HOHOL with History: It’s all about the paper paper

So, impeachment...Tell me about that.

One good thing about this business we have chosen is that company lines blur a little when something big like an impeachment trial comes up.

This is my third year covering the Senate and I have probably spoken to more reporters in the past two weeks than I have in those three years. This is really more a function of my crippling shyness more than anything else, but this is so. With stakes this high and the country’s attention (we would like to think) on the stories we’re coming out with, it’s good to have someone to ask whether you heard what you thought you heard, or if this means what you think it does.

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HOHOL with History: Impeachment Trial Week 1

If there is one clear winner this early into the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, it is the tobacco industry.


There was a gray pall over the smoking area in front of the Senate all of last week, with the line of smokers stretching from the wheelchair ramp by the door to the gate that leads to the part of the complex occupied by the Government Service Insurance System. With all attention turned to the lawyers tussling at the Senate session hall, staff and reporters who had partners to cover for them snuck out for a quick smoke as often as we could.


It would be more than we could handle, otherwise. Too much history unfolding before our eyes, too many legal phrases to absorb, understand, and try to explain, too much drama both in and out of the ad hoc court room. Even defense lawyer Dennis Manalo snuck out once, avoiding ambush interviews with the simple expedient of swapping his official pass with one given out to guests.


Otherwise, though, it was a madhouse, with press briefings called with little advance notice and people scrambling around for chance interviews as lawyers walked the short distance between their ready rooms and the session hall, and the even shorter distance to the makeshift TV studios crammed together in one of the Senate’s function rooms.

The press area: Not as seen on TV

You learn to drop that spoonful of lunch-break rice and run, while chewing, from the Senate press office to the room where reporters from other beats work, and where the press briefings are held. You learn to accept that you will likely not finish the cup of coffee you just made and that there is little point to making coffee at all because you will get by on adrenaline alone. You learn what is like, for the first time in months, to be dry on weeknights and fall asleep from fatigue alone.


You learn humility from the pros who have been doing this sort of thing for years and who can still somehow go on without resorting to the numerous, frivolous breaks you allow yourself. You learn, or are reminded, of the weight of what you are doing and of the consequences of doing it wrong.

And the weight of it is enough to have you reaching into your pocket for just one more stick.

Hangout hangout lang with History

Please excuse the navel gazing. Better content this week as I struggle to get over my awe of things that have been happening



THERE really is no delicate, or elegant, way to say this: alternative news website Bulatlat.com copied from an article I wrote for the website I work for, acknowledged it after I pointed it out, and then kept the plagiarized paragraphs in the story anyway. [UPDATE: As of 4:59 p.m., Bulatlat.com has deleted the paragraphs. I have screencaps from today, though.]

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The Hand That Feeds Us

Photo from Japan Focus

China’s no-strings, easy-access development loans are giving developing countries an alternative to Western aid, but at what price?

A CENTURY ago, they were part of the Red Menace. Political winds have since shifted and now China is welcomed by the developing world for doing the same thing that she has claimed to be doing since the Cold War: helping the world’s poor nations become prosperous.
China has been providing some form of foreign aid since the mid-1950s. Communist Party of China Chairman Mao Zedong believed that as poor as China was, she “should take the responsibility of helping those in need, those smaller and powerless nations.”

Continue reading “The Hand That Feeds Us”