I consider myself a lover of life, a dreamer, a storyteller, a reader, a self-deprecating comedienne, a struggling writer, a student of experiences, an adventure-seeker, a child at heart, a free-thinker in awe of the world, an investor on memories, a hopeless romantic and, now, a blogger!
When your colleagues in the Senate, Senators Franklin Drillon and Ping Lacson, filed a resolution that would allow Sen. Leila’s participation in relevant Senate proceedings via video conference, you vehemently protested insisting that it would be tantamount to double standards, and a sense of entitlement on Sen. Leila’s part.
Sir, naman, magkaibang-magkaiba po ang sitwasyon ninyo ni Sen. De Lima.
Here, let me enlighten you why that is so.
Firstly, we ALL know that Sen. De Lima is detained on trumped-up charges orchestrated by a vindictive tyrant with an ax to grind. Nothing more.
Not an ounce of illegal drug was found in her possession, not a trail of the purported drug money was established, and not a single witness of unquestionable reputation and motive was presented. Kaya nga, hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin umuusad ang mga kaso laban sa kanya. Imagine, six judges na ang nag-withdraw from hearing her cases!
You, on the other hand, was indicted with a plunder charge and 16 counts of graft for funneling your pork barrel through the bogus NGOs of PDAF Scam Queen Janet Lim Napoles. All the amounts mentioned by Benhur Luy during the hearings and recorded in his ledger matched the amounts that went into the bank accounts of your family. Kaya nga, nakakapagtaka when you were acquitted of plunder last December. But more perplexing is the fact that, along with that acquittal, is the order for you to return your loot to the tune of P124,500 million!
Ikaw ba, hindi rin nagtaka at naguluhan kagaya naming lahat, Sir?
Secondly, you said that the Senate leadership at the time of your detention believed that your absence “would have no impact on legislation.” Malamang nga po, Sir, hindi kayo masyadong kawalan –unlike Sen. De Lima, who is a brilliant lawyer and a diligent member of the Senate. In fact, even in detention, tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang pagtatrabaho ng butihing Senadora through her extremely competent staff.
Ikaw po, bukod sa pagsi-selfie mo dati sa loob ng Crame, anong kapaki-pakinabang na bagay ang nagawa mo while incarcerated?
Thirdly, in Sen. De Lima’s case, she has colleagues who actually filed a resolution in her behalf. Sa inyo, wala e. Wala yata talaga kayong kasama sa Senado na bilib sa kakayahan nyo.
Mag-budots na lang kaya kayo, Sir?
That’s all for now, senator Revilla. Goodluck to you!
When I read how you verbally attacked Rep. Edcel Lagman due to the latter’s “audacity” to question PCSO’s legal basis for funding the Malasakit Centers and allegedly using that initiative as a political front and partisan tool, I was seriously appalled.
Somebody ought to tell you that what you said in retaliation was wrong. On so many levels.
Firstly, Cong. Lagman’s inquiry and observation were made during the congressional deliberations on the proposed budget of PCSO for 2020. He, then, had every right to question PCSO about its projects and expenditure, and to make appropriate comments and suggestions.
In short, walang mali sa ginawa ni Rep. Lagman.
Secondly, instead of using your first privilege speech to define your legislative agenda, you squandered it by launching into a vindictive tirade against Rep. Lagman.
Sana, nagpa-presscon ka na lang para hindi mo sinayang ang oras ng mga kasama mo sa Senado.
Thirdly, you refused to be interpellated by your fellow senators. (During interpellation, senators can ask a colleague questions about the issue raised in the privilege speech. -philstar.com)
‘Yan na nga ba ang sinasabi ko e. Wala ka kasing practice on debating during the campaign kaya takot ka to be engaged in one by your colleagues. Simulan na ang practice, ha? Now na.
Fourthly, you used ad hominem argument to refute Rep. Lagman’s claims. You said, and I quote, “Klaruhin ko lang po, hindi po tinatanggap ng PCSO ang mga request to fund aesthetic enhancements or any cosmetic purpose. Gusto man naming kayong tulungan, hindi po ‘yan parte ng medical concern na ginagawa ng assistance ng PCSO. Wala rin pong legal basis ang pagtulong sa pag-repair ng inyong mukha.”
Mabuti na lang at hindi ka sinagot ni Rep. Lagman ng, “Akala mo naman, kagwapuhan ka!” He wouldn’t stoop to your level that way po kasi.
Fifthly, there is such a thing (a longstanding tradition, actually) as inter-parliamentary courtesy that the members of the two chambers of Congress observe.
Huwag si Senate Pres. Sotto ang tanungin mo about it. Wala kang matinong sagot na makukuha sa kanya. Pramis.
Lastly, since you were hellbent on exacting revenge on Rep. Lagman, anyway, you should have simply defended the Malasakit Centers and explained the significant role you played in its implementation. (If you came up with a convincing enough explanation, you might just silence the good Congressman for good, right?)
These following issues are the ones you should have addressed:
What is the legal basis of the PCSO for funding the Malasakit Centers?
The financial assistance to indigent patients is already covered by the Universal Health Care Act, making your pet project a redundant initiative.
Who authorized the release of the P8.68 billion-fund to put up the Malasakit Centers? Did you not personally benefit from that public fund?
Why were those Malasakit Centers put up right before the start of the campaign for the 2019 midterm elections? Were those used for your premature campaigning?
Why did you still serve as its “poster child” when you were already resigned then as the Special Assistant to the president?
If it were true that you did not use the Malasakit Centers project for your senatorial campaign, kindly explain these pictures.
Ang sabi mo, marapat lang na bigyan ng “second chance” si Ex-Mayor Antonio Sanchez, lalo pa nga’t ang nakarating na impormasyon sa iyo is that he is now “a changed man.”
Ito po ang tugon ko sa inyo.
19 years old si Eileen Sarmenta when she was kidnapped, raped countless times, and brutally murdered in 1993. Ang master mind, ang dating Mayor ng Caluan Laguna na si Antonio Sanchez, ay napipintong pakawalan mula sa kulungan dahil di-umano sa kanyang good conduct.
Before I shout for everyone to hear na si Antonio Sanchez is a monster –isang demonyo na nagkatawang-tao!—let me refresh your memory. Balikan natin kung ano nga ba ang mga naganap noong gabi ng June 28, 1993.
Eileen and her confraternity brod, Allan Gomez, were inside a Tamaraw van na naka-park sa harap ng Cafe Amalia hindi kalayuan mula sa UP Los Baños kung saan sila parehong nag-aaral. 8 lalaki, mga tauhan ni Mayor, na lulan ng isang ambulansya ang pwersahang tumangay kina Eileen at Allan pati na rin sa sinasakyan nilang van, binusalan ang kanilang mga bibig, itinali ang kanilang mga kamay, at dinala sila sa farm na pag-aari ni Mayor.
Ayon sa isang tauhan, nakilala at natipuhan ni Mayor si Eileen matapos siyang interbyuhin ng huli para sa isang school paper. Ang kanilang salita when they presented Eileen to Mayor Sanchez, “Mayor, ito ang regalo namin sa iyo. Ang babaeng natipuhan mo.”
Ipinasok sa resthouse ang dalawang teenagers –si Eileen, diretso sa kwarto ni Mayor, habang si Allan ay walang-habas na binugbog ng mga tauhan nito hanggang sa mawalan ng ulirat.
Bandang ala-una ng madaling-araw nang pahilang inilabas ng resthouse si Eileen. Magulo ang buhok, may busal sa bibig, nakatali ang mga kamay, at walang pang-ibabang saplot. Lumabas si Mayor at pinasalamatan ang kanyang mga tauhan for their gift. “Tapos na ako sa kanya. She’s all yours,” ang nakangising dagdag niya.
Isinakay sa van ang dalawa. Nakasunod sa van ang ambulansya.
En route to their destination, nagpagewang-gewang ang van, tapos, may narinig na putok ng baril mula sa loob. Huminto ito sa gilid ng kalsada at hinilang palabas ng sasakyan ang duguang si Allan. Inihagis siya sa tabi at muling binaril gamit ang armalite.
Doon iniwan ang kanyang katawan ng umarangkadang ambulansya at van.
Nang marating nila ang kanilang destinasyon na isang sugarcane field o tubuhan, sinabi ng isang tauhan, “Turbohin na rin natin ang tinurbo ni Boss!” He was referring to Eileen.
Sa likod ng van, habang ang mga kamay at paa niya ay papigil na hawak ng mga lalaki, halinhinan siyang ginahasa ng anim. Nagmamakaawa si Eileen na tama na, hindi niya na kaya, pero bingi sa kanyang pagsusumamo ang mga hayok sa laman na tauhan ni Mayor.
Nang tapos na sa kanya ang anim, lumuhod si Eileen at nagmakaawang huwag siyang patayin. Pero, muli, bingi sa kanyang pagsusumamo ang mga kriminal na tauhan ni Mayor.
Binaril siya sa mukha gamit ang armalite na ipinangpatay kay Allan.
Sumakay ang anim sa ambulansya at iniwan nila sa tubuhan ang Tamaraw van na kinalululanan ng katawan ni Eileen.
Habang nasa sasakyan, masaya pa nilang pinagkwentuhan ang mga karumal-dumal nilang ginawa ng gabing yun.
Kinabukasan, isa sa mga tauhang ‘yun ni Mayor ang kasama sa nag-imbestiga sa kaso. Siya ang nakaupong deputy chief of police ng Calauan.
Ngayon, sabihin mo sa akin, Sen. Bato.
Hindi ba demonyong maituturing si Antonio Sanchez at ang kanyang mga tauhan?
Kung kayo ang magulang ni Eileen o ni Allan, ano ang mararamdaman mo kung may magsasabi sa iyo that the mayor deserves a second chance?
Papayagan mo bang makasalamuhang muli sa ating mga komunidad ang kagaya ni Antonio Sanchez at ng kanyang mga tauhan?
Good conduct ikamo?
In 2006, a complaint was filed against him for possessing shabu and marijuana inside his jail cell.
In 2010, 1.5M worth of shabu was confiscated inside his cell during a random check. Nagpositibo rin siya sa drug test.
In 2015, nahulihan siya ng mga contrabands katulad ng aircon, flat-screen tv at ref.
Hindi niya rin binayaran ang mga Sarmenta at Gomez ng mahigit 12.6M na civil indemnity na itinakda ng korte.
Higit sa lahat, not even once did he show even an iota of remorse para sa heinous crimes that he orchestrated and committed. In fact, hanggang ngayon, he maintains na inosente siya sa mga ibinibintang sa kanya!
The Pasig City Regional Trial Court judge, na nagsabing it was “a plot seemingly hatched in hell,” ang nagbaba ng hatol kay Mayor na 7 terms of reclusion perpetua. Idagdag pa riyan ang 2 terms of reclusion perpetua rin na inihatol sa kanya para sa murder ng mag-amang Nelson at Rickson Peñalosa, supporters ng political opponent ni Mayor.
9 life sentences. Ang reclusion perpetua ay nangangahulugan ng pagkakakulong ng hanggang 40 years.
You do the math.
Makatarungan bang palayain siya after only 24-26 years in prison?
Isa pa, accdg to RA 10592 (or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, “recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes are excluded from the coverage of this Act.” Ang rape at murder po are both considered heinous crimes. At si Sanchez ay habitual delinquent bilang preso.
Huwag na nating banggitin dito na ang abogado ni Mayor Sanchez noon ay ang kagalang-galang na presidential spokesperson ngayon na si Sal Panelo. Wala naman daw kasing bearing yun.
That’s all for now, senator Bato. Goodluck to you!
For all the “mamamayang Liberal,” what is the significance of August 21? We all know, of course, that it is a special non-working holiday in commemoration of the death of Ninoy Aquino.
But, is that all there is to it? What change did Ninoy’s death bring about for our country?
C’mon, let us take a quick look back at history and, together, let us find out how August 21 has figured in the most critical periods in our annals and how it has managed to change the course of our history.
1971 – Plaza Miranda bombing
On the evening of August 21, 1971, at the height of the Liberal Party’s miting de avance at the Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, two hand grenades exploded at the exact time that then LP Pres. Gerry Roxas was proclaiming on stage the senatorial and Manila local candidates that the party was fielding for the oncoming midterm elections.
It was an attempt to decimate the LP senatorial slate.
9 died and 95 got wounded as a result of that nefarious incident.
Among those who were seriously injured were then Senators Gerry Roxas and Serge Osmeña Jr., LP senatorial candidates Jovito Salonga, John Henry Osmeña, Genaro Magsaysay, Ramon Mitra Jr., Salipada Pendatun, Melanio Singson, Eddie Ilarde, and Eva Estrada-Kalaw (a Nacionalista guest candidate of the LP), and Ramon Bagatsing, the LP’s Manila mayoral candidate.
A few days after the grim and bloody Plaza Miranda bombing, Marcos assumed emergency powers and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
During the November 1971 elections, Marcos’ senatorial candidates experienced a terrible and unexpected defeat — a sign that Marcos was losing his political grip on the nation that was beginning to turn against him.
In September of 1972, Marcos declared Martial Law.
1983 – Ninoy Aquino assassination
After three years of self-exile in the US, and in spite of then First Lady Imelda Marcos’ prophetic statement that “If Aquino gets home, he is dead,” Ninoy decided to go back to his beloved country. His decision was prompted by two factors: the declining political situation in the Philippines and the deteriorating health condition of Ferdinand Marcos.
Despite all the possible safety precautions that Ninoy took (he used a passport bearing a different name, he took a circuitous route, he wore a bullet-proof vest, and he was escorted by several international journalists during his flight home), Ninoy was gunned down at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport.
In the back of his head.
At close range.
In broad daylight.
With 1,000 soldiers supposedly sent for his security.
Ninoy Aquino, Marcos’ staunchest opponent and most vocal critic, was groomed by LP to be its standard bearer in the 1973 presidential elections that never took place because of the Martial Law declaration. He was referred to by Sen. Jovito Salonga as “the greatest president we never had.”
The cold-blooded murder of Ninoy sparked widespread outrage among the Filipinos previously cowed by Marcos’ tyrannical rule.
Two and a half years later, further galvanized by the victory of Marcos in a snap election that was marred by blatant fraud and violence, hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life trooped to EDSA in what was to be known as the People Power Revolution.
The 21-year reign of the Marcoses and their cronies came to an end when the first family fled Malacañang and was flown to Hawaii.
I didn’t think I would ever resort to this but, to conclude, I am hereby quoting Rigoberto Tiglao (yes, the same Rigoberto Tiglao who serves as the Gloria Arroyo apologist and attack dog that all democratic warriors regard with disdain!).
The tragedy on August 21, 1971 “triggered the events that led to the imposition of martial law and the start of Marcos’ 13-year dictatorship.” The tragedy on August 21, 1983, meanwhile, “triggered the events that led to the fall of that dictatorship.”
2019 – ?!!!
Under the present administration, our democracy is under attack. Sen. De Lima is languishing in jail for 2-1/2 years now due to trumped-up charges, CJ Sereno had been illegally removed from office, and most of the prominent voices of the opposition are now facing sedition and other charges based solely on the testimony of a convicted criminal that Spox Panelo himself once called a liar cum information peddler. The press is threatened, the Church is relentlessly trashed, and the women and the LGBTQ+ community are constantly subjected to disparaging remarks. Thousands have already been murdered – the poor, minors, human rights defenders, farmers, and IPs alleged to be drug users/peddlers/pushers or communists/insurgents. The culture of impunity is back with a vengeance. The administration is also treacherously turning us over to China –on a silver platter, no less. Most importantly, the very fiber of our values as Filipinos is now weakened, damaged or flawed.
In order to restore everything that we have lost, we need to effect genuine change.
Are you now ready to take on that task as part of our responsibility as citizens of this country?
Two days before President Duterte is set to deliver his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA), more than 40 mostly young people participated in a meaningful discourse to discuss the state of the nation “from the lens of the Filipino youth.”
Through the initiative of Rappler’s MovePH, in partnership with Dakila #WeTheFuturePH, most important issues affecting the lives of ordinary Filipinos – labor rights, environment and climate justice, press freedom and freedom of information (FOI), road safety and transportation, gender equality, and education – were tackled in a huddle called “SO ano NA?”.
Among the interactive activities prepared for the participants was to describe the country’s current state in one word. The most interesting answers included crisis, precarious, shit, pathetic, lost, abhorrent, impunity, bullshit, joke, grim, and wasak.
The second activity involved Mentimeter, Rappler’s mood meter, and seven attention-grabbing headlines that the online news website had released recently. The aim was to feel the pulse of the participants when the following headlines were shown on the screen:
PH among worst countries for workers – global index
This March 2019, the youth of Negros successfully campaigned towards a coal-free Negros
14 media practitioners have been killed, and 128 cases reported of attacks and threats during the Duterte administration
Over 10,000 road-related deaths have been counted since 2016, with the most frequent victims – youth aged 20-24
70,000 strong tayo, mga mahal! #ResistTogether
Kolateral is a 12-track album featuring various Filipino artists, where each track is backed by real data and narratives on the Philippine Drug War
Deped orders temporary closure of 55 Lumad schools in Davao region
After each headline was flashed, the participants were asked to click any of the eight moods to see which emotions the particular story was able to evoke from the group. Thankfully, nobody showed apathy to any of the headlines by clicking the emoticon for “don’t care”.
The third and last interactive activity required the participants to group themselves into five (all had to come from different groups/advocacies) and submit a presentation of their consolidated vision for the next three years, complete with specific and feasible solutions to the key issues plaguing the country today. That particular activity proved to be the most challenging one considering the limited time allotted to the groups to come up with a decent presentation and discuss the same in front of everyone – not to mention that that task had to be accomplished by collaborating with virtually complete strangers. The participants, however, were able to demonstrate their exemplary ability to rise to the challenge.
Based on their presentations, most of the country’s problems basically boil down to lack of education, discipline, and involvement. Thus, their proposed solutions were aligned with efforts and initiatives to ally themselves with individuals of the same advocacy, to educate communities and target groups on various key issues, to lobby and pressure the power wielders to genuinely represent and work for the interests of the majority, and to initiate the changes they want to see in society from the most basic level – themselves.
The huddle, which was held right in the newsroom of Rappler, was an engaging and fruitful endeavor, so much so that a mere two hours was not enough to discuss each and every topic as extensively as each rightfully warranted. So, hopefully, Rappler and their partner organizations will continue to come up with lengthier activities of the same kind that will be participated in by more people of various orientations, and will give birth to ideas that will translate into progressive, sustainable and inclusive actions.
Philippines is one of the world’s biggest markets for goods sold in small quantities. To cater to the majority of Filipinos who live on limited budgets, almost all consumer products are made available in sachets (small, single-use packets that are mostly made of plastic), thus the rise of what is known as “sachet economy” in the country.
This kind of economy is most beneficial to the consumers that belong to the financially disadvantaged or those who cannot afford to buy goods that only come in bulk or big packages. However, it has increasingly become a source of grave threat to the environment.
Everyday, you see people indiscriminately throwing their trash –candy wrappers, water bottles, disposable cups, plastic bags, containers and, yes, sachets! — on the streets or in vacant lots. Most families living along creeks, lakes, riverbanks and beaches toss their garbage into the water bodies with reckless abandon. Many households hardly reuse and recycle their consumed plastic products. Neither do they practice proper waste segregation.
As a result of these actions that reflect people’s gross lack of awareness and discipline, waterways and coastlines get clogged. In the aftermath of typhoons and floods, the shorelines are littered with mounds of trash. (Un)sanitary landfills and open dumpsites become inadequate and overfilled, making solid waste management one of the country’s major environmental challenges.
According to the study of Jambeck Research Group, 192 coastal countries cumulatively produced a total of 2.5 billion metric tons of solid waste in 2010 –275 million metric tons of which was plastic. An estimated 8 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste managed to enter the ocean.
Based on the same study, the Philippines was the top 3 producer of mismanaged plastic waste. Today, the country continues to generate an estimated 43,684 tons of garbage daily, including 4,609 tons of plastic waste, according to government data.
The volume of plastic debris present in the oceans is so enormous that, carried by the strong currents, these float, dwell, migrate and help form any one of the 6 known massive swirling gyres – the East and West Pacific Gyres (these two make up the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre), the South Pacific Gyre, the North and South Atlantic Gyres, and the Indian Ocean Gyre. These gyres are sometimes referred to as the “Traveling Continent,” the “Seventh Continent,” or the Garbage Patches.
According to a United Nations report, if the alarming trend by which the mismanaged plastic waste ends up in the oceans persists, the world’s oceans will have more plastic than fish by the year 2050.
The Detrimental Effects of Plastic Pollution
In March of this year, a dead whale was washed ashore in Compostela Valley. 40kgs of plastic was found in its stomach. In the seas of Verde Island Passage, the center of the world’s marine biodiversity, a crab trapped inside a disposable cup was recently documented. And in Davao Gulf alone, three whales and a dolphin have already been found dead since the start of this year. Their bellies were full of plastic.
Plastic is a substance that the earth cannot digest. It is a strong and durable material that does not completely biodegrade, and takes a thousand years to break down. But, even then, it won’t decompose into useful nutrients; it just turns into infinitely small pieces of plastic which act like magnets in the water, attracting toxic substances.
To a sea turtle, a floating plastic bag may look like a jelly fish. To seabirds, plastic pellets look like fish eggs, small crab and other prey. Birds, fish and mammals get ensnared in drifting heaps of plastic. Seals and whales can get caught in translucent nets and drown.
Being Part of the Solutions
For citizens: Use “bayong,” fish nets, woven or cloth bags, and other eco-friendly, reusable grocery bags when shopping or doing your groceries. Practice waste segregation. Dispose of your garbage properly and observe solid waste management. Try composting. Reduce your daily use of plastics by looking for alternatives (reusable water bottles, to-go coffee mugs, steel straws, eco-friendly decorations, matches instead of disposable lighters, glass and reusable food containers and utensils, solid toiletries, bamboo toothbrushes, DIY cleaning products, menstrual cups, etc.). Buy in bulk if possible. Join beach or community cleanups. Reduce, refuse, reuse then recycle.
For the government: Participate in global and national efforts to put an end to plastic pollution. Encourage mangrove planting that would help in filtering the waste in the sea. Strictly implement Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act; Sponsor regular beach and coastal clean-ups. Launch a massive educational campaign about marine debris to bring about voluntary compliance through awareness. Institute Zero Waste programs. Compel companies to acknowledge their liability for plastic pollution. Establish materials recovery facilities all over the country. Institute comprehensive national plastic bag ban and regulate other single-use plastic products. Mandate companies to redesign products, packaging and delivery systems. Strengthen the ban on waste incineration.
For the commercial establishments and manufacturing corporations: Markets and grocery stores should stop using single-use or “sando” bags and, instead, should resort to the use of abaca, banana leaves and other sustainable materials to wrap their products. Restaurants and cafes should use straws made of eco-friendly materials such as coconut leaves (lukay) and refrain from using serving dishes, cups, bowls and utensils made of plastic and styrofoam. The manufacture of toiletries containing microbeads should be completely banned. Refilling stations for basic commodities and personal care products should be set up in all supermarkets and sari-sari stores nationwide. The consumer goods companies, named the top polluters responsible for a quarter of the branded throwaway plastic driving the plastic pollution crisis in the Philippines, should stop producing single-use plastic altogether. They should also acknowledge their great liability for plastic pollution.
According to the report released recently by the environmental organization Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Filipinos use more than 163 million plastic sachet packets, 48 million sando bags and 45 million labo bags daily. Over 90% of the plastic ever produced has not been recycled.
It is time that we stop feeding and actually slay the #PlasticMonster that is destroying our planet. And that can only be possible if we all do our part. Now.