Tag Archives: Rodolfo Fariñas

Congressman Fariñas, non grata

persona

BY A resounding vote of 8, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte in their regular session on June 27 declared Rudy Fariñas as persona non grata. The congressman was expectedly piqued, but he was right to point out in his statement that referring to someone as persona non grata is to say that “he or she is ostracized, and that such a person is for all intents and purposes culturally shunned, so as to be figuratively non-existent.” That exactly is what board members have done to him.

The term “persona non grata” is Latin for “a person not appreciated.” It was originally meant for diplomats and foreigners who have been deemed undesirable or unwelcome, but it is not the first time a Filipino citizen has been declared non grata in his own country.

Ramon Bautista was declared persona non grata by the Davao City Council for his hipon jokes in a party in the city during the celebration of Kadayawan Festival in 2014. Bautista joked that many women in the city are “hipon” which is a derogatory term for a person with a sexually appealing body but with a less attractive face.

Last year, the Sagguniang Panlalawigan of Pangasinan also declared Dr. Dexter Buted, president of the Pangasinan State University (PSU) as persona non grata after he snubbed the board’s three invitations to him and other university officials to appear before an inquiry.

But this indeed could be the first time a sitting congressman is declared persona non grata in his own province. What are its implications? Continue reading

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Rudy wins… and loses

photo from rappler.com

RUDY Fariñas is no doubt a brilliant lawyer and a skillful politician. He can amaze you with his analytical mind perfectly matched with his gift of gab. He can dazzle you with the wit and humor that go well with his good looks. This congressman, who loves to remind people that he is an Ateneo graduate and a bar topnotcher, can indeed make so-so lawyers look like total idiots.

I once wrote after his successful comeback to the national consciousness through the Corona impeachment trial that he should run for the Senate and that it will be a great disservice to the nation and a great injustice to his gifts if he doesn’t. And in another article after his glorious resurrection from political death, I sang my hallelujahs for the triumph of the human spirit. “You have seen the worst in me, now is time to see the best of me,” he said. And most of us believed him.

In 2010, he ran with Imee Marcos under the slate of One Ilocos Norte. Imee won as Governor. Rudy was elected congressman of the province’s First District. Such political union was short lived and in 2013, it was One Ilocos Norte no more.

But the rift between Rudy and Imee climaxed in recent weeks with the congressional investigations on the supposed misuse of R.A. 7171 funds. The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability Committee, of which Rudy is part, alleged that some P66 million in funds intended for the welfare of tobacco framers were wrongfully used for the purchase of vehicles, and that there were obvious irregularities in procurement procedures.

I will leave the facts and legalities to the experts, for I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant. But let me give my two cents on who is winning in this political battle.

Rudy is winning. He has managed to keep six Ilocos Norte Capitol employees under detention for contempt. He has also thrice defied the Court of Appeals which is hearing the petition for habeas corpus filed by the detainees’ lawyers. I say “he”, and not the “Committee” or the “House” because, come on, we know that it is all Rudy’s orchestrations. The congressmen, afraid to lose positions and perks they enjoy if they draw the ire of the majority leader, will always toe the line. Although a political butterfly who gracefully fluttered his wings from the Yellows to the current administration, Rudy enjoys the trust and confidence, not only of the House Speaker, but President Duterte himself. And with all his feats, we can say, with just a little exaggeration, that Rudy Fariñas is master of the universe. Continue reading

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As Rudy as it could get

I received a text message from someone thanking me for an article I wrote the other week.  It read, “Herdy, my son showed me your post, ‘Senator Fariñas.’ I am humbled by your kind words. Thank you so much! All in God’s time!!”

I did not know how to respond to the message. Should I have said, ‘You’re welcome, sir’? But I was only expressing my thoughts, speaking out loud about the best senator today we should have. So I put off sending a reply, and then I got busy with a lot of things, including the opening of classes and the reprinting of The He(a)rd Mentality which is now sold out in bookstores.

But the other day I got a call from a Capitol staff, asking me if they got my number right. The congressman wanted to confirm, I was told. Then I received another call from the politician’s son, checking if I received his dad’s message. Shortly after, the congressman sent another message of thanks, to which I finally decided to reply: “My pleasure, sir. Will you kindly inform us when your schedule is not so tight so we local writers and bloggers can host dinner for you soon?” It was three in the afternoon. He replied right away, inviting us for dinner that very night, and insisting that he hosts it. He said he’d invite our colleagues from radio as well, lest he be “accused of favoritism.”

So we found ourselves at the Golden Cow Restaurant in Laoag (original location was at their house in Brgy. Barit, but there was a paint job going on) for a night of spirited storytelling and sharing of insights by arguably one of the most revered politicians in the country today: Congressman Rodolfo “Rudy” Castro Fariñas, he of the Corona impeachment fame.

Apparently, it was the first time Fariñas was talking to the local media regarding his experience in the successful removal of the chief justice from office. There were, dear karikna a lot of amusing “off the record” tidbits I could not share with you, but based on them, I could surmise the following: Continue reading

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Fantastic Rudy

photo from newsbreak.ph

 

NEVER HAVE I been a fan of Rodolfo “Rudy” Castro Fariñas. I had always known he is brilliant, but the arrogance attached to his person turned me off big time. And it did not help that he got embroiled in a wide array of controversies both in the public and private spheres.

In the last elections, his campaign spiel was that he is a changed man.  After one tragedy over the other struck, successively over a decade, the once invincible politician said he had a lot of time to reflect on his life. Nice speech, but I was cynical.  It is, after all, the duty of any good citizen to always take everything a politician says with a healthy dose of disbelief.

When he won convincingly in the congressional race over Kris Ablan, who was highly popular with the younger generations, I decided to employ a wait-and-see attitude on the comeback kid.  “Let’s give the guy a chance,” I thought.

Rudy has not disappointed.  In fact, he has surprised, and so pleasantly.  Watching him in action in the televised impeachment proceedings against Merceditas Guttierez made me feel so proud to be from his district. He was consistently brilliant, witty, visually refreshing, and, oh, so charming.

That he was entrusted the post of Vice Chair of the House  Committee on Justice speaks of how highly regarded he is in the legislature.  An old congressman from the South even referred to him as a “legal luminary,” and was unabashed in saying that Rudy is someone whom “I love dearly.” It was strange because that congressman fan was standing in an opposing rostrum, and was supposed to interpolate Rudy. Not even the worn-out, wearisome antics of Minority Leader Edcel Lagman could work on Fariñas, who was as eloquent and coherent as a debater could be.

And the adulation for Rudy goes beyond the chambers of congress.  I have talked to a lot of people—from colleagues in the media and political observers to house workers of the congressman, all of them sing in unison:  he is a changed man. And his kids adore him.

I have never been a fan of Rudy Fariñas, but I think I am now, and moreso after reading a story written by Glenda M. Gloria for Newsbreak’s profiles on the members of the 11-person prosecution panel in the Ombudsman’s trial at the Senate. The story is balanced and fair; it neither sugarcoats Rudy’s dark past nor does it romanticize the present , but this to me is a story of the triumph of the human spirit.

Here’s the link.

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