Monday, January 17, 2011


Since the day I've started accessing, my weekday and weekend viewing habit has been totally changed. I do not only get to update myself with recent events in the Philippines, I also enjoy digesting interviews, unfold new discoveries via magazine format TV shows, laugh out loud with comedy shows, and catch television ads.

Last Saturday night, I was able to watch The Bottomline with Boy Abunda. I was so excited about it because Hubert Webb, who was imprisoned for 15 years after being accused of the brutal Vizconde massacre, will be speaking up. To my expectations, there will be round table of questions that will be thrown at Hubert, which is different from the questioning of the court. It will be more personal, hopefully concise and straightforward.

Knowing Boy Abunda's brilliance and wit in questioning, I was hooked in watching the interview. In fact, I started to be glued in the show when the bottomliners shared their striking question that seeks no-holds-barred answers from Hubert. As the program rolled, the banters and exchanges of perspectives paraded.

There are ways in looking at the interview. Either a viewer look at Hubert as the "should-be-sentenced-to-death" guy if a viewer believes he is guilty. And for a viewer who believes he is innocent, Hubert could get pity on his shoulder and must be supported to recover the past 15 years in prison. However, in my case, I look at the encounter as rhetorically sensitive. I tried to not judge and let each question fire up.

Boy Abunda did a good job. His questions were not misleading, yet his reactions were very transparent and straightforward. Bottomline, Boy Abunda and the bottomliners handled the program flow, very well.

The types of questions thrown were not play safe. For me, it was hard hitting on a personal level yet a viewer can piece realities for an accused man who suffered 15 years in prison. What was obvious, Hubert Webb was humbled by the experience. Forget all the political history of the family or the lining of ancestor's wealth, Hubert was a stand out with a showcase of his faith, which for me was authentic and not rolled in showbiz drama. Indeed, Hubert Webb suffered and changed.

During the interview, thoughts played in my mind. The highlight of it all, I pondered on suffering. Defining suffering is articulated in the past 15 years. However, the reality does not end in the years. What should be expounded is how Webb was treated. I am not reflecting on this just to rub off the imprisonment. I just want to think that the people may learn from shunning the divided and unequal treatment among inmates. Of course, in Webb's case, since he's under trial, I wouldn't expect harassing treatment. Positively, Hubert Webb learn to cope with a life that is far from his imagination. And to immortalize such experience, the tattoos on his body will be a living testament. As said, the tattoos on his body will remind Hubert of joining a group, struggle of the family, coming out better, and trust in the Lord.

Despite the gravity or the sensitivity of the issue, Bottomline made the discussion light. It was a discussion that is not demanding, accommodating in a sense. It was a discussion far from the stressful setting of the Supreme Court. It was an encounter that Filipinos may learn from within. If there's anything we can learn from the experience, it was the reflection of how poor our justice system in the Philippines. Considering that Hubert Webb was just being accused and not yet proven guilty, why did our system stopped searching for possible suspects and the facts. Fifteen years have passed yet all we thought was pointing fingers to individuals who, as Webb said, the people (as covered by the media) have tried to present in justification of the crime.

In a way, not just through mannerisms and way of speaking, life in prison changed Hubert Webb. What's good about it, his relationship with God has become stronger. Actually,  as I watch him during the interview, I can see his pureness and sincerity. Although viewers may see his actions and language as reinforcement of a freedom that he doesn't deserve, as I said, such sentiments follow our beliefs and personal judgment.

One on hand, despite the creativity of the questions, I found some initial questions were not asked. In the first gap of Bottomline, the bottomliners shared their preliminary questions. Apparently, some questions were not thrown. Perhaps, there was an omission that powerfully defines how editing creates and influence reality. 

The way I see things, our justice system has more to review and learn. Given that Hubert was proven guilty, I can only contemplate on the weight of frustration for Lauro Vizconde. And such frustration goes to Hubert Webb as well. For in the 15 years of bloody brouhaha, all we're left is cleaning that finger and start pointing again. What should be done is to never let history repeats itself, seriously.

My Amnesia Girl

Last Sunday, I had the chance to watch the most raved kilig movie, My Amnesia Girl. And surprisingly, for the purpose of enjoying a rainy afternoon, the movie won my heart.

The movie had nothing extra special on it. Although the concept of having an Amnesia to ward off a failed relationship is somewhat cute. I use the word "cute" because the "amnesia" argument is like a joke turned into a film. The way I see things, a person who was left out on the day of one's wedding could go ballistic in seeing again the person who hurt her. Bottomline, perhaps, because of the escapist tradition in films, the simplification of complicated relationship is made.

At first, Toni Gonzaga was bound to have an amnesia. Such hint was given in the scene when she and John Lloyd were flirting inside a room which capped off with John Lloyd putting a string on Toni's middle finger. Unfortunately, the amnesia condition would be used a greatest excuse or allibi. To me, I find it a premature storyline. It was even more reinforced at the end of the movie when John Lloyd had an accident (better watch it!)

John Lloyd's refusal to marry Toni on the wedding day was half baked. There was no enough justification. However, one may argue that it can happen in real life. Of course, it's possible. I just don't get the level of anxiety the character try to address.

The movie is dramatic mixed with big laughters, eye-candy production design, and male chuwariwaps which have been a signature in Philippine movies. Even seeing Toni Gonzaga running in her wedding dress as the heavy rain pours was just very Melanie Marquez. However, what is commendable about the film is the perky dialogue. Based on Nikolehiyala's song, the dialogues give the audience a subconscious gratification especially for those hopeless romantics and for those who have been fighting for unrequited love. Indeed, the movie allows you to fall in love, again and again, despite the conflicts and deceit. 

Overall, My Amnesia Girl is entertaining and sweet. Unexpectedly, John Lloyd and Toni had the magic, the unexplained chemistry. Again. John Lloyd showed his incomparable acting talent. On one hand, Toni Gonzaga's portrayal of a girl pretending to be suffering from Amnesia was just convincing and natural. Given the powerful cast and a dialogue that tickles the audience, My Amnesia Girl is truly unforgettable.

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