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By Michael L. Tan
Last November 23 was the fourth anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre and it passed almost unnoticed, given that everyone was thinking more about relief and rehabilitation work.
Nineteen journalists have been killed for their work in the Philippines since Benigno Aquino III assumed the presidency in 2010. And in 2013 alone, at least 66 instances of threats, physical assaults, illegal arrests, libel suits and other forms of harassment were recorded.
By Juan L. Mercado
“You can seal truth in a grave. But it will always break free.” Easter hammered that truth over the last 2,000 years. Before Easter 2013, did the entombed truth about journalist Jonas Burgos’ abduction start to emerge in a Court of Appeals decision?
By Isagani Zarate
The glaring non-mention of the infamous Ampatuan massacre in President Aquino’s speech at the 9th Media Nation Summit last Friday in Tagaytay City revealed how the administration is taking the issue of impunity three years after 58 innocent lives were mercilessly murdered in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province.
Less than a year since the killing of 59-year-old Italian missionary Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio in Mindanao, we hear the news that Wilhelmus Geertman, a 67-year-old Dutch NGO/community worker, has been shot by two motorcycle-riding men, believed to be military agents, in his office in Angeles City, Philippines.
Paraphrasing Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, impunity means there is a crime but there is no criminal. There is an offense or violation but no one is made accountable. This is how the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo helped us describe its own record of human rights violations. Up to this moment, retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan and Arroyo, the notorious representations of human rights violations here in the Philippines, have not yet been made accountable.
By Patricia Evangelista
Impunity is an odd word. There used to be a heaviness to it, an almost incomprehensibility. It was a word used by lawyers and diplomats and judges, it was not part of school reports or interviews with the media. It was too big to be effective in sound bites, too foreign for speeches and tomato-tossing rallies. Impunity, like genocide, was a word that had power. To say it is to claim a state of such savagery that to use it is in itself a call to arms.
Now it’s clear why extrajudicial killings are still committed with impunity in this benighted land of ours.
The latest SWS survey reports that 95 percent of Filipinos are hopeful that 2012 will be better, surpassing the 70-percent support base that President Aquino currently enjoys. With this level of hope, Filipinos might soon recover the self-confidence diminished by the last few decades. In the 1950s, the Philippines, as Asia’s “sole Catholic country” and [...]
By Conrado de Quiros
The way Jovito Palparan reacted to his arrest order was, well, typical Palparan. He flew off his handle after airport authorities prevented him from leaving the country, calling Judge Teodora Gonzales of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court, who issued the warrant, ignorant and Leila de Lima who enforced it luko-loko. You remembered that Palparan was also a lawyer, quite apart from a soldier, a member of the tribe that has turned law into lokohan in this country. Patriotism is not the last refuge of scoundrels in this country, law is.
By Rina Jimenez-David
Friends have been sending text messages inquiring why this paper’s columnists all have their eyes closed in their photos.
By Michael L. Tan
November 23 has been designated International Day to End Impunity, coinciding with the Maguindanao massacre that included 32 media workers.