looking creatures wasn’t really the reason why I was in that area.

Anyway, despite the quality of the pic I think the spider’s distinct features are still visible.

Philippine presidential election: I voted today

''Indelible'' ink ain't indelible. Water, soap and alcohol did the job

”Indelible” ink ain’t indelible. Water, soap and alcohol did the job

Today I voted for a president and a vice president. I could’ve voted for 12 senators, but only voted for five.

Some observations:

* Voting didn’t start at exactly 6 AM. The teachers serving as members of the Board of Election Inspectors told voters that they were still briefing the election watchers.

* There was a problem with the vote counting machine. The teachers needed the assistance of a technician to fix it.

* Some voters were unable and/or unwilling to follow instructions. Good thing the teachers were vigilant enough to weed out voters who hadn’t followed instructions (example: voters weren’t supposed to go straight to the voting area; they had to fill out a stub first in a holding area).

After washing

After washing

Performance of Philippine presidential candidates in debate held in the Visayas

Methodology and limitations are the same as the ones mentioned in my post about the debate held in Mindanao.

The debate grades of the candidates (Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago did not attend the debate):

Rodrigo Duterte, Mar Roxas 85%
Jejomar Binay, Grace Poe 75%

Watch the debate here.

Binay I like the logic that eliminating income taxes for workers earning P30,000 and below would actually not be in conflict with a massive infrastructure program since people would have more disposable income to buy goods and services, which are taxed. Brought notes, which were against the rules of the Comelec. The moderator is, well, a moderator. Binay is a well-educated man, a lawyer at that. He should have known better.
Duterte He recognized the Philippines’ need for energy as it is a developing country. He said that the Philippines has a relatively small carbon footprint, and that the country is committed to reducing pollution.

Asked Poe a good question. He asked a specific, albeit hypothetical, question related to the Spratlys territorial dispute.

Poe She asked Roxas questions about Yolanda, the Zamboanga siege, MRT maintenance and the Mamasapano incident. She went super overtime, but these are important issues. I wasn’t satisfied with her answer to Duterte’s hypothetical question about the Spratlys dispute. Duterte was, too, that’s why he repeated the question. She said the first thing she would do is get up immediately (hypothetical incident took place in the middle of the night) and call the heads of the DND and the DOTC. Hmmm, I believe those people had already contacted her, that’s why she knew about the incident.
Roxas I like his composure after being asked by Poe a barrage of questions about controversial issues. I don’t think he was able to adequately answer the questions about Yolanda and the MRT, but it’s understandable since time is limited. The question about the Mamasapano incident alone would take a lot of time to answer.

I can really relate to his closing remarks that it’s hard to be a decent person in the Philippines. Pag pumila ka, sisingitan ka, he says. That’s true, sir.

Performance of Philippine presidential candidates in debate held in Mindanao


Today I watched on YouTube the debate of five Philippine presidential candidates to personally assess their performance. “Personally” means not relying on people’s comments, media reports and the like.

So here are the debate grades of the candidates:

Rodrigo Duterte 90%
Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Grace Poe 85%
Mar Roxas 75%

I would like to thank the Commission on Elections, GMA 7 and the Inquirer for conducting this debate. It did help me know the candidates better.

I took down notes as I watched the video

I then grouped the pros and cons for each candidate

All candidates start at 75%

It’s a tabula rasa. I didn’t take into account matters such as the corruption allegations against Binay, or the “I lied” statement of Defensor-Santiago in connection with the removal of Joseph Estrada from Malacanang, or Duterte’s alleged human rights violations, or the citizenship issue hounding Poe, or Roxas’ handling of Yolanda. Of course those are important, but their grades are based solely on their performance in the debate.

For each pro, a candidate gets an additional 5%. A con will lead to a 5% decrease in their grade.

I didn’t fact check the candidates’ statements.

My personal biases. I like straight talking people, for example.

Binay Looks like he knows his agriculture.
– Attract capital for infrastructure
– He said that post harvest losses are bigger than actual incomes. I didn’t know that

He doesn’t believe in the death penalty. I do, but I like it when someone has a clear stand on controversial issues.

When asked about political dynasties, he said those qualified and eventually elected in a clean and honest election should not be prevented from serving the public. I agree with him.

I can’t reconcile his supposedly humble beginnings with his statement that he had inherited properties from his mother.
Defensor-Santiago Said that everyone has plans, but she also asked where the money would come from. I ask the same question all the time. She mentioned something about raising certain taxes, such as estate tax.

On political dynasties, she said that lawmakers don’t act on those because of their own interests.

She’s against EDCA. She said both China and the US want control of the West Philippine Sea.

Was given a chance to talk about the country’s sea dispute with China, but didn’t, for example, mention arbitration in international agencies.
Duterte I didn’t know that he was separated from his wife. Wasn’t afraid to talk about it.

When asked about how he would deal with rice cartels, he said that he was willing to stake his honor, position and life. He vowed to clean the country in 3-6 months.

He said central powers should be dissipated. He pushed for federalism.

Poe She said that before, at least the Philippines got paid for the US military bases. With EDCA, it’s now free. She recognized that the Philippines is small, but added that Singapore is also a small country, yet it’s not ‘’inuuto’’ by other countries. (I’m not sure if the word in quotation marks can be translated in English without losing its meaning as mentioned by Poe.) She said the Philippines can also be like Singapore; and that the Philippines can take on a leadership role in the ASEAN.

She mentioned something about having a Mindanao rail. I like this idea because all rich countries I’ve been to have efficient railway systems.

Answer to Duterte’s federalism: devolution of powers

Just like Defensor-Santiago, was given a chance to talk about the country’s sea dispute with China, but didn’t, for example, mention arbitration in international agencies.
Roxas He said there are 2 Makatis: the Makati of the Ayalas and the Makati of the Binays. As someone who works in Makati, I think this is true. I feel safe whenever I’m in the Central Business District. Outside of it I can’t say the same thing. Intro about himself was actually an attack on the other candidates. What I didn’t like was that he didn’t name names.

Ring out the old, ring in the new… laptop

I still have a functioning laptop, but:

So I needed a new one. Today, I finally bought one – a brand new Dell laptop.

I’d still use my almost seven-year-old laptop because practically all of my files are still there. But I plan to eventually use the new laptop as my main computer.