My encounter with a saint

"I felt blessed then; I feel even more blessed now."



There have been many occasions in my 70 years in journalism that I got recognized. The most memorable of all was when I shared a platform with His Holiness Pope Paul VI who came to the Philippines in 1970. He celebrated Mass at the Quezon Memorial Circle on Nov. 29, 1970.

I was there as representative of the media. Can you imagine how proud I was for sharing the platform with him? I felt so blessed! And now I feel even more blessed because he is now a saint!

Saint Pope Paul VI, please pray for me.


As they say, they are off and running. I refer to the many senatorial aspirants for the 2019 midterm elections.

According to surveys, those likely to be reelected are Senators Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara and Koko Pimentel.

Returning senators also stand a good chance—Jinggoy Estrada and Pia Cayetano. Plus of course there is Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.

Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, although now 94, stands a good chance of winning.

That only leaves three slots for newcomers. That would not be a problem, I believe. Even if newcomers don’t make it, it would be like they have won the lottery with the contributions given to them.

Awareness is 50 percent of winning and this is why all the familiar names are topping the surveys. The other 50 percent is for all the other factors—funding, political party, even luck.

I say funding makes a lot of difference. Of course parties can provide funds, but it will be better if the money comes from the candidate himself or herself. Candidates who don’t have funds of their own should forget about running altogether.

Why do I say that money counts a lot? You have to have tarpaulins, posters, ads, gifts, entertainers. This is why campaign expenses become more expensive as the years go by. I have been told that a senatorial candidate now spends between P300 million and P500 million.

What I find tragic in the 2019 polls is the status of the opposition. I wonder if any of them at all are sure to win.

The only ones who might have a chance are reelectionist Bam Aquino because of his surname, and perhaps Quezon Rep. Erin Tanada. Then again, the Tañada name is foreign to the young voters.


There are two tragedies happening in Metro Manila for next year’s polls.

One is the brother-sister rivalry of Junjun and Abby Binay. Their father, former Vice President Jejomar Binay, is also running for Congress. He is not lifting a finger to stop the fight between his children.

As a resident of Makati, I am saddened by this. I do wish they can settle their differences before the elections.

The only thing I can say is that Mayor Abby is doing an excellent job. She has made the city crime- and drug-free. She has continued to look after the interest of senior citizens, and cleaned up the mess left by the former mayor.

There is this project to build a subway that goes around Makati. I think it’s a good one.

The patriarch has given his consent for Abby to run. I think the family should respect that.

Another tragedy is the feud between the sons of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. JV Ejercito is going for reelection while Jinggoy Estrada wants to stage a comeback.

I have no idea how this tragic situations will end. But it is clear that all this is happening because dynasties just want to maintain their hold.


The Department of Tourism, Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Environment and Natural Resources had a soft opening for Boracay, with limited local and foreign tourists.

Media people who have gone to the island say that it looks like Boracay has returned to its pristine state. It was closed when the President called it a cesspool.

I hope the government can maintain it.


Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo is the new spokesman of the President. But how will he relate to the Malacañang Press Corps? Are we really better off with somebody flamboyant and who is akin to a clown?

Topics: Pope Paul VI , Grace Poe , Cynthia Villar , Nancy Binay , Sonny Angara , Koko Pimentel , Senatorial election , Elections
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