Two sets of jewels
By JUAN L. MERCADO,
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
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.
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
“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
“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.
“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
“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
The value of the
ROY CIMAGALA, email@example.com
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, 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
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.
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
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
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
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
By JUAN L. MERCADO,
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
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
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.
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 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.
By JUAN L. MERCADO,
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
Without rancor, Osmeña
retired in Cebu. Some of us remember the silvered haired statesman
taking afternoon walks – without bodyguards. He died October 1961,
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
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)
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
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.”
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
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
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.”
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
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
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.