Freak show

Standard

Echoing a by now common complaint, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) last Sunday lamented public apathy to the political crisis of the Arroyo regime. AMRSP Vice Chair Brother Manuel de Leon described this attitude as a “surrender to darkness” during the AMRSP assembly at the Ateneo campus in Quezon City.

With over 300 member-congregations, AMRSP includes in its roster such Catholic religious orders in the Philippines as the Society of Jesus, the LaSallian Brothers, the Franciscans, Dominicans, Benedictines, and Augustinian Sisters. Continue reading

Reliving the past

Standard

Filipinos have lived with US troops for over a hundred years. These troops replaced Spanish officers and soldiers in the aftermath of the failed 1986 Revolution, the last stages of which the United States pretended to support.

The US war for the annexation of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century meant the arrival and basing of more and more US troops in the country to “pacify” it. These soldiers were so successful in their task that by the time the US had control over the entire country, somewhere between 750,000 to a million Filipinos, mostly civilians, were dead. Continue reading

Disturbing

Standard

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said it was “disturbing”. But what was really disturbing was her being disturbed–and the Armed Forces’ making it seem as if, by posting or facilitating bail for a crime suspect, a broadcaster had himself committed a crime, or worse, would be implicated in any crime the suspect commits.

ABS-CBN’s Julius Babao has denied it. But if he did facilitate, ease, or even advance the money for the bail of one Tyrone del Rosario Santos alias Dawud Muslim Santos last April, why should Mrs. Arroyo find it “disturbing”–and why should the Armed Forces, not to mention one of Mrs. Arroyo’s favored media hacks, go all over town virtually accusing Babao of a crime? Continue reading

The peace of the graveyard

Standard

Left-wing and human rights groups blame Major General Jovito Palparan of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army for most of the murders of political activists, labor leaders, members of party-list groups, and ordinary folk suspected of links with the New People’s Army. But while he might indeed be culpable, the killings are likely to be state policy rather than the result of one man’s inability to appreciate human rights and the rule of law.

Palparan has never categorically denied involvement in the killings, and has ill-concealed his glee over them. He has said in so many words that like the New People’s Army, legal, unarmed left groups are legitimate military targets, which at the very least sanctions the assassination of their leaders and members, and at most implies military involvement. Two of the suspects in one of the most recent killings are also from his command. Continue reading