Fallen

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A broad range of causes, from lovelessness to poverty and even climate, have been blamed in the effort to explain criminality, with which the human race has been afflicted since a caveman ran off with someone else’s hunk of meat — or, if you prefer, since Cain killed Abel.

Studies in countries such as the US tend to prove that most criminals had troubled childhoods which include being beaten or fatherless in a broken home, for instance. But poverty usually heads the list of the alleged reasons why individuals commit crimes, or end up living lives of crime. As for climate, winter in temperate zone countries is usually a low crime season, plunging temperatures and snow not being conducive to rape, or to robbing a liquor store or service station. Among the fears over global warming is a spike in crime in temperate countries as winters become less severe.

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Fear itself

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HIS prose may be too fancy for some people’s taste, but former Chief Justice Reynato Puno was right, as usual. Never having been in the best of health, Philippine democracy’s on a stretcher on its way to the Intensive Care Unit, and could be in its last gasps.

A system in which a handful of families has monopolized political power for decades, in which Congress is “the domain of elites (sic) and dynasties,” is hardly democratic. The marginalized, said Puno in a speech during the celebration of the centennial of the University of the Philippines College of Law, are still “underrepresented or unrepresented.” Adequate, competent representation is the key test of whether a system is democratic or not, and the Philippines has been failing that test since Commonwealth days.

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Same old, same old

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PROBABLY with the approach of the new year in mind, but certainly because of the occasion, President Benigno Aquino III announced during the 75th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) a supposedly new counter-insurgency strategy meant, said AFP spokesmen, not only to defeat “the enemy,” but also to “win the peace.”

By “the enemy,” all Philippine governments since that of Ferdinand Marcos has meant the New People’s Army (NPA), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which commands it, and the alliance of various revolutionary groups known as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) of which the CPP is a part.

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