Notes on the Manila Peninsula Hotel affair

Some people have already said this, and I had made the same observations to some people, but I think a lot of people haven’t realized how dangerous the Arroyo regime’s reaction to the Manila Pen affair.

Many thought that the PNP’s action was an overkill. Two armored personel carriers, several hundred elite police men, loads of tear gas – is it really an overkill? There are tactical blunders in the police’s action. For example, why force themselves in a sofa-bariccaded front door when there are other entrances that they can use? Why use an APC to force the front door open when they can use other means? I think someone’s ego was seriously pricked, hence the action (that someone’s name sounds like a part of a vehicle).

But no, the medium is the message. The police reaction is precisely overkill because the Arroyo regime is sending a message to its enemies – it will not hesitate to kill just to survive. The queen’s enemies better think twice.

What the police did to media men last Thursday is the worst blunder, the most stupid blunder that they can ever do. And it does not end there.

Earlier today, Plinky Webb (one of those “processed” by the police) interviewed the Director General of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Avelino Razon. To be honest, he seems to be the most media-savvy PNP chief since Babylon, and he appears to be a decent chap. Apparently not. In the interview, he said that if media people decides to file a case against the police, they will have no choice but to file a countersuit.

Yes, that is called blackmail.

And probably the most scary part for the Arroyo regime – the military. How afraid can the queen be of her armed forces? The official action was entirely a police matter. Logically.

But there is one thing that was buried deep by the usual propaganda crap and litanies by dogs and monkeys. Remember that Trillanes et al were escorted by military police at the courtroom. How were they able to pull the stunt off? It scared Hermogenes Esperon so much that the AFP chief by default claimed that they were ordered to go along. Fool.

Hence the absence of the AFP in last Thursday’s affair. The Arroyo regime is deeply scared of the possibility of the military supporting Trillanes instead.

The reactions to the Manila Peninsula Affair reminded me of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I don’t know why. Maybe I should reread that novel. If you can connect the two, please let me know.

Maybe it was because of Vivian Yuchengco.

Speaking of Yuchengco, her reaction is typical of those who have a lot to lose in a big social upheaval. Understandable, but her family’s reaction to the Pacific Plans fiasco, however, puts a damper on Yuchengco’s credibility. Her reaction is not surprising. Remember her family’s reaction to the PEP Coalition? The Yuchengco family filed libel cases against the officers of the PEP Coalition.

Niloko na, kinasuhan pa. Still want the status quo? It can happen to you.

I am currently re-reading John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope. I had read this once, and I was re-reading it, since I think the book’s contents are relevant to how the current Roman Catholic hierarchy is acting (or not acting).

Have you read this book? What is your take on it?

Finally, as I have said, the regime’s later actions after Trillanes surrendered are disturbing. Let’s outline them:

* The media being treated as suspects and some of them being handcuffed. Read the following accounts for context:
From Manila Pen to Bicutan: When the Media Became the Story
Hours, media grit in the Manila Pen
ABS-CBN reporter: No one told us to leave Pen

* The PNP declared a 12AM-5AM curfew for a rather large area of Luzon.

Scary? Both of these already happened before.

If there’s one thing that Gloria Arroyo has learned from this episode, it is this: she can declare martial law anytime and no one would bother crying foul. Well, some few people would cry foul, but not enough to deter her.

To end this post, let me quote Ederic Eder:

“Sa kaloob-looban natin, gusto rin natin ng pagbabago. Ngunit nagagalit tayo sa mga mapangahas na nais gumambala sa maalwan nating pamumuhay.”

I could have not said it any better.


National Press Club’s credibility problems

I put into question the motives, credibility, and sincerity of the National Press Club when it threatened to file a complaint against the police for the unlawful arrest made against news people last Thursday.

I just find their proposed action icky for the following reasons:

1. This is the very same organization that censored a mural made by a group of artists because of political implications. They have several “offending” parts defaced, all because the guest of honor for the opening of their restaurant might get offended. The guest of honor? Gloria Arroyo. Ironic, no? Whether the complaint is sincere or an attempt to deodorize the NPC’s image remains to be seen. However…

2. I doubt the sincerity of the group in filing the complaint. Of all places, why file a complaint at the Commission on Human Rights? CHR is as toothless as a baby panda. It can only investigate and recommend. It has no prosecutorial powers. In the end, the complaint is useless. Also, when another group files another complaint, this time a criminal one, forum-shopping may be raised by the prosecutors, thus seeing a criminal complaint dismissed.

3. The NPC in the recent years, including this one, has been beset by credibility problems. For this year, aside from the mural censorship, it has disposed of the Manansala mural. Also, in parallel to the legitimacy problems of Gloria Arroyo, the current crop of officers suffer from legitimacy problem, too. (I just find it ironic that they had Gloria Arroyo as guest of honor in that restaurant opening, heh.)

If there’s anyone who should sue the police, it should be the media people who were arrested/invited/whatever by the police. They are more credible than the NPC.


Trillanes, Lim at Makati: Another coup?

Something’s happening at Makati right now. It seems that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV together with Gen. Danilo Lim have walked out of the coup hearing at Makati RTC. They are now walking along Ayala Avenue.

I dunno, but I think the soldiers guarding them have switched to Magdalo, too.

Will the people go there when called? It is up to you, I guess, but think of the risks first.

It seems that this is carefully planned: look here:



For those who hate Trillanes et al so much, it is time to take that illogical rage into action. It is time to stop yakking and it is time to start walking the talk. Here’s my humble suggestion. Create placards that says “Trillanes shut up”, “Die, Trillanes!” or whatever, then go to Makati. Gloria Arroyo will be very delighted.


ABS-CBN News: Trillanes, Lim call for Arroyo’s removal
GMA News: Trillanes, Lim walk out of court, call for ouster of Arroyo


Cris Anthony Mendez: Back to normal

We really tend to have short memories. Or we are just too lazy to remember.

Months after the death of Cris Anthony Mendez from the barbaric tradition called hazing, nothing much has changed. First, unlike the dispatch shown by the ever consistent Philippine National Police on solving the Glorietta and Batasan blasts, no one has been charged with the crime. Very consistent. Second, most of the suspects are already in hiding or have already left the country. The guilty really hides from the truth. And the worst? It is all back to normal.

I have mixed feelings about the University of the Philippines. It is a bastion of student activism. It leads the charge against corruption. But it suffers from the proverbial pointing cliche – that when you point at someone, three fingers are pointing at you. And as they say in Tagalog, “Bago mo husgahan ang kapwa mo, tingnan mo muna ang sarili mo.” I really want to say that to all members of the UP community. Remember all those candles? All those marches? All those talks of remembering, etc, yada yada? Yet what have you to show?

Fraternities in UP are tumors that are hard to remove.

I am troubled by what my sources in UP Diliman have told me. Some of them said the same things, some of them have verified facts, and some of them gave me rumors. I will be posting what I have learned here, and the rumors will be clearly marked as RUMORS until such time I have verified them through multiple sources.

Some of my sources told me that the Sigma Rhoans are back at their usual tambayan, at the Malcolm Hall parking lot, now that the outcry is gone. Remember that some news reports showed an empty tambayan right after Mendez’ death was announced, and remained empty when the outcry was at its peak. Now, they are back.

Delta Lambda Sigma sorority is also busy recruiting. Fact: DLS is the affiliate of Sigma Rho. Fact: DLS is disassociating themselves with Sigma Rho. Good for them.

RUMOR: Sigma Rho is again recruiting new lambs to be slaughtered. It is also rumored that the Sigma Rho are taking a closer look at the LAE examinees for possible recruits. One of the sources noted the irony that Cris Mendez would have been one of the examinees.

RUMOR: A UP College of Law professor has been kicked out, apparently being involved in CA’s case. Still verifying this rumor.

RUMOR: Other fraternities are taking advantage of Sigma Rho’s “absence” last academic semester. Scintilla Juris is rumored to be raring to regain prominence in Malcolm Hall. In what way, the sources did not say. Hopefully not by another hazing death. Or a rumble. Speaking of which…

RUMOR: A rumble is about to erupt soon. Several sources have shared this rumor, but some of them have refused to say who are the parties to be involved; some sources gave different names. But all of them agree that a rumble may happen soon.

RUMOR: It seems that a new Law dean is to be selected, and one factor that weighs in heavily on the selection is the issue of fraternities. It is a hot issue, some of my sources told me. Interesting bit, if true.

RUMOR: The most troubling, for its implication: Sigma Rho has a Cris Mendez defense fund large enough to buy several judges, if necessary. THIS IS A RUMOR. But to be honest, with the way CA’s case has moved, this is very plausible.

I will try to verify these rumors and seek more information from other sources.

Roundup of news on Cris Mendez’ case: Cris Anthony Mendez: The Search for Justice
Roundup of blog post on Cris Mendez’ death: The true barbarians of UP (UPDATED)

PS: If I die at UP, you know the reason why. ;P


Do you feel the self-righteous torment?

Have you seen that fugly “Ramdam ko ang pag-asenso” (I feel the progress) TV ad (well, I only saw one)? You know, I want to interview each and everyone who appeared and talked in that commercial. I want to pick their brains. I want to establish that they were taking hallucinogens. I want to see their ITRs and 2316s. I want to see their bank records, billing records, records of property ownership, payslips. I want them to look at me straight in the eye, and repeat what they had said on TV. I want to be sure that what they were spewing at the TV were true.

The fact that the advertiser is unidentified raises more questions that answers. It is obviously a government ad, what with the quality and utter disregard for the truth. Hiding in anonymity is trademark Arroyo regime.

How about you? Ramdam mo na ba ang pag-asenso? I surely do not.

A self-righteous Filipino sent a self-righteous letter to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, protesting on her innocence, claiming that she is not guilty over the death of Mariannet Amper, nor she feels any remorse whatsoever. I pity her, not for her self-righteous apathy and arrogance. I pity her because of her glaring ignorance of how a government operates.

She threw the book, the sink, the toilet bowl, everything, on the Gloria Arroyo administration, claiming that it is the Arroyo regime’s fault. I would have gladly joined her, except that she has to answer a simple question first: if Gloria Arroyo is at fault, what had she done about it?

I will not be surprised if she had elected Gloria Arroyo in 2004.

It seems that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has really did it this time.

The years 2006-2007 have been a banner year when it comes to extra-judicial killing and forced disappearances. Victims are mostly linked with the left, suggesting a Red Banner witch hunt, and all fingers point at the military. There is even a poster boy of Red Banner witch hunt – Jovito Palparan, nicknamed “The Butcher” (the nickname that can safely be given to Stalin). The Arroyo regime formed the Melo Commission to investigate such killings and disappearances. While the Commission recommended that Palparan be investigated, its other findings are unknown, and no other concrete actions were taken by the regime.

The Supreme Court had to take action, calling an unprecedented all-hands, all-stakeholders summit, and then issuing new rules based on the findings and recommendations made in that summit. One of the new rules is the implementation of a writ of amparo, or writ of protection. Said to be more powerful than the writ of habeas corpus (specifically stated in the Charter), the rules regarding the writ no longer allow the respondent to simply deny the fact. The habeas corpus’ main defect is that it allows the respondent to simply deny the fact that he has the person being petitioned to be produced.

It seems that the AFP is really engaging in clearly illegal activities.

In several amparo cases filed, two persons have been produced since the rules regarding the writ of amparo were promulgated. If these two people are criminals, how come charges are not filed against them? Why engage in torture?

The protector of the people has become the tormentor. Tsk.


Diving into mud

Our government officials are really funny.

Mariannet Amper’s case must have strucked a raw nerve. Too much mud thrown on several faces, police are now searching for reasons why a 12-year old killed herself. For some people, killing yourself just because you are poor is kind of illogical, unreasonable, and not enough a reason to kill oneself. I will not dispute some people’s assertion about the reason that led to the suicide. I will not even speculate on the reasons why. The kid is dead.

With mud in their faces, specially Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the police has exhumed the girl’s body for autopsy. Not content with mud, they dived directly into the mud.

Why? Suicide is a police matter. They should have investigated it as a case, they should have the body autopsied before allowing it to be buried. The fact that the police did not speaks loudly of what kind of police force we have. As if they are telling us that they are having an investigation as an afterthought, to dispute the poverty-as-reason angle.

While the initial post-burial investigation showed that it was possible that the child was molested, it does not dispute the facts in the child’s diary. Unless, of course, the diary’s a forgery. I will not be surprised if the police tackles THAT angle next.

There are lots of reasons why a person commits suicide. Heck, you can’t even compute the combination of reasons. But the most common denominator among suicide cases is that the person was depressed. Poverty can make someone depressed, trust me. And if the kid was molested….


Two murders

Two murders were committed at the Batasang Pambansa in a span of less than 24 hours.

Last night, an explosion at the South Wing lobby of the Batasan killed Basilan Representative Wahab Akbar, and a driver of another congresswoman, who was herself injured. Another congressman was injured from the blast. Police believes this was an assassination and not a terrorist attack.

(Nope, contrary to the police line, I thought the blast was caused by the collective fart of congressmen who received Php 200,000 a month ago at the Fortress.)

To be honest, Akbar is not a great loss to the country, being a political overlord of his province (two of his wives are elected officials of Basilan, too), and is rumored to be connected with the Abu Sayaff. Heck, he had his Louis XIV moment, boldly saying “I am Basilan.” Read Wahab Akbar’s profile by Newsbreak.

The morning after, the House Committee on Justice offered a moment of silence for Akbar. That’s the official line, of course. The real reason is that they were to commit another murder that day: the murder of the palyadong Pulido impeachment complaint. Which they did with gusto, with murderers’ grins, without much semblance of conscience amongst the dogs of the Justice Committee. Their amo at the Fortress was very pleased, of course.

End of story.

You know, some people are being stupid. Some people are blaming the opposition with the murder of the palyadong Pulido impeachment complaint, saying that the opposition was caught “natutulog sa kangkungan.”

Maybe there is really a problem with our knowledge of politics, history, and governance.

The impeachment attempts last 2005 and 2006 should have been instructive. Politicians have shown that impeachment, a process defined in the Philippine Constitution, can be reduced into a numbers game. So if you want to impeach Gloria Arroyo, you should have elected an opposition House.

But, no. Confused as we are with what we want to happen with our lives, we gave the Senate to the mongrel opposition, and the House to the dogs of the Arroyo regime. What confused message have we delivered through that 2007 elections?

The opposition of the 14th Congress knew by July of 2007 that impeaching Gloria Arroyo is as remote as the Second Coming happening at this very moment. So when the palyadong Pulido impeachment complaint was filed, even I was surprised by such foolishness. (Well, yeah, no wonder the Magdalos dropped him as their lawyer.) I cannot blame others if they think Pulido is the new Oliver Lozano.

And now that the palyadong Pulido complaint is dead, some people have the gall to blame the opposition. Hello? Are you watching the news, or Kokey (alright, Zaido)?


Cris Anthony Mendez: The Search for Justice

(This blog post continues the roundup entitled The true barbarians of UP. Check back on this page for news updates.)

Almost a month since the death of Cris Anthony Mendez, the case is far from being solved. But there are small breaks, which is good.

11/23/2207 News Update
Sigma Rhoan loses TRO case vs UP in hazing controversy Belat! Buti nga! Seriously, the fact that he is still in hiding speaks loudly about his innocence, no?

11/20/2007 News Update
Doctor faces civil case filed by Mendez family The Mendez family should get a new lawyer. They should file a medical malpractice case against that doctor. They should also ask the Professional Regulation Commission to strip the doctor of his license. I would have asked for more than Php 8 million. And yeah, almost two months after, still no criminal case filed against anyone. It seems that Sigma Rho has done its coverup job well.

11/08/2007 News Update
4 face obstruction raps in Mendez case Funny, they should charge Santos himself. And that Miko Cruz, too. It has been a month, and these two have been invisible since day 1, isn’t that enough ground to charge them with obstruction of justice?

10/31/2007 News Update
UP studes light candles for dead frat neophytes Two months after, no break in CA’s case.

10/26/2007 News Update
Fratman’s lawyer says UP on ‘a fishing expedition’ Yeah, right. Where’s your client, BTW?

10/24/2007 News Updates
UP fraternity man seeks stop to hearings on Mendez death
Sigma Rho member seeks TRO vs UP
It has been quite awhile since the last update to this post. One Sigma Rho member wants the court to stop the UP Student Disciplinary Tribunal hearings. Remember that the QC Police District is waiting for the results of the SDT hearings before it files a case against Sigma Rho members (see 10/24 update, below).

10/13/2007 Update
Frat violence rears its ugly head not just in UP That is not the point, and the letter writer don’t get it. The point is that a UP student was murdered, and Sigma Rho is likely culprit.

10/10/2007 News Update
Doctor’s son a no show in NBI hazing death inquiry This time, NBI should charge Mico with obstruction of justice. They should not wait any longer.

10/07/2007 News Update
Fraternity men wheel in hope to people with disabilities A UP fraternity tries to find relevance in this time where almost everyone is hostile against fraternities.

10/05/2007 News Updates
Doctor allegedly prevented autopsy on Cris Mendez
Witness says no autopsy done on UP hazing victim
Another witness claims that the doctor immediately had the body released without the benefit of an autopsy. That’s obstruction of justice, plain, clear, and simple.

10/04/2007 News Updates
Decision on case vs UP frat members vital to cops’ probe I get the feeling that QCPD is bluffing. If you have an airtight case, you file it, you arrest the suspects.
NBI gives doc’s son one week to show up Sabi nga sa Filipino, baka ginagapang na ng Sigma Rho para manahimik yung anak ng doktor.

10/03/2007 News Update
NBI to seek UP stude’s help on Mendez slay Icasiano’s mother appeals to Sigma Rho. I think it was useless. There’s no use appealing to murderers.

10/02/2007 News Updates
Doctor in Mendez slay shows up at NBI
Doctor in UP hazing shows up at NBI
Crucial updates, folks. Ties up several loose ends. The most surprising (and wicked) news: the doctor’s first lawyer was supposedly supplied by Sigma Rho. The rogues! They wanted the doctor to stonewall for them! They are really desperate to cover their asses.

10/01/2007 Update
Saguisag on Sigma Rogues and the new writ of amparo Rene Saguisag called Sigma Rho as Sigma Rogues. Heh.

9/29/2007 News Updates
UP files raps vs 12 Sigma Rhoans Note that the complaint is an internal one. Also, a rumor of another hazing death is circulating, and if true, it means that the concerned fraternity has learned from Cris’ death. They have employed calibrated, pre-emptive response (CPR). Shame on you, Gloria Arroyo.
Obstruction of justice charge awaits doctor in Mendez case They should have done this aeons ago. NBI should now check with Immigration, and I would not be surprised if the coward is gone.
Don’t forgo due process in Cris Mendez’s case WTF. Due process? Want due process, mister? How about this? A month after Cris’ death, no one has been charged? The fools who were suspended are all missing in action. You want due process, mister? What you need is a slap in the butt and a brain transplant. Your own needs to be discarded. Fast. Inquirer should have not published such a useless rant. (If you notice, this letter uses a variation of the usual Gloria Arroyo apologists. Go to MLQ3‘s blog and read comments made by Bencard and rego.)

9/28/2007 News Update
Fraternities ‘surprised’ by UP president’s directive Not really related to Cris’ case, but it seems fraternities are having a hard time justifying their existence, even concocting reasons for failure to comply with the UP president’s directive.

9/26/2007 News Updates
NBI says doctor in Mendez slay case could face charges and Last chance for doctor linked to UP hazing – NBI They should have charged him aeons ago. Who knows, the doctor might have fled the country already.

9/25/2007 News Update
Cris Mendez’s ma gets offer to settle case Whether the stranger who made the offer is connected with Sigma Rho or not, I just shake my head in disgust. As if money can buy you a life. Don’t these people get it? They murdered someone, and they should face the law.

9/24/2007 In a letter to Newsbreak, Fulgencio Factoran Jr. explains why he does not intend to resign from Sigma Rho. He went on great lengths to explain his decision. And yes, like Villafuerte, he does not condemn his own fraternity for killing Cris Mendez. Boo.

“By far, the biggest lesson I have learned from the Sigma Rho fraternity is the value of friendship. A sub lesson is that I should not desert a friend when he is in crisis, no matter how badly he has behaved.” At least for us, we support our friends BUT WE DO NOT CONDONE THEIR WRONG ACTIONS. That’s our difference, Mr. Factoran. Also: now that Mendez is dead, where are your brods? Sigma Rho might have been good to you, but from the rate things are going, the current members and alumni of your fraternity has not been good on Mendez – that includes you, Mr. Factoran. How do you reconcile that, Mr. Factoran?

9/21/2007 News Update
UP president orders fraternities: Justify your existence I hope this is not just tough talk.

9/20/2007 News Updates
‘Violent frats accept only neophytes who submit to hazing’ “He told the Inquirer that based on a 1996 study conducted by Sociology professor Ricardo Zarco, the Sigma Rho fraternity had the most number of involvement in violent incidents in the university.” Heh. How I wished numbers were quoted.
NBI to quiz funeral parlor exec It seems that the funeral parlor has a lot of questions to answer. Is there a Sigma Rhoan in that business?
A code of secrecy and silence Someone wrote a letter to the editor, wondering about Sigma Rho’s silence. Why even ask?

9/19/2007 News Updates
UP frat violence forum seeks justice for Mendez That’s the ticket. Bring it on, indeed.
UP to Sigma Rho: Go ahead, sue us Kapal talaga ng mukha. Magpakita muna kayo bago kayo manakot, mga duwag.

9/19/2007 Blog Posts
Mafia Culture “I weep for the wasted life of Cris, so young and with a bright future. Now he is but another statistic in this barbaric crime whose perpetrators are being cuddled by their influential criminal brothers. To these criminals, justice may not be served in this life but who knows in the next? Pray too that your sons will not face animals like you when their turn comes. Justice can come from the most unlikely places and a crime cannot be hidden for eternity.

So no matter how Sigma Rho tries to justify/glorify its organization, its nothing but a gang that revolves around the culture of the Mafia.”

One of Their Own “At dinner a few nights ago, some brods and I talked about possible ways of helping to ensure that something like the Mendez case should never happen to our residents, and of more sharply focusing the fraternity’s energies on academics and public service. I know that to many, that’ll be like teaching a dinosaur to dance, but I’d like to be more hopeful—while bearing in mind that the bottomline for fraternities is, if they can’t guarantee the safety and well-being of their members and recruits, then they’re better off dissolved. Worse than becoming irrelevant, they can be dangerous. If the alumni brods want whatever glorious traditions they may have begun to carry on to this new century, then they should take the lead in reshaping the mindsets of the young, and not condone any act of violence—even and especially if it’s perpetrated by one of their own.”

9/18/2007 News Updates
Witness confirms Mendez joined frat initiation rites Finally, someone connects CA’s murder with Sigma Rho.
UP Diliman campus blooms with ‘justice’ posters Well, I hope this is not just a prank. And oh, former Senator Jovito Salonga resigns from Sigma Rho. Hurrah!
Sigma Rho alumni chief wants Salonga apology I think Filipino words can best sum this news up: ANG KAPAL NG MUKHA. What gall. I can only shake my head in disgust.

9/18/2007 Blog Posts
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness. . .” (Matthew 3:3) “The newspapers today speak of a real man standing for his principles and standing by his word, even when it is unpopular, even when it goes against the grain, even when it is not expedient, for so long as it is the right thing to do.”

Of Justice and Teardrops (in memory of Cris Anthony Mendez, 1987-2007) “See, I may not have actively intended to take a life. That said, the moment that I lacked the foresight to see the consequences of my actions, then I have lost all exoneration from blame. I have to suffer the consequences of my actions, because I am a man who was taught by both of my parents that you have to live this life with as clean a conscience as you can possibly get. If I go to jail, fine. At least I can do my time and get the chance to mend my ways. The person whose death I caused accidentally? He’s not going anywhere. And he never will. I would rather have a clean conscience behind bars than to live my life as a “free” man outside jail, always longing for the voices in my head to keep quiet. Sooner or later, the voices will take over.”