Things fall apart

Imee Marcos and Rodrigo Duterte
Standard

The 31st anniversary of EDSA 1986 was marked — the government didn’t exactly celebrate it — with both chaos and indifference. The disorder was evident in the differences in the various groups’ and even the government’s separate and conflicting activities to observe it. Apathy was the usual response of much of the populace to an event whose significance has continued to elude them in the same way that they can’t tell what happened in much of Philippine history, thanks to what we laughingly call the educational system.

Continue reading

EDSA 1986: The revolution that wasn’t

People Power Monument
Standard

“Low key” is how this year’s commemoration of the February 1986 civilian-military uprising known as EDSA 1 is being described by the Duterte regime. There will be none of the “Salubungan” (the meeting of the key leaders of the mutiny and defecting police and military officers) that had been part of the celebration since the overthrow of the Marcos regime. Instead of its being celebrated at the People Power Monument on Epifanio de Los Santos Avenue (EDSA) in the vicinity of Camps Crame and Aguinaldo, whatever rites will mark that event 31 years ago will be held in the the latter military camp.

Continue reading

Promoting impunity

Rodrigo Duterte for death penalty
Standard

THE campaign by President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in Congress for the restoration of the death penalty is replete with irony. Capital punishment is supposed to discourage criminality while at the same time insuring that those who commit certain crimes get what they deserve. But what’s likely is that rather than deter crime and assure crime victims of justice, it will further strengthen the impunity, or exemption from punishment, of the powerful, privileged, and well-connected.

Continue reading

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Standard

The unfortunately named Magdalo group — the Magdalo was the Katipunan faction that murdered Andres Bonifacio and Antonio Luna — identified with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has a point. It doesn’t do anyone any good for the Philippine government (GPH), particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and President Rodrigo Duterte on the one hand, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the other, to be throwing accusations at each other at this time when the peace talks between them have been suspended and are in grave danger of once again being abandoned, as they were during the Corazon Aquino, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III administrations.

Continue reading

Refuge of scoundrels

Standard

TO Samuel Johnson (born 1709; died 1784), poet, essayist and author of A Dictionary of the English Language (published in April, 1755), do we owe the observation that “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

His biographer James Boswell (born 1740; died 1795) claimed that Johnson wasn’t condemning patriotism but how it was being misused by the unscrupulous to justify even the foulest of deeds. If that was indeed what Johnson meant, he was not not only being astutely observant about his times; he was also being prophetic. Scoundrels have indeed used patriotism, or love of country, to justify even the worst crimes.

Continue reading