Thursday, July 30, 2009

Obama grateful to GMA. For what?

US President Barack Obama, the ABS-CBN News Online reports, is grateful to GMA because "of the strong voice that the Philippines has provided in dealing with issues in Asia, ranging from the human rights violations that have too long existed in Burma, to the problems that we're seeing with respect to nuclear proliferation in North Korea."

Nice. But what about the killing of journalists, which have taken place under her administration? What about the extrajudicial killings in Davao City where her former adviser on peace and order, Rodrigo Duterte, is mayor?

And what about the human rights violations that, according to the Commission on Human Rights Chair Leila de Lima, "have escalated since she [GMA] took office."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What President Obama should ask GMA?

When GMA delivered her ninth SONA, a decidedly score-settling speech, she said that she would be meeting with US President Barack Obama, and emphasised that it was the latter who invited her.
I have accepted the invitation of President Obama to be the first Southeast Asian leader to meet him at the White House, later this week.

That he sought out the Philippines testifies to our strong and deep ties. High on our agenda will be peace and security issues. Terrorism: how to meet it, how to end it, how to address its roots in injustice or prejudice—and first and always how to protect lives.

We will discuss nuclear non-proliferation. The Philippines will chair the review of the nuclear weapons non-proliferation Treaty in New York in May 2010. The success of the talks will be a major diplomatic achievement for us.

There is a range of other issues we will discuss, including the global challenge of climate change, especially the threat to countries with long coastlines. And there is the global recession, its worse impact on poor people, and the options that can spare them from the worst.
But it may be very well if President Obama should ask GMA if she is "still taking advice from her former consultant on security and public order, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City," argues Elaine Pearson, of Human Rights Watch.

'For the State to kill reflectively, absent emotion, on ceremony, it is not right'

Below is a comment from someone who refuses to identify him/herself, but gives his/her thoughts nonetheless on the madness in the city. I'm re-posting it for others to see.

Great blog! I admire your insights (especially for someone so young) and more importantly, your courage for speaking out what many Davaoeños think but are afraid to say for fear of joining those buried in the Laud Mass Graves. I salute you.

I regret to say that I do not have the same courage to post my name, but allow me to share my own views about the Davaoeños' twisted sense of peace, order, and justice.

Majority of the Davaeños take pride in our city’s “peace and order”. Otherwise they wouldn’t have voted for the same person over and over again. You were right in saying that many silently rejoice over the news of an alleged drug pusher (no matter how young or how low in the drug trade ladder) gunned down by motorcycle-riding men. One less criminal to worry about. But the MURDER of this criminal will somehow just hover over our heads, barely unreachable by our conscious minds. It's so sad.

Now others might say, "How about those hardened criminals who do immediate and actual harm to other people, like a murderer, for example? Isn’t a summary execution justified here? What would we say to the mother whose five-year-old daughter has been raped and murdered?"

To answer that, I would like to quote a line from The Practice:

"I would say, if it were my daughter, I’d like to kill whoever did it myself. And if I ever came face-to-face with the guy, I couldn’t guarantee any of you that I wouldn’t kill him. But if I did, it would be wrong. And for the State to kill reflectively, absent emotion, on ceremony, it is not right. And if I might add, one of the biggest problems we have today— our children are being raised in a culture that not only condones revenge, but perhaps even celebrates it as a societal good. It’s wrong."

Wow. It is one thing for a grieving parent to kill out of rage and vengeance. But for the State to kill, reflectively, absent emotion, on ceremony, and in the case of Davao, without due process, where perhaps only one man gets to decide who lives and who dies, it is very, very wrong.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Birds of the same feather are buried together

MASS GRAVE. Laud Quarry in Ma-a, Davao City where, according to an ex-DDS member, cadavers of the vigilante victims were buried. (Photo courtesy of Toto Lozano)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More than a political harassment

Although the mayor can very well defend himself and dodge critics, local and foreign alike, with such ingenuity, he has found an additional support in the person of 2nd District Councilor Danny Dayanghirang.

In his Op-Ed pieces, which appeared yesterday and today in Mindanao Times, Councilor Dayanghirang extolled, among others the virtues of the Dutertes—from the late Gov. Duterte down to Mayor Duterte to Inday Sara Duterte to Polong Duterte—and proceeded to say that the continuing investigation of the CHR is but politically motivated.

Reason? The 2010 election is drawing near and those who have plans to take over Duterte’s post, which will likely be taken by another Duterte, are scrambling to find ways on how to break the Duterte dynasty. To Councilor Dayanghirang’s logic, the spate of killings that have taken place under Duterte’s watch might be one of the issues Duterte’s political opponents are using to carry out their demolition plan.

That the Dutertes are virtuous, ably handled the city government throughout the years, bring the city to where it is today, is no matter. No question about that. In fact, I wrote an Op-Ed piece some months ago, praising “…the seriousness and conscientiousness with which he takes his job as mayor of Davao City…”

What matters, however, is how Councilor Dayanghirang and indeed the apologists of Mayor Duterte perceived the CHR investigation on extrajudicial killings. To them, this is nothing but a handiwork of people envious of Mayor Duterte’s remarkable feat.

I’m sorry, but, as I said somewhere, “This…is not just a political criticism being leveled against Mayor Duterte by his political opponents in order to upset his long-standing domination of Davao politics. It’s more than that. It’s a very serious issue…”