As I write this, International Women’s Day is about halfway through in this part of the world, although the occasion will just be starting on the other side of the globe.
But whatever hemisphere we find ourselves in, March 8 will always be a day for many things: reflection, celebration, indignation—maybe even revolution?
I had to attend a board meeting of a health NGO and so missed the opening salvo of the local IWD observance: the launch of #BantayBastos, a campaign of the group #EveryWoman that “aims to hold public figures and government officials accountable for their actions that degrade women.”
#EveryWoman convener Teresita “Ging” Quintos Deles, cited in a report by GMA News, said they are “merely republishing the exact words of officials and public figures,” part of an effort to get Filipinos “to understand the implications of these “careless” words and how these “perpetrate violence against women.”
Deles, who once headed government peace efforts as peace adviser of President Noynoy Aquino, characterized the last two years as “excessively difficult” for women, hearing demeaning words and proclamations from officials daily. The insult cuts deeper because these hurtful words “are met with laughter by powerful men (and even women in the audience) who trample on the basic tenets of the law, which condemns discrimination against women in all forms.”
Women cannot stop and must persist, said Deles, since these men who demean them with words hold power, “hurting women while protected by their positions.”
“To let all of this continue is to allow women to be hurt more,” Deles added. “These are conditions which would diminish daughters, granddaughters, even sons and grandsons.”
Thus, #EveryWoman encourages men and women to send reports of officials or public figures who utter misogynist remarks to #BantayBastos’ Messenger account for screening to be posted on their page. The first report of #BantayBastos will be released on April 8 and every month thereafter. So, to PDuts and his foul-mouthed minions: Keep your dirty minds and words to yourselves. We women refuse to simply laugh (or cry) any longer!
Also, yesterday, Chief Justice (and she IS still Chief Justice no matter how fervently others may wish otherwise) Maria Lourdes Sereno took one more step toward an impeachment trial when, by a vote of 38-2, the House committee on justice found probable cause to transmit the charges to the Senate for trial.
The House committee found her guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes.
But many view these charges as spurious at best, and see the clear hand of political intervention, not to mention the petty jealousies and grievances of the other justices, in the entire process.
Among those standing behind Sereno are many of her sister-awardees in
The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) awards. Sereno was awarded for her work in legal studies long before she even became a member of the Supreme Court.
“Unfair and unjust” is how the Chief Justice’s sisters describe the impeachment proceedings in the House, “without establishing a single impeachable offense … an abusive maligning of her person by violating her right to informed consent and confidentiality and privacy of records, and by pressuring mental health professionals to indulge in unethical practice.”
The women awardees said they “oppose all actions that circumvent the processes required and allowed by our Constitution in the legitimate removal of a public official.” They added that “we lament the erosion of the separation of powers of the three coequal and independent branches of our government,” stressing that the judiciary “must be the most independent and clearest authority on matters of law. It is crucial to our being a nation to have a highly independent judiciary…”
The legislature, they added, “should be the first to respect and follow the rule of law [and] to observe constitutional processes without shortcuts and self-serving political agenda.”