ranting


Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote an entry about a tribute-benefit concert for Susan Fernandez.  And now, 365 days after that night of real music, the renowned Nightingale of the Philippine Left succumbed to ovarian cancer at the Medical City in Pasig.

I really don’t know her personally. All I know is that her songs, especially the Metro Pop award-winning song “Babae Ka”, contributed alot to the consciousness of the Filipino people during the so-called glory days of the Philippine progressive movement.

For more information about Susan, check http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/entertainment/07/02/09/singer-susan-fernandez-dies or simply Google her name.

Advertisements

The possibility of the Supreme Court being dominated by Arroyo-appointees has been the subject of political discussions for several months now. And since then, I’ve been trying to look for someone to support though I know I don’t have a say as I am not even a lawyer nor a politician.

I still would like to support someone so as to provide the necessary antagonism as Gloria is expected to simply pick the one who can deliver the needed political vote for her continuous reign at the Palace. One of the most awaited political decisions (though an actual legal controversy and a case of merit are yet to happen) of the Supreme Court would be the procedures for a Con-Ass; Gloria’s preferred mode of charter change and one of the methods to prolong her hold to power.

With this, I’d prefer that the next SC Justice be very vocal of his view on how the Constitution provides Congress the power to amend the charter. And that is how I’ve been conducting some research on the issue.

Only recently, I’ve heard that CA Associate Justice Hakim Abdulwahid, in a session of grilling by the Judicial and Bar Council, said that, “The voting should be separate. In local legislation it is separate. Moreso in respect to charter change.”

That for me is courageous as he knows that it could spell the end of his aspiration for a seat in the high tribunal. And given the situation and the number of seats that would be vacant, that is, in my opinion, enough to support Justice Abdulwahid’s bid to the SC.

And as I research about him, I have read that other people and groups are supporting Abdulwahid. They have varied reasons though but it is the 10 Muslim Congressmen’s mention of the 1996 GRP-MNLF Accord that caught my interest. They cited that the said agreement provides that it shall be our national policy to have at least one SC Justice and at least two CA Justices from among the qualified jurists in ARMM. Further research informed me that the first and only Muslim appointed in the SC was Justice Abdulwahid Bidin back in 1987, Cory’s time.

Well, that’s their reason. And as I’m not a legal expert nor a lawmaker, I’d rather support him with a reason as simple as my opposition to the Gloria Forever Plan.

In just a week after Gloria’s cohorts in the House of Representatives (thieves?) passed the Con-Ass resolution, various groups have already launched different forms of protests. To think that I am only watching videos through the internet, these creative protest actions (some may not be as lucky to be projected on television) reminds me of the time when I was still a full-time activist during the height of the anti-Erap struggle on the last quarter of the year 2000.

So I dared to make a list of the different forms of protest I’ve heard and seen:

1. Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) announced that they will siege the houses of the congressmen who voted in favor of HB 1109. They started last June 9 by pelting Quezon City District 3 Representative Matias Defensor’s concrete walls with rotten tomatoes. Another group made the same act at the District Office of Speaker Prospero Nograles in Davao the next day.

2. Sanlakas hosted a prayer intercession parody event in front of the Quiapo Church to cast the evil spirits out of those who railroaded the Con-Ass resolution. Celebrity host Tado Jimenez acts like Moses, complete with a wooden scepter, at the activity. They’ve called their tarpaulin gallery of Con-Ass railroaders as the “Altar of Traitors”.

3. RockED-Philippines hosted a silent protest at the Baywalk in Manila. One of their streamers displayed a bold “Explain Yourselves”-slogan addressed to the evil congressmen.

4. Anakbayan tried and was almost successful in reclaiming Mendiola and the EDSA Shrine as legitimate venues for demonstrations. It seems that the police force were given the instruction to finally practice maximum tolerance as violent confrontations will surely ignite the social volcano.

5. Partido ng Manggagawa used the Metro railroad tracks as a venue for their protests. Using trolleys, they chanted, “Chicha hindi Cha-cha!” Sloganeering and economism rolled into one.

6. The Liberal Party distributed small packs of Boy Bawang at the June 10 Ayala Rally to ward off the “Con-Asswang”. Of course, their Presidentiable Mar Roxas leads the pack.

7. Alab-Katipunan, in the same rally, brandished a colorful placard depicting Arroyo as the “Con-Ahass”. Creative enough for an obscure leftist organization.

8. Confessed Vice Presidentiable Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Pampanga Gov. Among Ed Panlilio and Color It Red vocalist Cookie Chua stars in a supposed anti-Con-Ass TV advertisement. They are still waiting for funding though according to a news report.

9. Anti-Con-ass activists in Cebu were seen wearing protective masks against the H1N1 virus. They just added a simple “No to Con-Ass!” to their health-conscious fashion accessories.

10. Body and face painting is the theme of the demonstration in Cagayan de Oro City.

11. The band Datu’s Tribe led by vocalist Cabring posted a hilarious photo essay protest against Con-Ass on their blog: http://lupitnicabring.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/datus-tribe-contra-con-ass-lego-adventures-3/

12. OFW Noli Benavent created a Facebook cause entitled Stop Con-Ass Now! a day after the resolution was approved. As of the latest count,  it already has more than 73,000 members.

 

this list will be updated every now and then

Months ago, I was about to write a blog entry for Francis Magalona to encourage readers to support his fight against leukemia. But as I research about him, I stumbled upon his request that his battle not be made too public and his family’s privacy be respected. So I decided not to proceed then.

Until the time to write a tribute came. Francism once wrote on his blog that, “I guess if we just loved our country so much we would be willing to die for it. I would. But a dead me is a useless me. I am more useful alive…”. I beg to disagree though. I believe that any dead person who lived a life relevant to society serves as an inspiration for everyone to be just like him. And the Master Rapper is one of those.

Arguably, Francism’s musical career boom started when he popularized rap music in the Philippines through the nationalistic tune of “Mga Kababayan” in 1990. This moralist approach, a broader definition of nationalism, to Philippine society fits my generation well that time. I was in grade school then. His songs, album after album, became more mature as he ventures into other social approaches; from Ito ang Gusto Ko’s direct action to Nilamon ng Sistema’s social realism.

And then high school days came, Francism is still there. And he is one of those who never succumbed to the artificial war of hiphop and metal. I know a lot of the former teenagers of that time knows what I’m talking about. Despite being in such a situation, the Man from Manila dared to unite the music of the two factions. He set-up the Psychedelic Posse for the hip-hop kids and the Kannabiz Band (I don’t know if this was eventually the Hardware Syndrome during the mid-90’s) for the children of metal. His wife Pia’s Evil Step-Sisters, then, added the soul flavor to his music.

It is with his daring and no non-sense attitude that Francism gained the respect of Filipino musicians from Masta Plann to The Dawn, from APO Hiking Society to Joey de Leon. No wonder that, time and again, he was being invited by a lot of artists to be a guest on their albums and shows. The Eraserhead-song Superproxy is one of the most famous of these.

Even after the Eraserheads’ break-up in 2002, the Master Rapper remained true to his unifying ideals. He resisted the temptation of taking sides and continued to collaborate with each of the Philippine Fab Four individually.

And when Ely Buendia had a heart attack in 2007, he is the first celebrity to publicly raise the call of Eraserhead unity. His now-popular blog entry is supposedly the opening sentence of my blog when I learned of his leukemia and this is how it goes:

“Fast forward to right now, 9:58 am, Jan. 9, a lot of what if’s scenarios pop in my head. What if the E-heads members are back, like long-lost blood brothers? What if ‘the most significant OPM band of Pinoy Rock’ would be in one room, what would happen?… Para sa akin panahon na para mag-reunite ang E-heads. Sugod na mga kapatid…rock & roll na hanggang umaga.” 

One of the most difficult things to measure is how anyone influenced society. We really don’t know if Francism’s earlier patriotic tunes influenced the massive mobilizations against the US Bases that led to its ejection in September 1991. We really don’t know how his blog entry made the Eraserheads’ forget about their differences and give reunification a chance. Well, there are no meters nor celsius for influence measurement.

Surely though, we have someone to thank for the influential music he gave us.

Francis M is dead. Long live Francis M!

I am never a fan of toilet humor and I’ve always regarded human rights, moreso workers’ rights, as a very serious issue. But the news about the Filipino machine operator who was sacked due to his preferred hygienic practice made me laugh really hard.

Well, this is very similar to the Filipina student in Canada who was castigated for using a spoon for her meals. Her Canadian teachers do not want her to eat the Filipino way while Amador Bernabe, the 43-year old OFW in Australia, is being prohibited to excrete just like how most Pinoys do.

Clearly, this is an invasion of his rights as a person and as a worker. I deem that one of the most private spaces of every person, just like a prayer room (sorry to the religious ones for the comparison), is the bathroom or the toilet cubicle.

Bernabe, in practicing his cultural belief that it is better to use water than toilet paper alone, is not offending anyone nor any other culture as he is doing this privately (unless his managers’ are Peeping Tom’s). Thus it is totally uncalled for for his superiors to demand that he clean his ass the Australian way.

Good thing that the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union is solid behind the OFW. Well, even internationalism and labor solidarity exist inside the toilet.

I am never a real believer of the Supreme Court. I have always seen the “justice” system as a state instrument of either sugar-coated repression or the spectacle of some justice.

I don’t deny though that there are some personalities that could make some institutions work for the people and their rights. I consider the current Chief Justice of the Philippines as one of them.

Despite being appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Chief Justice, Reynato Puno continually upheld the rights and welfare of the Filipino people in the context of how the current administration is curtailing it.

Two of the most controversial issues under the Arroyo administration are the spate of extra-judicial killings and involuntary disappearances, and the perpetual attempt to tinker with the Philippine Constitution.

Under Puno’s watch, the Supreme Court of the Philippines stripped state agents of the simplest defense of denial whenever they are being questioned regarding human rights violations through the Writ of Amparo which is very much similar to Latin American countries’ Habeas Data.

Though I maintain that this document is a mere paper, it is still commendable that the SC chose to issue such a promulgation. And even if Philippine Congress has yet to legislate laws against torture and enforced disappearances at the very least, victims of human rights violations are given a legal reference for their defense.

If you think that this Puno initiative made Gloria mad, Puno’s stance on Charter Change will make her a psychotic.

Due to the series of controversies hounding the administration, they have no choice but to hold onto power to hide under the skirt of executive immunity. And the only way to do it is through a charter change of his allies, through a constituent assembly with both houses of Congress lumped as one.

Given that the Upper Chamber, even with Enrile at the helm, is dominated by Arroyo’s political enemies, they have to ensure that the Supreme Court will allow the House of Representatives and the Senate to vote as one. They want to drown the votes of the few senators with the overwhelming number of congressmen, rendering the Senate votes negligible. With Puno at the top, the hope for the Supreme Court to concur to such an idea is less easy.

Though we know that the Supreme Court will be soon dominated by Arroyo’s allies this year after the retirement of a handful of justices, the mere fact that the Chief Justice is against the Constituent Assembly scheme would doom the Gloria Forever Constitution. Such a scenario may induce controversy similar to the Estrada impeachment drama that led to you-know-what.

I chose not to dwell on the Limkaichong case as a lot of people already wrote about it. I chose to write about something that will aid everyone to answer the title of this article.

I don’t know if she is in anyway related to the revolutionary doctor Bobby dela Paz. But she is the daughter of the pentagenarian who was beaten up by the Pangandamans (a Mindanao-based political family) at a golf course in Antipolo City. Her blog sounds both helpless and fighting.

I encourage every blogger to repost or link to the girl’s article. She labels herself as a feminist and a nationalist.

This is the link to her post about the incident:

The World has gone crazy

« Previous PageNext Page »