Watch the sky

There were already gunshots hours before the mountain fell. The sentries say they fired into the air again and again – a warning to the villagers to run, as small rocks and soil began to slide.

The landslide occurred at three in the morning at the hilly portion of Sitio Uno to Sitio 700, a gold-panning area situated in Barangay Napnapan, Pantukan, Compostela Valley. “Said incident,” according to the Jan. 14 report signed by Director Benito Ramos of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, “occurred due to continuous rains in recent days. Dozens were buried alive while several shanties made with light materials were wiped out.”
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Feb 25, 2012 under Opinions, People | no comment

The Corona

In the room where the chief of the truth is to be tried, the chairs are blue, the air blasts cold, and grim-faced Senate employees stalk between gallery rows to tap the shoulders of the sleeping public interest. This is where the pompous pontificate and the howling is hysterical, and if the howlers wear robes instead of overused suits, it is an acceptable sideshow to the circus of the surreal. The respondent, one Renato Corona, is given the gift of prosecutors so oddly incompetent that judges scramble to take their places. The 45 pieces of property allegedly undeclared by Chief Justice Corona is reduced to maybe 20, to maybe five, to maybe it was someone else who said 45. Documents of bank accounts appear magically under garage doors, and along Senate hallways wearing cloaks of invisibility.

The President of the Republic claims there is nothing personal in his crusade against Corona. He is fighting for justice, and because he seeks enormous changes, it is only natural that his enemy is a juggernaut. A blindfolded woman carrying scales, he says, symbolizes justice. Our duty, says Benigno Aquino III, son of saints and heroes, is to return the blindfold to Lady Justice and once again balance the scales.
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Feb 18, 2012 under Opinions, People | 4 comments

Empty houses

I write this one Saturday in February, on a week when the crime stories have forced their way into the daily seven-o’clock newscasts in spite of the impeachment of the Chief Justice. This is Manila, where priests promise love and success and jobs overseas to the souls who touch the cross of the Black Nazarene.

The sun burns hot here, melts the skin off electric posts and strikes bright white against steel. A man runs over his girl, smashes into her standing body, then stabs her with a knife and runs over her again. A 16-year-old girl is raped and killed by teenage boys, and they smile for the cameras from behind bars. In the country’s premiere university, a graduating student is assaulted by robbers in the student council office, her skull fractured by a trophy slammed against her head.
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Feb 4, 2012 under People | no comment