Victims and victimizers

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THEY’RE victims twice over, casualties of the brutal struggle for survival in a country of absent opportunities and grinding poverty, and dupes of the drug syndicates that lure them into carrying illegal drugs to and from the Philippines.

That’s basically the argument of the OFW advocacy groups, and much of the media, that support the Philippine government’s (temporarily successful) efforts for a stay in the executions of three Filipinos sentenced to death in China for drug trafficking. But add another argument in support of getting the Filipinos off: the laws of China are too severe; they punish drug dealing with death while the Philippines doesn’t. Ergo, the Filipinos’ conviction was unjust and it’s only fair to commute their death sentence to life imprisonment or even less.

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Imagine

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THE claim that the world needs the US to oust dictators and promote democracy has never been quite accurate, or even honest. George W. Bush maintained that both were his administration’s goals in Iraq, but never once mentioned that Iraqi oil reserves were at that time estimated at 112 billion barrels, but could be as much as 350 billion barrels. If promoting democracy in Iraq meant re-opening its oil resources to Western oil companies, the US did promote democracy — and Chevron’s interests — there.

As for ousting dictators, numerous countries had done that long before it occurred to Bush Jr. and his predecessors that the US has the divine right to make the world safe for US corporate interests. The Haitians ousted Francois Duvalier in 1971; Indonesia’s Suharto, in power for 32 years, was ousted in 1998 — and the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown by the EDSA mutiny in 1986.

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Truth interred

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The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.

SHAKESPEARE wasn’t referring to the consequences of either good or evil, but to evil’s being remembered more than the good. That might have been true in his time, which was 400 years ago. Today the opposite’s more the case, and that’s true of even the most evil men (and women), who, once safely in the ground, are often remembered for their good deeds and/or qualities more than for the bad.

While the most that’s been said about Adolf Hitler is that he restored German pride (at least for some 12 years) and loved dogs, the one man demonstrators used to compare to the Fuhrer has been a bit more fortunate. Among other accolades, the late Ferdinand Marcos, insist some Filipinos, also built roads and diversified the country’s energy resources.

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Enemies of the state

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AT SOME point during her interminable occupancy of Malacanang, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said something to the effect that the police and military are charged with preserving “our way of life.”

I hesitate to call it an unguarded moment, Mrs. Arroyo not being known for lowering her guard at any time, except when she’s playing golf with the state capitalists of China. Let’s call it an unintended confession of what the country’s ruling dynasties and their instrumentalities are up to.

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