Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
The total number of persons killed by the DDS from 1998-2015 is 1,424. Let me repeat in words – ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR victims. This can be considered as MASS MURDER perpetrated by the same group, inspired and supported by the same persons. The data does not include those killed in other cities where the DDS have expanded franchise-style.
The killings have not stopped. The DDS continue their murderous spree even to this day. For the last five years (2011-2015), there were 385 victims of extrajudicial killings in Davao - 39 of them below seventeen years old and 118 young adults (18-25). In 2011 there 111 reported DDS killings, in 2012 there were 61, in 2013 there were 101, in 2014 there were 52 and there were 60 in 2015. The DDS usually take a break during the campaign period. They will continue their operations after the elections.
“Our research found that the killings follow a pattern. The assailants usually arrive in twos or threes on a motorcycle without a license plate. They wear baseball caps and buttoned shirts or jackets, apparently to conceal their weapons underneath. They shoot or, increasingly, stab their victim without warning, often in broad daylight and in presence of multiple eyewitnesses, for whom they show little regard. And as quickly as they arrive, they ride off—but almost always before the police appear.”
“They deserved to die.” This is what Mayor Duterte said while denying involvement in these extrajudicial killings. At one time, he read a list in his TV program. A few weeks later many of those in the list were killed by the DDS.
It appears that the DDS killings are the center-piece of Mayor Duterte’s campaign against criminality in Davao City. To fight against criminality, you simply kill the criminals through extra-judicial executions carried out by the DDS. No need to arrest them, put them on trial and imprison them if proven guilty. No need for due process of the law. Criminals do not have rights – that is a western concept. For criminals there can only be one punishment – death. It doesn’t matter if you are a petty criminal – even if you are only a drug addict or pusher or cell-phone snatcher, you deserve to die. The killings are meant to be a deterrent to crime - to instill fear on everyone so that they will stop committing crime. According to Human Rights Watch Report:
It has been very difficult to speak out against these extrajudicial killings because majority of the people in Davao support these. The archdiocese of Davao under the leadership of Archbishop Fernando Capalla came out with a pastoral letter: “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and held several prayer vigils. We were a minority - a small voice whose cry in the wilderness was drowned out by the applause of the majority. The blood of 1,424 victims of the DDS was the price that was paid so that there could be peace and order – so that all can walk at night without fear. This was the peace of the cemetery, an order maintained by death squads – by criminals.
And the mass murder continues and there will be more blood spilled – not just in Davao but the entire Philippines. Mayor Duterte promised that if elected “the 1,000 will become 100,000.” He declared that “it will be bloody.” He said there will be” no need for more jails -- just funeral parlors.” He promised to “eliminate criminality in the entire country within 3-6 months.” How will he do it? The answer is what happened in Davao – through the DDS under the direction of many police officers who deny their existence, with the financial support coming from businessmen and also drawn from the government coffers.
“I’m willing to go to hell, as long as the people I serve live in paradise.” Is this an admission on the part of Mayor Duterte that what he has done is a grave sin against God that could someday earn him divine punishment?
It could be chaotic. We could be entering another dark period of our history -- like the dictatorial period in the past or worst.
Friday, April 08, 2016
Since this year has been declared by Pope Francis as the Year of Mercy, it would be appropriate to emphasize “mercy” as one of the chief qualities that we have to expect from the politicians we should vote for.
What does it mean for leaders to be merciful?
It means being aware and concerned about the situation of the people – their suffering and pain. Since majority of the people are poor, their main concern is how to alleviate their poverty. They take the side of the poor. They are concerned about their hunger, their hopes and their dreams. They make sure that the economy excludes no one and benefits the majority instead of just enriching the big capitalists and foreign corporations.
Merciful leaders are concerned about the destruction of the environment and its effect on the people. They are concerned about the effects of mining on the farmers, fishermen and the indigenous peoples. They know that coal-fired power plants contribute to global warming and the coal mining is the most destructive form of mining. They know that logging and deforestation causes floods, droughts and global warming. They avoid getting involved in these activities and will do all in their power to put a stop to these activities and come up with policies that will save the environment and mitigate climate change as well as promote disaster risk reduction and management.
Merciful leaders are concerned about the effects of the never ending war on the nation. They know the effect of the spiral of violence on a traumatized people. They know how armed conflict prevents economic development. Thus, they go out of their way to build peace – a peace that addresses the roots of conflict and that leads to healing and reconciliation. They are willing to pursue the peace process with both the MILF and the NDF that will ensure a genuine and lasting peace.
Merciful leaders are not corrupt and do not tolerate corruption. They know that corruption perpetuates poverty, war and the destruction of the environment. They will do everything to stamp out corruption at all levels in government and hold accountable those guilty of corruption.
Merciful leaders are concerned about criminality and do their best to make sure that justice prevails. They make sure that those who have committed crimes are prosecuted and meted appropriate punishment. They respect the rights of people – even those accused of crimes – and follow the due process of the law. They avoid shortcuts and do not promote extra-judicial killings. They believe that even if people make mistakes, commit sin, or do terrible things no one is totally evil and beyond redemption. They deserve to be given another chance. Thus, they reject capital punishment and promote restorative justice.
Merciful leaders respect the basic human rights – especially the right to life - of everyone from the moment of conception to its natural end. They are merciful especially to the weakest – the unborn – and will make sure that their rights are respected. They will never allow abortion. They are merciful to the elderly and make sure that their rights and privileges are respected. They will make sure that the family will always be protected. Mercy should not be selective nor should it discriminate. It should be inclusive.
There are many people who clamor for strong leaders who they think can stop criminality, corruption and all forms of evil in society. They want leaders who can instill discipline among the citizens with an iron hand. They want ruthless leaders. For them being merciful is a sign of weakness. But what happens when leaders lack mercy? We can end up with a society where terror reigns, where dead bodies pile up and human rights are violated, where due process and the rule of law are ignored. It will be a repressive society - without freedom and where people are afraid to criticize the powers that be -- otherwise they too could be assassinated. Instead of peace and order, we will have the peace of the cemetery and a semblance of order maintained by ruthless bigger criminals. Meanwhile, the vast majority remains poor and their children who have gone astray are mostly the victims of death squads. The big criminals – big time thieves and murderers -- are at large and hold office: the politicians who steal millions of the people’s money and responsible for the death of thousands.
Tough and ruthless leaders have emerged at various times in the past with disastrous results. We have to say: NEVER AGAIN! No to ruthless leaders. Yes to merciful and compassionate leaders.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Forty three years ago President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. He abolished congress, suppressed press freedom and other civil liberties and violated the rights of the people. Thousands of opposition leaders and student activists were imprisoned. Suspected subversives and criminals were subsequently arrested or executed (salvaged) without due process. His justification for his dictatorial rule: to save the republic, reform society and build a new society – ang Bagong Lipunan . He emphasized discipline and one of the slogans was: “sa ikakaunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.” Through farcical referendum and plebiscite, Marcos enacted a new constitution which provided a legal basis for his dictatorial rule, with a subservient judiciary and parliament. He tried to replace the oligarchy with his cronies who controlled all sectors of the economy. Thus, he monopolized political and economic power. He was a ruthless, repressive and corrupt dictator, who enriched himself while majority of his people wallowed in poverty. Many of those in the military and the police became corrupt as well and engaged in torture, extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances.
I cry out to you --
Lord, can your hear my groaning
I cry to you all day long,
I call out to you in the night
But you are so distant or absent.
My throat is sore, I cannot scream anymore
Day and night they ask me all sorts of questions,
they strike, punch and kick me when I do not answer.
My fingers are swollen, I cannot clench my fist
My ribs are broken, I cannot stand erect
My whole body is enflamed, it is getting numb.
I was thirsty and they forced me to drink rum.
to loosen my tongue and reveal to them the truth.
They stripped me off my clothes and my dignity.
They are preparing the machine that will electrify my body.
And now I dread the sound of footsteps and the opening of the door.
I prefer this darkness than face the glaring light.
They said only I can end my suffering
if I confess to them everything and betray those
who oppose this dictatorial regime.
How much longer, do I have to suffer?
How much longer can I hold on?
How much longer can I maintain my sanity?
Will I ever see again the sky and the sun?
Will I ever see again the faces of those I love and serve?
Or will they make me disappear forever?
Lord, do not abandon me?
Deliver me from these kidnappers and murderers
who are trying to maintain peace and order.
Deliver me from these mercenaries in uniform
whose obsession is to defend national security
the security of this blood-thirsty and power hunger dictator
the security of his cronies and their big business interests
the security of his alien lords and their bases and investments.
O, Lord my God,
I know you are neither blind nor deaf.
Your mercy and compassion endure forever.
You have always been a subversive God -
you depose the mighty from their thrones and raise the lowly.
I cry out now to you: subvert this dictatorial regime!
Let your Spirit fill the hearts of those who are struggling
to build a kingdom of justice, peace and freedom.
From this dark and damp cell
I cry out to you, Lord can you hear me?
Into your hands I commend my broken body
and my wavering spirit.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
Many netizens and journalists criticized the President for his inappropriate remarks, lacking in delicadeza and good manners, and out of touch with the occasion. Imagine, criticizing the host - the Philippine Church - in front of the Pope. Others, praised him for speaking his mind and for telling the truth even if it was not the proper occasion. That it was inappropriate everybody can agree. But was he speaking the truth? Was the Church really silent under the Arroyo Administration?
There may have been some members of the clergy, religious and faithful who were silent. But there were also many who spoke out against the abuses of the previous administration. The facts speak for themselves. Below are some excerpts from news reports and their url links:
“Be more vigilant for truth, remain steadfast witnesses of the truth, because we are adrift in a turbulent sea of lies and falsehoods,” Navarra urged the marchers.
“We have to make our voices heard as we search for truth and for the redress of our human dignity impaired by machinations of people with vested and partisan interests – the very reason why as Church and concerned citizens we strongly registered our protest against the imposition of state of national emergency, albeit lifted already,” Navarra also said.
After the bishop’s message, representatives of cause-oriented organizations, civil society, media, lawyers and local government units offered their respective prayers, most of whom offered their call for more vigilance, courage, righteousness, and resoluteness in seeking the truth, removal of GMA, and “liberating the people.” Fr. Aniceto Buenafe, director for social action of the Diocese of Bacolod, elated by the big turnout of ralliers, said: “I am so glad that people have responded positively to our call, and showed their readiness to resist the threat of martial law reimposition.”“I hope our actions and statements here will be heard in the national level, especially in Malacañang, so they would know we are disgusted with the way GMA runs our government and country.” (http://www.bulatlat.com/news/6-6/6-6-bacolod.htm
“Redemptorist "biking priest" Amado
"Picx" Picardal arrived in Manila Sunday for the Manila and North
Luzon legs of his 56-day, 4,750-kilometer bike tour for peace. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) said Monday that Picardal will deliver his letter of concern
to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Malacañang on April 27.
"On April 27, on his way back from Northern Luzon, he will bike around Manila and deliver (his) letter to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo," the CBCP said on its website Monday.
Picardal is expected to tour Northern Luzon then make his Malacañang delivery on his way back from the north, it said. Earlier, Picardal said that while he does not expect President Arroyo to receive him or his letter personally, he will make its contents public once he formally submits it to the Palace. He said his letter to Mrs Arroyo will denounce her and her government for perpetuating a "culture of death." "Delivering a letter to Malacañang is just a side trip and I don't expect the President to meet me or to read the letter - it is just symbolic. I will make the contents of the letter public - in it I will denounce the President for perpetuating the culture of death and corruption and for being a hypocrite (she goes to Mass every day and claims that it is God's will that she is president). Although I want her to resign, I will not be demanding her resignation because I know that it will be futile - she will continue to cling to power at all cost," he said in his Web log in March. Also, he said his letter will tell Arroyo she will face the judgment of history and of God, and her worst punishment will be to live the rest of her life in shame and disgrace.” (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/87989/news/nation/biking-priest-in-manila-to-deliver-letter-to-arroyo).
I supported his candidacy because I thought he is a decent man who who would continue the legacy of his parents whom I admire so much. I was mistaken. To my regret, he has turned out to be a big disappointment in the end. I wonder of his parents would b e proud of him. With all his good intentions, he is not up to the challenge of becoming a great leader like his parents. His welcome address to the Pope in Malacanang was pathetic and a monumental embarasssment to the nation. He was not just rude, he also did not speak the truth. That was un-presidential of him. This was the lowest, ugliest moment of the papal visit.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Sunday, January 11, 2015
I woke up late today and felt exhausted and drained. My muscles are sore, the bruise on both knees still swelling. I felt totally wasted. That’s what I get after biking
12/17. Lipata Surigao-Prosperidad
ETA Butuan 11 am, ETA Prosperidad, 5 p.m.
12/18 Prosperidad-New Bataan
12/19 New Bataan-Davao City
ETD 6 .am. ETA 1-2 p.m.
12/20 Davao-Maramag Redemptorist Mission Station
12/22 Malaybalay-Cagayan de Oro
12/23 Cagayan de Oro cathedral-Iligan
for monitoring, My CP#09081733611
I arrived here in Prosperidad Agusan Sur at 6:30 p.m. after biking
I concelebrated and shared about climate change at the Misa de Gallo at