The Indelible Marks of August 21

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.

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Photo credit to facebook.com/LiberalPartyPhilippines and editing to Pinoy Ako Blog  

 

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?

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THE HUDDLE

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?”.

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photo credit to Move.PH

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.

MAKE A STAND WITH TEAM PILIPINAS!

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A friend messaged me today. Mas okay daw ang mga fb posts ko dati noong puro about family, parenthood, marriage at nakakatuwang mga kwento ang isini-share ko. Tigilan ko na raw kasi ang politika. Kung hindi, dadami lang daw ang wrinkles (at kaaway!) ko.

Ang sagot ko sa kanya?

Bes, nami-miss ko na rin ang time when I was always inspired to write and share articles about the joys of being a mom, a wife and a woman. Nami-miss ko na ang panahon when days would pass by na walang malaking ganap sa paligid natin. Nami-miss ko na ang pakiramdam na paggising sa umaga, I wouldn’t have to wonder with dread, “Ano na naman kaya ang mga mangyayari today na hindi kagandahan?”

Ngayon kasi, bes, the time demands na magbasa, magsulat at mag-share tayo para makapagmulat ng mga kababayan natin na walang alam, walang pakialam, o pinipili pa rin ang maniwala sa mga kasinungalingan.

Look around us.

Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang pagpatay in the name of a fake drug war.

Wala pang nahuhuling drug lords. Yung mga umamin, pinakawalan. Yung mga convicted, ginawang witnesses laban kay Sen. De Lima, at pinawalang-sala.

Bilyun-bilyong halaga ng droga ang hinahayaang makapasok sa bansa.

 

Ang mga mahihirap, lalong napapahirapan dahil sa TRAIN law.

Bagsak ang ekonomiya natin.

Mahal ang mga bilihin.

Ang mga trabahong dapat nakalaan sa mga Pilipino, sa mga Tsino ibinibigay. Kaya ang mga OFWs, patuloy na nagpapaalipin at naaabuso sa ibang bayan.

 

Mas grabe ngayon ang korapsyon sa gobyerno. Harapan at walang pakundangan. Nariyan ang magkakapatid na Tulfo, sina Lapeña at Faeldon, si former DOJ Sec. Aguirre, si Bong Go at ang pamilya nya, si Solgen Calida, ang mga Villar, ang pamilya ni Sec. Diokno, ang mga Konggresista with their budget insertions, at marami pang iba.

 

Tinatakot at pilit na pinapatahimik ang mga personalidad at institusyon na lumalaban sa mga abuses ng administrasyong ito. Binabaluktok nila ang batas, at ginagawang tama ang mali at mali ang tama.

 

Pinipilit baguhin ng ating mga politiko ang Saligang Batas upang maproteksyunan nila ang kanilang pangsariling interes.

 

Ang mga kilalang plunderers, pinalaya na at ngayon ay mga kumakandidato para makabalik sa kapangyarihan. Habang ang mga batang paslit, gusto nilang gawing criminally liable at makulong kapag lumabag sa batas.

 

At ang mga teritoryo natin sa West Philippine Sea? Hayun, pinapabayaang kamkamin ng China. Bes, ilang taong ipinaglaban ‘yun ng Pilipinas sa The Hague. Naipanalo na natin ‘yun. Pero ngayon ay isinusuko ng administrasyong ito ang ating karapatan at pinapayagang i-harass ang ating mga mangingisda sa ating sariling katubigan.

 

And that poor excuse of a man na nakaupo sa Malacañang? Wala siyang ginagawa kundi bigyan ng kahihiyan ang Office of the Philippine President that he should be representing! Ang mga ipinagmamalaki niya lang na accomplishments ay ang kanyang mga fake wars.

Fake war against illegal drugs.

Fake war against corruption.

Fake war against poverty.

Fake war against oligarchs.

Fake war against incompetence.

 

Ngayon, bes, sabihin mo sa akin. Dapat ba akong manahimik? Baka naman panahon na para imulat mo ang iyong mga mata, pakinggan ang hinaing ng mga kababayan nating namatayan at naghihirap, at gamitin ang iyong boses upang kundinahin ang mga hindi makatao at hindi maka-Pilipinong nangyayari sa bayan natin.

Samahan mo kami, Bes.

Make a stand.

The way I see it, laban na ito ng mga tunay na nagmamahal at nagmamalasakit sa bayan versus mga traydor sa bayan. So, ang laban namin ay laban nating lahat. At kailangan nating maipanalo ang labang ito.

Bago pa mahuli ang lahat.

TEAM PILIPINAS CANDIDATES, KILALANIN NATIN!

They go by many names.

Fence sitters. Spectators. Onlookers. Bystanders

They are mostly passive, indifferent, detached, apathetic, neutral, and complacent.

Their favorite lines are, “Huwag na tayong makialam dyan. Wala rin namang mangyayari.” Hindi rin naman tayo pakikinggan.” “Pare-pareho lang naman ang mga namumuno sa bansa.” “Hindi rin naman magbabago ang buhay natin.”

Mali po.

We should all be concerned, active, interested, participative, involved, engaged.

The way our government is run should be our concern dahil kung anuman ang kahihinatnan ng bansa natin, tayo ang apektado. Ang buhay ng mga anak natin ang apektado. Ang mga susunod pang henerasyon ang apektado.

Sa mga nangyayari ngayon sa ating paligid, we can’t afford to be silent.

We have to make our voices clearer, louder, and stronger. And, together, we can possibly make a difference. We can effect change. We can reclaim our people and our country.

Kaya’t sa nalalapit na eleksyon, suriin nating mabuti ang ating mga kandidato. Huwag na tayong magpaloko. Ang mga corrupt, mga trapo, mga political dynasts, mga incompetent, mga supporters ng mga polisiyang maka-China, anti-people, at anti-God — there’s a special place reserved for them at, definitely, hindi iyon sa ating mga balota.

Ako, tumaya na. Ito ang aking mga kandidato na dadalhin ko sa Senado. Kilalanin nyo sila.

Sa abilidad, kalidad, integridad, at kredibilidad, hindi sila matatawaran.

Ang laban nilang walo ay laban ng bawat Pilipino!

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CHA-CHA NI GLORIA, MAKATAO O MAKA-POLITIKO?

Sa botong 224-22-3, the House of Representatives approved last December 11, during its 3rd and final reading, the resolution “that seeks to shift the Philippines to a federal system of government.” Ang nasabing proposed Revision of the 1987 Constitution ay kilala bilang Resolution of Both Houses number 15 o RBH 15.

Masasabi nating may pagka-ninja talaga itong si GMA.

Mabilis at walang ingay niyang nailusot sa committee level ang RBH 15 noong Oktubre ng nakaraang taon. Noong December 3, after only three days of plenary deliberation, debates were terminated. Ito ay sa kabila ng malinaw at malakas na pagtutol at protesta ng ating mga kababayan sa nasabing proposed constitution. (According to a June 2018 Pulse Asia survey, 67% ng ating populasyon ang hindi sumusuporta sa charter change, habang 62% naman ang hindi pabor sa shift to a federal form of government.) Also, the passage of the resolution after the third reading happened only eight days after it was approved on second reading. 8 days?!!! Nakulayan din ng kontrobersya ang hasty passage ng RBH 15 nang na-expose sa ating lahat ang bilyon-bilyong pork barrel insertions sa proposed 2019 national budget kung saan mga kaalyado ni GMA ang lumalabas na may malaking pakinabang. Hindi maiiwasang isipin na ginamit ang pork barrel to “bribe” the Congressmen para suportahan ang RBH 15.

Under RBH 15, which was authored by no other than our honorable House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and filed with 35 other lawmakers, ay matatagpuan ang mga sumusunod na probisyon:

 

  1. The Vice President shall be excluded from the line of succession during the transition period. So, kapag may masamang nangyari kay Duterte habang Pangulo pa siya ng bansa, hindi si VP Leni ang papalit sa kanya, kundi ang Senate President who happens to be Tito Sotto. Juicecolored!

 

  1. The term limits for the members of Congress shall be removed. Under the present Constitution, a Senator can only sit for two consecutive 6-year terms, while a member of the Lower House is limited to three consecutive 3-year terms. Ang ninjang si Arroyo, na dating naka-wheelchair at naka-neck brace pa, is a third-termer lawmaker. So, siya ang unang makikinabang sa probisyong “unli” terms of office na ito. Ang saya-saya, di ba?

 

  1. This resolution does not have any provisions on the regulation of political dynasties, unlike the Con-Com draft. So, pwede na talagang magpakalunod sa kapangyarihan ang ating mga politiko pati na rin ang kanilang mga anak, mga anak ng kanilang mga anak, at mga anak ng mga anak ng kanilang mga anak. Hindi kaya sila lugi rito?

 

  1. Likewise, it does not have any provisions on the holding of elections in May 2019 because, under the new constitution, the first election shall be held on the second Monday of May in 2022. Meaning, mai-extend ang term ng lahat ng incumbent officials dahil kanselado ang darating na mid-term elections. Ngayon, mas malinaw na ba kung bakit talagang ni-railroad nila ang pagpasa ng RBH 15?

 

  1. We shall have a presidential-bicameral-federal form of government, wherein the President and Vice President are to be elected at large. Both should come from the same political party, and a vote for the Pres. is a vote for the Vice Pres. So, kung may natipuhan tayong presidential candidate na relatively ay matino but who happens to have a running mate na chaka kagaya halimbawa ni Pacquiao, wala tayong choice if we vote for him kundi ang tanggapin ang kanyang VP. Buy one, take one lang ang peg!

 

  1. Industries shall be opened up to foreign ownership. Dahil sa pag-insert nila ng phrase na “unless otherwise provided by law,” ang mga foreign investors ay posible nang magmay-ari ng ating mga lupain at iba pang natural resources, mga educational institutions, public utilities, media entities, at iba pa. Pwede na tayong maging alipin ng mga dayuhan sa ating sariling bayan!

 

  1. The Speaker of the House, instead of the Senate President, shall be the ex-officio chairman of the Commission on Appointments. Nakukulangan pa si GMA sa kapangyarihang hawak niya bilang House Speaker. Kailangang mapasakanya pa rin ang makapangyarihang komisyon na ito. Speaking of the insatiable appetite for power!

 

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Photo credit to the owner

 

This resolution has already been transmitted to the Senate for its own deliberations. Kailangan nating maging alerto at mapagbantay. Ipinakita na ng mga Kongresista ang kanilang tahasang pagkalulong sa kapangyarihan. Shamelessly! They want charter change for no other reason but to advance their self-interests. ‘Yun lang at wala nang iba.

Ngayon, tingnan natin how our Senators will fare.

 

 

 

Narito ang explanation ni Cong. Kit Belmonte sa kanyang NO vote to Cha-cha. Sana, lahat ng politiko ay kagaya niya.

Atty. Kit Belmonte votes NO to Cha-cha

EXPLANATION OF VOTE

Madame Speaker, my colleagues: Magandang hapon po. As representative of the Sixth District of Quezon City, I vote NO to RBH 15.

The House of Representatives is the primary institution that ensures that  in the enactment of national measures enshrine the interest of each and every Filipino. We in Congress are the representatives of our constituents. Our constituents deserve no less: we have to make sure that their interest is guarded with every legislation that is sought to be passed in this august chamber.

RBH 15 as we see it now is so different from the drafts discussed in committee. It was even recommitted to the Committee on Constitutional Amendments  for the failure to include the Vice President in the line of succession. Despite clear objections to the proposed constitution, debates were terminated on December 3, 2018, after only three session days of debate.

Three days to debate a measure to change our constitution, ladies and gentlemen. For a resolution that seeks to change the very character of our nation and the fundamental workings of our government, it is a disservice to our constituents. Three session days: there WILL be questions that WILL be unanswered.

Hawiin natin ang usapan mula sa pulitika pabalik sa mga katanungang bumabagabag sa mga ordinaryong Pilipino—mataas na presyo ng bilihin, kawalan ng trabaho, karahasan laban sa mahihirap. At a time when poverty and powerlessness prevail over our citizens, hindi ba dapat sa kanila nakatuon ang ating pansin at kung papaano natin mabibigyan ng solusyon ang kanilang mga suliranin?

Change is a double-edged sword. Tinkering with our constitution all in the name of supposed “change”, and forcing such change despite the absence of any clamor, and only for personal gain will not in any way contribute to the strengthening of our nation.

Tanggal and term limits, Burado ang anti – dynasty provision. Para kanino ba talaga ang Cha-Chang ito?

In behalf of the constituents of the 6th District of Quezon City, I vote NO to RBH 15.

 

 

Sen. Pilo Hilbay on RBH 15:

https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/12/12/former-solgen-bares-real-motive-of-cha-cha/

 

List of major constitutional changes under RBH 15:

https://www.rappler.com/nation/218210-list-major-changes-house-draft-constitution-federalism?utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR3Z3OB7qxSr53j8-m5mUfGLu8sjGRH5I8lpGGB2eHKoJh_w452907VxJAI#Echobox=1544517984

 

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) on RBH 15:

https://www.ceap.org.ph/upload/download//201812/1201337840_1.pdf

 

WHAT, ENABLER SI TATAY DIGONG KO?!!!

A lot of people are asking, “Ano ba ang ibig sabihin ng enabler?” “Bakit ninyo inaakusahan si Tatay Digong na isang enabler?” “Bakit isinisisi nyo yata sa kanya ang halos lahat ng mga hindi magagandang nangyayari ngayon sa bansa natin?”

Ganito kasi ‘yun.

Kapag ang Tatay mo ay nagsasawalang-kibo, nagkikibit-balikat, o nagbubulag-bulagan kapag may ginawa kang kasalanan; kung siya ay natatawa o dinidipensahan at binibigyan ka pa ng reward kapag ikaw ay isinusumbong sa kanya ng iyong kapatid; or worst, kung siya mismo ang nag-uudyok sa iyo na gumawa ng mali; masasabi nating “enabler” ang Tatay mo.

Masahol pa siya sa kunsintidor dahil nagbubuyo at nangkakayag pa siya tungo sa tiwali at maling daan.

Ang Tatay Digong mo, sa simula pa lang, ay inencourage na ang mga pulis, pati na rin tayong mga sibilyan, to “go ahead and kill drug addicts.” Ano ang naging resulta? Kaliwa’t kanan ang naging pagpatay sa mga suspected drug users —hindi lang ng mga pulis during legitimate police operations, kundi maging ng mga riding-in-tandem vigilantes, hitmen, at scalawags. Since he took office in July 2016, nasa 27,000 drug-related killings na ang naitatala sa bansa, ayon sa CHR.

Nag-release si Tatay Digong mo ng list of government officials na di-umano ay involved sa drugs, without filing a single case before the court nor presenting any clear and substantial evidence. Sa ngayon, 12 Mayors at 6 Vice-Mayors na ang pinapatay since Duterte won the presidency.

Winarningan ni Tatay Digong mo ang mga magbubukid against occupying unused and barren lands. Nagbanta pa nga siya na babarilin sila kapag sumuway sa kanya. Ayon sa Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), 172 farmers na ang pinapatay sa ilalim ng administrasyong ito. Mostly, ang mga biktima ay mga magbubukid na nagtatanim ng mga gulay, prutas, at root crops sa mga lupang nakatiwangwang lang during Tiempo Muerto (o yung panahon na wala silang trabaho dahil sa dead season) upang may maipakain sila sa kanilang mga pamilya.

Sa simula pa lang, ipinakita na ni Tatay Digong mo sa kaniyang mga salita at gawa, kung gaano kaliit ang tingin nya sa mga babae. Grabe ang pambabastos at pambabalahura nya sa mga anak ni Eba —mula sa rape jokes, catcalling, taking pride in his womanizing, paghalik sa female supporters nya in public, degrading women and belittling their competence and capability, pagsasabing foreign women have a queer odor, equating women’s usefulness to their vagina, pagmamalaki na minomolestiya niya dati ang kanilang kasambahay, at kung anu-ano pang kahalayan. Ang mga sipsip sa gobyerno, syempre pa, ay magpapa-impress. Follow the leader kasi ang peg nila. Kaya naglipana ang mga sexists, misogynists, bigots at chauvinistic pigs ngayon, pati na rin ang kanilang mga apologists. Nandyan sina Salvador Panelo, Vit Aguirre, Harry Roque, Martin Andanar, Pantaleon Alvarez, Reynaldo Umali, Manny Pacquiao, Tito Sotto, mga pro-admin bloggers, at marami pang iba.

Iniutos ni Tatay Digong mo sa ating mga sundalo na, if they should encounter female insurgents, dapat barilin nila ang mga ito sa vagina. Pwede rin daw silang mang-rape, at sasagutin niya hanggang tatlo. Sa mga pronouncements na ‘yun, he openly encouraged violence against women. Ayon sa Center for Women’s Resources, at least 56 cops ang na-involve na sa abuses against women from July 2016 to October 2018.

Walang tigil ang pagbanat ni Tatay Digong mo sa simbahang Katolika — mula sa mga pari at obispo hanggang kay Pope, sa mga santo, at mismong sa Diyos. Gago raw at lasenggo ang mga santo, at istupido naman daw ang sinasamba nating Diyos. In a period of 6 months, mula December 2017 hanggang June 2018, tatlong pari na ang pinapatay habang ang isa ay severely injured, ayon sa CBCP. Sabi nga sa isang pastoral letter na inilabas ng Simbahan, “they are killing our flock, they are killing us, the shepherds, and they are killing our faith.”

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Photo credit to the owner

During the campaign pa lang, sinasabi na ni Tatay Digong mo na papayagan nya ang paglilibing sa bangkay ng diktador na si Ferdinand Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani. Sa kabila ng malinaw na narrative ng kasaysayan na nagpapatunay sa pang-aabuso ng mga Marcoses sa kapangyarihan at sa pandarambong nila sa kaban ng bayan during their tyrannical rule, itinuturing ni Tatay Digong mo si Marcos na “best President ever” at pinupuri ang kanyang Martial Law. Ilang buwan pa lang sa Malacañang ang tatay mo noong Nov 2016 nang inilibing sa LNMB si Marcos sa pamamagitan ng isang tahimik at pasikretong seremonya. Ang mga statements nya rin ukol sa mga Marcoses ang nagpapalakas ng loob sa mga historical revisionists na patuloy na baluktutin ang kasaysayan at magpakalat ng kasinungalingan patungkol sa Martial Law. Ngayon, mahigit dalawang buwan na since inilabas ng Sandiganbayan ang verdict nito kaugnay ng graft charges against Imelda Marcos. She was found guilty of 7 counts of corruption. The involved amount is $200 million, at ang mga kaso were filed noong 1991 pa. We all know, however, na sa ilalim ni Duterte, hindi papayagang makulong ang biyuda ni Apo.

Paulit-ulit na sinasabi ni Tatay Digong mo during his campaign sorties na, should he get elected, he will release GMA. Barely a month after he stepped into the Palace, ibinasura ng Supreme Court ang kasong plunder against Congresswoman Arroyo. Kasabay ng pagpapalaya sa kanya from her hospital arrest ay ang pagbabasura nya rin sa kanyang wheelchair at neck brace. Two months after, pinalaya rin si Jinggoy Estrada sa bisa ng bail — this, despite the non-bailable nature of the plunder charges against him. Acquitted at pinalaya na rin si Bong Revilla. Kasalukuyang namamayagpag ngayon si GMA bilang House Speaker, samantalang ang tatlong ex-Senators na involved sa multibillion-peso pork barrel scam ay nag-file na ng kanilang COC para sa senatorial race next year.

Hindi maikakaila ang pagkiling ni Tatay Digong mo sa China. Sino ang makakalimot sa statement nyang, “There are now three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia”? At ang biro nyang, “If you want, just make us a province”? Under his administration, malakas ang loob na sinasakop ng China ang mga teritoryo natin sa West Philippine Sea. Nababaon tayo ngayon sa multibillion “friendly” loans sa China. Pinapaburan ang mga Chinese contractors na banned na sa ibang bansa due to unscrupulous business dealings and transactions. Malayang nakakapagtrabaho rito ang mahigit 3 million Chinese nationals na nagiging kakumpitensya pa ng di-mabilang na mga Pinoy na walang hanapbuhay. Nakakalusot sa BOC ang tone-toneladang illegal drugs at iba pang smuggled goods from China. Isa sa mga consultants ni Duterte ay Chinese. Madalas na may nagda-dock na Chinese military ship at nagla-land na Chinese aircraft sa Davao. Binu-bully sa WPS ang ating Navy at mga mangingisda. Ngayon, inaangkin na rin ng China ang ating Benham Rise. At naaprubahan na ang Chinese government-owned telecom company na mag-operate sa bansa. Ito ay posibleng maging malaking threat sa ating national security. Isang araw, magigising na lang tayo as the next Venezuela sa kamay ng mapanupil na China.

Ugali ni Tatay Digong mo ang labelling. Tinatawag niyang Dilawan ang kanyang mga kritiko, at Reds ang mga taga-suporta ng makakaliwang pwersa. Sa social media, paboritong target ng mga trolls at DDS ang mga “dilawan.” Samantala, because of redtagging, marami nang human rights advocates ang pinapatay. According to the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), si Atty. Ben Ramos, isang kilalang human rights lawyer at peasant advocate, ang 34th lawyer killed under this administration.

Kilala si Tatay Digong mo for consistently lambasting media outfits for their critical reporting. Binabantaan nya ang mga ito with “exposés,” investigations and legal cases, coverage ban, at possible shutdown. As a result, napilitang ibenta ng Prieto family ang kanilang majority stake sa Philippine Daily Inquirer kay Ramon Ang, kilalang malapit na kaibigan at campaign contributor ni Duterte. Ang Rappler ay patuloy na ginigipit hanggang ngayon, samantalang ang ABS-CBN ay tinatakot na hindi bibigyan ng renewal of franchise kapag ito ay nag-expire in 2020. Tinutuya rin ng mga DDS at trolls ang mga myembro ng media na “presstitutes.” Sa kasalukuyan, 12 journalists na ang pinapatay sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte, ayon sa NUJP.

Alam nating lahat na marami sa mga political supporters at campaign contributors ni Tatay Digong mo ang binigyan nya ng mga posisyon o meaty contracts sa gobyerno. Marami ang na-bypass na career officials, at karamihan sa mga appointees nya ay kulang sa karanasan, abilidad, at credentials. Recently, “pabirong” nag-issue ng warning si Tatay Digong mo sa mga local officials sa Bicol na hindi bibigyan ng suportang pinansyal kung hindi nila susuportahan ang kandidatura nina Bong Go, Bato Dela Rosa, at Francis Tolentino. Kung ang pinakamataas na lider ng bansa ay walang pakundangan sa pagpa-practice ng patronage politics, ano ang dapat nating asahan sa local at barangay levels? Dapat nga kasi, leadership by example ang pinapairal. Di ba?

Paano maipatutupad sa bansa ang anti-political dynasty law kung mismong pamilya ni Tatay Digong mo ay mga political dynasts? Paano siya paniniwalaang seryoso sa kanyang anti-corruption campaign kung pinakawalan nya ang mga plunderers, nananahimik siya sa mga appointees nyang involved sa mga anomalya, at ipinu-promote niya ang mga kaalyado nyang nalusutan o nagpalusot ng tone-toneladang shabu sa Customs? Paano nya oobligahin ang mga government employees na maging competent sa kanilang trabaho kung nagpa-power nap lang siya sa mga pandaigdigang pagtitipon? Paano siya paniniwalaan that he hates the oligarchs kung nakikita natin siya rubbing elbows with the Marcoses, the Ejercito-Estradas, the Binays, the Enriles, and the Arroyos, at pinapaburan o nage-engage in out-of-court settlements with his campaign contributors na gaya nina Dennis Uy (Phoenix), Alexander Wongchuking (Mighty Corp.), Lucio Tan, Janet Napoles, at Manny Pacquiao?

Sa two and a half years na pamumuno ni Tatay Digong mo, he is able to effectively polarize the nation. Niyayakap na ngayon ng mga mamamayan ang cultures of hate, violence, and fear. Dahil sa kanyang crude speech, notoriety, mediocrity, at incompetence, nagiging laughing stock na tayo ng buong mundo. Our moral values have deteriorated and our moral fiber as Filipinos is now corrupted. Naghahari na sa karamihan sa atin ang kawalan ng respeto, ng dignidad, ng integridad, ng disiplina, at ng moralidad. Bilang lipunan, nawawala na ang ating moral compass.

Ngayon, sa dinami-rami ng mga patunay, hindi ka pa rin ba naniniwalang ENABLER si Tatay Digong mo?

IS THE FILIPINO REALLY WORTH DYING FOR?

“I have asked myself many times: Is the Filipino worth suffering, or even dying, for? Is he not a coward who would readily yield to any colonizer, be he foreign or homegrown? Is a Filipino more comfortable under an authoritarian leader because he does not want to be burdened with the freedom of choice? Is he unprepared, or worse, ill-suited for presidential or parliamentary democracy?

I have carefully weighed the virtues and the faults of the Filipino, and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for…..” –Ninoy Aquino

August 21, 1983: Ninoy’s Homecoming and Death

He didn’t know exactly what awaited him in the Philippines once he gets home.

There was the possibility of his plane getting ordered to turn around. Or house/hospital arrest. Or imprisonment. Or even death. Yet, fully aware of the potential danger that his decision entailed, and against the advice of relatives, friends, and well-meaning political colleagues, he still returned to the Philippines — the only country he considered home. He used to tell his wife, Cory, that he had “always wanted to die for our country,” so if the government would have him killed, “that’s the best thing that would happen to me.”

Ferdinand Marcos was seriously ill, the economy was in shambles, insurgency was becoming a major problem, and the cronies were fighting among themselves like ravenous vultures. Moreover, the opposition was fragmented. Ninoy Aquino, the Wonder Boy of Philippine politics, felt the urgent need to go back home after three years of self-exile in the US. Fearing that a military takeover or armed conflict would ensue should the strongman die or rendered incapacitated by his illness, Ninoy wanted to talk to Marcos, believing that he could somehow convince the latter to restore democracy in the country. (Marcos already ended Martial Law two years prior, but according to Ninoy, ”Without dismantling the apparatus of dictatorship, the lifting of martial law is [just] a cruel deception.”)

Ninoy was warned countless times — by government emissaries, by Gen. Fabian Ver, and by Imelda Marcos herself — that there were intelligence reports of assassination plots against him. Thinking that it was just a desperate ploy to dissuade him from returning to his beloved homeland, he went on with his plan.

I could have opted to seek political asylum in America, but I feel it is my duty, as it is the duty of every Filipino, to suffer with his people especially in time of crisis,” he was quoted as saying. He added, “I will never be able to forgive myself if I have to live with the knowledge that I could have done something and I did not do anything.”

Fraternity brothers, Ninoy and Marcos were longtime political opponents, archrivals, bitter foes. Ninoy was the bane of Marcos’ existence, the thorn in his side, his political nemesis, and the greatest threat to his insatiable greed for power. Fearlessly outspoken, Ninoy was known for his legendary charisma, the gifts of gab and eloquence, his brilliance, and his indomitable spirit. Since he became Senator in 1967, he would grab every available opportunity to speak out against Marcos’ authoritarian rule. He was relentless in exposing the Marcoses’ plunder of government coffers, their lavish lifestyle, and their numerous excesses and abuses. He was the most dauntless, staunchest, and most vocal critic of the Marcoses and their cronies.

When Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, in an apparent effort to suppress the growing opposition and to legitimize his extended rule, Ninoy was among the first personalities that he ordered arrested and jailed. He was sentenced to death by the military tribunal based on trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms, murder, and subversion.  In 1980, after 7 years and 7 months of imprisonment, he was allowed to fly to the US to undergo triple-bypass heart surgery. After a successful operation, he proceeded on attacking the Marcos administration, delivering speeches across the country, and serving as one of the most prominent overseas front fighters for Philippine democracy.

When he landed on Philippine soil on that fateful day of August 21, 1983, Ninoy was assassinated.

His death, which triggered a series of civil disobedience campaigns that eventually culminated in the 1986 revolution, proved that a dead Ninoy could be a more formidable opponent to the Marcoses than the fearless, fast-talking, hard-hitting political leader that the latter was when he was still alive. Ninoy’s death inspired and empowered the masses to go out to the streets and shout, “Sobra na! Tama na! Palitan na!” It resulted to public outrage that eventually put an end to Marcos’ 21-year oppressive rule.

It changed our country’s history.

31_Ninoyfuneral
photo credit: Inquirer.net

 

August 21, 2018: 35 Years After Ninoy’s Death

Anyone in his right mind would have thought that, considering everything that we, as a nation, had to suffer, had to sacrifice, and had to fight for even with our very lives just to win back our freedom, we would have already learned our lesson. We would have thought that from then on, we, Filipinos, will do everything and anything just to ensure that history will never repeat itself. We would have thought that we now have all the more reason to prove to everyone that we are, indeed, worth dying for.

But look around you.

Holding the highest office in the land is an incompetent, quick-tempered, vindictive, treasonous, misogynistic, narcissistic, tyrannical, foul-mouthed, bigoted psychopath.

More than 25,000 Filipinos, mostly poor and innocent, and all without the benefit of due process, have already been killed in the name of this administration’s War on Drugs. And the war is “far from over,” according to the butcher in Malacañang. “It will be as relentless and chilling as on the day it began.”

In a blatant disregard of the Hague tribunal’s ruling on the Philippines-China dispute over the West Philippine Sea, our islands are now generously given to China – and on a silver platter, no less. The ass-licker in Malacañang continues to kowtow to China despite the bully-nation being the source of tons of illegal drugs, smuggled goods, illegal Chinese workers, blacklisted contractors, and casinos that are granted easy access into the country, and of “friendly” loans that are potentially part of China’s debt-trap diplomacy.

Ferdinand Marcos, the late dictator who made our countrymen’s lives a living hell during his dictatorial reign, and whose economic sabotage left us with an external debt that we are all still paying for until the year 2025, is now buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani – no thanks to the dictator-wanna-be in Malacañang who thinks that Marcos is the best president our country has ever had.

Marawi, once a thriving city, was transformed into a virtual ghost town when it became the battleground between IS militants and government troops, where countless soldiers and civilians perished. This happened after a loose cannon in Malacañang dared the Maute Group to attack Marawi. The firefight prompted Duterte to declare Martial Law, not just in Marawi but in the entire Mindanao, and despite the conflict eventually being resolved in October of last year, ML has been extended twice. It will take effect until the end of this year.

This administration continues to aggressively campaign for federalism through constitutional amendment amid its apparent unpopularity, the citizens’ disapproval, and the warning of their own economic managers that the shift could have “dire consequences” and could “wreak havoc on the economy.” In an effort to get Filipinos talk about federalism, Asec. Mocha came up with a jingle video popularly known as Pepedederalismo. She got the Filipinos talking, all right.

Sen. Leila de Lima is languishing in solitary pre-trial detention for exactly 544 days now. For fearlessly launching a Senate inquiry into the spate of killings happening under the guise of a drug war, the Fentanyl-addict in Malacañang vilified and demonized her in an attempt to break and silence the unbreakable Senator.

For the adversarial positions she held against the various policies of this administration, Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Her colleagues at the SC acted on the quo warranto petition filed by SolGen Jose Calida – a petition that was not only baseless but, more so, unconstitutional. The entire proceeding was believed to be part of an effort to undermine the independence of the judiciary.

Instead of improving tax collection measures (In 2015, only 25 of the top 50 richest Filipinos are on the list of top 500 taxpayers.), the TRAIN Law was passed and implemented regardless of its debilitating impact on the poorest of the poor – our most vulnerable socio-economic class. The poor are “made to pay for the government’s failure to collect from the wealthy.” That’s the TRAIN Law, in a nutshell, according to former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay.

Oligarchs, in cahoots with political dynasts, continue to control and run the country despite Duterte’s promise that he would “destroy oligarchs embedded in government.” Our current DPWH Secretary and Duterte appointee, Mark Villar, is a perfect example of an oligarch, while members of political dynasties include the likes of Cayetanos, Arroyos, Marcoses, Estradas, and, yes, Dutertes.

The government appointees of “the best president in the solar system” are “only the best and the brightest.” Take, for instance, Mocha and Andanar of PCOO, Cesar Montano and Wanda Teo of DOT, Bong Go (the national photo bomber), Vit Aguirre (Jack Lam extorsion and his plan to make Janet Lim Napoles a state witness), Nicanor Faeldon formerly of Bureau of Customs, and so on. This should be expected when people are appointed out of “utang na loob” instead of their merit. “Even a whiff, or a whisper, of corruption and you’re out,” Duterte warned. Government officials sacked due to corruption should not worry, though. Under this administration, terminated appointees can still be recycled.

P6.4B worth of drugs actually smuggled in Oct. 2017 and another P6.8B “speculatively” smuggled this month. On both occasions, what were most conspicuous and interesting are the President’s deafening silence and utter lack of interest. When will his “relentless and chilling” War on Drugs come in?

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now out of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and, miraculously, out of her neck brace and wheelchair, too! She is now the Speaker of the House of Representatives after she overthrew Bebot Alvarez as a result of the most brilliant and totally unexpected political machinations. She could also be our next Prime Minister under the Federal form of government. By the same token, Jinggoy Estrada is out of detention and will “most probably run in next year’s mid-term elections to reclaim his Senate seat.”

Sr. Patricia Fox, a 71-year-old Australian missionary who has been staying in the country for 27 years now, was ordered by the Bureau of Immigration to leave the country. Davao’s most-feared thug in Malacañang claimed that Sr. Patricia is an undesirable alien and that her presence “poses a risk to public interest.”

The bully in Malacañang has been attacking and threatening the media because of their critical reporting on the relentless killings that his brutal war on drugs both entail and incite. He also tried to curtail press freedom by advising them to tone down their reporting.

According to the Commission on Human Rights, the ancestral lands of indigenous peoples such as the Lumads are considered sacred. However, the real estate agent in Malacañang said that, to help the Lumads generate wealth, he would personally invite investors to develop the ancestral domain areas in Mindanao. Under this administration, 30 Lumads had already been killed and at least 30,000 were forcibly evacuated “due to aerial bombings to pave way for the entry of foreign corporations and big local businesses.”

The CPP rejected the guidelines of the peace talks proposed by the government. Duterte, the habitual promise-breaker in Malacañang, “has been responsible for repeatedly terminating peace negotiations,” according to CPP founder and NDFP political adviser, Joma Sison. “We can no longer negotiate with an administration headed by Duterte,” he added.

The favorite punching bag these days of the blasphemous tenant in Malacañang is the Roman Catholic Church, along with its leaders, its Bible, and its God. The worst attack he has made, so far, was when he called our God “stupid.”

Duterte is notorious for making sexist, chauvinistic, misogynistic and even racist remarks and insults, and for acting vindictively against his female critics. Among the most notable victims of the filthy-mouthed wimp in Malacañang are Sen. De Lima, CJ Sereno, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, VP Leni, UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Fil-Am philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Australian missionary Sr. Patricia Fox, and Rappler’s Maria Ressa and Pia Ranada.

Under this administration, we are now experiencing a rising inflation, rising unemployment, rising debt, rising power rate, rising prices of basic commodities, rising fuel costs, and rising interest rates. And all these are not mere fake news being fabricated by the babbling liar in Malacañang.

Our democratic institutions are being demolished. “Congress is a rubberstamp, the Senate is a circus, our legislators carry on with their political plays as if the EJKs are not a thick red line that takes everything off the table. Both the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman are embattled, and the CHR’s existence is jeopardized by the specter of a new constitution.”

Finally, look at what Duterte has spawned in this country: historical revisionism and/or historical amnesia, widespread apathy, aggressive ignorance, unspeakable cruelty, smug complacency, misplaced nationalism, pervasive hopelessness, crippling fear, wretched ungratefulness, and pure, unadulterated stupidity.

All these could not have happened if we did not put someone like Duterte in Malacanang.

So, if Ninoy were alive today, do you think he would still consider the Filipino worth dying for?