EXACTLY a week ago, the nation celebrated its 104th Independence Day with the theme, “Bayan ko, sagot ko” (my country, my responsibility). During the celebration, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appealed to every Filipino to be responsible for the welfare of the country.

In addition, she also stressed that the country is faced with two major challenges: first, defeating terrorism, and second, eradicating poverty. Pardon me for being so bold in pointing out to her Excellency, but it seems she left one out, —unproductive partisan politics.

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The current crisis in the Senate has placed the integrity of the legislative branch of government in question. Both parties claim that their positions are legitimate. Even if Sen. Ramon Revilla remains with the administration bloc, the count will still be 12-12, in which case, nobody has the majority. The Supreme Court, being the highest judicial body of the land and great arbiter of the law, has kept its hands off this problem, citing it as a political question.

This political stalemate has frozen the legislative agenda of the Upper House and with the numerous issues and problems that the Arroyo government has to address, the addition of this crisis could prove fatal to its stability.

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A simple reminder to all our distinguished lawmakers: no matter how rich you are, you are still under the employ of poor Juan Dela Cruz, whose hard-earned peso you often heartlessly tax to the bone.

So before you engage in any unproductive undertaking, think twice. Your paycheck comes at the expense of a lot of hungry mouths, uneducated youths, and unattended taxpayers.

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In a more recent development, three administration senators recognized the new Senate “majority.” Without even waiting for the return of Senator Revilla and the resumption of the sessions, the unexpected gesture by Senators Loren Legarda, Juan Flavier and Robert Barbers somewhat legitimized the opposition’s claim.

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American multi-billionaire and Microsoft magnate Bill Gates once told a group of high school students that a rule in life that people should learn is, “The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.”

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I would like to express my disappointment over the recall of Justice Alfredo Benipayo’s appointment as Comelec chairman. You have fought gallantly, sir, but your earnest efforts to liberate the commission from traditional election practices should never be lost from memory.

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I was recently informed by my good friend and colleague Mr. Adrian Montemayor that Faculty of Civil Law professors and QC-RTC judges Lucas Bersamin and Diosdado Peralta were bestowed by the Foundation for Judicial Excellence the Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos and Chief Justice Ramon Avanceña awards, respectively. Congratulations, your Honors!

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It’s the start of another school year. The Varsitarian welcomes the hundreds (or is it thousands?) of new Thomasians who will enter UST’s historic and “redecorated” campus. So if you “freshies” think that UST is building a secret bomb shelter of some kind, relax. The university usually undergoes some makeover every year.

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I feel fortunate that I was able to experience being a freshman twice. The first time was during my undergraduate days in UP Diliman and the second, here in the UST Faculty of Civil Law. And if there is anything that I learned from these two occasions, it is the fact that being a college student doesn’t necessarily mean achieving independence, especially for those still living under their parent’s generosity.

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Afterlife thought

You may be granted certain liberties, and allowances but it is always wise to listen to them every once in a while. Peace.

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