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A New Year’s Wish: Respect Towards One Another

ormer Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban might soon find himself under arrest, arraigned and prosecuted because of a libel charge filedFormer Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban might soon have to face libel charges for an article he wrote about the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) against him by Ferdinand Marcos crony Herminio Disini. The “libelous act” that Panganiban is accused of is writing an article for the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 2011 that Disini alleges is an “irresponsible and malicious” attack with regards to his involvement in the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) during the martial law years. You can read Panganiban’s article titled: “After 35 years, still languishinghere and decide for yourself if it is indeed “libelous” or if Philippine laws are once again being used by people with money and power to muzzle the press.

But let us step back and try to see things from a broader perspective. This article is after all, not just about a Marcos crony and a former chief justice. During the 1986 EDSA revolution when millions of Filipinos put their lives on the line and literally faced down the tanks of General Fabian Ver, Cory Aquino became president while Marcos and his ilk were sent packing. The dreams and aspirations of the long-oppressed Filipino masses took flight with the ascendancy of the country’s first female president. Mrs. Aquino had as well the blessing and admiration of the entire world. She could have ushered in a new era of unprecedented growth and prosperity for the Philippines.

In retrospect however, it now appears that Cory Aquino achieved next to nothing. Not only was she faulted for not even trying, according to her many detractors at the time, she just didn’t seem to know anything. The acronym bandied about back then to describe Mrs. Aquino in office was TWA—not the airline, it stood for talagang walang alam (knows absolutely nothing). Had Mrs. Aquino despite her limitations taken seriously the mandate the Filipino people thrust upon her, she would have moved heaven and earth to bring to justice all those who in one way or another were involved withHerminio Disini (inset) and the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, a $2.3 Billion debacle paid for by Filipino taxpayers either the Marcoses or their unjust military regime. Instead, Mrs. Aquino chose to kick the can down the road for another generation to deal with.

Little did she know then that the person who might have to clean up the mess she refused to touch would be her son, current President Noynoy Aquino (Pnoy). And in the nearly two decades that the Marcoses and their cronies have been left untouched, many of  those once cowering figures now stand tall, emboldened once again to not just put forward their own distorted version of history but to muzzle those who dare expose their sordid past.

Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban’s stellar achievements despite his humble beginnings stand as a testament to his indomitable spirit. There is likely still a lot of fight left in him. The question however is: what will the president do about all this? Will Pnoy finish what his mother unfortunately never really started? Or will he likewise kick the can even further down the road so that in some distant misinformed future Ferdinand Marcos might even be seen as a hero and his martial law regime as the best thing that ever happened to the Philippines. Published 01/05/2014


RECENT EDITORIALS

Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano

The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed. Published 2/15/2015


No More Bangsamoro, Period!

With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea. Published 2/8/2015
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped

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President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah

Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia. Published 1/27/2015
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do

We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines. Published 1/22/2015
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We had a feeling this was coming. In his first major speech in the Philippines, Pope Francis called for an end to 'scandalous inequalities' in the country. And what better example of a scandalous inequality is there than that a preposterously ridiculous wedding of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera which was officiated by 8 bishops and 7 priests. In addition, this crass wedding featured a 12-foot high wedding cake, a 2-million-peso wedding gown with an exaggeratedly long train that seemed to go on forever...you get the picture. Published 1/16/2015
An Open Letter to Pope Francis; Please Read It Before Coming to the Philippines

Dear Pope Francis, your much anticipated visit to the Philippines is just a few days away. We expect that you will have been adequately briefed about the Philippines by the time you arrive. However, there might be a few things your Vatican handlers might have missed—or intentionally "forgot" to mention to you so we hope this letter reaches you in time for your historic visit. Before anything else, welcome! Published 1/9/2015

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