HALLOWEEN, which falls on Oct. 31, the eve of All Saints’ Day, is actually of pagan origin. It has, however, been carried over the years as some kind of a practice even in Christian countries like the Philippines. Filipinos, especially the affluent, are copycats of the West, particularly the United States.
It is for these reasons why Philippine Catholic schools discourage their students, especially the young, from donning those crazy costumes —witches, ghosts, monsters. In the Philippines, only the gated villages in Metro Manila observe this practice of children going around from house to house requesting treats, usually for candies.
It all began in ancient Britain and Ireland at the end of summer. This day was the eve of new year in both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times, and was the occasion for one of the ancient fire festivals when huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten evil spirits. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day. It was of pagan belief that it also the time to placate supernatural powers.
When the Irish immigrated to the US, they introduced Halloween, and the tradition was mainly for small children, who go from house to house, often in costumes. A common symbol of Halloween is the pumpkin carved in the appearance of a demon and a lighted candle fixed inside.
In the Philippines where we often overdo things, adults take the occasion to party, clad in costumes of witches, monsters and witches. My wife and I never attended any of the Halloween parties, knowing they are of pagan origin.
* * *
The presence of so many nuisance candidates filing their certificates of candidacy—like those who want to make the Philippines another state of the United States, or create four seasons of the year, or those who say God ordained them to be president, should be taken seriously by the Comelec. This, if only to take a closer look at the need to revisit the requirements to run for president of the country.
Aside from what is provided in the Constitution, there’s a need for presidential candidates to have civil service eligibility, or at least a college degree. This is the toughest job in government, after all. My gulay, at the rate the country is going, we may end up having somebody who only reached fourth grade as president. That would be a calamity worse than “Yolanda.”
I also propose a health test, including a mental evaluation. I do not want my president to be a stage-4 cancer patient.
I do not want to ascribe anything to Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. But I am concerned about her refusal to show us her health records.
She told us that she could no longer attend Senate sessions regularly because she was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Later, we were told she had lung cancer.
My wife and I had so many relatives diagnosed too late for cancer, and we knew they could survive perhaps for two, three, four or even five years. They would be in remission for a while. But the cancer cells return, eventually.
Miriam told us that she could not accept her appointment as a member of the United Nation’s International Criminal Court because she was sick. Now she wants to be president, but would not even show us her health records.
As a Filipino, I would like my candidate to be healthy and strong.
I’m not saying that Miriam is a nuisance candidate. Far from it. I believe she has the qualities and track record to become President. All I’m saying is that too many of the students and the youth who believe in her, she must make her mental and health records public in fairness to all. Her refusal only makes us doubt her.
* * *
I have covered elections since the fight between Elpidio Quirino and Jose P. Laurel. For me, the only winnable United Nationalist Alliance senatorial candidates are Senate reelectionist Tito Sotto, returning former Senators Ping Lacson, Dick Gordon and Migs Zubiri, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
The official Senate tickets of both the administration and that of Senator Grace Poe have not yet been made official, but I will also list those I believe are also winnable.
As I have been saying all along, the Senate reelectionists, like Senate President Frank Drilon, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Serge Osmeña and TG Guingona have a big chance of making it. When there are so many senatoriables, name recall is the name of the game. I have seen this happen so many times, especially in the provinces when the ordinary voter can only mark the names he or she can recall. In fact, Comelec records show that at most, voters in the provinces mark their ballots for only seven senatorial bets.
This is why newcomers have a long way to go. There are so many reelectionists and “baliksenado,” the chances of newcomers are slim.
Likewise, when a senatoriable becomes a “guest” candidate of more than one Senate slate, he or she also enjoys an advantage.
* * *
True to form, Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II is beginning to sound like his boss, President Aquino. He always blames the former administration for everything that goes wrong.
While Mar admitted that the country’s transportation system had deteriorated in the past five years, he still blamed former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“The solutions themselves are very hard to fix. ...The government just inherited this situation, and we have to work with limitations,” Mar said.
But, knowing the problem, it was incumbent on the Aquino administration to address the problem since it’s in power. Why did it not?