Monday, January 23, 2012

Plays to Watch Out For this 2012 (with showdates and ticketprices) just made a convenient site for theatre fans.  This site compiled all plays to watch out for this 2012 from mainstream theater, posted chronologically with dates and ticketprices, in a slideshow presentation style.

For theater lovers, this site is for you!

Photo Source:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Guide: The Corona impeachment trial, A GMA News primer

What is impeachment?

Impeachment is a political process dealing with the misconduct of specific high-ranking public officials. Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban recently wrote that impeachment “belongs more to the people than to lawyers, more to public wisdom than to legalisms.”

It is a power of Congress and part of the checks and balances of the legislative branch with the executive branch and the judicial branch, as well as other independent bodies of government.

The House of Representatives has the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment, while the Senate has the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment.

Impeachment is not a criminal proceeding. The only penalties are censure or removal from office. However, once removed from office, the impeached officer can be prosecuted criminally through the regular courts.

Who can be impeached?

Only 31 public officials can be impeached. These are the:

Vice President
15 justices of the Supreme Court (including the Chief Justice)
Members of the:
  • Civil Service Commission (one Chairman, two Commissioners) 
  • Commission on Elections (one Chairman, six Commissioners) 
  • Commission on Audit (one Chairman, two Commissioners)

What are the impeachable offenses?

  • Culpable violation of the Constitution
  • Treason
  • Bribery
  • Graft and Corruption
  • Betrayal of public trust
  • Other high crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and other laws

What are ‘articles of impeachment’?

This refers to the legal document drawn up by the House of Representatives charging an official with specific impeachable offenses.

What punishment can be imposed on an impeached public official?

  • Censure, which is basically a reprimand and allows the impeached official to stay in office; or
  • Removal from public office, which includes disqualification to hold any other public office.

Who has been impeached in the Philippines?

The first official to be impeached in the country was former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, in November 2000. His impeachment trial at the Senate was cut short by a popular uprising in January 2001 that deposed Estrada and catapulted his then vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to the presidency.

The second is former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who was impeached in March 2011 for alleged betrayal of public trust due to the low conviction rates during her term and her supposed inaction on five high-profile cases. However, she resigned a few days before the start of her impeachment trial in May, prompting the Senate to archive her case. 

The third is Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was impeached in December 2011 for alleged betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, and graft and corruption.

(In 2003, an impeachment attempt against former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. did not push through because the Supreme Court ruled that the second impeachment complaint filed against him was prohibited by the one-year ban under the Constitution. Interestingly, Davide was the presiding officer during the Estrada impeachment trial. This was because when the President is impeached, the Chief Justice presides – not in the Supreme Court, but rather in the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.)

What is the significance of the Corona impeachment trial?

If the impeachment trial runs its full course and the House prosecution panel succeeds in getting a conviction, Corona will become the first Philippine official to be removed through impeachment.

How many times can a public official face impeachment?

The Constitution provides that “No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.”

The Supreme Court has clarified that “the term ‘to initiate’ refers to the filing of the impeachment complaint coupled with Congress’ taking initial action of said complaint.” That means, in the case of Chief Justice Corona, no other impeachment proceeding can be initiated against him until December 12 this year because he was impeached on December 12 last year.

Who gets to file impeachment complaints? 

The 1987 Constitution provides that: “A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution or endorsement by any [House] Member.”

At least one-third of the entire membership of the House has to endorse the complaint before it is deemed to constitute the articles of impeachment and goes to the Senate for trial. In impeaching Chief Justice Corona, only 95 votes out of 284 Representatives in the 15th Congress were needed. But those who endorsed the impeachment complaint numbered 188.

Who gets to prosecute Chief Justice Corona in the impeachment case?

The House of Representatives has designated 11 of its members to constitute the prosecution panel in the impeachment case. The panel is assisted by private counsels who shall remain “under the control and supervision of the panel of prosecutors.”

Who will defend Chief Justice Corona during the trial at the Senate?

Corona has secured the services of his own lawyers to defend him at the impeachment trial.

What are the Articles of Impeachment against Corona?
  1. partiality and subservience in cases involving the Arroyo administration;
  2. failure to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN);
  3. his role in the issuance of flip-flopping decisions in final and executory cases, the appointment of his wife to a public office, and discussing pending cases in the SC with litigants;
  4. his role in the issuance of the “status quo ante” order against the House of Representatives in the case concerning the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez;
  5. his vote in the decision in favor of gerrymandering in the cases involving 16 newly-created cities, and the promotion of Dinagat Island into a province;
  6. improper creation of the SC ethics committee;
  7. granting a temporary restraining order in favor of former President Arroyo; and 
  8. failure and refusal to account for the Judicial Development Fund and special allowance for the judiciary collections.

What is needed to remove Corona from office?

Conviction in just one of the eight articles of impeachment filed against him would be enough to remove Corona from office.

How many votes are needed to convict Corona? 

At least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate must vote in favor of conviction.

Normally, this would mean 16 senators out of 24-member upper chamber. However, in the 15th Congress, there are only 23 Senators because Senator Benigno Aquino III did not finish his term of office after being elected President in 2010. Moreover, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is set to leave the Senate later in the year to assume her new post as Judge in the new International Criminal Court, which would further reduce the membership of the Senate to 22.

Thus, it is possible that only 15 votes are needed to convict an impeached official. Put another way, acquittal of the impeached official would require at least seven votes – or one vote less as compared to a 24-member Senate.

Is there a deadline for Corona's impeachment trial?

Since the Senate of the 15th Congress is trying Corona's impeachment case, that means the trial will have to end before the officials of the 16th Congress assume office in June 2013.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto has said the impeachment trial may be over by March 23, before Congress takes its Holy Week break.

Is the Senate's decision in an impeachment case subject to appeal?

No. The Senate Rules in impeachment trials states that after a vote for conviction or acquittal, there can be no motion for reconsideration. Moreover, the accused cannot ask the Supreme Court to overturn the judgment because the Constitution gives the Senate the “sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment.”

- HS/YA, GMA News

This primer was prepared by Marlon Anthony R. Tonson, a lawyer who once worked for the Supreme Court Public Information Office during the failed impeachment attempt against former Chief Justice Hilario Davide in 2003. He also served as a Journal officer of the Senate, summarizing portions of the impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada in 2000-2001. Additional inputs and editing by GMA News Online managing editor Yasmin Arquiza.

1987 Philippine Constitution, art. XI.
Rules of the 15th Congress:Supreme Court decisions
  • Gutierrez vs. House of Representatives, G.R. No. 193459, 15 February 2011.
  • Francisco, Jr. vs. House of Representatives, G.R. No. 160261, 10 November 2003

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Haring Lear by PETA

"A PROUD MOMENT IN PHILIPPINE THEATER: PETA produces the first Filipino adaptation of William Shakespeare's King Lear!

Exciting, suspenseful and virtually violent, PETA's 'Haring Lear' retains Shakespeare's beautiful and devastating themes of the disintegration of family solidarity, running the gamut of love, madness, death and sacrifice.

Schedule: Friday (7:00PM) Sat-Sun (10:00AM-3:00PM) Jan 27-Mar 4
Tickets: Php350 | Php500 (VIP)
Contact: (02) 7256244, (02) 410021, 0917-5765400," - from PETA

Peta stages ‘King Lear’ in Filipino



The Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) wraps up its 2011-2012 season with a Filipino translation of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” that opens on Jan. 27, employing an all-male cast.

Felix “Nonon” Padilla directs, using National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera’s translation of the tale of King Lear, how he bequeaths his kingdom amongst his three daughters and is betrayed by two of them.

When Padilla was asked by Peta artistic director Maribel Legarda to stage a Shakespeare production, he immediately offered “King Lear.”

“It was suggested to me by Salvador Bernal because he’d always wanted to design it,” said Padilla, a longtime collaborator of National Artist for Theater Design Bernal, who passed away October 2011.

Post-apocalyptic setting

Production design duties are being handled by Gino Gonzales, one of Bernal’s protégés, who will build on Padilla’s post-apocalyptic setting.

“Originally, it’s set in prehistoric Britain,” says Padilla. “Shakespeare had very good reasons to set it in that time [instead of his own time] because he was trying to camouflage all of the touchy political issues about the [current] king.”

“I thought it would be interesting to go the opposite. To set it in the future, a future that is as bleak as it was in barbaric or primitive times.”

“It is one of the mature plays of Shakespeare. It’s emotional and riveting,” he says.

“The play is all about legacy. It’s about leaving something behind. It’s about somebody in the grips of mortality and facing mortality. What do you leave behind? You can leave your material wealth, or you can leave your soul, your compassion.”

“In ‘Lear,’ that’s what he learns. He learns to become human. It’s a running theme in Shakespeare, about how a man gets crushed by his own guilt, and ‘Lear’ is a prime example of that.”

Nod to Shakespeare’s text

The decision to use an all-male cast is Padilla’s nod to Shakespeare’s text and the way roles were cast and played during the Bard’s time. (In 2001, director Anton Juan cast Repertory Philippines founder Zenaida Amador as King Lear in his staging of the play.)

“In Elizabethan times, the young boys would always play the female roles,” says Padilla.
He also notes there are two characters in the play that were traditionally played by only one actor. “As written, in the scenes of Cordelia, the Fool is never there. When the Fool is onstage, Cordelia is gone. I think that’s crucial, and since Shakespeare designed it that way, I thought it was important to play around with that, to give it some focus or emphasis.”

Teroy Guzman plays the role of the aging monarch, Haring Lear. Lear’s daughters will be played by Gary Lim (Regan), Nor Domingo (Goneril) and Abner Delina (Cordelia).

“Haring Lear” runs Friday to Sunday, Jan. 27-Mar. 4, at Peta Theater Center. Contact 7256244, 4100821 to 22, 0917-5765400, or


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thank you...

Written on January 10, 2012, 1030pm

I am overwhelmed with ALL YOUR GREETING POSTS and TEXT MESSAGES.  I read all of them (and will still read ). I can’t reply to each of you BUT I AM THANKING YOU ALL through this message.  I FEEL THE LOVE. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Yesterday, my brother and mom asked if I am available for dinner the following day. I said, “No! I can’t. I have class and many things to attend to,” then I asked, “Why would we have dinner?,” to which they both replied, “It’s your birthday!

Believe it or not, I COMPLETELY FORGOT that it will be my birthday today!  January 10.

Yesterday I was awake since 3 o’clock in the morning.  I was so stressed out and preoccupied with a pleading that my groupmates had to file and beat a deadline at the post office at 430pm.  I totally forgot it will be my birthday today.

Today, I woke up at 4am and the first thing that popped in my mind are the readings for Special Proceedings which I need to finish before class starts at 3pm. I was just reminded again that I was born on this day by a knock on the door by mom and said, “Happy Birthday and kissed me on the forehead.” OH, YAH, IT IS MY BIRTHDAY TODAY.

I fell asleep while studying (due the hangover from yesterday) that I was only able to read 50% of the coverage for today.  I still decided to go to class awhile ago despite of it and prayed fervently  “Our Father, 3 Hail Mary’s and 1 Glory Be” as I drove to school (which is my habit when I ask God not to be called for recitation).

I arrived and entered an empty classroom. Voila! The class was cancelled.  We were just required to attend a forum on impeachment. GOD HEARD ME.

The only academic activity on my birthday. Listen to speakers Cong. Angara and Cong. Quimbo, UP LAW ALUMNI and  primemovers of the Impeachment Complaint against 
CJ Corona at the forum.

After the forum, I left school and passed by Commonwealth Avenue.  A lot, I mean QUITE A LOT of MMDA officers were scattered on the wide accident prone avenue. They caught some cars violating the odd-even number scheme.  I just by-passed and looked at the MMDAs and the cars they caught and tried to stop. When I arrived home my mom texted me, “Naomi hindi ka pwede umalis hanggang mag-7 pm kasi bawal ang sasakyan mo.”

I COMPLETELY FORGOT that my car with a plate no. ending with “4”  was not allowed today (plate no.’s 3s and 4s violate the odd-even number scheme on Tuesdays 3 to 7pm).   I really find it WEIRD that none of the MMDAs tried to stop me.  I just passed them by. Without worries. I narrated this to my mom and we both agreed, “Well, it is because it is my birthday.” And GOD HEARD ME.

This day, everything just fell right into place.

Today, I did not celebrate. I worked, studied, went to school and back home (The usual tiring and stressful routine). Mom and Nick just gave me a small round cake.  They had cooked pancit which we all finished together with Ate Angie, our house-help.  This day, God took care of all my worries and everything just fell right into place.

Today I did not celebrate a party, but I celebrate in GOD’S LOVE.

Thank God for FAMILY,
thank God for FRIENDS,
thank God for CANCELLED CLASS,
thank God I was NOT caught by the MMDA,
thank God for FOOD,
thank God for BIRTHDAYS,
and most of all THANK GOD for YOU.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Completing the sentence....

by Professor Theodore Te
UP College of Law
Currently taking his Masters at Columbia University
Facebook Post Note: Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 12:40am

It is said that the test of one who truly knows you is the ability of that one to complete your sentences.

For some strange reason, when the new tourism tag line "It's more fun in the Philippines" was revealed, I identified with it.   It wasn't the graphics, the colors or even the slightly awkward way the "sentence" was written.  It took some moments of thinking before I realized why:  it wasn't just a "sentence", it was the start or end of a sentence. It is an open-ended invitation to complete the sentence and to take part in a conversation on something that I, and Filipinos everywhere else, know--that it IS more fun in the Philippines.

The understanding that one could complete this particular sentence starting or ending with "It's more fun in the Philippines" is an amazing exercise in citizenship, in identity, in optimism, in truth.  It is also, consistent with tourism campaigns everywhere else, a great opportunity for a people to come together and agree on something.

That is why I choose to own and complete the sentence.  It's more fun in the Philippines.  Indeed.

Ask any Filipino who has ever stayed away from the Philippines involuntarily.  Ask them why they choose to look for Filipinos when they get to whichever part of the world they are in;  why there are community gatherings;  why there is always the inevitable search for the Filipino store.  Ask why we choose to carve out a small patch of PH anywhere we find ourselves in.  Because it IS more fun in the Philippines.

Ask those who've seen coup d'etats everywhere else, it is more fun in the Philippines. Ask those who've shopped at flea markets everywhere else, it is more fun in the Philippines.  Ask those who've gone to videoke joints, it is more fun in the Philippines. Ask those who've been to white sand beaches everywhere else, it is more fun in the Philippines.

In a way that perhaps those behind the line could not hope to imagine: it is the invitation to start a conversation with ourselves and those outside the Philippines; it is the opening of an invitation without an RSVP.

It is also a challenge to us, Filipinos, to look into ourselves, as citizens, as a people, as a culture, as a nation--to look at why, despite government inefficiency and corruption, stinky toilets and bad airports, mind-numbing traffic, poverty, homelessness, landlessness and, for some, hopelessness, it is more fun in the Philippines.

For me, it is our SMILES--those that start and end with our eyes.  It is our HUMOR--that which allows us to giggle, snicker, snort, or belly-laugh our way through everything the universe may throw at us (and it has thrown a lot our way). It is the SONGS that we sing--those which express our spirit and our soul;  whether these be songs of protest, songs of hope, songs of love or even, or maybe especially, that song which inevitably ends videoke sessions anywhere in the Philippines, "My Way", it is the way that we invest ourselves into the songs that we sing. It is our SPIRIT--that which starts and ends bloodless revolutions and endures stupid governments and allows us to carry the hope that one day we will have meaningful change by Filipinos for Filipinos everywhere in the world. It is our SOUL--that which weaves passion and compassion together with love of God, country and people.

It is all these together that makes the difference.

In the way that "Wow, Philippines!" started the conversation but never got to finish it,  this new campaign attempts to jumpstart that conversation in the same vein and invites us, who know and love the Philippines, to complete the sentence. And, that's part of the fun.