Insights and opinions from our contributors on the current issues happening in the region

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Reforms started by Robredo crucial for nation-building

Frequently Asked Questions on Executive Order 79 (Mining Reform)

Why is the Filipino special?

Chief Justice’s credibility crossroad

Good Friday people

Removing Lady Justice’s blindfold

Our sexual identity

Impeachment: What to Expect?

Agenda item for 2012

Enact Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill now!





Two sets of jewels

September 14, 2012

“Better to have second-hand diamonds than none at all,” Mark Twain once joked. On the 40th anniversary of martial law, Rep. Imelda Marcos wails about stolen diamonds and jewelry.

No, no, no. Imelda did not say she stashed stolen gems. “The Presidential Commission on Good Government stole my jewels,” she claims. “They should return them, instead of displaying them” (at National Museum). They were already mine before Ferdinand became president”.

“Jewels take people’s mind off their wrinkles.” Now pushing 83, Imelda gripes she has only paste gems left. She paraded the bogus trinkets before reporters.

“I have no expertise on jewelry”, President Benigno Aquino shrugged. After the museum road show, PCGG proposed the jewels be auctioned. “I just want to ensure all will be disposed off properly, and every centavo go to government.”

The exhibit-cum-auction proposal caromed into 2012 martial law rites that goes beyond routine slamming of the lady’s 1,080 shoes. “There’s a little Imelda in all of us”, reads a New York shoe store poster.

So, “where are all those shoes?” asks Virginia Moncrieff in Huffington Post. “Mrs Marcos wants them returned… even if they don’t qualify as vintage kisch”, Moncrieff adds. She edged out other Third World dictators in a Newsweek list. “No mean feat for the woman with expensive feet… But Imelda continues to fight for what she says is rightfully hers – the loot acquired from her husband's 21 years of pillaging the Philippines”.

The storm, this year, swirls around three batches of gems: (a) the Malacañang Collection; (b) the “Honolulu Batch and (c) the Roumeliotes Set”.

People Power demonstrators stumbled across 300 gems in deserted Malacañang closets, hours after the Marcoses scrambled aboard Chinook escape helicopters.

In Honolulu, 25 US customs officers took five hours to inspect Marcos luggage which arrived a C-141 cargo jet, recalls “Chronology of the Marcos Plunder.” The Marcoses were allowed keep what they declared: bearer bonds, cash etc. But US customs didn’t look the other way with 278 crates of art, P27.7 million in newly minted currency, plus 400 jewels stashed among gold bars, wrapped in diaper bags.

Philippine authorities nailed Greek national Demetriou Roumeliotes when smuggling out 60 gems, two weeks after the Marcoses flight. A 37 carat diamond, crafted by Bulgari, is centerpiece.

Imelda’s fight to get “her” jewels back continues of what “Arab News” reported in September 2005: “(She) asked a local court to stop government from selling the ‘Roumeliotes Collection’, as experts from auction house Christie’s arrived in Manila to inspect the gems.

“They were inside a package addressed to Imelda Marcos when seized. Roumeliotes denied she owned them and later said they were fakes – a claim both Sotheby’s and Christie’s refuted.

“The jewelry was taken out of Malacañang presidential palace without knowledge, much less the consent, of the petitioner between Feb. 26 and Feb. 27, 1986,” her petition said. “These are all mine,” she stressed.

Mrs. Marcos abandoned claims to the “Honolulu Batch’, Arab News reported. She signed an agreement, with the US government in 1991, giving the jewels to the Philippines. In exchange, two racketeering cases against her in Honolulu were dropped.

“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world?”, you ask. “It took almost 14 years for the Filipino people to dislodge the Marcoses,” Inquirer’s Randy David writes. Members of his family are back in power. No one has been jailed… Bulk of the money stolen from has not been recovered. This is not just failed memory. This is the result of a flawed social system that remains vulnerable to temptations of authoritarianism.”

The controversy reminds many of “Jewels of the Pauper”, written in 1942, by a 25-year old Jesuit scholastic, imprisoned with 460 others, by the Japanese, in what was Ateneo de Manila on Padre Faura. Horacio de la Costa later became a historian and first Filipino to head the Jesuit province in the Philippines. He wrote a thee-minute piece that enabled change of sets for a program to uplift the starving depressed co-prisoners. Excerpts:”

“We are a remarkably poor people. Poor even in the riches of the spirit. No Shakespeare, no Cervantes has yet been born, among us to touch with immortality, that which in our landscape, customs, history, is most memorable, most ourselves.

“Yet, this pauper hides two jewels in her rags. One is our music. We are sundered by 87 dialects. We are one people when we sing. In the north, a peasant woman croons her child to sleep; and the Visayan, listening, remembers cane fields of his childhood, and his mother singing the self-same song.

“We are one people when we pray. Our other treasure, faith, gives to our uneventful days, a splendor; as though touched by a King. Our religion and our music (blend) like basic rites of human life. Harvest, seed-time, wedding, birth and death are, among us, drenched with the fragrance of incense and coolness of music.

“These are the bonds that bind us together; these are the soul that makes us one…“This nation may be conquered, trampled upon, enslaved, but it cannot perish. Like the sun that dies every evening, it will rise again from the dead.”

Two kinds of jewels. Two unbridgeable worlds? P-noy better auction those gems soonest. His term is limited. A successor less principled may agree with what Imelda says: “If you know how much you've got, you probably haven't got much“.





The value of the Cross

September 11, 2012

One of the greatest disasters of our times is that many people, a great majority of them, have nothing but disgust and even hatred for the distinctive value of suffering. For them, suffering is an intrinsic evil, and therefore should be avoided at all costs.

The cross, the icon of suffering, should be nothing other than an ornament at best. It should not hold any other purpose or meaning.

This is the sad thing about our current world culture. It directly contradicts what Christ said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16,24)

The cross, in whatever form it comes, is actually the key that opens the spiritual and supernatural world meant for us. It widens our perspectives, and leads us to transcend the limits of our human nature. It enables us to enter into the dynamics of a love that is not only material but also spiritual, not only natural but also supernatural.

It represents the extreme and ultimate way of loving, as it invites us to go beyond the confines of our wounded human nature in order to soar to the divine love from where we come and to where we are supposed to go.

With the cross, we would know how to pay for the offenses and sins we have committed. It is the fair deal we are offered in exchange of the tremendous benefit it also gives us – nothing less than the possibility to love all the way to God.

God, and not just the sky, is the limit of our loving. That’s why Christ gave us the new commandment that summarizes all the other previous commandments given to us – that we love one another as he, Christ, loved us. Christ is the standard of our love, and not just any human and natural value.

That’s why saints and holy men and women, following the example of Christ, have always seen the cross as something most welcome in their lives, because Christ’s love for us goes all the way to the cross. Pope Benedict says, “There is no love without suffering.”

Opus Dei founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, echoing the sentiments of all the saints, laments that “the cross is still a symbol of death, instead of being a sign of life. People still flee from the cross as though it were a scaffold, when it is a throne of glory. Christians still reject the cross and identify it with sorrow, instead of identifying it with love.”

Without the cross, we debase our love and restrict it to the purely sensual, worldly and temporal level. Without it, the wings of our love are cut as it functions only on the basis of practicality, convenience, popularity and other earthly values, motives and advantages.

This is what we see in all these rationalizations behind the move to pass the RH Bill, for example. Those for it, as well as all those who are for abortion, euthanasia and similar things, are espousing a kind of love that sees no value in the cross.

It’s ok to contracept, it’s ok to abort, it’s ok to euthanize, because to a particular person, that may be the right thing to do. No one should dare to correct him, unless some immediate physical harm takes place.

They are developing a kind of morality that is not based on God who is love, bur rather on their own idea of what is good and evil. They make themselves their own God.

Since it’s a morality that denies God, it cannot help but fall to the belief that there can be no absolute truths and no universal moral law. The corollary is that everything is relative to the acting person, to the situation, to the consequences, and to other circumstances and elements, etc.

Of course, it is ironic that what is relative and individualistic is now made the absolute and universal moral law. Everything is reduced to the thinking that what may be good to me may not be good to you, and vice-versa. There’s no such thing as an intrinsically good act which should be fostered at all times, nor an intrinsically bad act that should be avoided at all times.

This thinking is contained in such ethical systems as relativism, situation ethics, consequentialism, proportionalism, and some peculiar variations of the so-called fundamental option and liberation theology.

Only considering the circumstances and ignoring the nature of the act itself and the agent’s intentions, they detach themselves from God who loves us through the Cross.





From martial law to Noynoy Aquino: Extrajudicial killings continue

Hustisiya to Noynoy: Stop the killings, arrest ex-Gov. Joel Reyes, expedite justice for Dr. Gerry Ortega

September 10, 2012

Hustisya joins the family of slain Palawan broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega in urging the Court of Appeals (CA) to uphold the murder charges against former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother Coron Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes.

The case of Dr. Gerry Ortega is one of the very few cases of extrajudicial killings that have reached the stage of prosecution and trial, with more than enough evidence to pin down the accused masterminds. Yet, six months after the arrest warrant was issued against the Reyes brothers, they remain fugitives and, may have even left the country according to news reports.

We believe that the Reyes brothers will do everything to elude arrest and trial, in the same way retired general Jovito Palparan has been ignoring his own trial.

The killing of Ortega and the government’s attitude towards the Reyes brothers is a showcase of impunity in the country; that high-profile government and military officials remain scot-free despite is cases filed against them is the height of such impunity.

Although it has been 40th year since martial law was imposed, it is not difficult for us to remember the victims of “salvaging” in those days, and relate with their families’ sufferings. We are connected by the same circumstances.

Today, there may be no declaration of martial law but victims of human rights violations continue to increase in number, families crying for justice multiply as the Aquino government implements Oplan Bayanihan. Military officers and government officials who masterminded killings and enforced disappearances earn medals and promotions. In two years, there have been more than 100 victims of extrajudicial killings under Aquino, including Dr. Ortega. The families of the victims are the last to believe that there has been change ever since the dictator was ousted by the people. From martial law to Pres. Noynoy Aquino, impunity remains.

Many lives were changed during the tumultuous times of the dictatorship. Change happened to the Aquino family because of martial law – Cory became president and her son, too. But that’s about it. Human rights violations are still committed; the destruction of our environment has become so evident that people like Dr. Ortega opposed and caused their lives.

While President Aquino will again harp on his being a victim of martial law, he continues to implement the same iron hand to those who dare oppose the oppressive and exploitative system. It is more than enough reason for us to remain steadfast. We will not allow anyone to again trample upon our hard-earned rights. We say never again.





Thousand ‘n one thieves

September 8, 2012

“Scientists called it “the tree of 999 uses” for food, roofing, even toothpicks. President Benigno Aquino presented the coconut's 1,000th use as export jackpot in his State of the Nation Address. The Philippines sold 16.7 million liters of coconut water last year.

“Why are the stars are all going coconut, about this now popular sport’s drink?” asked Jill Foster of UK’s Daily Mail. “Gwyneth Paltrow says drinking it as an 'on-the-go snack' helps keep her slim. Madonna bought a company that makes it. Hollywood stars Demi Moore and Matthew McConaughey are devotees."

Nutrition coach Berardi repeats what scientists stress: “Each serving has four to five times less sugar compared with cola or fruit juice. It's a good source of Vitamins C and B, plus protein, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium. There’s also nutrient called cytokinins. Some say it slows ageing, even whittle risk of cancer.

Thus, “coco water is taking off as the post-exercise drink of choice with ordinary mortals”, Foster adds. One UK firm reported “a 600 per cent jump in sales in 12 weeks”.

Here, the coconut towers in 68 of 79 provinces and sprawls over 27 percent of agricultural land. Coco water sales topped $11.2 million in the first six months of this year. That’s double what we marketed last year.

Agriculture Department proposes a 47 percent hike for coconuts in its 2013 budget, Secretary Proceso Alcala reveals. That’d tap growing demand also for virgin coconut oil and coconut sap sugar.

If used well, that cash infusion could boost what is emerging as the thousand and one use of coconut.

“Coconut oil attacks bacteria behind tooth decay”, scientists from Ireland’s Athlone Institute of Technology, told a Society for General Microbiology's conference at University of Warwick. It may anchor a 21st century spread of new dental products.

"Our data (has) implications how bacteria colonize cells lining the digestive tract and (affect) overall gut health," adds AIT’s Damien Brady. Today’s germs increasingly beat back antibiotics. ”We (must) turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection.”

Athlone researchers compared impact of oil from coconut, vegetables and olive, in their natural states and when treated with enzyme. The later resembles human digestion. “Only enzyme-modified coconut oil inhibited growth of most bacteria,“ British Broadcasting Corporation reported. It attacked streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium which ravages teeth.

Last National Oral Health Survey we skimmed reported nine out of 10 Grade I students here suffer from tooth decay. Among Grade VI students, the rate was 82 percent. This problem undergirds government’s effort to tap into the coconut. ”Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” the philosopher Seneca wrote.

A thousand and one thieves, however, crippled the coconut industry here. Look at the track record.

Presidential Decree 276 ruled “coco levies” were owned by cronies “in their private capacities.” By stroke of a dictator’s pen, taxes morphed into individual loot. If PD 276 is not scrubbed as unconstitutional, “Marcos found a legal way to steal,” wrote then columnist Antonio Carpio, now Supreme Court justice.

Under Marcos, Floirendos got bananas, and Roberto Benedicto oversaw sugar. Eduardo Cojuangco emerged as coconut czar. Cojuangco’s party tried – but failed – to impeach Chief Justice Hilario Davide after the Supreme Court declared coco levies were public funds. Erap’s cronies slurped into the levy.

Thanks to Arroyo justices in today’s Supreme Court, Cojuangco got to keep 16.2 million San Miguel shares, bought with funds chipped-in by small farmers. The Court issued, March 16, an “entry of judgment”: Cojuangco’s P56.3-billion SMC shares are now “final.” Thus, SMC stock certificates in blank, abandoned in a Malacañang vault when Marcos scrammed for Hawaii exile, “legally” belong to Cojuangco.

“Joke of the century,” snapped then Justice Conchita Carpio Morales. Cojuangco “used for his personal benefit the very same funds entrusted to him.” Cojuangco’s stake in SMC was “built on the sweat of coconut farmers,” now Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno wrote. “Prescription, laches or estoppel will not bar future action to recover unlawfully acquired property by public officials or dummies”.

Seven associate justices didn’t attend the first meeting presided over by Serreno, Inquirer reported. “Majority of the justices were questioning Sereno’s capability and experience to lead the judiciary.” Fine. This is a free country.

But how many of those no shows voted for the “joke of the century” in the coconut levy? A judicial robe does not disguise hypocrisy. Embroidered phylacteries didn’t spare Pharisees from denunciation by the Master. “An ounce of hypocrisy is worth a pound of ambition”.

Scientist Jurgenne Primavera, in her book on coastal flora wrote: “Ownership and control of coco levy funds “shifted over 40 years under four presidents. It swung "from presidential associates (coco levy cronies) during martial law to government by sequestration (after People Power). “Then, it favored farmers” through Davide Court decisions, “back to presidential associates with negotiated settlements.” The disgraced Corona Court winked at Cojunagco pocketing small coco farmer levies.

"How did… P150 billion from half a million farmers end up in the pockets of so few?” Primavera wondered. It happens when a thousand and one thieves are on the loose.





Ancestor’s shadow

September 6, 2012

Is he just an image line-etched on the P50 peso bill? Or is the 4th Philippine President relevant as ever?

The 132nd birthday anniversary of President Sergio Osmeña falls on September 9. Who recalls this exemplary public servant? He led this country from World War II ruins into a new republic.

Is national amnesia inevitable? “People will not look forward to posterity who never look back to their ancestors,” Edmund Burke wrote.

Don Sergio graduated, in 1892, from Colegio de San Carlos. After topping the bar, he was elected governor of Cebu. He founded the newspaper, El Nuevo Día. From 1907 to 1922, he served in the Philippine National Assembly where he rose to become Speaker. For 13 years, he represented the 10th Senatorial District – and played key roles in major issues like the Tydings-McDuffie Act on independence.

One of his finest moments came during World War II’s government-in-Washington exile. The 1935 Constitution mandated the ailing President Manuel Quezon’s term would lapse on 30 December 1943. Quezon dug in over this constitutional crossroad. US President Franklin Roosevelt stayed aloof from this “local issue.” Quezon presided over an inconclusive cabinet meeting.

Don Sergio who offered a way out ask US Congress to suspend presidential succession, until after Japanese occupiers were ousted. Congress agreed on 10 November. He gave up his own ambitions to ensure unity.

After restoring the Commonwealth, Don Sergio refused to campaign in 1946. Filipinos knew his record of 40 years of honest service. Like Winston Churchill after the war, he misread our fickleness. Manuel Roxas won 54 percent of the vote.

Without rancor, Osmeña retired in Cebu. Some of us remember the silvered haired statesman taking afternoon walks – without bodyguards. He died October 1961, aged 83.

Whose Sunday tributes will resonate because their lives reflect Don Sergio’s dedication? “From our ancestors come our names,” Bertrand Russel wrote. “But from our virtues come our honors.”

Our personal take is the 69 year old Senator Sergio Osmeña III. He falls short of his grandfather’s achievements, but “Serge” public career is positive. He may lack a university degree, Osmeña III nonetheless ably filled executive positions in private industry.

“Serge’s political stance against the Marcos’ dictatorship led to martial law arrest in 1972. He went on a hunger strike, in November 1974, along with cellmate ABS-CBN's Eugenio "Geny" Lopez, Jr. They protested unjust detention.

His backers claim this protest compelled Marcos to release of 1,022 political prisoners in December 1972. That lacks validation. Along with publisher Joaquin Roces, Free Press Teodoro Locsin and other journalists, we were released from detention that December. But it was due to pressure from Press Foundation of Asia, New York Times and other international press groups.

Amply documented, however, is how, Serge and Lopez burrowed a tunnel to escape from their Fort Bonifacio maximum security prison in 1997. A waiting car hustled them to Dagupan airport where a small private plane flew them to Hong Kong – and on to US exile. Serge served with distinction in Movement for a Free Philippines and JAJA (Justice for Aquino Justice for All) Movement.

After People Power One, Serge returned to private business – and three terns as a senator. His legislative concerns range from victims of toxic wastes at former U.S. bases to graft exposes, e.g. Tiwi-Makban, Marconi and Casecnan contracts.

In 2001, Osmeña was one of those who voted to open the “second envelope” in Joseph Estrada’s aborted impeachment trial. He voted to impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona. Howver, he’s flayed for muting criticisim when issues involve Lopez interests, e.g. MERALCO, Maynilad Water Services, etc.

Serge’s record stands in stark contrast with that etched by his younger brother Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu’s second district. “The congressman sole contribution to the 15th Congress, is a bill to extend Christmas holidays,” Sun Star noted. “Can he add luster to his ancestor?”

Summary executions by faceless vigilantes in Cebu bolted to 41 by April 2005, US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone Jr. wrote. Osmeña created, in December 2004, a “Hunter’s Team”. For every criminal they 'permanently disabled” Osmeña offered a reward of P20,000. A bounty of P10,000 would be paid if they eliminated a robber.

Cebu’s vigilantes laid low when UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston probed disappearances. The press stopped it’s headcount in late 2008. By then, the number of those rubbed out crested at 183. Not a single case has been solved.

Now, Tomas stews in a controversy over two donated Dodge Charger 2009 vehicles that were dolled up as city police cars for his private security. The cars bear the seal of the City Government. They're topped by “wang-wangs” or sirens but are registered in names of Tomas relatives.

"What a very expensive gift,” Mayor Mike Rama snapped. Perhaps, the Ombudsman can determine whether it violated the Anti Graft Law (RA 6713) prohibits public officials from soliciting or accepting gifts.

“There is always a police officer inside when the cars are used,” Osmeña fumed. "Got a problem with that?” Yes, his ancestor’s fine ethical sense would have a problem. A German proverb says: “Mules are always boasting their ancestors were horses.”





Capax Dei

September 3, 2012

That means, capable for God. It’s an expression from St. Augustine that asserts that man, in spite of his limitations, both natural and infranatural, i.e., those that are consequences of sin, is capable of knowing God, of launching into the infinite, of longing for the absolute.

We have been designed and wired for it. Even if we don’t consider yet the truths of faith about ourselves, somehow we can already know we are meant to know God. That’s because there’s something spiritual in us. We are not purely material beings, stuck to the material world only.

Our spirituality can be discerned by the fact that we are capable of thinking and loving, operations that are not material but are spiritual. Here we use concepts and reasons that are spiritual, not material.

Since we are capable of spiritual operations, there must be something spiritual in us, following the principle that “operare sequitur esse,” the operation follows or is determined by one’s being or essence. This is how we can rightly conclude we have a spiritual soul.

It’s our spirituality that enables us to know, to will and to love, and its field of coverage is actually infinite. It’s our spirituality that enables us to transcend the material dimension of our life, the here and now, the cultural and other human conditionings, in order to enter into the world of the spiritual and supernatural even if we cannot fully fathom and capture it.

In his encyclical, “Veritatis splendor” (The splendour of truth), Pope John Paul II rightly said that “in the depths of man’s heart there always remains a yearning for absolute truth and a thirst to attain full knowledge of it. This is eloquently proved by man’s tireless search for knowledge in all fields.

“It is proved even more by his search for the meaning of life. The development of science and technology, this splendid testimony of the human capacity for understanding and for perseverance, does not free humanity from the obligation to ask the ultimate religious questions...”

We have that yearning and are enabled to pursue it. This basic truth about ourselves is very important especially considering the current world trend that is drifting if not wallowing in what is called by people like Pope Benedict XVI as relativism.

This is the mentality, if not the ethos, that maintains that there are no absolute truths, and that things simply depend on how one is, his culture, and other conditionings. Everything is relative to something. In the end, it denies there is a God, or an objective universal moral law, or any intrinsic evil, or sin.

It’s absolutizing the belief that what is true to you may not be true to me. In short, it absolutizes the relative, an inherent contradiction and anomaly in its system. It holds that man cannot transcend his material dimension and the other conditionings that come into play.

Pope Benedict XVI, just before becoming Pope, made a strong denunciation of this phenomenon that is gripping the majority of the people these days. He continues to denounce it, stressing its unspeakable dangers if it is allowed to develop to its last consequences.

There would be total confusion and chaos, as each one, each group, etc., will hold on to their respective beliefs, without ever hoping that there is a universal bond that can hold us together, despite our personal, cultural, social differences.

While it’s true that we are subject to some conditionings, it’s not true that we cannot go beyond them. While our knowledge of the absolute truth may not be full, perfect and changeless, it is not true that we cannot know the absolute truth or that there is no absolute truth.

Relativism has its roots in isms like atheism or non-belief in God, agnosticism or the belief that God cannot be known no matter how one tries. It springs from a lifestyle where the spiritual dimension of man is practically dead while his material aspect is given full rein.

This is actually the real problem we have, for which a lot has to be planned out and done to solve it. It’s a big challenge, because it involves convincing people about the reality of the spiritual and supernatural world.

At the moment, there is well-entrenched belief that any reference to things like faith, the spiritual, the supernatural, the Church, is some indication one is out of touch, is not living in this planet, is unfeeling about the plight of the people.

It’s indeed a big challenge to dismantle this belief, and to affirm that we truly are “capax Dei.”





Fighting an abominable legacy called impunity

A joint statement by SELDA (Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Hustisya) and Hustisya (Victims United for Justice)
August 24, 2012

SELDA (Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Hustisya) and Hustisya (Victims United for Justice) join the families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre in remembering the 1000th day since the killing of 58 of their kin, and one who remains missing to this day.

Massacres have been a common fare since the dark days of Martial Law. Who will ever forget the Jabidah massacre that killed close to 60 Moro recruits used by Marcos for the “Operation Merdeka,” the alleged annexation of Sabah to the Philippines in 1968.

Then there was the Escalante massacre in September 20, 1985, where some 5,000 sugar-workers, peasants, fisherfolk, students, church people and professionals staged a rally at the town center in Escalante, after which members of the Regional Special Action Force (RSAF) and the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) opened fire at the protesters resulting to the death of some 20 civilians and wounding 30 others.

After Marcos, there was the Mendiola massacre in 1987, where 13 peasants were killed under Cory Aquino’s watch.

It has been 40 years since the declaration of martial law. Yet, like the victims of the Maguindanao massacre in 2009, justice is yet to be served to the victims of these massacres.

Impunity is an abominable legacy of the Marcos dictatorship and those who succeeded him, and so is injustice. Unfortunately, Noynoy Aquino, the son of Ninoy, have not ended this atrocious legacy; he has in fact continued to perpetuate it.

Just like those who have gone before them, families of victims of these massacres and other human rights violations have learned and earned a more lasting legacy – to fight repressive rulers and seek justice in whatever way they can.

We have been in this struggle for decades, we have raged and fought a dictator and those who tried to follow in his footsteps. But perpetrators have simply come and gone, unpunished. It is upon the Aquino government to end the cycle of impunity that promotes continuing human rights violations inflicted on the people. But until he does, we will continue to hold him responsible and accountable for these crimes.

We have gone to every corner of the country, if not the world, to demand justice and ask people to support our call. Let us continue these efforts in the coming days, weeks, even years. From victims, let us rise to be defenders of the people and continue to fight impunity.



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