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.
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Sep 29, 2012 under People, Politics | no comment

The dictator

We are told we are on the verge of open war. The generals are mounting their cavalry; the defenders of the faith are mustering their troops. This war did not spring from the deaths of the 11 members of the New People’s Army killed in a June encounter with the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion. Neither was it a result of the hostilities in Basilan, whose terrorists shattered the bodies of the 10 soldiers whose coffins arrived yesterday at the Villamor Air Base. The war does not involve the Chinese garrison at Scarborough, or the families of the victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, or even the millions whose lives we are told are at stake at the center of Edwin Lacierda’s metaphorical war against poverty. The battle of 2012, we are told, was declared on July 23.
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Jul 28, 2012 under Health, Opinions, Politics | no comment

The Law of Sara Duterte

It could have been Asiong Salonga swaggering into the slums; hair gelled and fists ready, providing the opening sequence for the presidency of a man named Joseph Estrada. It could have been Bong Revilla, Alyas Pogi, belly sucked in, bandanna wrapped around his head, half-naked women clinging to his pudgy arms. It could have been any one of them—Fernando Poe Jr., Robin Padilla, Lito Lapid riding in as Leon Guerrero. Roll the music, signal the extras, let the heroine scream, let the villain laugh. Enter the hero.
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Jul 9, 2011 under Opinions, Politics | 3 comments

Brotherhood of Bigots

In the Church of Nicodemo Ferrer, God is a bigot, and his apostles fly first class.

In a decision penned with commissioners Elias Yusoph, Armando Velasco and Lucenito Tagle, Commission on Elections Commissioner Ferrer proclaimed multimillionaire Juan Miguel “Mikey” Macapagal Arroyo, son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the legitimate representative of the nation’s security guards and tricycle drivers. Ferrer, Yusoph and Tagle make up the same holy trinity that replaced the Constitution with the fire-and-brimstone rantings of a Pennsylvanian Baptist preacher from an online website when they justified banning gay representatives from government.
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Jul 24, 2010 under Politics | 1 comment

In protest

THIS COLUMN will be happy. It will revolt against itself. The words will slick on red lipstick; the verbs will step into high heels. Sentences will saunter barelegged in a blackout, will swing up to the painted green top of a damp table to dance in the blinking light of mobile phones just before the batteries die. Punctuations will boogie to graffiti and bop to vodka, will dance until the heels slip on spilled ice and a sky the color of Juan Ponce Enrile’s hair opens in needle-lashing rage.
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Jul 17, 2010 under Opinions, Politics | no comment

The savage state of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

His name is Rei-Mon Guran; he was a left-wing student leader at Aquinas University. His friends called him Ambo. On his 21st birthday, his parents took him to a bus terminal where they watched him load his bags for school. He was still in the back of the bus when they found him, with four bullets from a .45 cal. pistol lodged in his head.

His name is Raymond Manalo, and he was a farmer. The armed men took him on Valentine’s Day. He was also 21. They said he was a communist. They beat him with chains and planks; poured his own piss down his nose, stuffed him into a four-by-one foot cell with three other men. When he escaped, he talked about the man in the next cell, who lost his mind and hanged himself with the garter from his underwear.
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Jun 26, 2010 under Politics | no comment

For the love of Noynoy Aquino

It is Independence Day in the land of the yellow morning, where the moon is a greasy pearl, freedom is a Twitter hashtag and the brave bawl in their cradles (unless the cradles were pawned for the rose-red heart of a bottle of cheap gin). Philippine Airlines offers a “Proud and Free” Promo for the patriotic Filipino—$135 for Hong Kong, $690 for Honolulu, $790 Las Vegas (not including government taxes and ticketing service fees). In New York’s 20,000-strong Filipino community celebration, Christian Bautista sings “Beautiful Girl” and “Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile,” Carlo Orosa soars with the “Impossible Dream,” Sarah Geronimo is “well-applauded” for “You Changed My Life,” and fortunately remembers to sing “Magkaisa.”
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Jun 12, 2010 under Politics | no comment