Monthly Archives: November 2016

Reading Between (and Beyond) the Lines of Espinosa and Dayan

ronnie-dayan-kerwin-espinosaWhen finally the long arms of the law caught up with them, Kerwin Espinosa, a big-time drug lord from Eastern Visayas, and Ronnie Dayan, Senator De Lima’s driver-lover,  were made to appear in the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively. The upper and lower chambers of the Philippine Congress are currently conducting congressional inquiries related to the government campaign against illegal drugs.

Both Espinosa and Dayan are believed to be holding vital information about the illegal drug trade in the Philippines thus they are regarded as key witnesses in the congressional inquiries. Their eventual capture and appearance in the Congress hearings were considered as welcome developments.

Espinosa testified in the Senate on November 23, 2016 and Dayan in the House of representatives the day after. Both of them opened  the proverbial “can of worms.” Many of the things they said may already be common knowledge but hearing them directly making the confirmations was demoralizing, to say the least.

Espinosa, who probably was still smarting over his misfortunes and still trying to cope with the tragic death of his father, named policemen and high ranking PNP officers involved in the illegal drug trade. He provided shocking narratives of how the police in his areas of operation in the Visayas turned a blind eye on his illegal activities in exchange for millions of protection money from him. In addition, he divulged that even the policemen themselves were peddling drugs. But what may be considered as his biggest revelation was Senator De Lima receiving drug money from him.

But while Espinosa was visibly irate for those accused of murdering his father while in prison were also present in the hearing, Dayan was seemingly the opposite. He appeared to be relaxed and was in good spirits. Contributing to that was perhaps the fact that humor was interspersed in the manner that the hearing in the House of Representatives was carried out.

There were two key points made by Dayan in his testimony. Firstly, he confirmed that he was indeed, Senator De Lima’s lover and that they had an affair for 7 years. Lastly, he admitted receiving money from Espinosa in behalf of the senator.

Now, what do we make out of the testimonies made by Espinosa and Dayan?  What’s there between (and beyond) the lines of the depositions they delivered?

Reaction to the secrets Kerwin and Ronnie revealed differ. Not surprising anymore is the fact that opinions and views expressed by both the ordinary citizens and their leaders depended on which side of the political fence they are standing.

The so-called “yellow brigade,” members and supporters of the Liberal party and their allies who are perceived to be anti-Duterte and would understandably oppose the programs and advocacies of the incumbent President, came to the rescue of the beleaguered lady-senator.

On the other hand, the ones championing the drive of the government to eradicate the country’s drug problems, find more reasons to grill and subject to unwarranted ridicule the human rights advocate turned senator.

Dayan corroborated Espinosa’s claim that Sen. Delima accepted drug money. That’s the cake. The icing was his full disclosure of their affair that has been circulating in the rumor mill for the past years.

The gossip-hungry nation seemed to have forgotten about the cake and feasted merrily on the icing. The icing was so sweet that it even appeared to have gotten the better of the lawmakers who were conducting the hearing. During the said hearing, the members of the House of Representatives focused so much on the details of the love affair between the lady-senator and her former security aide-driver.

The real issue is how true is it that the former Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and Justice Secretary accepted drug money. Serious accusations indeed. That is what really matters and should be the main focus of the inquiry.

As to her culpabilities emanating from her past romantic affairs with Dayan (and a certain Warren Cristobal) is up to the members of the Senate Ethics Committee and the Supreme Court. If found guilty of wrongdoings she could be kicked out from the Senate and might be disbarred on account of immorality. She could even go to jail if adultery can be charged against her.

Those supporting Senator De Lima were quick to bring attention to the inconsistencies in the affidavits executed by Espinosa and Dayan. They mentioned in particular the conflicting dates as to when Espinosa gave Dayan the supposed drug money.

Do inconsistencies in the dates and time in the affidavits of Espinosa and Dayan make  their testimony false?  When two persons met and they cannot identify the exact time and date they did so does it mean that they did not actually meet?

While the dates may be conflicting, both men acknowledged that money changed hands…that Espinosa gave Dayan a certain amount and Dayan confirmed that he received it…and that the money landed in Senator De Lima’s coffers.

Experts believe that Espinosa and Dayan are holding their cards close to their chests. They have not divulged everything they ought to say for reasons only them know. But as it is, their testimonies have confirmed that drug syndicates have already infiltrated the different branches of the government and the ranks of the Philippine National Police. They have, indeed, corrupted the government officials and police officers.

Espinosa’s testimony in particular have left the following questions mercifully begging for answers.

Why did it take this long before the government addressed the illegal drug trade? What have the governments in the past done to curb  the problem?

If any of past governments would claim they have done something then they have to explain why the number of drug-dependent Filipinos have reached more than 3 million and why the number of drug traders increased by the thousands  .

The more perplexing question is, “How come that drug dealers could continue with their drug trade even if they were behind bars?” Senator De Lima has a lot of explaining to do. She really need to explain why right under her nose, as Secretary of Justice who’s in charge of Bureau of Corrections,   the drug trade flourish in the country’s penitentiary. The senator also needs to disprove the claims made by convicted drug lords that she received money from them.

Conflicting may be are the details in the testimonies of Espinosa, Kerwin and the high-profile inmates in the national penitentiary  but what those accusers are saying are too difficult to ignore.

Another question is, “How deep has the drug syndicates penetrated the country’s police force and the different branches of the government? How many police officers, judges, senators, congressmen and local and national officials are protectors of drug syndicates?

General Dela Rosa, the head of the Philippine National Police,  cried in exasperation upon realizing during that Senate inquiry how much credibility his organization have lost.

Espinosa’s revelations  have shown how complicated the drug problem in the Philippines is and how full is President Duterte’s plate.

If only the government’s drive against drugs be viewed using not only the lens of extra judicial killing.

Nang Ako’y Iwan


(Based on William Brothers’ “Can’t Cry Hard Enough”)

Naging bingi ako sa iyong panaghoy

Bulag sa luha mong sa pisngi dumaloy

Bakit ba puso’y parang binasang kahoy

Sa init ng kalinga mo’y ‘di mapag-apoy


Ako’y tinik na sa laman mo’y binunot

Tiniis mo ang hapdi, naluha sa kirot

Mapagmahal mong puso biglang napagod

Lumisan ka’t ako’y ‘binaon sa limot


Nang maglaho ka’t sa tanaw ‘di maabot

Mundo ko’y parang tumigil sa pag-inog

Kapag kita’y naisip dibdib ko’y kikirot

Sa ilog ng pighati ako’y nalulunod


Sarangola ka palang kapag nabitawan

Madudurog ang puso sa panghihinayang

Sana pala hawak sa iyo’y hinigpitan

Hangin ma’y lumakas ‘di dapat binitawan


Para akong musmos na humahagulhol

Tumakbo papunta sa dulo ng burol

Sa sarangolang binatawan nais humabol

Inaabot pising dito’y nakabuhol


Sa langit malaya ka nang lumilipad

Nagtatampisaw sa ibabaw ng ulap

Tumitingala’t pilit kang hinahahap

Baka pisi mo’y akin pang mahagilap

Real Teachers And Pretenders

How many times have we heard this – “It’s not easy being a teacher.”real-teachers

Is it true that teaching is a difficult job?

Ask the teachers.

Only the teachers themselves, the real ones and the pretenders, can answer that question. Real teachers who prepare lesson plans, motivate and treat students properly, teach them, and assess their learning, will answer emphatically with a YES.

Don’t expect from the pretenders the same answer. For them teaching is a walk in the park. They don’t take it seriously. They are the ones who became teachers by accident… or perhaps necessity forced them to embrace the profession. They were lucky to have been offered teaching positions by virtue of some factors that only those who hired them know. They may possess “knowledge of the subject matter” but they don’t have training in (or they don’t have knowledge of) pedagogy for them to understand that teachers need to have a plan before they enter the class…that they need to motivate the students, establish rapport with them…that teaching is different from talking in front of students…and that they need to assess learning.

Yes, real teachers prepare (or have) lessons. They never come to class unprepared. They always have a plan, written or otherwise. They know the parts and components of a lesson plan…objectives, topic/topics to teach, activities, materials, methods of assessment and assignments…and they know how to effectively execute it. Most importantly, they know how to improvise when the plan they prepared for the day is seemingly not working.

Real teachers also motivate and treat students properly. They believe in the basic tenet in education that students learn best in a positive and nurturing environment thus the first thing they do at the beginning of a term is to win the students’ trust and make them feel comfortable. They respect their students and believe that each of them has the capability to learn.

Conversely, the pretenders say that their students are dumb, lazy, hopeless and incapable of learning… that they are not worthy of their time… that having students like them in their classes is an insult to their intelligence.

The pretenders don’t care if the students learn or not. They maintain standards and set expectations that no matter what the students must meet. They don’t understand that they need to prepare and patiently guide the students in their difficult journey towards meeting those standards and expectations.

While the pretenders deliver a monologue and recite information from the book in front of their students, the real teachers TEACH. And when they teach, they do so guided by established norms and standards of teaching and learning. They know what methods  and strategies are best suited for the kind of students they have and for the topic/topics they discuss.

The real teachers also keep up with the current trends and innovations in their fields wanting to improve themselves not only for their personal growth but also for them to be better equipped and have more to share with their students. They also know how important is technology to education thus they do not only exert effort to learn how to use them but invest on them as well.

Real teachers also know that assessment is a vital component of the learning process. They understand that the evaluation of  the performance of the students is a continuous process…done while the school term progresses. They keep a record of the performance of their students and, accordingly, inform them about it. So, their students are aware of their standing in the class…their students know in what areas they need to improve.

What about the pretenders? How do they grade their students?

The pretenders believe that they are very smart…very sharp to know their students and determine what grade do they deserve even if they don’t assess periodically. They have so retentive a memory that they can recall the everyday performance of their students for the entire term. Thus, their grading is a one-time deal. They do it at the end of the term. It is during the last days of the term that they check exercises, quizzes and test papers. They don’t believe that students need feedback about their performance during the term. They don’t understand that returning “marked” exercises, quizzes and tests is a form of feedbacking…that through it the students get to monitor their performance.

Don’t ask the pretenders if they keep (or if they can show) at any given time a record of the scores of their students in quizzes, exercises and tests. They have nothing to show.

Well! That’s just the way pretenders are. They believe that they have their own way of doing things. They exist in their own world. They have their own standards.They would argue that asking them to do something they don’t believe in is an infringement of their academic freedom… unaware that the institution where they are employed and their students do enjoy also academic freedom  that may possibly supersede theirs.

Of course there is no such thing as a perfect school organization anywhere in the world. Issues and problems come out anytime. Both real teachers and pretenders are affected by all of those but the former and the latter deal with them in different ways.

While real teachers try to find solutions to problems that they are capable of solving, the pretenders just whine and try to find more faults. The more faults they find the better so they can justify their indifference and non-performance.

Real teachers may also disagree with policies being implemented. They are not blind not to see loopholes in a system. They are not naive not to feel and be not aware of a prevailing organizational climate. But they would never allow those to distract them from carrying out their obligations. They know that no organization is perfect. Issues and disagreements may arise among teachers themselves and between teachers and administrators. But that notwithstanding the real teachers know that they need to carry out their assigned tasks , especially in the area of instruction. They honor their commitment to their students.

It is when confronted with uncertainties in the workplace that a teacher’s sense of professionalism could be put to a real test. Real teachers know that their students deserve nothing but the best from them every time, even if they are suffering from anxieties and stressed by some personal and organizational concerns.

Another question that people ask teachers – ‘Is it the joy of teaching that makes you stay with the profession…or the money?”

Only the teachers themselves also can answer that question. One thing certain… real teachers, satisfied or not with their remunerations, make sure that they deserve every penny they are paid.

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