Ambassador to the United Nations Lauro Baja Jr. asked New York Times readers to come to the Philippines to “breathe the air of freedom” in a letter to that newspaper last week. But as if to validate what the Times had said in its April 5 editorial, a demonstration at Manila’s Chino Roces (Mendiola) bridge was dispersed by the police with water cannon, leaving the participants sopping wet and breathless, on the same day the department of foreign affairs made Baja’s letter public.

Baja was replying to the Times editorial “Dark Days for Philippine Democracy”. Continue reading

Irony of ironies


To emphasize that–of course–Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is not about to do a Thaksin by resigning her post, her political affairs adviser declared the other day that the situations of the resigned Thai prime minister and of his boss are “totally” different.

Gabriel Claudio said there’s not only a difference in the forms of government, but also in the levels of outrage in Thailand and the Philippines. Furthermore, while there was gloom, outrage and pessimism in Thailand before Thaksin Shinawatra decided to resign as Thai prime minister, there is “far greater optimism on the part of Filipinos”. Continue reading

The devil’s scripture


The devil himself can cite scripture–and so can lawbreakers cite the law, and liars accuse others of lying. Traditional politicians (“trapos” in the Philippine setting) thus usurp the texts of people empowerment to disempower the people, and accuse others of being trapos in the process. The most resistant to change, they also cite the need for change so they can prevent it.

These horrors aren’t happening in a nightmare world only Stephen King can imagine. They’re in the reality called the Philippines that no television reality show can ever really recreate. Continue reading