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The apology

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In A nation of sinners, they are the moral few. In a Sept. 30 editorial that waxed poetic over UST’s proud history of orthodox thought, student paper The Varsitarian claimed superiority over the “intellectual mercenaries” of other Catholic universities. The paper imagines itself and its university as rebels of the new world order, “going against the grain, going against the tide.” In upholding the stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines condemning the Reproductive Health bill, they have lived up to their Catholic name, the proud children of a pontifical institution—“the second to be so named in world history.”

Posted: October 13th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The crime

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In the aftermath of the passage of Republic Act 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, many lessons were taught to the citizens of the Republic of the Philippines. A number of political bloggers learned that calling a moron senator a moron was a criminal act, with the same jail sentence handed down to the unfortunate Twitter user who called Sharon Cuneta overweight. Sixteen online news outfits were shut down, dozens of amateur filmmakers were sent to jail, one Cabinet official stepped down after a complaint by the CBCP’s Melvyn Castro that former anchor and then Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang had made libelous statements in his 2010 blog regarding Castro’s questionable morality—he claimed contraception was a greater sin than wholesale corruption. Castro claimed he was filing a libel case in behalf of God.

Posted: October 6th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Killing Bebot Momay

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The hill crawls with people—police investigators in gloves and berets, City Hall clerks clutching handkerchiefs to mouths, blank-eyed soldiers with belts of ammunition slung over their chests. The photojournalists stand in the distance, higher up in the hillside, sunglasses and long lenses shooting sparks under the high sun. Everywhere there are clumps of reporters, the local press, most of whom are crouched over bodies. This one, says a sunburned boy with a press ID. He lifts a banana leaf. This is Henry.

Posted: September 29th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Where they fell

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They call it ground zero. The road into Bayug is unpaved, weaving past a clutch of houses, 10, maybe 15 of them. The wooden walls are fresh and unpainted. Most are unfinished. Piles of wet wood sit under lines of laundry. To the east is Madulog River, to the left is the sea.

Posted: September 22nd, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The lightning rod

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Tito Sotto is a victim, or so Tito Sotto claims. He believes he is the focus of a concerted effort by the heavily funded supporters of the Reproductive Health bill, all of whom are desperate to demonize him and weaken his resolve. He suspects he is the first senator to be made victim of cyberbullying. He has been insulted, criticized and threatened with lawsuits. His history has been exploited. It is a hatchet job, he says, a demolition job.

Posted: September 8th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The church of Joaquin Bernas

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On Aug. 31, 2012, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines published an advertisement in this newspaper arguing the CBCP’s stance against the Reproductive Health bill. Signed by the Most Reverend Gabriel V. Reyes, DD, Bishop of Antipolo, the “Defense of the Stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the House Bill 4244,” referred to an unnamed “columnist in one of our newspapers” who wrote that “the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their beliefs nor may churchmen compel President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious belief.”

Posted: September 1st, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The good mayor

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There are many people who have spoken about Jesse Robredo. He is a good man, they say, he is a kind man; he is generous and responsible and humble and honest and unwavering in his faith in the Filipino. He wore the same city uniform his people did. He replied to all messages and returned all calls, even from impertinent reporters who demanded he save the world immediately, today. He took the bus and wore an old watch and took the time to laugh with his aide. All of these things are true, and none of them captures the quality of the man who will be buried by thousands of his people in Naga City this week. This will be one of the many stories written about a good man, and I write this now, in words he spoke three years ago, as a way of keeping the faith.

Posted: August 25th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

August 7

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It was raining. A man stood on what used to be his home carrying a borrowed umbrella, black printed with a pattern of hearts, pink and purple and bright red. The water that rose to the ankles was the same red as the hillside that collapsed at 7:30 that morning.

Posted: August 19th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Danilo Suarez’s courage

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House Minority leader Danilo Suarez recently announced his withdrawal of support for the Reproductive Health bill, along with several members of the chamber’s minority. Suarez said the six other members who joined his turnabout had previously supported House Bill 4244 only because of loyalty to the then minority leader, Edcel Lagman, its author and chief advocate. Suarez and Lagman had been engaged in a fight for the minority leadership, one that ended with Lagman’s resignation last January.

Posted: August 5th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The dictator

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We are told we are on the verge of open war. The generals are mounting their cavalry; the defenders of the faith are mustering their troops. This war did not spring from the deaths of the 11 members of the New People’s Army killed in a June encounter with the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion. Neither was it a result of the hostilities in Basilan, whose terrorists shattered the bodies of the 10 soldiers whose coffins arrived yesterday at the Villamor Air Base. The war does not involve the Chinese garrison at Scarborough, or the families of the victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, or even the millions whose lives we are told are at stake at the center of Edwin Lacierda’s metaphorical war against poverty. The battle of 2012, we are told, was declared on July 23.

Posted: July 28th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The falling sky

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My father is standing outside our garage again. The bags have been packed, the cables unplugged, the grandchildren dressed and waiting to be plucked from their beds. The waters are at the gates.

Posted: July 21st, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The scream

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It started with the reindeer. You’re three, maybe four years old, and it peers down your bed through the mosquito netting, bright eyed, with shiny, sharp teeth. You scream for mama and can’t. And forever and after, you discover watching “The Jungle Book” gives you nightmares, and so does “Bambi.”

Posted: July 14th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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