"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Arnold Clavio, Crying like a Little Girl

Arnold Clavio in his Hirit Na column at Abante is crying like a little girl over Mar Roxas’ refusal to follow the shows format. A couple’s format he says, no not the couplings but rather his guest will be interviewed on tape together with their partners, husband, wife, or in the case of Loren “Political Butterfly” Legarda who obviously cannot bring one of her ex-husbands went with her eldest children.

True the entire guest during the taped interview was with someone such as Nicolas Perlas with his only kid, Jamby Madrigal with French husband Erik Valade, JC Delos Reyes with wife Dunia, Bayani Fernando with wife Mayor Marides, Jewjomar Binay with wife Dra. Elenita, Atty. Jun Chipeco with his wife and of course Loren Legarda as mentioned earlier, except for Mar Roxas who went with Korina Sanchez to the station but did not allow Clavio to do the taped interview together with Korina.

How dare Mar Roxas refused to abide by the format so he says acting like a Prima Donna (or was it Don, lol), inarte (acting up) he says because at the last minute Roxas had his own conditions for Korina’s appearance:

  1. The segment will feature them as the only guest and no one else.
  2. The show will air only after the election.
Since it will be their first time to be interviewed together and outside of Korina’s network at that, Mar Roxas set the above conditions. Was Mar Roxas too demanding or acting up or is Clavio trying to pin the blame on others for his failure to persuade his guest to follow the shows format because of his makahiya errrr typical matampuhin mentality? Or was he crying in his failure to out scoop the competing network at the expense of Korina?

I say it is a reasonable condition, Clavio has to realize that Korina Sanchez works for the competition and it will put Sanchez on the spot with her network if she appears for the first time together with Mar Roxas outside of her outfit. Before people accuses me of being partial to Mar Roxas let me state clearly that I don’t support Mar Roxas or any candidate in this election with of course the exception of Among Ed, Grace Padaca, and Adonis Simpao running against Lady Le Cirque. I am an equal opportunity trapo basher but I draw the line when it comes to positive behavior, I will speak out against those who try to bring them down the muck with their dumb negativity for their hopefully just their shallow emotional partisanship and not getting paid for the spin.

Perhaps it is true that Mar Roxas did utter that being in the show with Atty. Perfecto Yasay is “cheap,” but Clavio’s state of mind makes me doubt that, and may have quoted Roxas out of context. This is on the premise that Roxas wanted to protect his wife's standings with her network and worse to have a non-contender on the same segment will of course have the negative effect on Mar's candidacy in the politics of perception. It is not to a man’s best interest to put his wife on the spot and himself going down along with it, reduced to being seen with a non-contender.

Boo ho ho, Clavio can cry like a little girl and he can vent his frustration as long as he wants but to tell his readers to vote accordingly based on his “hurt feelings” is asking for too much. Hello, the world does not revolve around you Clavio, so if you are trying to influence the voters preference on your shallow emotionalism, it is as dumb as it gets. In the first place it is Clavio’s show, he is in command and it is his responsibility to persuade his guest that the pre-condition to appear in his show is to stick to the format. It is not a live interview and he miserably failed in persuading Roxas to allow Korina in it so why is it the fault of Roxas? I say that it is very unprofessional for Clavio to blame others when he has only himself to blame for allowing the taping of Roxas without Korina, he could have said no since it was not a live interview anyway.

So when I saw this on Facebook posted by Esperidion B. Dimaculangan, I can’t help but respond and offered another perspective. It is obvious that Mar Roxas wanted to stand on his own merit and not about exploiting or be seen under the skirt of Korina Sanchez unlike those shameless others. Precisely why he wanted the show to air after the election, now can we say the same things on the opportunistic candidates who will even drugged errr drag their frail old mother into the fray?
I prefer Mar's refusal based on the conditions he set forth as against these shameless candidates willing to pay big bucks or even sell their souls to the devil so they can strut their ugly faces on the idiot box.

I love the way Nelson Fontanilla Bedayo responded at Facebook below:
@ Political Jaywalker - very well said. I agree with everything you had to say. your insight just showed the depth of your understanding and impartiality and no sane person would ever contradict the wisdom of your thoughts. 9 days to E-day, expect the dirtiest (and cheapest) of tactics to fly in every corner just to pin down the candidate they so abhor.
No not the “depth” of my “wisdom,” LOL….. But the part on sanity or sane person because from the looks of it in this particular election, quite a number of people even the candidates seem to have flew over the cuckoos nest.

The sad part is you know that they are shamelessly rooting for other candidates thus they try to smear whatever positive there is that we seldom see with our trapos. One of those candidates heaven forbid that they root for and also the Chizzy one Chiz Escudero (who withdrew for not getting the moolah from his boss Danding Cojuangco) is Jejomar Binay. True the guy was a former human rights lawyer during the dark days of Marcos dictatorship who was not treated as a serious contender is now surging in the polls but sadly did not go through the microscope like the rest. Solita Collas-Monsod has some nagging questions about Binay, a former human rights lawyer that is not exactly a high paying profession who has now built quite a fortune even overspending Erap in this campaign.

Seriously Mar Roxas has earned my respect when he showed his statesmanship giving in to the people's clamor for Noynoy. Their decision to scale down their wedding and donating the difference to Typhoon Ondoy victims is also admirable. Korina in this campaign is almost invisible and hardly seen and when she goes out she gets criticized by of all people the likes of Fertilizer scam suspect Joc Joc Bolante, who has no credibility whatsoever. It is unfair to attack him in this manner when the host himself did not follow the format by letting Mar go alone, and now he is crying like a little girl.... oh please Arnold, grow up will you.

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Filipino and some Asian events

Fe's Book

May 1, 2010 (Saturday) at 7:30 p.m.

Garden Pavilion Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International,

5930 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood CA 90028

(Corner of Franklin and Bronson).

Doors open at 6:30 pm for Silent Auction and Red Carpet arrivals.

A wacky musicomedy starring singer-comedienne Fe de los Reyes who pokes fun at the social networking phenomenon Facebook through her own 'book' of songs, dances, parodies, spoofs, and crazy antics in an OMG, LOL, ROFL kind of show!

Joining Fe are the following guests -- former Music & Magic co-member EVA CAPARAS and the dynamic performing ambassadors of the HOPE4Children Foundation namely MICHAEL WALKER, RYAN GALLAGHER, SHAUN GERARDO, NIKKI GIL, PARRIS HARRIS MODELS, and the EXOTI-ANGELS.

Tickets are $25 and are available online, by phone (888) 886-7889, text (323) 327-3483 or email Creative Concepts Intl . For more details, log on to Creative Concepts Intl.website. Tickets and sponsorships are also available through HOPE4Children via text message to (818) 288-6798 or email G. Walker.

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Authors Series No. 3

Friday, April 30, 2010 / 5:30pm - 9:00pm

Salakot Sizzle & Grill, 2122 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

Philippine Expressions Bookshop is happy to present WORDS & MUSIC, a program that will feature visiting Manila author, Dr Isagani R. Cruz, and Bay Area classical guitarist, Theresa Capoltura. The third in the 2010 Authors Series, it is part of an ongoing community outreach program of Philippine Expressions Bookshop, the mail order bookshop dedicated to Filipino Americans in search of their roots.

Two new books of Dr Cruz will be launched and aside from book talks, the audience will have "conversations with the author". Cruz writes plays, essays, biographies, and short stories in Filipino and English, for which he has won numerous national and international awards, including the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature Hall of Fame and the Southeast Asean Writers (SEAWRITE) Award. He has written or edited more than fifty books. He writes a column for Philippine Star and is a known social commentator in the Philippines. Having been a former Undersecretary of Education in the Philippines, his talk will touch on the topic Educating Filipinos: Problems facing the next Philippine President.

Theresa Calpotura will also launch her debut CD album "Kanta Filipina" (VGO Recordings) on the same evening. The guitarist has performed in numerous venues throughout the US and the Philippines. She won a number of awards from associations such as the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts and the American String Teachers Association, and has received scholarships from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Yale School of Music. Ms Calpotura has given concerts and masterclasses in the US and in the Philippines and is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division.

$10.00 Merienda Cena. RSVP necessary. Call (310) 514-9139. If you are unable to attend but would like to order books or the CD, send order via email.

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Filipino author Miguel Syjuco

Conversation with novelist Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 / 7:00 PM

[ALOUD] at Central Library

630 W. 5th St. / Los Angeles, CA 90071

Free and open to the public but reservations required via the website.

Miguel Syjuco has a master's degree from Columbia University and is completing his Ph.D. at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He received the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize and the Philippines' highest literary honor, the Palanca Award, for the unpublished manuscript of Ilustrado.

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is originally from Cebu and now lives in Santa Monica, California. The award-winning author of 6 books, she has also edited several books including the collection of stories for young adults, Growing Up Filipino II: More Stories for Young Adults. She teaches at UCLA-Extension's Writers Program.

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Philippine Consulate Holiday Notice – May 2010

The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles will be closed to the public in observance of the following Philippine and U.S. holidays:

May 3, 2010 (Monday) – Labor Day (Philippine holiday)

May 10, 2010 (Monday) – Election Day (Philippine holiday)

May 31, 2010 (Monday) – Memorial Day (U.S. holiday)

Regular consular services will resume the following day.

In emergency cases, the Duty officer can be reached at telephone number (213) 268-9990.

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Asian & Pacific-Islander American Heritage Month Opening Ceremony

Friday, April 30, 2010 from 10am - 12:15pm at City Hall.

Program and Reception on the South Lawn

200 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

There will be diverse entertainment and FREE traditional foods from various countries. Festive and traditional costumes are encouraged to add to the ambiance. The Ms. Asia USA Cultural Pageant Court will also be participating and available for photos.

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Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Asian Pacific American Heritage Celebration Committee cordially invite you to the official celebration of APA Heritage Month in San Francisco.

The Asian Pacific American Heritage Awards

May 3, 2010- Ceremony and Reception

Awards Program: 5pm; Reception: 6:30pm

Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

RSVP: by email

Go to website for more info.

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Queer Diasporas, Filipina Victimhood and National Redress in The (Neo)Colonial City?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 / 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

10383 Bunche Hall, UCLA Campus

Colloquium with Professor Robert Garcia Diaz, Andrew Mellon Sawyer Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA Department of English. He also teaches at Wayne State University's English Department as an Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies.

This talk will briefly examine two movies that depict Japanese (neo)colonialism. Interestingly enough, these works queer the victims of imperial duress. Gil Portes's "Markova: Comfort Gay" follows the lives of Walterina Markova and her friends as they are turned into sexual slaves by the Japanese army in Manila during World War II. Nick DeOcampo's "Sex Warriors" is a documentary that focuses on the struggles of queer Japayukis during the early 1990s.

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Martial Cultures and Sexualities in Southeast Asia

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 / 4 - 6 PM

Humanities 193, UCLA Campus

Los Angeles, CA 90095

"This Charming Madame: The Performative Power of Imelda's "Song" -- Christine Balance, UC Irvine

"'If there's no Comfort Woman, then what do we have'? Post-Colonial Redress and Wounded Attachments" -- Robert G. Diaz, Wayne State University, Mellon Sawyer Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA

"War Insurgencies" -- Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson, University of Cincinnati

"Martial Cultures and Sexualities" focuses on moments of duress in Southeast Asia, with particular attention to the Philippines. Examining the effects of American Colonialism, Japanese Colonialism, and the Marcos Regime on various cultural practices, the panelists unpack how these historical moments produce multiple modalities of gender and sexuality.

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5th Asian Friendly Golf Tournament

Hosted by the Asian American Chamber Association (AACA) in partnership with the

Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce SFV

Start Time: Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 10:00pm

End Time: Friday, May 14, 2010 at 1:00am

Location: Robinson Ranch Golf Club, Santa Clarita, CA

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Bakas Pilipinas' Celebration and Fundraising Event

May 13, 2010, 6 PM at the

Philippine Consulate, 556 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

(Between 45th and 46th Street).

Proceeds from this event will go towards the restoration of San Sebastian Basilica, the only all-metal church in the Philippines and listed on the 2010 Watch List by the World Monuments Fund. An RSVP Form should accompany donations.

Bakas Pilipinas is a New York-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help preserve and restore historic buildings in the Philippines. Please see our website. We are having a Silent Art Auction at the event, featuring Filipino and American artists. Beginning May 1st, the artwork can be viewed at our blog.

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The 2nd Annual Filipina Salo Salo

Filipina Womens Network

With guests Dr. Emily Murase, Executive Director, San Francisco Department on the Status of Women (running for San Francisco School Board)

and Dr. Jennifer Ong (running for Alameda County Democratic Central County Committee). They will speak about civic engagement, public service and why they even bother to run for elected office.

Cellist Charles Wang, will play dreamy selections to complete our magical afternoon.

JOIN us and bring a magical token to share (and to talk about).

Sunday, May 16th, 2:30 - 6pm

Home of Sol Manaay

Address provided upon RSVP

FWN Members $35; Nonmembers $45

RSVP online.

Filipina Women's Network

San Francisco, California 94119

415.935.4FWN (415.935.4396)

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California LOL! Comedy Jam 2010

Top Asian-American comedians collide to help raise funds for Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches, the recruitment center of the National Marrow Donor Program

Friday, May 21, 2010 at 8:00pm

Aratani/Japan America Theater

244 South San Pedro Street

Los Angeles, CA. 90012

Spewing an evening of laughter will be Danny Cho (who has performed on stage with the likes of Tim Allen, Paul Rodriguez and Dane Cook to name a few); Tina Kim (the television-news-reporter-turned-comedienne and who has been featured on VH-1); Paul Ogata (winner of the San Francisco International Comedy Competition and can currently be seen on the Showtime network's "Pacific Rim Comedy"); PK (aka Paul Kim the founder of the popular "Kollaboration" performances); Room To Improv (the L.A.-based improvisation sketch-comedy troupe) and headliner Dat Phan (Original Winner of NBC's "Last Comic Standing" and has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", "The Family Guy" voiceover, and the movie "Cellular").

Tickets for "California LOL! Comedy Jam" can be purchased at the Aratani/Japan America Theater Box Office by calling (213) 680-3700 or by visiting JACCC website

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Samahang Pilipino Student Cultural Night
Saturday, May 22, 2010 / 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Royce Hall - Auditorium, UCLA Campus, Los Angeles, CA 90095

Free and open to the public, but tickets required. Contact email, Web announcement

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Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

April 29 - May 8, 2010

THE MOUNTAIN THIEF
SATURDAY, MAY 1 | 12:30 PM | DGA 3
and SUNDAY, MAY 2 | 5:00 PM | DGA 3
(United States/Philippines, 2009) Dir./Scr.: Gerry Balasta, Video, 78 min., color, narrative, in Tagalog w/ E.S.

MANILA SKIES (Himpapawid)
SATURDAY, MAY 1 / 7:30 PM / DGA 2
(Philippines, 2009) Dir./Scr.: Raymond Red, Video, 110 min., color, narrative, in Tagalog w/
E.S.

CHILDREN METAL DIVERS (Baseco Bakal Boys)
SUNDAY, MAY 2 / 12:00 PM / DGA 2
(Philippines, 2009) Dir.: Ralston Jover; Scr.: Ralston Jover, Henry Burgos, Video, 88 min., color, narrative, in Tagalog w/ E.S.

Several Short Films including:
LYRICAL EMPIRE: HIP HOP IN METRO MANILA
SUNDAY, MAY 2 / 1:30 PM / SUNSET 5
(United States, 2010) Dir.: Mark Villegas, Video, 20 min., color, documentary

Filipino film " Dukot (Desaparecidos)"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 / 12 to 2 PM

Glorya Kaufman Hall Room 153

UCLA Campus, Los Angeles, CA 90095

"Dukot" tackles the issues of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings in the Philippines. This Los Angeles preview is generously allowed by the filmmakers and hosted by L.A.-based Filipino American arts activist organization Habi Arts.

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Ongoing Exhibit
Intersections: World Arts/Local Lives

Features approximately 250 of the finest objects from the Fowler's collections in a long-term exhibition that celebrates the richness of world arts and considers the roles these works of art play in peoples' lives. Although they are scattered throughout the exhibit, there are a number of artifacts from Southeast Asia (Burma, Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia) including ancestor figures, puppets, masks, and other sculptures.

UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History

Museum admission is free. Some of the exhibit can also be viewed online.


*********************************************************************************

Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.






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Nutbox Blogger OFW Mom Victimized in a QC Police Hulidap (arrest/holdup) Scam

Hulidap is coined after Huli (arrest) and dap as in holdap (holdup), a scam resorted to by corrupt policeman like vultures will swoop down on innocent civilians not having the luxury of knowing or having connections with powerful people in the government. This is an old racket that has been going on for sometime and as the country plunge unchecked into the deepest muck of corruption it has emboldened corrupt leaders to the point of impunity. Naturally when you have corrupt national leaders plundering the nation’s meager resources openly and brazenly you would expect the rank and file to get creative in their forage for the scraps.

In the old days, rogue cops used to carry their own drugs as if it was part of some normal money making venture that they “plant” on their victims as evidence of the crime of possessing illegal drugs. I had a friend who was almost victimized by these rogue cops when he was accosted and with his own eyes saw the brazen act of the cop throwing the drug inside his car. He told the cops in a calm manner that he saw what they did and there is no way he will be held to a crime that he is innocent and worse of their own doing. To make the story short since this friend of mine is well connected, he called a high ranking officer, told him of the scam and handed his cell phone to the cops who now realized they picked on the wrong guy and had to let him go profusely apologizing for their screw up.

The problem is what if the victim is not well connected? They are at the mercy of rogue cops and it seems they are not in the minority as shown in JJ’s mother’s case. Nowadays it appears that they don’t even bother to plant evidence as shown in the sad harrowing experience of JJ Domingo’s mother. They produce a witness testifying they saw the victim using drugs and that is enough for the wayward cops to arrest and detain the victims, which is of course just a ploy for them to come across to the tune of P20K (US$400+)

Anne de Brux of Manila Baywatch says we should not shrug our shoulders, we should help JJ Domingo see this through.. I agree, we definitely should make a lot of noise about this abhorrent criminal scam perpetrated by our supposedly own protectors and have them put behind bars where they belong.
*************************************************
When my mother went to the Philippines to attend the graduation ceremony of my sister and to seek the opinion of Filipino doctors on her mild cancer two weeks ago, she had no idea she was in for the shock of her life.

Last April 14, my mother went to visit a friend named Janet who lives in a slum area in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. That friend owes my mother some thousands, which my mother decided to collect because she needs money for her medication. My mother was accompanied by an old friend, Maximo Gabriel.

At around twelve noon, just when my mother and Gabriel were about to leave Janet’s place, two plain-clothed policemen- one called Allan and another named Mar Palic- approached them, accusing them of drug possession. My mother and her friends aghastly denied this, and before the two cops could search them they showed their bags to the police officers and emptied their pockets to show that there was nothing incriminating inside. Still, the cops “invited” them for questioning.

“Sumama kayo sa amin (Come with us),” said the cops.

“Bakit po kami sasama sa inyo, wala naman po kaming ginagawa (Why should we? We’re not doing anything wrong),” answered my mom.

“Kung wala kayong ginagawang masama eh bakit kayo matatakot na sumama sa amin (If you’re not doing anything wrong, why don’t you come with us?)”

And so they decided to go with the cops, thinking that they would only be invited for random questioning and be released immediately. But to their surprise, the officers took their cellphones and did not allow them to make calls. And instead of being taken straight to the police station, they were driven around for at least three hours while the policemen intimidated them and forced them to make a confession!

At around three in the afternoon, they were finally taken to the cafeteria in the third floor of Police Station Number 3 along Quirino Highway in Barangay Talipapa, Novaliches, Quezon City. There my mother was subjected to the worst kinds of insults.

“Bakit naman dadayo pa kayo dito eh andaming mabibiling shabu sa Fairview (Why come here when you can buy drugs in your place?)”

“Siguro labas-pasok ka na sa kulungan no? Tignan mo nga itsura mo, parang isang buwan ka ng hindi nakapagpapahinga eh (You’ve been in and out of jail, haven’t you? You look as if you haven’t got any rest in a month!)”

“Ilang linggo ka na bang nagda-darna? (How many weeks have you been doing a Darna?)”

For about an hour, the cops forced them to make a confession but they stubbornly refused. Finally, the cops said they would be subjected to drug tests if they don’t confess. Although my mother is aware that random drug testing is against the law, she and her friends immediately agreed, thinking that this would be the best way out.

“Pag po ba negative sa tests pwede na po ba kaming umuwi? (Can we go home if we get negative results in the drug tests?)” asked my mom.

“Oo. Pero sa itsura nyong yan malamang positive (Yes, but, looking at you now, I’m sure you’ll get positive results)”answered the cop as he laughed obnoxiously at my mother’s expense.

They were then told that they would be taken to the police laboratory for the tests. But instead they were driven back to the slum area in Tandang Sora because the cops claimed they needed to talk to their informer. There the two cops alighted and went inside the compound while my mother, her friends, and the errand boy of the police station remained in the car. At that point, the said errand boy told them that they needed only to pay twenty thousand pesos each and they will be released. This is a clear case of soliciting bribes, and my mom and her friends refused.

And so instead of being taken to the laboratory for the drug tests, they were taken back to the police station in Talipapa. At this point, my mom and her friends were understandably very mad. She demanded that they go and get the tests already so they can all go home. When the cops were pissed off with their legitimate complaints, they were detained behind bars!

What’s more, when they were asked to list down their belongings that they were supposed to surrender before being detained, police officer Mar Palic refused to list down my mother’s cellphone; he took it! If it’s any consolation, my mother was allowed to make one phone call which she used to ask my uncle to come to her rescue.

You can only imagine the trauma and emotions this brought to my mom. She demanded that she be informed of the reasons why she was being detained. Her friends, on the other hand, begged the cops to let her go, since she’d be in the Philippines only for two weeks and she wanted to spend as much time as possible with her kids. When the cops heard this, they only insulted her and laughed at her expense.

The desk officer then came to my mom and asked her to just make “areglo” (settle the matter) with the cops. But the cops were asking for twenty fucking thousand pesos! My mom asked if she can pay just three thousand since that’s all she had, but the cops refused.

When my uncle came, the police told him that they caught my mother in the act of using drugs– a big, fat lie!

At this point, my mom was determined to call the family lawyer, but my uncle told him that if the lawyer came, the cops who signed her arrest order would surely disappear and so she would still end up staying in jail for the whole night. Also, my mother’s friend Janet still has kids left in her home to attend to. So reluctantly, they decided to make “areglo.”

After some negotiations, the cost of the “areglo” was lowered from twenty thousand to fifteen thousand pesos and my mother’s cellphone.

When my mom got home, she cried like a baby. Here she was, a single mother and an OFW who have never broken any law, being treated like a criminal. Here she was, a simple citizen who cooperated with the police when they invited her for questioning completely trusting that these officers of the law would respect her most basic rights, being insulted and humiliated.

It doesn’t take a lawyer to see the violations and abuses made by these policemen. They certainly violated my mother’s Miranda rights when they refused to let her use her cellphone to immediately make calls. They committed arbitrary detention, and I believe that’s felony. They committed extortion, and that should put them behind bars for a few years.

It appears that this is a common modus operandi of Philippine policemen in many slum areas that are suspected of having drug activity. They intimidate people who they think they can milk with bribe money. The sad thing is, while innocent people like my mom are subjected to this kind of inhuamne treatment; the guilty ones easily get away with violating the law by bribing these policemen.

I’m proud that my mother and her friends took the effort to resist these cops’ extortion, but I’m a little bit disappointed that they had to cave in in the end. But what could they do? My mom was scheduled to be in the Philippines for only two weeks and she wanted to spend every day of those two weeks with her kids and not in jail.

My mom just got home from the Philippines a while ago, and she told me all about this just now. She was crying. She needed that money the cops took for her medication. And my blood is fucking boiling. I don’t intend to to take this sitting down. But to be honest, I don’t know what to do.

Right now, all I have in mind is to write the chief of the National Police Commission and to encourage my uncle in the Philippines to file a case for the dismissal of ”Allan” and Mar Palic and of the chief of Police Station Number 3 in Barangay Talipapa, Novaliches, Quezon City first thing in the morning. I want all of these officers dismissed and I want my mother’s hard earned fifteen thousand pesos and her cellphone returned. I’m going to ask all my friends for all the help they could give me. If I need to go to Manila to get the heads of these cops on a silver platter, I’ll take the next flight.

I hope everyone who reads this will pass it on and spread the news.

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The Crass Political Drama of Manny Villar Using his Mother & Sisters

You can amass all the wealth in this world but one thing that will not go on sale or money can't buy is..... CLASS.

As Manny Villar's poll numbers continue to slide down the specter of the inevitability of a losing presidential bid with the election just days away, the camp of the moneyed one is now showing signs of desperation.

What are they thinking or are they capable of thinking this through truly baffles pangits errr pundits, but then again when one is so used to getting away with almost anything it’s a hard pill to swallow.

Instead of gaining sympathy from undecided voters for Manny Villar that was the point of this praise errr “press conference” it has turned into a debacle of sorts that is more akin to a bonus circus freak side show in the Philippine presidential election.

Whose idea was it anyway to thrust Manny Villar’s 86 years old mother Curita “Nanay Curing” Villar into the center stage with his sisters Gloria, Lourdes, Cecille and Vicky into a supporting role? This is worse than a tear jerker soap opera and this was supposed to be news?

Crass, that is what it is and the lowest of the low for Manny Villar to exploit his mother’s old age shoving her into the limelight when she should enjoy her old age in peace and quiet away from the muck of dirty politics that the Philippines has been known all along.

It is bad enough that they have to resort to this cheap sympathy getting trick that went so wrong on all levels when Gloria one of the sister showed anger management problem like a juvenile brat ranting against Noynoy Aquino and the media. That was an ugly sight alright, this early the Villars has shown the public what to expect in case their brother wins….. Malacanang will be turned into a corrupt-poration errrr I meant a repetition of the past Gloria Arroyo’s governance by eruption.


Mistake, big mistake to exploit an 86 years old woman in a press conference at that is courting disaster. Whoever coached Nanay Curing did not do a good job when it sounded like she is lamenting their being poor thus no one wants to believe her "good" son. Someone probably forgot to tell Nanay Curing that Manny is now a billionaire many times over and in the prestigious Forbes list, therefore using the poor versus rich mantra is not going to work. Someone forgot to tell her that her son also earned the “Brown Taipan” moniker (not that it is a good thing because that means he amassed his fortune just like the Lusu Tans using their connections but just the same a washed with moolah) which again makes it silly to exploit the class warfare propaganda of the left as it only makes it painfully laughable and coming from an old woman is really sad. Fer crying out loud, Noynoy Aquino is a poor man if we go by his SALN compared to Villar’s fortune and perhaps as rich if not richer than Noynoy’s uncle Danding Cojoangco.

That cheap stunt really smacks of amateurism so let me offer some unsolicited advice to Manny Villar and his handlers. It is a bad idea to exploit Manny Villar’s mother in a press conference because it is difficult for viewers to even understand what she is saying. Had they done this as an infomercial where everything is scripted they might have pulled it off among the gullible public. The second problem is the war prick errr freak stance of the sisters as if it is not a turn off already really makes no sense because for one their brother had all the opportunity in the world to refute all the allegations instead of just dismissing it as a black propaganda, or walking out of the probe or plainly acting like a weasel. How the sisters project themselves in public at that in that manner only exposed their lack of good breeding. Villar should have instead “convinced” Joker Arroyo to take a 360 degree (ooops wait that’s going around in circle, but I guess that is just how it is in Philippine politics going around in circle arriving nowhere, lol), errr retraction in his earlier accusation against then candidate for Speaker of the House of ill refute errr Congress. Oh wait scrap that, Joker Arroyo will probably not make a joke of himself even though he is named like one, but then again Joker the flip flopper will not be credible anymore.

Bizarre indeed, I guess Manny Villar is not happy with the hakot errr crowd he gets from Willie Revillame's Kembot Girls (Girls shaking their booty), now he thinks doing a soap opera drama with his Mother and his Sisters as the cast of characters will get him the sympathy is so pathetic. Poor taste to put it mildly but definitely has the palengkera appeal, but the problem is he is aiming for the highest position in the land and crassness is not something we look forward to coming from his family. We have been pummeled so bad with Gloria Arroyo's arrogance and her Marie Antoinette ways, now we have the opposite but still undesirable for their uncouth unrefined behavior.

If Manny villar thinks he can win this election exploiting his mother’s old age appeal and showing his sisters anger management problem to the viewing public then he is dead wrong. Whoever is the genius responsible for this cheap trick ought to be fired, but then again if that was the handiwork of a cheap operator which I suspect it is, then they got what they paid for, lol.

So what happens if by any stroke of miracle no, not of the biblical proportion but of the Comelec kind that heaven forbid Manny Villar wins the presidency? Will the "future" president ran to his mother and the four Marias for help and tell on us for our equal opportunity trapo bashing? What if there is an international dispute like lets say the US of A, are we going to see Nanay Curing crying asking why Barack Obama does not believe him? How about the sisters, will they attack the American media and treat it as a personal affront why they only show their bother errr brother in passing?

Now, I can't blame those who says that they can't trust a presidential wannabe who hides under the skirt of their mother and sisters...... but then again that is the typical nature of weasels that has a tendency to do just that instead of facing the issues head on. If its any consolation to the handlers of Villar that tearjerker episode makes some people cry, no not in sympathy but crying at how they exploited the old woman for the sake of a desperate presidential aspirant. What is even sad is that people like my FaceBook friend Anne de Brux of Manila Baywatch is reminded and likened the episode to the disgusting tele-novela of Freddie Aguilar's sister lying for his road rage killer suspect son Jason Ivler.......

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A call to prayer for healing and justice (Re: Fr. Eusebio Pablito Maghari)

Cavaliers, Cyber Prayer Warriors, Friends and Families who pray with us - a call to prayer! 2010-04-88

Fr. EUSEBIO PABLITO MAGHARI - a prayer for healing and justice

Gravely ill priest terminated by NY Archdiocese for being sick after 6 years service

"Holy and Immortal God, we praise You and we adore You.

We now lift up to You your servant Fr. EUSEBIO who is afflicted with End Stage Renal Disease and terminated by the New York Archdiocese for being sick.

Lord, the report we received seemingly describes a case of injustice, ingratitude and inhumanity that only Divine Intervention can resolve. As prayer warriors in cyberspace, we maintain a positive mindset and humbly pray for his healing.

As mere mortals, we will let go and let God resolve his situation in accordance with Your Holy Will, beseeching You to take care of this priest with Your Divine balm of Love and Tenderness, sparing him from further anguish and suffering but most of all, to fortify his priestly attitude and avoid hatred and anger toward his former superiors.

With the gift of discernment from the Holy Spirit, let him realize and distinguish between the broad entirety of the Roman Catholic Church and the one segment only of the New York Archdiocese - two vastly different entities.

Always in the Risen Christ, we pray. Amen."

Cavalier Cyber Prayer Warriors

NOTE:

The above is the response to a prayer request addressed to the president of Cavalier Cyber Prayer Warriors, Col. Butch Moreto, Jr. (Ret.), regarding the sad plight of Fr. Eusebio Pablito Maghari who, according to published reports including the Pedestrian Observer GB as well as a message from our friend Col. Romy Monteyro (Ret.), had served for 33 years as ordained Roman Catholic Church parish priest in his hometown of Antique when he was recruited by the NY Archdiocese in 2003 to help minister to the Filipinos and Filipino-American members of the diocese, particularly St. Peter's Church in New Brighton, Staten Islands.

After six years of dedicated priestly duties, however, Father Maghari was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease, a very serious affliction that requires daily or weekly dialysis, depending on the severity of the disease. Soon after the Archdiocese of New York decided to terminate his job, stripped him of his priestly duties, salary, health insurance and threw him out to the streets. The Rev. Fr. Thomas Devery of the Archdiocese' Office of Priest Personnel wrote him a letter dated November 10, 2009 which reads in part as follows:

"Dear Father Maghari, Given the situation that you are about to undertake: kidney dialysis three times a week, the loss of vision in one eye and the balance of your gait at this time, the rectory is not the appropriate place for you to live.

I know that this is difficult to accept at this time and we are truly grateful for all the wonderful priestly service you have given to our Archdiocese. We do place you in the loving hands of Our Blessed Mother and pray now for the grace of your acceptance of this difficult situation".

Unfortunately, after the flurry of indignation over this gross injustice committed by the NY Archdiocese to one of their own, there seems to be a lull of reaction even from us, his kababayans. Is this another illustration of our infamous ningas-kugon mentality? I earnestly urge everyone that we continue to help and advocate for the cause of Fr. Maghari.

D. Grava

*********************************************************************************
Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.






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Concentric Rings, Part II: land-grabbing, land conversion and the untold human cost

Ang buhay sa tumpok


"Hindi talaga ako papayag. Magbubuwis talaga ako ng dugo. Ipaglalaban ko talaga ang lugar na ito."

Pol had been a cheerful, voluble man, inordinately fond of teasing his wife and playing pranks on his three children. He had tried out all sorts of odd jobs in his time -- from painting buildings to driving tricycles -- but continued to struggle because of debilitating bouts of asthma. He and his wife Trining had always dreamed of owning their own home and living someplace idyllic away from the capital, which remained congested and polluted, as always, except in the most privileged enclaves.

The new neighborhood was called Paradise Park Village -- 7.2 hectares of barren lands situated in Barangay San Vicente in San Pedro, Laguna. As more settlers had streamed in from other provinces, the land tenants -- who had originally planted root crops and banana trees, and occasionally tended cattle -- eventually found work in an adjacent piggery farm. By 1984, the entire property had been bought by Maximino Argana, who, it later turned out, had been a Marcos crony.


Which explains why, in the heady aftermath of the EDSA revolution, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chose to sequester the entire area altogether. What is more difficult to understand is how -- and on what grounds -- Crown Asia (a Vista Land company, the 2/3 supermajority of which belongs to the family of Manny Villar) was able to acquire the properties in 2002, using a title under the name of a certain Jose Nuñez. From that point onwards, guards began to monitor the movements of the residents in a 2.18-hectare zone in particular (Lot 157), which housed around 205 families. Almost overnight, it would seem, a giant wall had been erected around this perimeter, preventing the tenants from repairing their homes or building new structures. In the blink of an eye, they had suddenly been denied access to roads, which then made access to electricity and running water all the more scarce and difficult.
































Pol, Jr. -- “Qurico” to his parents -- had no way of knowing that this is what would become of his new home. Neither did Trining, who had left her secluded life as a yaya to work in a factory in San Pedro. The de los Santoses were, at any rate, resourceful and happy, and had finally begun to enjoy the rustic existence they shared in Paradise Park with their three children. As Trining would fondly say of her husband, “Mabait, matulungin, concerned masyado sa amin, at napaka-sipag. Bago uminom, magbibigay muna ng pera. Alas quatro ng umaga, nagbi-byahe na iyan, at nag-gagarahe lang kapag alas singko na ng hapon.”

Sadly, life in Paradise Park had eventually become almost entirely untenable. According to Trining, Crown Asia wanted their land for luxury developments and was not above harassing the tenants on a regular basis. “May problema talaga dito. Laging may gulo. Lagi siyang may katabi na itak. Baka daw kung gabi ay bigla nalang kaming i-harass. Pero ano naman ang magagawa ng itak? Baril ang hawak ng mga gwardiya nila. Nang magkagulo, itak lang ang dala niya. Sila ang unang nagpaputok, ang mga gwardiya."

That day, 29 September 2002 -- a Sunday, and therefore a day off for both parents -- Pol had been excited. He had planned to buy a DVD player for their second child, who was to celebrate his birthday the following week. Trining had not wanted to buy the player because she knew they couldn’t afford it, but Pol had been insistent, saying: “malay mo, wala na ako bukas.”


Their youngest child had wanted to eat at Jollibee afterwards but, having bought the player, they had no more money, so they settled on a lunch of rice and coffee. “Pag-uwi namin, wala kaming ulam, wala na kaming pera. Bigas lang.


But Pol didn’t mind: the only thing he wanted to do was play the DVD before a scheduled meeting with the Paradise Park Neighborhood Association, where he was now the acting director. It was a regular meeting, so he wasn’t worried. What he mind was his eldest son not buying something for the tricycle as he had asked him to: “paano na kapag wala na ako?

Pol was resting (and Trini singing on her videoke) when the commotion began. She didn’t notice Pol picking up his itak and rushing outside. In an unblinking instant, Pol -- who had suddenly found himself at the centre of a swirling mêlée -- had been shot in the lung. A few hours later, he was dead


One of the more poignant aspects of this story is the
autopsy report, which reveals that Trini hadn’t been exaggerating about their diet that day after all: his stomach's contents, only partially digested, had consisted of little more than rice...

In an exclusive interview (downloadable here and here), one of Pol's neighbors, who had witnessed the shooting personally, shares her impressions of that fateful day with one of my sources, during which some light is shed on the motives of the shooters. Here's that interview:

video video

As for the actual whodunit, the
police blotter, like the witness herself, identifies the shooters -- security guards working for the Banahaw Security Agency -- fairly clearly.

Equally noteworthy: a memo from Crown Asia regarding the hiring of security guards for the specific area (Lot 157) where the shootings had taken place (another victim had also been shot during the same incident), which included a list of licensed firearms. The memo identifies the owner of the property as Jose Nuñez, etc, which is the name under which Crown Asia had originally claimed the title of the land.

So how is it that, with all this evidence, there have been no prosecutions, even after 8 long years and repeated complaints to the authorities, both in Laguna and Manila? Why would Mayors Felicisimo Vierneza and Calixto Cataquiz of San Pedro have let the death of a human being under their respective jurisdictions go?

What weighs so heavily upon Trining even now is what has since become of her children. Their father had always dreamed of going abroad: had he not allowed his barkada to influence him unduly in his last two years of high school, she mourns wistfully, that dream might not have died. Which is why all he ever wanted was for his children to study hard and finish school. So that one day, perhaps, they might have the privilege of becoming OFWs, and Pol could vicariously live his dream of a better life through them. Sadly, his children failed miserably in school after their father’s death, and ended up having to work to help make ends meet. Today, like his father before him, the eldest is a tricycle driver, and the cycle Pol had tried so hard to break continues to remain unbroken.

The only other thing Pol ever wanted, besides the DVD player he never had the time to enjoy, was to one day see his own grandchildren grow. But that dream, too, would never be fulfilled: at 44, he had been severed from the flower of his youth in the most brazen and callous manner possible.


And Pol was, of course, not alone in the indignities he had to face on a daily basis. His may have been one of the more striking examples of life in Paradise Park – an ironic name if there ever was one, you will agree – but there were many others. Because the colloquial term for the area inside the wall where they were all congregated – a ghetto of sorts -- was “tumpok" as in “nakatumpok na basura.” As if, in fact, these human beings had been unceremoniously dumped together in the most humiliating manner possible, like trash. Indeed, the term itself is both raw and visceral, subliminally evoking the notion of garbage. So that, to get into their own homes, they needed to walk for hours to pass through a narrow entrance in an otherwise impenetrable wall; and to find potable water, they had to resort to buying bottled water outside the ghetto walls. Always and throughout, there were the security guards on patrol, who reminded them who was in charge and who would one day lay claim to their land.


But Trining and her children had no intention of ever leaving, because doing so would mean abandoning everything that Pol had lived and died for. That separation would be unspeakable. As Pol had once said: "Hindi talaga ako papayag. Magbubuwis talaga ako ng dugo. Ipaglalaban ko talaga ang lugar na ito." To this day, they remain determined to defend their land, the way an accidental hero had once taught them, almost a decade ago, at such terrible personal cost.


San Pedro is, of course, by no means an isolated case. Indeed, scattered all over the archipelago are a number of such examples, many of which are associated with properties belonging to Manny Villar. In San Pedro alone, the materials documenting
harassment, intimidation and a life of indignity are legion Interestingly, page 4 of a complaint recorded by the Department of Justice from the Paradise Park Neighborhood Association notes that the deed of the new "owner" had never been notarized.

In fact, the certificate of transfer, like Mr Nuñez's certificate of title, could not even be located...

Bulacan

Elsewhere, Lito Banayo has written compellingly about the situation in Norzagaray, Bulacan Nixon Kua's film also provides a useful backdrop. In fact, a number of protests against land-grabbing in the region have already been staged.

But all this ultimately evokes a social reality that remains both grim and disturbing. According to one reliable source (who has spent years on the ground doing humanitarian and environmental work but who has also been the unfortunate recipient of repeated death threats in recent months), there were at least three deaths related to land-grabbing between 2000 and 2005: the one in 2000 was the Secretary of the Kamadulnais (Katutubong Samahan ng Mga Dumagat sa Lourdes Neighbourhood Association, Inc.) in Barangay San Isidro, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan (please see scrapbook below); however, as it is taboo among the Dumagats to name the dead, there is no record of his name in their literature. And, since many IPs still do not have birth certificates, he was also not issued a death certificate, and it appears that he was immediately buried with little fanfare. At any rate, the Dumagats point the finger in the direction of Palmera Security, which has also been associated with Mr Villar...


In 2001 and 2005 respectively, two barangay captains in San Isidro, Bulacan were killed. In 2010, a Genaro Aguirre was also killed, which the NPA ultimately took responsibility. Of course, my source remains convinced that collusion exists between the NPA and Villar's security people, which he claims has been further buttressed by the recent alliance between Satur and Villar, not to mention Joma's exuberant pronouncements on the esteemed solon's platform for the poor. The source also maintains that there were several beatings prior to 2005 and one ambush very recently, all of which revolve around Dumagat resistance to encroachment upon their land. If true, then it is not altogether surprising that the Ombudsman recently put a hold on the Norzagaray/San Jose del Monte case petitioned by the farmers, since there appears to have been a miscarriage of justice all round...































Iloilo

Franklin Drilon has also broken the celebrated Savannah case in Oton and Pavia in Iloilo, where Villar has been accused of illegal land-conversion, while Boy Mejorada's short film powerfully captures its human face.

But there are other stories, some of which are still being investigated. In Amore at Portofino (Daang Hari, Barangay Salawag, Dasmariñas, Cavite), a land tenant (whom we shall call Mr. V for his own protection; it suffices to say that he was highly respected in his line of work) had been in the process of paying for a deed of conveyance (the amount that needs to be paid to the government to establish full ownership of the land) as a farmer-beneficiary, which had been approved by the DENR. But a new title under the name of a certain Pedro Reyes had suddenly materialized, and Mr. V, along with a number of other tenants, had been thrown out of the land, and was forced to resettle in an informal settler section for the urban poor in Bayanan, Muntinlupa.

The tenants/beneficiaries claim that there had, in fact, never been any sales between them and Pedro Reyes. Interestingly enough, the titles under this name appear to be those being used by Amore at PortofinoPhilippine Property listing portofino alabang, which is allegedly a development corporation belonging to Manny Villar (note the Brittany and Vista Land ownership). It appears that there are now security guards guarding the entire property development, depriving farmers and their families of the right of way. Like San Pedro, there is a sizable tumpok in Barangay Salawag, where farmer-tenants have no right of way, although this one is far more heavily guarded...































In Barangay San Vicente (Sto. Thomas, Batangas), Domingo Manlocloc was a tenant living on 3 hectares of land, which his family had been tilling since the early 1900s. They have been in conflict with Benjamin Maloles, their landlord, since well before 1967 because he allegedly failed to give them their fair share of produce. The regional trial court of Balayan finally confirmed the Manlocloc tenancy and a sharing system was established. But Manlocloc had difficulty selling his produce in the market for years because he claims that the landlord wanted access at unreasonably low prices. When he tried to transport the produce, he was blocked by policemen and accused of stealing. Strangely, the harassment suddenly stopped in 1997, and it was only in 2000 that Manlocloc discovered that Maloles had entered into an agreement with Camella Homes, which is also associated with Mr Villar. In 2005-2006, Wilhemina Tobias, a Camella representative, bought the neighboring properties at different prices (the better, it would appear, to divide the tenants). In 2007, Manlocloc's shanty was demolished, and he was no longer allowed to enter his own property. When he continued to resist, he was shot by an unidentified man on his way to the farm.

Although they remain unpaid, he and his siblings have never returned to the farm after the shooting. The entire Maloles property is now being developed by Camella Homes. The legal battle between Manlocloc and Maloles continues, with the former pushing for a revocation of the conversion order by DAR because he does not want to give up his right to the land. The only other legal recourse for him would be to receive disturbance compensation, but the amount remains negligible.

Marami na kaming sakit ng ulo sa lupang ito. Mula pa sa tatay ko, nauubos na ang kaunting pera namin dahil sa kasong ito, at hanggang ngayon, naghihirap pa rin kami. Mas gusto naming makuha ang lupa kaysa ang bayad. Kung babayaran nila kami, sa halaga na tama at hindi kakarampot lang. Ipinagbilin ito ng tatay ko sa amin kaya, kahit hirap na hirap na kami, ayaw naming pabayaan na lang na makuha nila ito."
















And then there is the curious case of Purok 14 in South Daang Hari in Taguig, where several subdivisions (Presidio, Brittany and Marina) are allegedly owned by Mr. Villar. The property was mortgaged to Capitol Bank by an Aida Posadas, and the title fell under the jurisdiction of Muntinlupa. Purok 14, on the other hand, belongs to Taguig, and the two areas are separated by a towering wall.

But while it is not difficult to distinguish between the two sides, it appears that Purok 14 has now become a zone of contention, with mayors from both cities preferring not to get involved. The area is said to have no existing title, let alone owner, based on a cadastral map provided by the DENR, which means that the people living there can eventually apply for ownership of the land.

Regrettably, around 100 families have already been forced to vacate the land. In an effort to protect the remaining portion of Purok 14, a brigada against the guards, who were allegedly forcing their way into the area. Over a hundred homes were demolished, after which the police informed the residents that there was no point in resisting since they were already in possession of new titles.

Joseta Suganob claims that Villar occupied a portion of Purok 14, and that the encroached portion is approximately one hectare. She further confirms that two residents (Isidro Barcelona and Leonardo Elorde) had already been shot and killed by guards in 1994.


There is already talk of a demolition after the elections. Crown Asia has apparently already sent a letter to the Barangay Captain stating its intent to develop the area, attached to which is a copy of a title.

Trends

So what is the point of these discrete vignettes I have gone to such lengths to document in scrupulous detail? Can it be said that there is an overarching framework that is both identifiable and premeditated? How does this relate to Villar's largest project to date, the C5 road extension? What is to happen to the 30,000 or so families that have been displaced by this massive DPWH project? Considering the increased market value of the Villar properties along C5, and the high payments for right of way that have already been paid out, why did the negotiations with the residents take over a year with so little apparent resolution? The crux of the matter, in fact, appears to have been a reluctance to pay dislocation or replacement costs to residents who were effectively being displaced and asked to relocate altogether. When the negotiations began to break down, the police were sent with notices "encouraging" the residents to leave. So the more pertinent question becomes: is the C5 case an "anomaly" or is it, in fact, a trend?

I, for one, observe the following trends:

Indeed, perhaps the single most objectionable aspect of the Villar empire is the fact that so much of it is ultimately at the expense of the poor. The rhetoric of "galing sa mahirap" notwithstanding (although that, too, has become questionable), one might have countenanced his modus operandi had he merely stolen from the rich.

But stripping marginalized groups of their most basic human rights -- the right to habitation and the right to live lives of dignity free of harassment and intimidation -- is unconscionable, whether they happen to be poor landowners, agricultural tenants, indigenous groups or farmers. As fake titles and illegal conversions are obtained, artificial walls erected, natural water flows and roads blocked, private security guards deployed to keep restive tenants in check, public funds used for private gain, and government officials bribed to tow the seamless "public-private partnership" Mr Villar appears to have elevated to a science, what is to become of the rule of law in our country? What, more importantly, is to become of the rights of the poor? Why not simply buy their land at fair market value and be done with it, one has to ask? Why, indeed, profit from their obvious powerlessness? Who will defend them when mayors, barangay captains, police officials, lawmakers and even ombudsmen -- our entire socio-legal continuum, in short -- all appear to have turned a blind eye to repeated harassment, land-grabbing, illegal land conversion and even murder?

Even more galling is the realization that these stories -- and the deeply humiliating situations these extraordinary human beings continue to encounter on a daily basis -- ultimately remain invisible to most because these victims have committed the one crime our class-conscious society can almost never forgive: they were born poor. Which is why Pol's deepest aspirations, Trining's quiet despair and the terrible sense of asphyxiation that unites all of Paradise Park within its implacable walls rarely bear much telling.

But these are not, after all, ordinary stories of human poverty. They depict, instead, a reality where injustice has become normalized, and violence towards the poor, sliding imperviously, fits into the natural grooves of our entire social system. We appear to have lost, indeed, our sense of outrage.

Perhaps if we were to remember that the poor are not trash on the street to be ignored and forgotten but human beings to whom we are all socially responsible in the end, we might find ourselves capable of resisting the economic and social injustices all around us. Perhaps we might even be impelled to safeguard our legal institutions from the types of impunity we observe every day. Because, just as we can afford to turn that blind eye, we also have the option of opening them wide -- however painful that might be for one brief instant -- and finally begin to see. That moment of sorrow might even be matched by a deeper sense of exhilaration: perhaps, once we no longer take "reality" for granted, we can begin to think in terms of social justice at last, and the mind can finally set us free.

A private note: this was a very difficult section to write, much harder, in many ways, than the first part, for several reasons. To begin with, the network of confidentiality was such that there was difficulty in accessing the most basic information about these subjects throughout. Preserving their anonymity for their own protection (as well as that of the sources/informants on the ground who were in touch with them), on the one hand, and wanting to tell enough of their story to the rest of the world, on the other, was a delicate balance to negotiate. The need to preserve this anonymity also had to be balanced with the need to vet the quality of the data itself at every step. Files and data were very difficult to track down also because there were no centralized sources of information. Above all, some of the narratives I had to read and listen to were ultimately somewhat harrowing.

But there were a stalwart few who came through for this section in the end, and to all of them I remain deeply grateful: to L, for walking me through Norzagaray; to E and G, for pointing out what might be electric; and M (who I regrettably only talked to at the very end), for clarifying the number of deaths we were actually looking at in Bulacan, which I had spent the better part of an entire month trying to verify... To J and J, for the technical support and for making a podcast of that superb interview, as well as for turning the Norzagaray and Iloilo DVDs into Youtube links. And to P and Luna Salin, for having been a joy to work with (a tight little ship, your unit is, and highly organized too), and for helping me out with San Pedro, Batangas and Cavite; a special thank you to P and M, too, for that wonderful chart at the end...

Luna in particular deserves a heart-felt thank you for having introduced me to some of these characters, for many of the photographs and for giving me enough detail so I could actually write about them. Not once did I encounter any hesitation, excuses or resistance (although there was quite a bit of sleepiness at the end :D); all I ever saw was a willingness to work as hard as I did, and then some. It is people like her (and M), who work in the field every day and clearly care about the people and issues the rest of us can only ever intellectualize about that I have the highest respect for. For Luna, this was clearly not a job or assignment but a calling to defend human beings whose welfare and future she cared about very deeply. To me, you will always be, my friend, one of this nation's unsung heroes.

See also: Part I - Concentric Rings? -- Private musings on Manny, money and a national apocalypse

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LILA Shahani - I grew up in the Philippines, Romania, Australia, Austria, Kenya and India. I did my undergrad at Brown and went to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts for my MA. Places of work: CCP, UP, Oxford University Press, UNICEF and UNDP. I'm currently an editor for the UN in NY and also a doctoral candidate at Oxford. This article by Sylvia Mayuga might explain a little about some of the more impalpable stuff: please click here. Meanwhile, this is the short, online version of a recent book on Amartya Sen and human development that I co-edited; the authors were primarily Oxford scholars.






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