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

The man who killed Alexis Tioseco

The arrested man had the face of a killer. Shifting eyes, tangled hair, cheeks so thin the bones sliced sharp against skin. At the time of his incarceration, he was the father of nine, with one more on the way.

His name is Danilo D. Jomoc Sr., born 47 years ago to a farmer and his wife in Inopacan, Leyte. His education includes several years in Macagoco Elementary School, and not much else. In 1989, he applied for an opening in Agila Gas, a fuel trucking business owned by a man named Leonardo Tioseco.
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Aug 28, 2010 under Opinions, People | 1 comment

Being Mikey Arroyo

There are many reasons why Pampanga Representative and one-time movie actor Juan Miguel Arroyo has suddenly become the poster boy for the iniquities of the Arroyo administration. That he has failed to disclose his United States property in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth along with campaign contributions is not a particularly stunning revelation, at least not in a country where billion-peso corruption allegations are daily fare. It is not even the fact that a congressman who happens to be the President’s son has been caught with millions more than he makes through his monthly government paycheck. It may be easiest to say the current national disgust for him—as compared with the usual indifferent acceptance of his family’s various shenanigans—is largely due to his self-satisfied grin as he gleefully perjured himself on national television.
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Sep 19, 2009 under Opinions, Politics | 2 comments

The talented Mr. Villar

The president is firm.

“Let me say, in no uncertain terms: There will be elections in 2010. There’s your headline for tomorrow.”

In a country where we doubt even the sincerity of the half-naked 6-year-olds who beg for coins at car windows, there is no word for the sort of morons we must be to unconditionally believe the nation’s chief executive, who is guilty of some of the most dramatic lies in national memory. And yet, just as she announced last Friday that she promised elections, President Macapagal-Arroyo also issued a threat.
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Jul 19, 2009 under General | 1 comment

The woes of Ms Marcos

Over a month ago, Imelda Marcos – longest running first lady of the Republic of the Philippines, the butterfly-sleeved half of the conjugal dictatorship, the woman whose signature had once led Sotheby’s to cancel a two-day auction after she bought the whole collection with a $6 million check (and then attempted to buy the apartment where it was kept) – announced to the national press that she was penniless.
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Jul 5, 2009 under General | 2 comments

The morality of Sen. Bong Revilla

Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. – Star of “Alyas Pogi” (1990) “Alyas Pogi 2” (1992) and “Alyas Pogi: The Return” (1999) – has a penchant for roles that demand bandanas, screaming half-naked females and paint-by-number tattoos. The boyish superman with the plastic M14 can take on a gang of mustached and bearded hoods – hoods, we assume, by virtue of the mustaches – all while heroically sucking in the gut under the tucked-in T-shirt. This is the man whose defining moment in his role as Leon in the 2000 film “Ang Kilabot at ang Kembot” has three women accusing him (accurately) of pretending loyalty to each of them, while all the while attempting to get a virgin into bed. And so the women stride in, big brothers in tow, all of whom launch themselves at the man with a hand on another woman’s behind. And then the action starts, elbow to gut, fist to face, a knee to the groin, the whining Casanova suddenly Zorro. The men fall bleeding at his feet, and so do the women, all four trying to squirm their half-naked selves into his arms while Leon rolls his eyes. Another day in the life of a real man.
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May 31, 2009 under Opinions, Politics | 1 comment

The warrant for Cheche Lazaro

Branch 47 of the Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court is on the second floor of the Hall of Justice, a short walk from the Municipal Office. Outside its door is a torn paper sign, gone brittle with age, the branch number printed with graying ink. Inside, at half-past noon on a Friday, there is an air of expectation. The floors are white and spotless; untidy piles of paper are being marshaled into order, and a little girl in purple is having her hair brushed by a doting mama. Is she here, they ask, is she coming?
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May 10, 2009 under General | no comment