The spokesman of humanity

Herminiano “Sonny” Coloma, head of the Presidential Communications Operations Group, is very pleased by the leaps the country has come in its respect for human rights.

“It may interest you to know,” he tells journalists in a Nov. 18 press conference on the Maguindanao massacre, “that on a visit to Fort Magsaysay in September, one of the places President Aquino visited was the Aquino-Diokno Shrine.”
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Nov 28, 2010 under Opinions, People | no 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

Carnage

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