Frank’s List.

Frank Listz
Also published by
American Chronicle in a slightly different version

Or, Musical Chairs In Philippine Elections

Senatorial candidates crossing over party fences is the music that played out among candidates for this year’s Philippine elections. Harsh music to my ears. And some of the senatoriables are playing our song, the song of patriotism. Be careful about patriotism now, as it is the last song of scoundrels. It can turn out to be martial music.

It’s extravaganza, but it’s not musical actually. It’s the most, Simon says. My good friend Simon Chandler’s List describes us Filipinos as our country moves towards Election Day, 14 May, Monday:

The most intriguing, most tumultuous, most exciting, most complicated, most personal, most incongruous, most fearful & most fearless, most unpredictable in the history of elections in the world.

And that’s only for the last 3 months, only for Senators, the campaign period being from 13 February to 12 May.

Actually, the chaos is predictable: Note that each Senator each year gets P 200 million in pork barrel, or US$ 4.26 million; that’s a lot of money. A Senator receives P 35,000 a month (not US$ 1000); that’s not a lot of money. Be positive; think of the possibilities. So even those accused publicly of corruption, or accused of coup-plotting, are either senatoriables or their public, vocal advocates. The Philippines is a democratic country and I love her!

And so it has come to pass that, for the coming elections, especially for Senators, everybody who is somebody has a list:

The OFWs’ List (of the Overseas Filipinos Worldwide) is that of issues they wanted the senatorial aspirants to articulate:
(1) tackling lost opportunities and wasted resources
(2) formulating relevant enabling legislation for transparent and cohesive policies on OFWs’ remittances
(3) articulating a concrete and doable developmental plan for Filipino migrant workers
(4) planning electoral reforms for clean, honest and highly transparent electoral contests.

The April 25 Movement’s List (of Bayan Muna, Anak Pawis, Gabriela Women’s Party, Kabataan Party List, Suara Bangsamoro) is this:
(1) commitment to human rights
(2) commitment to people’s interests and willingness to work with them on key issues and concerns
(3) capability to take an independent stance vis-Ã -vis the Executive.

The Executive, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is of course not popular with the radicals and the opposition.

Archbishop of Manila Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales’ List is brief. He describes the elections as a process by which ‘we choose leaders committed to working with the people to achieve the common good’ (

Bro Eddie Villanueva’s List includes being ‘God-fearing’ and having ‘good character, competence, courage, and compassion for the poor’ (

Bro Mike Velarde’s List is spelled out by the acronym BUHAY (life in Tagalog): ‘Brave, Unwavering in principle, Honest, has the Ability to craft laws and Yahweh-centered or God-fearing’ ( I, Ilocano, read it as BUHÁY (alive).

UCA News reports that on the 10th of March last, Bro Mike, who is the leader of the El Shaddai Catholic charismatic movement, with 5 million members, asked Catholic leaders ‘to endorse senatorial candidates in the coming elections,’ up to 18 names from whom the voters can choose 12, saying that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) should participate actively during elections ‘not just in setting guidelines but also in guiding the flock on who the right candidates are’ ( The CBCP demurred, and CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, Iloilo, said the CBCP simply wants the senatorial candidates to make ‘a genuine covenant’ with the voters ‘and not feel indebted to the bishops … to discern, discuss and personally decide for whom to vote.’ That is because, in the Bishop’s view, ‘to dictate on them for whom to vote is as bad as buying their votes.’ Ouch! Simon says the good Bishop knows that everybody knows that the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) always gives a list of names of senatorial candidates every time to all INC members, enjoining them to ink in all those in the INC List.

A welter of lists. Now, learning from the past, from John A Stormer’s 1964 book None Dare Call It Treason (Liberty Bell Press), I say we the people cannot make an informed decision because our mass media have abdicated their responsibility to bring us the facts of what’s the matter.

Now then, I saved the best for last.

Thinking of many non-facts and lists, I am reminded of a Hungarian, a famous virtuoso piano player and composer of the Romantic period: Frank Liszt, whose image you see here is a portrait by Henri Lehmann, 1839. I, Filipino, am a romantic non-famous non-virtuoso non-piano player. When it comes to music, the only instrument I play is my vocal chords, sometimes an iPod. But my namesake inspires me. Among other things, Frank Liszt ‘is credited with redefining piano playing itself’ (Wikipedia). Now Frank Hilario is redefining the senatoriables listing itself. Frank’s List is curt and comprises of only two words:

TEAM Unity.

Why? Because TEAM Unity is truly the Genuine Opposition – opposed to the status quo of Philippine politics: the presidential-legislative government, fountainhead of graft and corruption. Specifically, they are dedicated to the proposition that the Senate is slated to be abolished, not to mention the House and the Executive. The Philippines needs electoral reforms and the best reform there is is to adopt a parliamentary form of government. Unless I’m sadly mistaken, they are willing to be sacrificial lambs, knowing well that GMA is leading them as lambs to the slaughter – the Senate will be abolished in their time, and they themselves will do it, that is, constitutionalize a Philippine parliament.

Samuel Johnson had something to say about patriotism being the last refuge of scoundrels; so, how do we distinguish the true from the false patriots? Self-sacrifice – that to me is the true measure of love of country. Filipino or not, the best example of self-sacrifice was that of Jose Rizal, who gave his life for the ones he loved: his family, his friends, his fatherland. He died brave, unwavering in principle, honest, with the ability to craft laws, Yahweh-centered or God-fearing. BUHÁY!


Copyright 10 May 2007 by Frank A Hilario
Researched for, written, organized-reorganized & formatted via Microsoft Word 2003.

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