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Yearender: Human rights protection in RP sinks to 'terrible low'

Yearender: Human rights protection in RP sinks to 'terrible low'
By Katherine Adraneda (The Philippine Star) Updated January 01, 2010 12:00 AM


MANILA, Philippines - The country’s dismal reputation on human rights promotion and protection got worse in 2009.

After declaring a “dismal” state of human rights defense in the country in 2008, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) affirmed that 2009 was not any better.

CHR chair Leila de Lima said the prevailing culture of impunity by allies of the Arroyo administration saw the Philippines “sink to a terrible low” in terms of human rights protection.

De Lima said the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao last month can be considered as “a foreshadowing of even worse things to come.”

The massacre has been blamed on a family of politicians that are allied with the Arroyo administration.

“That slaughter offers us a foreshadowing of the other horrors and brutalities we will continue to face, if we do not find meaningful and lasting solutions to …

Tagubilin at habilin

Tagubilin at Habilin

Sa pagtatapos ng taong 2009, gusto ko dito ibahagi itong tula na sinulat ni Pete Lacaba na binigkas ni Armida Siguion-Reyna. [Mula sa www.ellentordesillas.com]

Mabuhay ka, kaibigan!

Mabuhay ka!

Iyan ang una’t huli kong

Tagubilin at habilin:

Mabuhay ka!

Sa edad kong ito, marami akong maibibigay na payo.

Mayaman ako sa payo.

Maghugas ka ng kamay bago kumain.

Maghugas ka ng kamay pagkatapos kumain.

Pero huwag kang maghuhugas ng kamay para lang makaiwas sa sisi.

Huwag kang maghuhugas ng kamay kung may inaapi

Na kaya mong tulungan.


Paupuin sa bus ang matatanda at ang mga may kalong na sanggol.

Magpasalamat sa nagmamagandang-loob.

Matuto sa karanasan ng matatanda

Pero huwag magpatali sa kaisipang makaluma.

Huwag piliting matulog kung ayaw kang dalawin ng antok.

Huwag pag-aksayahan ng panahon ang walang utang na loob.

Huwag makipagtalo sa bobo at baka ka mapagkamalang bobo.

Huwag bubulong-bulong sa mga panahong kailangang sumigaw.

Huwag kang manalig sa bulung-bulungan.

Huwag kang papatay-patay…

An Estrada surge on eve of campaign

I said this earlier, in my blogs last year, that if Erap runs, he might win. Mr. Tony Gatmaitan, an astute political analyst, concurs. Let us see where Villar's billions and Noynoy's minions will be picked up after the Erap juggernaut is over.

Ain't I glad, finally, that I am not running in this election. I am writing a novel about it, though. Satirical, but I hope also sweet. And the politicians running in 2010 will have a field day gleaning who they are among the characters in my novel. The Comelec included. Ha!

The best revenge, said Oscar Wilde, is to write well.

***


An Estrada surge on eve of campaign
PIPELINE
Antonio Gatmaitan
Daily Tribune
12/30/2009

At about the time when things were winding down, Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations, the two respected and widely accepted pollsters published assessments of the 2010 presidential elections, two days apart, a fortnight ago.


Electoral track record

Absent any satisfactory measure of performance, every candidate would have to dea…

Liberation through education

Liberation through education
Editorial
(The Philippine Star) Updated December 30, 2009 12:00 AM

There is reason to celebrate the memory of national hero Jose Rizal today. This year education took center stage in national life after a teacher received international recognition as a “hero” for his novel way of bringing education to the poorest of the poor. Efren PeƱaflorida, CNN “Hero of the Year,” struggled out of poverty and became a teacher to help others less privileged like him.

Rizal would have approved. The inspiration for many Filipino rebels against Spain famously refused to endorse an armed uprising, instead advocating liberation for the masses through education. Well-traveled and educated in Europe, Rizal knew the value of a good education and wanted it for his compatriots. He was an early advocate of non-violent change, but the Spanish colonizers saw him merely as a threat and executed him 113 years ago today, triggering the Philippine revolution.

The commemoration of Rizal’s de…

The scalpel's tip

The scalpel's tip
LODESTAR By Danton Remoto
(The Philippine Star) Updated December 28, 2009 12:00 AM


The Highest Hiding Place is the first book of L. Lacambra Ypil, but it already bodes many good things for this young poet. Just published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press, this book of poems is a young man’s book. It deals with what T.S. Eliot called “memory and desire,” which fuses the past and the future. It deals with childhood and adolescence and young adulthood, the personas in the poems trembling with new discoveries, with singular fears and dreams.

Ypil was born and raised in Cebu, earned a BS in biology at the Ateneo de Manila University, and spent a few years at the UP College of Medicine. He has won the prestigious Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2006 as well as the Philippines Free Press Award for Poetry in 2001. He has just finished his MA in Literary and Cultural Studies at the Ateneo and writes a bi-monthly column, “Dog-Eaters in the Wrong Not…

Remoto's dilemma and Comelec's Political Homophobia

Remoto’s dilemma and Comelec’s Political Homophobia
December 16th, 2009 by Patricio Mangubat
www.filipinovoices.com

Now, let me write about Danton Remoto. Remoto, as you know, is the chairman and founder of Ang Ladlad, a partylist organization.

Remoto has just been dealt with two devastating blows—his partylist org was disqualified and just yesterday, he was also stricken out of the list of qualified senatorial candidates. The second division chaired by no less than Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer handed a fatal blow to Ang Ladlad when he disqualified the organization for being “redundant“. Now, Remoto was also disqualified as a senatorial candidate because of his alleged lack of organization and resources.

This is clearly a sign that the Comelec is suffering from homophobia. How in the world did they determined that Remoto does not have a machinery to use for a national campaign? Remoto’s name alone attracts millions of votes.

Remoto, undeniably, has already established a name as a gay r…

It's final, Comelec denies gay groups party list bid

By Lilita Balane, Newsbreak | 12/17/2009
5:00 PM
Newsbreak
www.abs-cbnnews.com


Gay community is not special, and therefore not marginalized, says poll chief

The election chief broke the tie in the poll body's vote on Thursday to deny with finality a gay group's bid to participate in the party-list election in 2010.

The first division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec)--composed of Commissioners Gregorio Larrazabal, Rene Sarmiento, and Armando Velasco--voted to grant Ang Ladlad’s appeal to get accredited. The second division--composed of Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle, and Elias Yusoph--maintained their earlier ruling disqualifying the group.

Chair Jose Melo sided with the second division to junk Ang Ladlad’s appeal.

Melo countered Ang Ladlad’s argument that the November 12 ruling of poll body applied religious beliefs instead of using public or secular morals in deciding the gay group's application for accreditation. Melo said that what the second division me…

Church not anti-gay, says priest

abs-cbnNEWS.com | 12/09/2009 12:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Gay party list group Ang Ladlad has seemingly found an ally in the Church.

Father Melvin Castro of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said in a statement on Monday that homosexulity "does not equate with immorality", contrary to a Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision saying that gays are immoral.

And Ladlad claims to represent gays, lesbians, and transgender communities in the Philippines.

The Comelec refused to accredit the Ang Ladlad as a party list since the group reportedly promotes immorality and gays are threats to the youth.

Castro's seeming defense of gays ends there, however, since he opposed same-sex marriage in a statement dated December 7.

He added that the Church's stance against same-sex marriage is not "a hate position" or "anti-gay."

"The Church is only trying to defend marriage as an exclusive union between a man and a woman. Same-sex marri…

Gays, lesbians to hold 'Pride March' in Manila

Gays, lesbians to hold ‘Pride March’ in Manila

By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:04:00 12/04/2009

Filed Under: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Eleksyon 2010, Inquirer Politics


MANILA, Philippines—Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community are set to hold a colorful parade Saturday to promote equal rights for all genders in the Philippines.

The march is also meant to protest the Commission on Election’s decision rejecting the party-list bid of gay and lesbian group “Ang Ladlad”.

This year’s theme, “We Dare. We Care,” signifies the LGBT community’s proactive stance in addressing the human rights issues confronting the sector, according to Great Ancheta, head coordinator of Task Force Pride (TFP) Philippines 2009.

“We shall no longer be complacent. We dare to remind the Philippine government and the rest of society that we have an obligation under international human rights law to promote and protect the rights and well-being of all people, including LGBT Fi…

Gay rights activist files senatorial bid

By Izah Morales
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:25:00 12/01/2009

Filed Under: Gender Issues, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Politics


MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) Gay rights activist Danton Remoto filed his certificate of candidacy for a senatorial seat Tuesday at the Commission on Elections office in Manila.

Remoto heads Ang Ladlad, a national organization of Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders. The group was denied partylist accreditation by the Comelec therefore, ineligible in its bid for next year’s elections.

Remoto, who works as communications officer for the United Nations Development Program communications in the country, taught for more than two decades at Ateneo de Manila University.

“I filed my candidacy because we need to inaugurate a new moon in Philippine politics. Kelangan natin ‘yung hindi trapo at hindi dinastiyang politika (We do not need traditional politicians nor political dynasties,” said Remoto.

Remoto said his group has filed a motion for reconsideration asking the Supr…

Thin again

Thin again - Danton Remoto
REMOTE CONTROL | DANTON REMOTO | 12/01/2009 12:10 AM
www.abs-cbnnews.com


People who haven’t seen me in the past month noticed I had lost weight. Something like five pounds. Excitement like electric current in their voices, they asked: “How did you lose weight? Share naman your secret with us.”

Well, it’s a “secret” I would not wish on anybody, even my enemies. You see, my father – a retired soldier in the Philippine Air Force – died last October 18 at the age of 76. And exactly a month later, my mother – a retired Music teacher – died at the age of 77. Losing a father after seeing him struggle to live in the intensive care unit with, in his own words, “ a sack of rice crushing my chest,” was traumatic enough. Losing both is beyond words.

I could not eat for two days after Father died. My main worry then was how to tell Mother, who had just undergone angioplasty and was undergoing dialysis three times a day – that Father had gone ahead. It was the most sleepless n…

Is the opposite of Noynoy evil?

By Efren L. Danao
Manila Times

The Liberals have been going to town with the mantra that the 2010 election is a choice between good and evil—the good will go for LP presidential bet Sen. Noynoy Aquino, while the evil will vote for others.
The high rating of Noynoy must have gone into the heads of Liberal moguls, such that they now consider themselves the sole repository of goodness and virtue. Do you consider yourself with the forces of good? Then join the sainted LP. If you have sinned before, don’t worry. Once you join the forces of good, all your sins will be forgiven—by the Liberals, that is. I don’t know if the people will forget those sins, however.

I remember that some personalities associated with the anomalous issuance of the Peace Bond are among the most ardent supporters of Noynoy. And what about Kamaganak Inc.? The Mendiola massacre? The Hacienda Luisita Massacre? Oh well, their members or perpetrators must have reformed themselves, otherwise they would not have been with the …

Trapo politics

By Mon Casiple

The news was a bit of a surprise. After shopping for a senatorial slot in LP, NP, and PMP, Ferdinand “Bongbong”Marcos, Jr. finally found a nesting place in presidential candidate’s Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party. With this move, the Marcos family will again try–for the umpteenth time–to go back to national politics. On his side, Mr. Villar will try to help breach the historical barrier against the Marcos dictatorship that EDSA I and the antidictatorship movement erected.

The move to bring Bongbong into its fold deliberately sets the NP on a course to capture the pro-dictatorship political base of the Marcoses. This base is, of course, unreachable from the LP side, particularly because of Noynoy Aquino’s own political base that is rooted in the EDSA I and anti-dictatorship struggle. It’s maybe good trapo politics but the consequences will be far-reaching.

Villar gambles that the bitter memories of the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship will have been forgotten or atten…

after long silence

silent for a week because of my mother's death, merely a month after my father passed away. it was so quick, and so devastating. and now i have to face the intellectual pygmies at comelec.

Poll exec: To be moral is not old-fashioned

Poll exec: To be moral is not old-fashioned
Written by Reynaldo Santos Jr.
Newsbreak Magazine
www.newsbreak.com.ph
Monday, 16 November 2009


Gays are already ‘over-represented’ in the House

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) stands firm on its decision to deny a gay organization accreditation for the party list, even after the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) sided with the incensed members of the “third sex.”

In response to the CHR’s comment that the poll body’s ruling on Ang Ladlad (literally, The Coming Out) “smacks of prejudice and discrimination,” Comelec commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer said there was nothing “retrogressive” in it.

Ferrer, along with commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph, on grounds the group “tolerates immorality,” last week rejected Ang Ladlad’s petition to participate in the party-list elections and be hopefully represented in the lower chamber of Congress.

In its petition for accreditation, the group claims to represent lesbians, gays, bisexuals, …

Joker comes to defense of Ang Ladlad

Joker comes to defense of Ang Ladlad
By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star)
Updated November 15, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Joker Arroyo came to the defense of Ang Ladlad, a gay organization whose petition for party-list status was junked by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on grounds of “immorality.”

Arroyo joined several organizations, including militant groups, in asking the Comelec to reconsider its decision.

“The Comelec’s 2nd Division acted out of bounds when it denied accreditation to Ang Ladlad’s bid to participate in the party-list elections on grounds of ‘immorality’ and for ‘being inimical to the interest of the youth,’” Arroyo said.

“The resolution reveals a deeply-entrenched prejudice against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders (LGBTs), the constituency of Ang Ladlad. So what if they are LGBTs? Precisely because of that, as a group which has been oppressed and marginalized in all spheres of their lives, they should be allowed to exercise their basic righ…

Remnants of the Dark Ages

Remnants of the Dark Ages
Ellen Tordesillas
Ang Pahayagang Malaya
November 16, 2009

‘Is there in fact a secular, governmental policy against homosexuality?’

Leila de Lima, chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights said reasons cited by the Commission on Elections in denying the application of Ang Ladlad for accreditation as sectoral party illustrates that gays are objects of ridicule, contempt and violence which renders them marginalized.

It’s good that De Lima took up the cudgels for Ang Ladlad, a nationwide organization of lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

De Lima read to the Comelec commissioners Article 7 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, to which the Philippines is a signatory, that states: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination."

De L…

Letter from Dr Sylvia Estrada Claudio

Dear Editor:


Is there anyway to impeach the following Comelec Comisssioners: Nicodemo T. Ferrer, Lucinito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph?

They must be impeached because they have openly decided to turn the country into a religious state instead of a secular one. I am referring of course to their decision to outlaw Ladlad on the basis of upholding religious beliefs. They quote the Bible and the Koran forgetting that they should consult the Philippine Constitution instead. Only in the Philippines would we have high government officials who state that obedience to religious beliefs trumps other more cogent legal provisions as a basis for policy.

If stupidity were a basis for impeachment, the proceedings would be quite short. Their display of ignorance of current scientific knowledge on sexuality is quite appalling. They should have taken the simple expedient of asking any psychiatrist or psychologist who upholds the standards of organizations like the World Health Organization or the American…

Disenfranchising homosexuals

Disenfranchising homosexuals
Editorial
Ang Pahayagang Malaya
November 16, 2009

‘Homosexuality is now a contagious moral and spiritual disease from which our youth need to be quarantined?’

The Commission on Elections decision last Friday denying accreditation to the Ang Ladlad is the very proof that gays and lesbians are so marginalized they need to be represented in Congress.

They are discriminated against on the basis of their sexual preferences. They are powerless against the dominant culture that classifies them as aberrations of nature. They are victims of beliefs that treat them as moral misfits.

The Neanderthals in the Comelec, in effect, disenfranchised a class of citizens on the basis of a set of prejudices.

The grounds cited by the Comelec second division are laughable.

"Should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to our faith," it said.

It then gratuitously added that homosexuality is against Christiani…

Comelec says gay party 'immoral'

BY Kristine Servando
abs-cbnnews.com
November 12, 2009

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday rejected Ang Ladlad for party-list accreditation on the grounds that the party advocates "sexual immorality" and "immoral doctrines."

Ang Ladlad is an organization of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).

In a ruling dated November 11, the Comelec said that although the party presented proper documents and evidence for their accreditation, their petition is "dismissable on moral grounds."

Page 5 of the ruling states that Ang Ladlad's definition of the LGBT sector as a marginalized sector who are disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation "makes it crystal clear that the petitioner tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs."

The document quotes passages from both the Bible and the Koran (taken from internet site www.bible.org) that describe homosexuality as "unseemly" or "transgressive."…

Questions and answers

1. Why have you taken a break from column-writing?

My father died two weeks ago and I had to take charge of the wake and burial, being the eldest. I had to deal with everything -- from the mortuary to the car that would pick up my siblings at the airport to always being there with my mother, who is quiet and noble in her grief.

2. Are you running under the Liberal Party?

I do not know. All I know is that I am running for senator in the 2010 elections with a big political party.

3. Why not independent?

Been there, been that. People will promise you funds, warm bodies, watchers. But when push comes to shove, you are all alone, with only a few of your most loyal campaign volunteers.

4. When will you declare?

My political party of choice has told me to wait it out while it finalizes a possible coalition with another party. We will declare before November 20, the first day of filing of certificates of candidacy. We will declare as one, solid group.

5. Aren't you afraid of your competitors for …

18 days to go

Eighteen days to go before the start of the filing of certificates of candidacy for elective national positions -- president, vice-president, senators and party-list. The filing period is between November 20-30. Expect the next four weeks to be a nail-biting experience. Why?

1. Not a single political party has completed their senatorial slates.
2. Manny Villar and Gibo Teodoro have no VP candidate, while Loren Legarda has no presidential candidate.
3. The forthcoming Pulse Asia survey should help the political parties finalize their senatorial slates and their alignments or realignments. According to Lito Banayo, this survey should be out late this week.

And which party will I join?

1. The party that will not tell me to firm up my niche or message, because that has been firmed up in the last three years.

2. The party that will treat me with the respect that my candidacy deserves, having done their extensive research and found out the following about my political mapping:

a. There are 4.5 mil…

My father

Sorry for not posting the past two weeks. My father, Francisco O Remoto Sr., died October 18. We buried him Oct 24 at Holy Cross Memorial Park in Novaliches. He was a soldier, and received a well-deserved hero's burial complete with 24-hour vigil, flag-draped casket, and a 21-gun salute. Here is my poem for him:

Papa
(Francisco O. Remoto, Sr.
June 4, 1933-October 18, 2009)

And I will remember
the flag--

held aloft
over his casket
being lowered

into the unremitting
hole
in the ground,

six Air Force
soldiers
with their crisp

salutes,
left hand
on the edges

of the tricolor,
the brilliant eye
of the sun

over his cold
face,
shielding us

from the ravages
of grief.

Erap-Jojo, Chiz-Loren in 2010

By HANNAH L. TORREGOZA, EDMER F. PANESA
October 13, 2009, 5:30pm
Manila Bulletin

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile confirmed Tuesday that former President Joseph Estrada would be running for president in the May 2010 elections with Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay as his running mate.

This developed as party-list Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel said that the tandem of Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Loren Legarda in 2010 is a done deal.

In an interview with Senate reporters Tuesday, Enrile said that as far as he is concerned an Estrada-Binay tandem seems to be a “done deal” already and it would only be a matter of time before the ousted president formally announces his presidential bid.

Enrile is chair emeritus of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) which Estrada founded.

“Palagay ko done deal na iyon,” Enrile said when asked about the issue.

“I think that’s it. I think that’s it,” Enrile repeatedly said.

In contrast with other presidential tandems, Enrile compared the Estrada-Binay tandem to Texas…

Writing features painlessly

REMOTE CONTROL
By DANTON REMOTO
10/13/2009 12:45 AM
www.abs-cbnnews.com
Views and analysis


Of course, there is no such thing. Any kind of writing--be it a poem, or a short story, a novel, a play, or yes, a feature article--involves some kind of struggle. The poet T.S. Eliot called writing "this intolerable wrestling with words," and I know you will agree with him.

The Random House Dictionary defines a feature as a "newspaper or magazine article or report of a person, event, an aspect of a major event, or the like, often having a personal slant and written in an individual style."

I love to write features. They don't have the cold objectivity of news, or the rigid logic of the editorial. Of course, we can argue that news writing by itself isn't "objective." By our choice of words alone, by the slant we take, by the very fact that we are individuals with our own biases, doesn't guarantee the "objectivity" of news. Of course, the editorial ca…

Our boon is Gloria's bane

NO HOLDS BARRED
By Armida Siguion-Reyna
The Daily Tribune
10/06/2009


NEW YORK — Skype-ing with my brother Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile the other day was an unusual treat for both of us, but especially for him, as it was his first time to use the technology. The Ilocano in him made him ask how much the conversation was costing, and boy was he amazed to find out it was for free, thanks to VOIP or voice over Internet protocols.


Johnny chortled at the first sight of me, and laughed when I said, "Sorry, ha? Natagalan ako, kasi nagkilay pa ako. Pagka ganitong nagkakakitaan na tayo pag nag-uusap, dapat naman, magpaganda ako."


"My sister," he said over and over again, "my sister." He was clearly amazed at what was there before him on the computer screen, as I was when my children introduced Skype to me sometime last year.


The Senate President and I are not "techies." We were born years before World War II, the age of manual typewriters and heavy, clunky telephones…

When the wind blew

By Danton Remoto
(An excerpt from a novel)
Remote Control
Views and analysis
www.abs-cbnnews.com

Typhoon Yoling traveled at a dizzying 200 miles per hour, in its wake a tail of fierce winds. Like the moon, it seemed to have raised water from the sea, for when it fell on land, it rained so hard it seemed the very skin of sky had been torn.

We had no classes for a week. That day, my fingers touched the windowpane. Cold, covered in mist. With my forefinger, I trace my initials. From my initials the world outside began to form.

Our duhat tree seemed to be getting a trashing. Its small round fruits and leaves whirled on their twigs, and the branches seemed to have gone mad. They convulsed violently, and then came a sound that made my skin crawl. A low, loud moan, then a gust of wind that blasted against our duhat tree. Our tree tried to hold its ground, to weather the dervish wind, but I heard something snap. I hurriedly brushed away the mist on the windowpane, and saw that the tree had been spli…