The apology

In A nation of sinners, they are the moral few.

In a Sept. 30 editorial that waxed poetic over UST’s proud history of orthodox thought, student paper The Varsitarian claimed superiority over the “intellectual mercenaries” of other Catholic universities. The paper imagines itself and its university as rebels of the new world order, “going against the grain, going against the tide.” In upholding the stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines condemning the Reproductive Health bill, they have lived up to their Catholic name, the proud children of a pontifical institution—“the second to be so named in world history.”
Read more…

Oct 13, 2012 under Opinions | no comment

The crime

In the aftermath of the passage of Republic Act 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, many lessons were taught to the citizens of the Republic of the Philippines. A number of political bloggers learned that calling a moron senator a moron was a criminal act, with the same jail sentence handed down to the unfortunate Twitter user who called Sharon Cuneta overweight. Sixteen online news outfits were shut down, dozens of amateur filmmakers were sent to jail, one Cabinet official stepped down after a complaint by the CBCP’s Melvyn Castro that former anchor and then Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang had made libelous statements in his 2010 blog regarding Castro’s questionable morality—he claimed contraception was a greater sin than wholesale corruption. Castro claimed he was filing a libel case in behalf of God.
Read more…

Oct 6, 2012 under General, Opinions | no comment

Killing Bebot Momay

The hill crawls with people—police investigators in gloves and berets, City Hall clerks clutching handkerchiefs to mouths, blank-eyed soldiers with belts of ammunition slung over their chests. The photojournalists stand in the distance, higher up in the hillside, sunglasses and long lenses shooting sparks under the high sun. Everywhere there are clumps of reporters, the local press, most of whom are crouched over bodies. This one, says a sunburned boy with a press ID. He lifts a banana leaf. This is Henry.
Read more…

Sep 29, 2012 under People, Politics | no comment

Where they fell

They call it ground zero. The road into Bayug is unpaved, weaving past a clutch of houses, 10, maybe 15 of them. The wooden walls are fresh and unpainted. Most are unfinished. Piles of wet wood sit under lines of laundry. To the east is Madulog River, to the left is the sea.

Before Dec. 17, 2011, over a thousand people lived in Bayug, a slice of land on the outskirts of Iligan. This is where fathers from the city once brought children for Sunday swims, and fishermen’s homes sat elbow-to-elbow steps away from the seacoast.
Read more…

Sep 22, 2012 under People | no comment

The lightning rod

Tito Sotto is a victim, or so Tito Sotto claims. He believes he is the focus of a concerted effort by the heavily funded supporters of the Reproductive Health bill, all of whom are desperate to demonize him and weaken his resolve. He suspects he is the first senator to be made victim of cyberbullying. He has been insulted, criticized and threatened with lawsuits. His history has been exploited. It is a hatchet job, he says, a demolition job.
Read more…

Sep 8, 2012 under Opinions | no comment

The church of Joaquin Bernas

On Aug. 31, 2012, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines published an advertisement in this newspaper arguing the CBCP’s stance against the Reproductive Health bill. Signed by the Most Reverend Gabriel V. Reyes, DD, Bishop of Antipolo, the “Defense of the Stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the House Bill 4244,” referred to an unnamed “columnist in one of our newspapers” who wrote that “the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their beliefs nor may churchmen compel President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious belief.”
Read more…

Sep 1, 2012 under Health | no comment

The good mayor

My name is Jesse Robredo. I was born in Naga and grew up in the city. I was working in Manila, in San Miguel Corp. I had my master’s in business administration at the University of the Philippines already. The career path that I was looking at was succeeding in a private company, then making a niche as a senior executive later on. What compelled me to join Edsa 1 was the assassination of Ninoy. I told myself, if this can be done in the Philippines to a prominent person, then something is wrong with this country. Maybe it’s high time that I became part of the group that will advocate change in the country. After Marcos’ death, I was invited to work in the government, so I did.
Read more…

Aug 25, 2012 under People | no comment