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.
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Oct 6, 2012 under General, Opinions | no comment

The executioners

In 2005, 36,510 Filipinos died from pneumonia. 20,951 died from tuberculosis. In Quezon City alone, there were 3,349 attempted homicides, 69 murders, 55 rapes, and 629 robberies. In the entire country, there were a total of 2,962 recorded rapes, 11,833 major thefts, 44 recorded kidnappings, and 4,352 recorded drug offenses. The impunity index ranks the country third in journalist deaths, with 142 killed since 1986. The number of dead climbs every year, and very little has been done to prevent it. Flood, fever, kidnapping, poverty, pregnancy, robbery—in the Philippines, the danger may be clear and present, but it has little effect on a nation that has accepted survival is accidental.
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Apr 10, 2011 under General, People | no comment

Assault on reason

A little past eight in the evening of February 3, 2011, a group of plainclothes policemen raided a high-end relaxation spa in the Metrowalk Ortigas Center on Meralco Avenue. Clients on massage tables heard shouts from the outside—“Dapa, dapa!” One man sweating alone inside the dry sauna, shouted at by one of the policemen—“Nagtatago ka, ’no?”—left the sauna to join the six other men sitting along the hallway. He thought it was a holdup. It never occurred to him that the spa was in any fashion illegitimate. When he asked a woman who stood in the hallway speaking into a police radio, she told them it was a raid.
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Feb 20, 2011 under General, Opinions | 3 comments

Mayhem

In the friendliest country in the world, where tarsiers grin under coconut suns, and waves sparkle blue against the whitest of white sands, the luckiest man west of the Pacific discovered his luck the same day the Department of Health discovered 136 bags of HIV positive blood.
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Dec 5, 2010 under General, Opinions | 1 comment

Alysha

A small girl sits on a cement ledge bordering a sandbox filled with dirt. There are flowers growing inside, blush pink and blooming. The girl is maybe 4, maybe 5 years old, in a wrinkled blue-and-white school uniform, a streak of dirt on her cheek, a dimple popping out as the small feet kick against the ledge. Hold the picture, we tell her. Look at the camera.

Her name is Alysha. Her grandmother Arbaya tells the story. Of how her daughter Rowena left home early on a Monday morning with several of the neighboring women. Of how Arbaya got a phone call from her panicked daughter, past nine, that their convoy of cars had been held by the Ampatuan men. Of how her daughter said she was going to die, and that the media men were outside the van, already sprawled on the ground.
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Nov 21, 2010 under General, Opinions | no comment

Jude

It is Monday, high noon, when you hear the story. Your son tells you he heard about it from his teachers. He says it’s the talk of the school.

At first they say it was a kidnapping. You brush it off, there’s no reason to be afraid. Politicians are involved. They will kill each other off and haul each other to hell, and life will go on because this is Mindanao.
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Nov 14, 2010 under General, People | no comment

Reynafe

It is Monday, high noon, when you hear the story. Your son tells you he heard about it from his teachers. He says it’s the talk of the school.

At first they say it was a kidnapping. You brush it off, there’s no reason to be afraid. Politicians are involved. They will kill each other off and haul each other to hell, and life will go on because this is Mindanao.
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Nov 7, 2010 under General, Opinions | no comment