This is a story about death in a place they call the Promised Land, where the heat punches with a sweaty fist, and a crescent moon rises with the Christian sun.

It happened on a lonely hill in a quiet town, where every bridge is a checkpoint manned by young men in fatigues. Esmael Mangudadatu, Buluan vice mayor, threatened with violence, sending his wife Genalyn, his sister, his nieces and his lawyers to file his certificate of candidacy because he believed women would be safe. Esmael Mangudadatu, inviting a pack of journalists to cover the event, because he believed his family would be safe where the media were. Esmael Mangudadatu, answering the last phone call from a wife who told him they had been stopped by Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.’s private army.
Read more…

Nov 28, 2009 under Elections, General, People | 2 comments

March to mayhem

It is November in Manila, days before the deadline for filing candidacies. On Monday, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada with 11 other senators signed Resolution 1472 absolving Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. of ethical charges in connection with the C-5 Road extension project, long before a committee report was officially released by the Senate.
Read more…

Nov 22, 2009 under Elections, Politics | 2 comments

So sayeth the Comelec

Nicodemo T. Ferrer is a pillar of the community. Man of faith, Knight of Columbus, former dean of the Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation, Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister for Our Lady of the Purification Parish, a man whose 2006 appointment into the Commission on Elections came with his pledge to “restore and improve” the public image of the Commission on Elections—the same man of God whose bigoted morality has brought Manila back to the medieval.
Read more…

Nov 11, 2009 under Elections, Politics | 9 comments

Jesus in Yellow

The grass is yellow outside the gates of Hacienda Luisita. Jesus walked here once.

His father watched him die, almost five years to this day. Nov. 16 was when close to 15,000 tenants gathered to protest their treatment under the Cojuanco-owned Hacienda Luisita. Dispersal units charged with a thousand soldiers in full battle gear. The Northern Command numbered over five hundred. Stones and shouts, water cannons, tanks that barreled into gates. It was three in the afternoon. The sun burned yellow. The father heard it first: rifle cracks, a barrage of bullets punching through bodies. Jesus died that day, one of seven reported union deaths. They tell me there are more whose names were never reported.
Read more…

Nov 7, 2009 under Elections | 6 comments

Chiz Escudero 2010

The popularity of Francis Joseph Guevara Escudero, now senator of the republic and possible presidential aspirant for 2010, has been attributed to many things. Some claim it is his eloquence. Many have marveled at his ability to stretch a single thought into a 20-minute social commentary, dripping with synonyms and similes, delivered with the same deadpan efficiency of a call center agent explaining to the 38th caller just why their electricity went off in the storm. Others claim it is his looks, this tall lean man in shirtsleeves surrounded by colleagues carting potbellies in embroidered pineapple silk shirts. According to his personal website, his “rise into the nation’s consciousness” is nothing less than “meteoric.” He is described as “consistently leading surveys as the most trusted official of the land,” and his various distinctions—including the recent “Most Admired TV Personality” in 2008—proves “he has not gone unnoticed.”
Read more…

Nov 1, 2009 under Elections, Politics | 8 comments