Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban might soon find himself under arrest,
arraigned and prosecuted because of a libel charge filed
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 languishing”
here 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 with
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
An Australian living in the Philippines published a book titled: “The Unlucky Country. The Republic of the Philippines in the 21st Century.” The author Duncan McKenzie came up with the title as the counterpoint to “The Lucky Country” a book written in the mid-sixties that refers to Australia. In his book McKenzie explains that the Philippines is unlucky because, for starters, it is an archipelago and therefore naturally fragmented.
We’ve all heard the saying “justice delayed is justice denied.” That maxim has been around since time immemorial. In fact the Pirkei Avot (Hebrew for “Ethics of the Fathers”) which dates back to the 1st century B.C. mentions an old rabbi saying that goes: “the sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied." In 1215 A.D. a clause from the Magna Carta similarly declares that “to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."
Amal Alamuddin Clooney Wants to Defend Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ...Why?
Okay so she's George Clooney's wife, she's got great looks, a law degree and ambitious enough to make a name for herself apart from that of her superstar husband. Fair enough. So Amal Alamuddin Clooney decides to take on high profile cases of injustice around the world. Even better. But filing a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? What's up with that? Better do your homework Mrs. Clooney. It won't take long for you to realize that Arroyo is getting exactly what she deserves.
Manny Pacquiao Should Not Be Given a Tax Exemption
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has proposed a bill to grant Manny Pacquiao a special tax exemption for the income he will earn from his May 2nd boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pimentel justifies his bill as a "fitting tribute" to the Filipino eight-division world champion adding that "Manny is now part of our history and of world sports history. Let’s give him this tax incentive in recognition to his invaluable efforts to promote boxing and the country around the world."
With Negotiators Like These on Our Team, Who Needs an Opposing Side?
What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project?
Why is the NBI Going After Those Who Uploaded the Sagonoy Video?
According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range.
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.
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.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.