Sunday, August 06, 2006


by Edel Garcellano

It’s like a lottery. My men draw lots & he who gets the shortest straw, for instance, gets to lead the pack. It’s his decision what to do with the target. Nah, they don’t know the guys they’ll round up. We only see to it that these felons are identified: they’re such troublemakers; they make things so difficult. If they knew them, my guys would flinch. I don’t like that. They should treat the whole job as a purely business proposition. No pain, no gain. In business there are risks. Spread the guilt so everyone feels good? Haha! That’s cute. My guys are not animals! They believe in God, pray the rosary, too. They are obedient, loyal – virtues Jehovah instills in His flock. If everything is treated, say, as a raffle, then destiny – not me – should be blamed. Would you curse your fate? You cannot spit on your own face. Of course, they have choices: but God demanded of Abraham the sacrifice of Isaac. He was willing to do that – slit him up. But God backed out. & that’s the difference between me & the Lord. I pursue everything to its logical conclusion.

They just do it – I hate to use the word kill, it’s not true. We sleep soundly at night because we have done nothing wrong. God has commanded us not to spare the sword in battling evil.


Old story
by Edel Garcellano

Tonight, the stars will fall.
He will dig up his own grave;
she will be ransacked like a drawer.
The men in black jackets with hoods
will troop back safely to their house,
clean their guns,
wipe their knives & booze.
There will be a rosary of lights
winding around the city
& old men & women
will assault the heavens
with their human cry.
Windows & doors will be shut tight
lest the voices from the cemetery
deafen their ears
& they go mad.
Dogs will not bark, however:
they were silent witnesses.
Tomorrow night,
the men in black jackets with hoods
will troop out of the house –
this time promising to perfect their craft:
there should be no remembering.
O but the telltale heart
beating in the wind
speaks the secret languages
of the dead!


by Edel Garcellano

We gave them names,
because we are our own children –
why should they vanish into thin air:
alone & unmarked in a watery yard?

“All mothers want
their children to come back.”


by Edel Garcellano

The clean, well-lighted coffee shop
is heavy with chatter of fatty liver,
Paris collection, microsoft –
somewhere, kids are getting killed.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Who's next?
By Michael Tan
Last updated 02:08am (Mla time) 08/04/2006

Published on Page A13 of the August 4, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

THIS morning, I received a text message from a friend based in Baguio City. I'm translating the text: "Update from those who visited Chandu. He's OK now. Can communicate. Hope he'll pull through." That was the uplifting part, but the text ended: "Alice's burial on Friday."

Chandu is Dr. Constancio Claver, a physician working in the Cordilleras and chair of the Bayan Muna party-list group in Kalinga province. Last Monday, his family was ambushed by armed men on board two vans. Chandu and a bystander suffered gunshot wounds and both are now recovering. Sandy, their 7-year-old daughter, was in the van and was spared but suffers from shock. Alice, Chandu's wife, died from her wounds.

On the same day they were ambushed, there were two other political assassinations. League of Filipino Students provincial spokesperson Raymond Guran was killed in Sorsogon province, and Tanod tabloid photojournalist Prudencio Melendres was shot to death in Malabon, Metro Manila. I've lost count of the figures from the human rights groups, but the three murders add to the more than 700 political assassinations that have occurred under the Arroyo presidency.

Bobby de la Paz

The attempted murder of Chandu has shaken health professionals, reminding many of us of the assassination back in 1982 of Dr. Remberto "Bobby" de la Paz.

I got the news by phone from Dr. Mita "Mamita" Pardo de Tavera. She went straight to the point: "Bobby was killed yesterday."

I was stunned. Bobby and I worked for Mamita's AKAP, an NGO doing community-based health programs with emphasis on tuberculosis control. Bobby and his wife Sylvia, who was also a physician, had chosen to serve remote areas in Samar. It was a dangerous time because to the Marcos dictatorship and the military, anyone who served the poor had to be a subversive.

The people whom Bobby served thought otherwise. He was well loved, content with his P1,000 monthly salary and occasional gifts from patients. As he lay dying from his gunshot wounds, a call went out for blood donations. Hundreds of townsfolk came forward, offering to donate.

Bobby was 29 when he died. His mother, Mommy Lydia, was visiting at that time and recounted later, how Bobby had asked, as she cradled him in her arms: "Masakit, masakit ... Bakit, bakit?" ["It's painful, it's painful ... Why, why?"]

Medical neutrality

Almost 25 years after Bobby's death, this attempted assassination of Chandu makes us ask why again. Why is this nation, with all the trappings of a democracy, reliving the nightmare of the Marcos dictatorship?

Doctors are a respected lot in the Philippines, seen almost as gods, so even a hired assassin has to be driven by a ferocious hatred before he can pull the trigger. Bobby, big gentle Bobby, took 22 bullets.

Chandu also served Kalinga as a physician to the poor, and his attempted assassination sends a signal to other doctors working in similar circumstances to be careful, for they could be next. I remember Bobby telling me how the military would sometimes ask him why he had chosen to serve in Samar province, and didn't migrate to the United States. At that time, doctors could still migrate to America, without becoming nurses.

The Philippines is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and several other international protocols that recognize medical neutrality. In relation to health professionals, that's summarized in two sentences in the Code of Medical Neutrality: Medical workers shall be respected, protected and assisted in the performance of their medical duties. Medical workers shall not be punished for providing ethical medical care, regardless of persons benefiting for it, or for refusing to perform unethical medical treatment.

The Philippines is suffering enough from the exodus of health workers, including doctors turned nurses. Those who have remained generally stay in the cities, serving the upper classes. With the attempted assassination of Chandu Claver, the stark message we get now is this: "Stop working with the poor. Get real and migrate ... We need your dollars more."


I have heard people arguing, but "these people" are leftists. So? If I recall right, we live in a democracy, which respects political pluralism. With President Arroyo's repressive government, Bayan Muna and other leftist groups are among the dwindling courageous voices that help keep her from imposing a dictatorship. The assassinations are attempts to silence the remaining voices.

Every assassination has brought more demands for investigations, but for the most part, the government has chosen not to even respond to the appeals. Only recently has President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo begun to call for investigations, but those are seen as coming too little, too late, especially when compared to the praise she heaped on Jovito Palparan, a military officer who does not try to disguise his disdain for human rights, during her State of the Nation Address.

We have to ask, too, who else would have the resources and logistics for so many assassinations nationwide, conducted in such similar styles, and with such similar targets. The murders are too clearly linked, backed by experts in murder and psychological warfare. Just last June, another Bayan Muna leader, Markus Bangit, was killed in Isabela. Shortly after, Alice Claver received a text message referring to her husband: "Matapang si Doc. Hindi niya kayo mahal." ["Doc is being brave. He does not love you."]

A disturbing possibility arises: Has Ms Arroyo, as commander in chief, lost control of the more hard-line factions of her government, both civilian and military? Ferdinand Marcos chose to ride the military tiger, but in his last few years as president, old and sick, he lost control even as the military tried to outdo him in trying to keep the dictatorship.

No one thinks Marcos personally ordered Bobby's assassination in 1982, but his years of dictatorship had created a culture of impunity that allowed that assassination. We didn't know it then, but in retrospect, Bobby's murder was the beginning of the end of the Marcos dictatorship as the dictatorship turned more and more paranoid. In 1983, opposition leader and former Sen. Benigno Aquino was assassinated too when he tried to return to the Philippines. No longer acts of impunity, the killings became the last acts of desperation of a failed state.

* * *

Rally: Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) and Health Action for Human Rights are calling health workers to participate in a protest rally at 10 a.m. today, Aug. 4, in front of the Department of Justice. Please wear white.


One thing about Nanen: she has never failed to surprise us. At a single period of time, she could be dead serious perfecting the assigned tasks to her while unleashing her prowess to make us laugh – or cry or get irritated. Schizophrenic she is not; she has just a gift to instinctively shift from one character to another that could spontaneously transform us into laughing hyenas or combust us into raging bulls.

But beyond her colorful personality lies the true color of Nanen. Deep down in her heart, she is true and tried to her commitment. Her immersion to the real world tightens her grip to what she believes in. She would defy the pull of gravity to make sure that she presses on her principles and passion.

That was how Nanen has steeled in her resolve. I was not caught unawares at all when she announced that she decided to go beyond the four corners of her classroom to give way to her undying passion to go among the hapless and the helpless.

It was the last time we talked about it seriously. Still, she has not missed surprising me of her texts and messages. In her texts, she is still the same Nanen that I used to know, my housemate, officemate and friend.

Until I heard the news that Nanen was abducted by the military in a village where she has devoted her life. My reaction was obscure and indefinable, for Nanen was not only too frail to do that, her work is much more noble and dignified than those who are in the power. She was charged with fabricated cases.

I don’t know what has pushed the army in abducting Nanen. What is clear now is that the army and the government are too paranoid now that they would resort in these activities just to make sure that no one would go against their interest. And for some reason, they think Nanen is one of them.

That must be the exact explanation why, aside from Nanen, they still continue to pick on people who they think threaten the already wobbling government. Faces of Cris Hugo, the Maco Four, several journalists, and endless names of faceless people stream in my mind. They are victimized of the paranoia of this government.

But they are not the only ones who are victims here. We are also sufferers, being browbeaten and cowed by this government by exhibiting its expertise in the use of gold, goons and guns. We are being tamed by the sight of the pile of bodies, of the blood that spills in the broad of the day and in the dead of the night. We are the losers.

I don’t know what happens to Nanen now. But whatever will it be (which I hope would be better), I still envy Nanen. She is able to arrive at life she has always wanted, without compromise or concession. And she has surprised the hell out of me for being able to do that.

*Karen has earned the monicker "flying sexy girl" because she was so small in frame and light that her orgmates in Praxis would just lift her and throw her about in public like the female dancers on noontime television.

lifted from


26 July 2006
metrica, manila

Under the scorching heat of the sun, I found myself rubbing elbows with the tubaw-wearing youth on the grounds of Senate. Bored of being bum for weeks, I was in the process of “soul-searching” when I got drawn in to these people’s grasp of reality. Anyway their ideas weren’t too big to take in as I could easily identify with the evil effects of the whopping budget slash in education sector.

Though-looking as I am but I would not deny that at that time, I felt boneless, especially upon catching a glimpse of the marines who looked hell-bent in wiping us off the earth. Sitting prettily while alternately digesting my sandwich and the heart-warming, temperature-rising speeches of the mass leaders, piles of bodies hurled into mine. Blood started to taint the ground as the men in uniform thrashed us to death. The throng was in complete disarray.

I was struggling to get out of the mesh of bodies when someone grabbed me and escorted me towards a safer place. Exactly after she hauled me, blows of truncheon hammered right on the nail where I was ensnarled.

I learned that that girl was Sherlyn, a representative to the University Student Council of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She had been actively participating in mobilizations, and had developed an instinct in situations such as these.

With my regular stay in Vinzons Hill where Sherlyn was also a tambay, I found out that she was the one who was edged out by the controversial Nancy Navalta in a race. She was a university athlete. Among the tambay, Sherlyn was also popular for her dance step, a sort of “The Running Man” infused with whatever-you-wanna-call-it steps. This “The Sherlyn Cadapan Dance Step” required a lot of intense muscle flexes that no one has dared to follow or imitate.

While she dances gracefully and automatically turns into a horse when running, Sherlyn works like a dog. She has never wavered in her commitment. Yet, though serious, she has never missed to inject fun to her work. In deed, she could transform a prayer meeting into a party, or a market.

Knowing how deeply entrenched Sherlyn is to her commitment, I was not waylaid when one day, she just shook our hands, packed her bag and went out the door. I knew where she was leading to, and I never had a doubt about her decision.

I haven’t seen Sherlyn since then. Until her face flashed on the television screen. She was abducted by the military, being singled out as a terrorist.

Gen. Jovito Palparan, who was acknowledged by Pres. Arroyo in her last State of the Nation Address for his achievement in restoring “peace and order” in the country, was quick to validate the abduction. He said that the military has enough evidence that pinpoint Sherlyn, along with Karen Empeno and Manuel Merino to have linked with the New People’s Army. Whatever these proofs are, however, everyone knows the track record of Palparan for vamping up stories and accusations to gorge his fondness of mercilessly killing suspicious individuals.

Still uneasy and beleaguered by these recent developments, no disclaimer can ditch the fact that the series of abduction and killings only means one thing: the Arroyo government is in full battle gear to flex its muscle to the people going against its interest. Everyone is subjected to suspicion, knowing how paranoid this government is, which could lead to abduction, incarceration and even death.

Sherlyn is just a person whose only passion is to provide genuine service to the underprivileged being neglected by the government. Hers is a work so modest and noble that she is well-loved by the people. Tagging her terrorist is false and malicious.

For a terrorist is someone whose passion is to sow fear among the people. Expert in employing goons, gold and guns, he is determined to defeat everyone just to advance his stake. He has resorted to using all the dirty tricks such as tagging some individuals “terrorist”. A terrorist is shunned by the people.

With the statistics and records staring straightly to us, we know who the real terrorist is.

lifted from

Friday, August 04, 2006


July 20th marked the 24th day of the forced disappearance of two University of the Philippines (UP) students. The UP community remembered that day with a requiem procession.

UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, together with a farmer, were abducted by masked men in Hagonoy, Bulacan last June 26. Prior to their forced disappearance, the two students were working as volunteers for a peasant organization.

Karen and Sherlyn are now two of the 181 victims of forced disappearances in the last five years. Since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed office in 2001, 705 activists have also been killed.

In this light, Tigil-Paslang UP -- a broad alliance of students, faculty and staff formed in the wake of Karen and Sherlyn’s disappearance -- organized "Tagulaylay: Hinagpis at Hinagpis at Pakikibaka,” a requiem procession for the victims of Macapagal-Arroyo’s state terror on July 20 (Thursday), 5 p.m. at the Quezon Hall in UP Diliman.

The activity aimed to show the UP community's collective grief and indignation over the continuing violations of the people's civil liberties and the demand that Karen and Sherlyn be released. It included lamentations, protest songs and poetry prepared by faculty
members and students. A procession around the academic oval culminated with the laying down of 100 crosses at the Sunken Garden to represent the growing number of victims of human rights violations.

Picture 1 (from top) . Dr. Joi Barrios emceed the event which promptly began at 5:30. Among those who delivered messages of solidarity were Prof. Judy Taguiwalo one of the convenors of Tigil Paslang, Dr. Walden Bello of the UP Department of Sociology, US-based academics Dr. Neferti Tadiar and Dr. Jonathan Beller, Dr. Roland Simbulan Faculty Regent, CHK College Secretary Prof. Sabado, Dr. Carolyn Sobritchea of the UP Center for Women's Studies, and National Artist and UP faculty Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera. There were also a number of cultural presentations by faculty and students.

Picture 2.
In the shadow of the UP Oblation is Sherlyn's mother, Mrs. Cadapan. This powerful image reminds of the ideals that Sherlyn stood for which may have caused her to become a victim of state repression. Sherlyn's mother later delivered a fiery speech about how she had to learn to stand up from being a simple housewife to a crusader for justice and peace because of her daughter's example.

Picture 3 and 4. After the program, a symbolic candlelighting took place at the steps of the Quezon Hall and then proceeded to the protest march and procession around the UP academic oval. Faculty, students and staff carried the crosses while chanting slogans like "Makibaka! Huwag matakot!," and "Never again to Martial Law!"

Picture 5. The crosses were then laid at the UP Sunken Garden near the College of Law. The next day the students arranged the crosses to form the word "OUST" as a symbol of the people's continued resistance amidst the grief and alarm of the UP community.

for more photos of the event and other efforts to stop the political killings in the country, visit arkibongbayan


Here is a picture of Cris Hugo and Ambo Guron. Cris was gunned down last March while Ambo was killed just last July 31st by masked gunmen. Both were student activists in the Bicol region. Despite public outcry and international concern, the State continues with its policy of "neutralizing" its enemies not even sparing the young whose only weapon is their courage and an unflinching belief in change.

The picture reflects the everyday and youthful idealism of these two in better times - an idealism which Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan definitely shared. To this day, nothing is heard from UP students Karen and Sherlyn who were abducted by armed men last June.

Why must the young pay such a steep price for believing in change?

Thursday, August 03, 2006


The Critical Filipina and Filipino Studies Collective
(CFFSC), a nation-wide collective of anti-imperialist and
anti-racist activist scholars and academics based in the
U.S., offers its deep sympathy and solidarity with the
parents, kin and friends of UP Diliman students and
activists, Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, who were
forcibly abducted by masked, armed men in Bulacan more
than three weeks ago and remain missing to this day. We
express urgent concern that Karen and Sherlyn may very
well have joined the growing list of victims of
abductions, forced disappearances, torture, murder and
violent harassment, which appear to have been carried out
by associates and members of the Philippine military
forces with the sanction of the administration of
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. As students and
educators working in struggles against imperial
domination, state tyranny and social injustice, we
denounce this state campaign of terror against the
Filipino people and support our colleagues in the
University of the Philippines in their committed efforts
to press for Karen and Sherlyn's release. Finally, we
offer our support for and express solidarity with all
progressive efforts to seek justice for these unabated
political killings and to hold the Philippine state
accountable for its unbridled aggrandizement and abuse of
power against its own people.

(this statement was read by Dr. Neferti Tadiar,
of the University California-Sta. Cruz,
during the July 20, Tagulaylay activity)


Bawat singasing ay lagim ang hatid ng motorsiklo –

Bawat sibad: luksang-lambong sa dinahas na panimdim!

Bawat ungol ng makina ay halkhak ng salarin

Ng estadong kumukutya sa konsenysang tumututol

Sa kawalang katarungan, kalayaang isinangla.

Itong baya’y walang habas, walang awa kung gahisin!


Ilang buhay pa ang dapat ibuwis ng mamamayan?

Ilang hibla ng hininga ang dagliang puputulin?

Ilang murang pangarap pa’ng papaslangin nang pataksil?

Ilang dugo ang dadanak? Ilang ulit kukutyain

Ang daing ng abang bayang walang awa kung paslangin?

Ayy! Ayy!

Bawat haginit ng punglo’y malupit na kamatayan;

Bawat sibad na palayo, nakatakas na kriminal;

Bawat taksil na haruruot – pagtakas ng motorsiklo;

Bagong utang nitong buktot na gobyerno ni Arroyo!

Panibagong kasalanan sa lugaming taong –bayan,

H’wag na h’wag lilimutin: Magbabayad ang may utang!


Pahirin na ang panimdim: dalamhati ay tiklupin.

Di luha ang magbabangon sa pinaslang nang pataksil.

Hindi panimdim ang tugon ng nabalo’t naulila –

Kundi suklam, galit, poot: nagpupuyos, maniningil.

Lahat tayo ay tumindig at marilag na usigin;

Buktot-taksil, pagbayarin! Araw ng paniningil!

Ay! Ay! Ay Ayy!

Ang may-akda ay nagtuturo sa Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas ng Kolehiyo ng Arte at Literatura ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, Diliman. Kasapi rin siya ng Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-U.P.) Binasa ang tagulaylay na ito habang nagmamartsa ang U.P. Community mula Quezon Hall patungong Sunken Garden, may mga hawak na puting krus at kandila upang magprotesta sa pampulitikang pamamaslang ng rehimeng Arroyo at ipaglaban pagpapalaya sa dalawang dinukot na lider estudyante ng U.P., sina Sherlyn Cadapan at Karen Empeno. Abangan ang mga larawan ng aktibidad sa blog na ito.


On the abduction of two UP student leaders
Posted on 07.07.06 by Victor @ 8:53 pm

Two student activists from the university were abducted almost two weeks ago in Bulacan. They are Karen Empeño, a BA Sociology student of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, and Sherlyn Cadapan, an award-winning triathlete from the College of Human Kinetics and was its representative to the University Student Council a few years back.

They remain missing up to this moment. Witnesses, who are now in hiding for security reasons, and who were also present during the abduction, claim that vehicles used during the capture were military vehicles. The army denies these accusations. However, General Jovito Palparan, popularly labeled as a butcher of leftists, issued a statement saying that these women were better off gone because they were New People’s Army members who extorted money from the townsfolk anyway. What the hell? These two ladies were simply volunteer researchers for a peasant group. For the sake of argument, let’s say they were NPA members, does it justify that they be abducted helplessly? Who knows what have become to the two right now. If they were indeed NPA members, then file charges against them! Abduction is never justified. Gloria Arroyo’s administration hark the “rule of law” and “due process” everytime accusations and cases are hurled against her and her allies but whenever an acitivist gets assassinated or abducted, everything just gets shrugged off! Nothing can justify enforced assassinations or enforced abductions!

This administration is really bent on crushing not only the New People’s Army, but all other legitimate groups expressing legitimate dissent. Karen and Sherlyn are two new additions to the growing list of hundreds of abducted, arrested, and assassinated activists since President Arroyo came into power five years ago.

lifted from Victor Villanueva's BLOG . Victor is a third year film major from UP.


Noon nabosesan ka na namin.
Ngayon narito ka na naman para magsinungaling.
Binulgar ng Garci Tape ang iyong krimen --
Batas ng Diyos, batas ng tao dadapurakin,
Taong-gobyerno gagamitin,
Pondo ng bayan lulustayin,
Boto ni FPJ dadambungin,
Basta pagka-Pangulo tuloy-tuloy maangkin.

Dahil nabulgar na, ikaw mismo ang umamin,
Sa TV, nag-astang biktima, nagsori ang salarin.
Ay! pabalat-bungang paumanhin,
Binola-bolang pagsisinungaling,
Panis na pisbol kung baga ang hain
Sa bayang akala mo'y madaling linlangin.

Hanggang ngayon pinekeng totoo,
Inilalako pa rin, pero
Hindi mo na mabibilog ang aming ulo.
Pondo sa abono, pondo ng OFW,
Kurakot sa jueteng, pagbusal sa testigo,
Suhol sa konggresista, pati na sa obispo,
Pagkulong, pagpaslang sa tapat na tao,
Nakatalang lahat ang mga krimen mo.

Hayan, kinalawang tuloy ang bakal na sikmura mo,
Ang pagsisinungaling kasi may bagsik ng asido,
Kinakain ang bituka ng Pangulong
Pumipeke sa totoo.

Sa plasa, sa mall, sa mga barangay at baryo,
Pinagbabaga ang bayan ng mga kasinungalingan mo.
Isang araw, kasabay ng dilim at bagyo,
Sasabog na bulkan ang poot ng tao,
Kumukulong apoy at putik lalamon sa trono
Ng nagsasatukong pekeng Pangulo.

(Binasa sa rally sa SONA, July 24, 2006 ng National Artist for Literature at Guro sa Filipino ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


nung mga nakaraang linggo, napansin kong nagbukas ng kanyang friendster account ang isang kaibigan. mahigit isang taon na kaming hindi nagkikita o nagkakausap man lang kaya naisip kong magpadala ng personal na mensahe sa kanya, pero nakalimutan ko na ang rason kung bakit hindi ko ito nagawa. ang hindi ko alam, sa friendster ko rin mababalitaan na marahas siyang dinukot ng mga militar sa isang dampa sa bulacan. magpasahanggang ngayon ay hindi pa siya inililitaw ng mga dumukot sa kanya. hugas kamay din ang batalyong naka-assign sa lugar na iyon. pero hindi kaila sa marami ang paghahasik ng lagim ni gen. palparan, ang punong berdugo ng rehimeng arroyo.

gumapang sa buong katawan ko ang isang matinding bagabag at pangamba. si karen, ang masayahing si karen. magaling umawit si karen, magaling maggitara, madaling patawanin, masipag at mahilig magwalis, maasahan at masarap kakuwentuhan. siya ang nagdala sa akin sa kakaibang bersyon ng "summer of our discontent," ipinakilala niya ako sa isang nagdarahop subalit nagsusumikap upang makaahon sa kahirapan na komunidad, sa mga matitiyagang mangingisdang pumapalot sa madaling araw, sa katotohanang gaano man kasimple ang pamumuhay ay tigib pa rin ito ng opresyon.

sa ngayon, wala akong alam na iba pang paraan para makatulong para mahanap si karen at kanyang mga kasamahan. ang alam ko lang, hindi makatarungan sa kahit saang lipunan ang dukutin ng wlang laban at ikulong sa kung saang lupalop ng walang due process.

Pakawalan si Karen Empeno at ang mga kasamahan niyang dinukot!


Dapithapon sa Binuangan

hahagkan ng araw
ang dulo ng tanaw
dito niya sisimulan ang pagkulay
sa tubig ng kulay pula
hanggang sa maging kupas na kahel
ang nakalatag na katawan ng dagat

humihikab ang mga alon
sa tulad nitong dapithapon
pahihintuin ang langay-langayan
sa pagdagit ng bangus, tilapia
o kung anupamang laman-tiyan,
upang tirhan ang mangingisdang
sa madaling-araw pa makakapalaot
upang may pasobrang maihahain
sa hapag-kainan ng mag-anak
na masaya na sa isang maghapong bentahan sa bayan

o ng mga dayong namumualan
sa pagmamahal ng nagdarahop na komunidad
tiwalang pinagbubuklod sila ng iisang adhikaing
iahon ang nayong nasanay na sa pagtaas at paghupa ng tubig-alat

darating ang panahong
hindi na lamang sa madaling araw
papalaot ang mga mangingisda
o maging ang mga dayong walang alam sa pamamalakaya
ngunit masigasig umunawa sa mga alituntunin ng pangingisda

hindi na hihikab ang dagat sa pagkainip

12:04 AM; 18 Abril 2005
Kalye Burgos, Sto Nino

lifted from guiller luna's blog:

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

University Council Resolution on the Abduction and Disappearance of UP Students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, 96th Special Council Meeting

The University Council expresses great concern that government authorities have not yet produced indications of the whereabouts of two UP Diliman undergraduate students Ms. Karen Empeño of the Sociology Department of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy and Ms. Sherlyn Cadapan of the College of Human Kinetics.

It is now 10 days since President Emerlinda R. Román wrote a letter to Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno and to Department of National Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. requesting assistance in locating the two students. In the letter, President Román described the circumstances attending the abduction of the two students: “According to raw reports reaching my office, six or more masked armed men forcibly took them at about 2 in the morning of Monday, June 26, 2006, in Purok 6, Barangay San Miguel, Hagonoy, Bulacan. The masked armed men were using long guns and apparently did not show any court order for their physical detention. We were also informed that Karen was asked to remove her shirt. They used this shirt to blindfold her. Sherlyn is pregnant. The women were then forced into a vehicle that proceeded in the direction of Iba, Hagonoy.”

We would like to emphasize that whatever the motives and circumstances behind it and whether it is carried out by private persons or by persons connected with government, abduction is always illegal and punishable by law, aside from being a violation of the victim’s human rights.

We are greatly concerned that they may be victims of the wave of extra-judicial executions and forced disappearances associated with elements of the security and defense establishments. Indeed, we fear for their lives.

We would therefore wish to strongly support and reiterate President Román’s request to Secretaries Puno and Cruz and other government authorities that they immediately furnish us with information of the whereabouts of Ms. Empeño and Ms. Cadapan, provide them with medical and legal assistance, and release them to the care of the University as soon as possible. We consider the continuing silence of the authorities in this matter of life and death to be inexcusable and a betrayal of the public trust.

In conclusion, we would like to repeat President Román’s words to Secretary Puno and Secretary Cruz: “We know that you share with us a commitment to the spirit of the UN General Assembly’s ‘Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance’ (Resolution 47/133 of December 18, 1992). We also know that the acts done by masked armed men are criminally punishable under our laws. Most of all, as parents committed to teaching the virtues of valuing human dignity, we are certain that you could address the matter with empathy.”

University Council, UP Diliman, July 12, 2006


“Paalsin na ang mga pusang iyan!,” I muttered to myself this morning. The neighborhood cats were at it again. Just as the daily news always report the death or abduction of activists in alarming regularity, the cats never fail to mess with the trash left the night before. Now I have to sweep the apartment’s front and clear the scattered litter lest the feisty woman next door who always keeps her part of the shared driveway spic and span (while stowing her trash in our section) finally says something. This has been my daily morning ritual and it sets the general tone of my everyday existence as a struggling lower-middle class professional barely able to afford a lifestyle I foolishly maintain. I mean, aside from being bothered by cats, the month’s rent is already due and my check has not cleared yet. And don’t get me started. There are also debts big and small, life plans that never get off the ground, and still, after all these years, a general uncertainty about my “future”. The only thing I am sure about is the continuous expansion of my girth. All these, taken together, make my morning coffee taste even bitter than it should. Of course, this could be due to the onset of hereditary diabetes (I googled it you know, search => bitter taste in the mouth). Sometimes, I wonder why I even bothered making that cup or why wake up at all.

So here it is, the ranting of a self-indulgent fatso ready to inflict upon the world his middle class sense of dissatisfaction about everything and everyone around him. I am ready to fire away and tell you about my existentialist problems regarding how, in my own purposive sampling, very few people actually deserve the air they breathe or why sometimes, after listening to _______ (erased, pretentious alert!),breathing is a little more worthwhile. These, despite my knowledge of the M & M’s (I meant MLMs, Marxism-Leninism-Mac ism! Ooh, so pomo). But I won’t.

It was something that my wife said that compelled me to suspend all my mundane concerns and take a step back to assess matters in the light of the events that are taking place around me. If there is any truth to the tenets of Sociology, then this might as well be about all of us who have the unfortunate fate of being born into this hell-hole of a country.

Just a few minutes ago, we were capping our day with those small conversations partners have before they sleep in order to take stock of the day’s events. You see, Karen Empeno, was her student in Sociology in UP-Diliman. It has been more than week since Karen, together with Sherlyn Cadapan, both UP students, and Manuel Merino, a farmer, were abducted by armed men. They were working as volunteers for farmers’ organizations in Bulacan. They have not been heard of since then. This afternoon, Karen’s parents visited the campus to solicit support from faculty and students and my wife had to accompany them. In our bedtime conversation while the evening news was blaring in the background, my wife spoke about how Karen’s parents handled themselves with a quiet dignity as they talked to university officials, faculty, staff and students. They are of simple origins from Bataan, the mother – a public school teacher and the father a retired bank employee. Sarah suddenly fell silent and I thought she must have been thinking about how Karen’s parents were feeling. I asked her what she was thinking about, and replied that she was wondering what was happening to Karen that moment. I fell silent too and watched her as she dozed to sleep in a record time of 5 seconds. I adore her in this sense. She would just twist her body with a rocking motion and she’s off to lala land. Usually, this is my cue to get my focus back to the news but this time around, I stared at her longer and was plunged in a moment of reverie. I pursued Sarah’s last thoughts before she fell asleep and began wondering what could be happening to Karen right then.

It was a chilling thought alright. Images of men, swinging light bulbs, cigarettes and broken bottles. Shrieking sounds and shouting then of deathly silence as young, frail, and mangled bodies try to recover from the ordeal. The torturers are testing if Karen's and Sherlyn's flesh and bones are as strong as their principles. These harrowing images are not new and unusual and I wish Karen and Sheryn are spared from such pain. But you cannot reason with madness. One can perhaps say that the blood of the young has written the narrative of this nation in the many military camps and safe houses across the decades. And if my fears are correct, Karen joins those who have given more for this country than the rest of us.

Karen was a student of Sociology in UP who thought that the promise of the discipline lie in serving the interests of the country’s poor. While gathering data for her undergraduate thesis, she volunteered for a farmer’s organization. Like many of us who have passed through the portals of the University, she has taken to heart our credo as Scholars of the People. The townspeople identify the military as the people who took her and companions. Her idealism and academic pursuit has been met by an irrational madness of Gloria’s private army.

It's already 3 am and my wife is twisting and turning in her sleep. I figured she is having nightmares. I am not surprised. This world is cruel to those who dream. Tonight, when I finally call it a day, I will hold my wife tight and remember the quiet heroism and sacrifices of the likes of Karen and Sherlyn. Wherever they are, I wish that they know that, this very moment, a whole army of dreamers is restlessly sleeping. Soon they will wake up.

In the meanwhile, I expect to see the trash once again scattered tomorrow morning by the scavenging neighborhood cats. But I won’t mind them that much. In fact, I might even throw them a bone or something (fish bone ba). After all, they are the least of my concerns. Because above the din of inanities that clutter my daily life, beyond my preoccupation with the mundane and the personal, is a conviction that is shared by many more like you who are waking up. We are putting the blame squarely on the one who is tearing this country apart just to keep herself in power. And we have a collective shout: “Patalsikin si Glora!”

lifted from:


Ang Huling Ulat*

(para kay Karen)

At sa wakas napuno na ang gusgusing backpack

Gaya ng paghahanda sa mga nagawa nang ulat

Ang kasalakuyang pakay ay may malalim na ugat

Tigib ng sidhi at dalisay ng matalim na panulat

Hindi nagkasya sa puspusang pagkilos,

sa pagpapatag ng toreng garing na tila may tinutubos.

walang kursong hindi tinapos,

walang pulong na hindi iniraos

Liban sa isang ulat.

Kung ang pakikibaka ay may dalang awit

Bakit hindi suriin ang konteksto sa likod ng mga tinig?

Bakit hindi tuntunin ang kalikasan ng mga pananagisag

kung ang bawat teksto’y may kasaysayang dapat ihayag?

Peligroso ang panlipunang pagisisiysat

Sa Hagonoy, ang bawat tanong punglo ang katapat.

Nanaig ang sinsin na naisaulo,

Walang sosyolohiyang sumusuko sa pagpapakatao

Ngunit dumating na sa wakas ang laging inaasahan

Sa digmaan ng tao’t berdugo, dayuhan ang kapanatagan

Habang may lamig pa ang hangin ng bukang-liwayway,

Habang ‘di pa mawari kung ang orasan at gabi’y ganap nang nagkahiwalay,

Habang pilit na kinikilala ang mga yabag,

Habang ang guniguni’y nagiging pagtitiyak

Wala palang karahasan ang hindi nakagugulat

Saksihan mang paulit-ulit, hindi napapawi ang sindak.

Hindi pa dahil sa naduduwag ang katawan

Kundi dahil mahigpit ang tangan sa katuwiran

Katuwirang naninindigan para sa bawat katawan

Na matagal nang nilalabag nitong di-kaayusan.

Sa puntong iyon, tila walang bisa ang awit ng prostesta

Walang berdugong nadadala sa tipa ng gitara

Wala pang pagbabagong inianak ng mga makapangyarihang kanta

Ang suma-tutal: bala ang katapat ng bala

Dala ni Karen ay ang matalim niyang panulat

Dala ni Karen ay debosyon sa kanyang huling ulat

Na magmamarka ng kanyang pagtatapos

Na magpapasinaya ng susunod niyang pakikipagtuos

Sa mga sigalot sa nakilala niyang bayan,

na niyakap niyang parang sariling kasintahan.

May pwersa sa likod ng bawat balang nakatutok

May uring nakikinabang sa bawat aktibistang dinudukot

Ang ulat na sana’y maglalaman ng napiping kasaysayan

Malamang ay nasa backpack na naiwan sa kanayunan.

Pero si Karen at ang ulat ay wala nang pinagkaiba:

Inaabangan, inaasahan, ipinaglalaban.

*Thesis na lamang ang kulang ni Karen para magtapos siya ng kursong Sosyolohiya sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas-Diliman. Bago siya magfile ng residency, nakakuha si Karen ng markang INC sa thesis na sa mga panahong iyon ay minarapat niya sanang tumalakay sa mga awit ng pakikibaka.

lifted from:

OUR OWN DIRTY WAR by Prof. Walden Bello

Our very own dirty war
By Walden Bello
Last updated 01:25am (Mla time) 07/18/2006

IN ARGENTINA during the “Dirty War” in the mid-1970s, the military loaded tortured university students onto helicopters and pushed them into the stormy South Atlantic.

We have not yet come to that, thank god. But the statistics are mounting, as almost every week activists and journalists are murdered or abducted. The dirty war is a grim reality that is unfolding, especially in the countryside.

Like many institutions, the University of the Philippines (UP) as a community has been slow in reacting to the spread of the dirty war. But when its very own were swept up in the dragnet, it finally reacted. Sherlyn Cadapan, an outstanding athlete, is with the College of Human Kinetics. Karen Empeno is a student at my unit, the Department of Sociology of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Both Cadapan and Empeno were picked up by masked men with long firearms at 2 a.m. in Hagonoy town in the province of Bulacan, just north of Manila, along with a male companion from the same area.

In a letter to Ronaldo Puno, secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, UP president Emerlinda Roman requested the assistance of government authorities in locating the two students. In the letter, the university president reminded Puno: “We know that you share with us a commitment to the spirit of the UN General Assembly’s ‘Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance…. We also know that the acts done by masked armed men are criminally punishable under our laws.”

Ten days after Roman’s letter, with still no word from the military or any other government agency on the whereabouts of the two students, the University Council approved with no negative votes a resolution reiterating her request for information and asking the government to “provide [the students] with medical and legal assistance and release them to the care of the University as soon as possible.”

The July 13 resolution added: “We consider the continuing silence of the authorities in this matter of life and death to be inexcusable and a betrayal of the public trust.”

The university community’s reaction, along with the recent Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines pastoral statement of July 11, which condemned the spate of killings, was an important gesture in the awakening of civic consciousness over the grave danger to institutions of liberal democracy posed by the rampant assassinations and abductions.

But the protests from these two institutions are far from turning the black tide of state and paramilitary terrorism.

In contrast to the waning years of the Ferdinand Marcos regime and the early years of the Corazon Aquino presidency, there has yet been no mass outrage at the systematic assassination of activists and media people.

It could be that people have become cynical about the ability of the justice system to bring the perpetrators of such deeds to justice. This is understandable, since none of the perpetrators of the killings of high-profile figures -- Benigno Aquino, the student leader Lean Alejandro, labor leader Rolando Olalia -- have been brought to justice, much less identified. This cynicism about the justice system is part of the general disillusionment with the institutions of the unraveling EDSA liberal-democratic state that replaced the Marcos regime.

Lack of faith in mass actions, profound skepticism that the vote can change anything, a withdrawal into the private sphere, general dispiritedness: These are the elements of the miserable political context in which the killings are taking place.

The systematic assassinations and abductions are part of an anti-communist campaign that has run out of control. They are being perpetrated by elements of the security and defense establishment, along with private landed armies, and these forces are encouraged by the unwillingness of civilian authorities to check them. For the civilian authorities -- in this case, Malacañang -- are not only weak; they depend for their survival on the support of the military.

This symbiosis between a corrupt and weak civilian regime and a strong and reckless military is an opportunistic alliance that is stripping the EDSA state of its last liberal features.

For all intents and purposes, we are living in a repressive, post-democratic state.

It is estimated that at least 15,000 young people were assassinated in the dirty war in Argentina. It will never get that bad here, some say. Well, let me tell these people that this is no longer a far-fetched scenario, and the only thing that will prevent it from transpiring is a mobilized civil society that says enough, and is angry enough to bring back the rule of law.

Can we turn the tide? Yes, but that will take a lot of determination and a lot of courage.

Walden Bello is professor of Sociology at the University of the Philippines.


Ordinaryong Tao

ni Edel Garcellano

Tulad mo, ako’y isang ordinaryong tao lamang.

Kapag hindi ko sinalo ang problema ni Bos

daramputin din ako sa kangkungan. At bakit

hindi ko pangangatawanan ang aking simpleng trabaho:

halimbawa, ihihimutok sa aming tropa

na mainit sa taas, kailangang gumawa kami

ng paraan upang umayos ang buhay at kabuhayan.

Si Bos ang aming inahin na pinagyupyupan naming mga sisiw.

Dati-rati wala kaming ngalan, hindi kami pansin ng kakosa,

para kaming mga pusa na magbubungkal ng basura

sa mga otel at mall.

Hanggang ‘yon na nga: noong may magturo sa ‘king

magkasa ng kalibre .45. wika nga, at pasabugin

ang puso ng saging, nagbago ang lahat.

Dina ako tinitisudtisod kumbaga sa daan,

yumayanig ang bulungan sa kanto tuwing ako’y dumaraan.

Pero di ko ipinagyayabang ito. Tahimik akong trumabaho:

anumang ipinangangalandakan na kesyo ganito ako,

ganito siya ay pawang hakahaka lamang.

Malinis ang aking konsyensya.

Sumusunod lang ako sa utos ni Bos.

Di ako nagbago, pare. Ke dyanitor ka or karpintero

o klerk o driver, o messenger, o professor o manunulat

ginagawa natin ang ayon sa lohika ng ating sistema.

Halimbawa, bakit ka aangal kung ipalinis ang imburnal,

ipatype ang mga memo, itrangka ang gate

para di makapasok ang mga taong ipinagbabawal,

ipasulat ang SONA at idipensa ang all-out war ng Palasyo?

Susunod ka rin, hindi ba? Binabayaran ka.

Si Bos mo ay baleba’y bumubuhay sa ‘yo.

Kung ika’y pasaway, out ka. Ganun talaga.

Iisa ang hibla ng ating ordinaryong buhay.

Panahon pa ni Herodes, pare ko,

Pinapatay na ang mga bata. At bakit hindi?

Silang masamang damo, sabi ni Bos, na kapag lumago

ay ikalulunod, wika nga, ng lahat.

Ayaw kong mabugnot si Bos, kundi sa kanya

para akong asong tatanghod-tanghod sa mga restoran

– at sa mga nag-iinglis at nag-prapranses, kumbaga,

na hindi ko naman maunawaan.

Nakapapanting ng tenga talaga; nganingani kong

kalabitin ang gatilyo para pumarehas

Tutal, nakita ko na silang mangatog

at maiyak sa pagmamakaawa --- sila na hindi ko kilala

at di makikilala kailanman – habang ipinapasok ko

ang dulo ng baril sa bukana ng kanilang bibig.

Swertehan lang. Kung di sila, ako.

Malas lang kung mararatrat mula sa likod.

Ganoon talaga ang mundo: Kanya-kanya

ang lahat, tulad ng gawi mo tuwing

pumapasok ka sa iyong marangal na upisina.


Noong i-text sa akin ng isang guro ang tungkol sa mga nawawalang estudyantel sa Bulacan, hindi ko malaman ang aking daramahin: araw-araw sandamukal na balita ang aking nababasa at napapakinggan, at itong mistulang desaparecidos sa ating panahon – luma na marahil sapagka’t mula’t mula pa sa rehimen ni Marcos ito’y ulit-ilit nang pinangangambahan – ay waring hindi na ito tumimo sa aking isipan. Sino sila? Bakit nga raw dinukot? Alam ko na rin naman ang sagot sa istoryang ito: tiyak na mga tao ng estado ang nagpasimuno, mga sintomas wika nga ng mga dapat ilihim at isiwalat sa publikong lipunan na gumagalaw sa kumpas ng iilan: iyong mga nakakotse’t sekretarya, kasunod ang mga hagad na escort at agresibong kumakaway, tabi! tabi! may lakad kami!

At sa telebisyon mo nga maririnig ang pakiusap ng isang ina: sana ay makita na ang aking anak, birthday nya sa makalawa, ang presidente ay isa ring ina, sana ay magawan ng paraan ito, sana...Ang tv screen ay babalik sa broadcaster, sa ibang dako naman...Luma na ang mga eksena: sa Arhentina ang mga naulila ay magpu-prusisyon upang ipaalala sa unti-unting lumilimot ang mga malagim na pangyayari, alalaumbaga’y pilit na binubuhay ang mga pangalan at mukha sa mga taong nakatulala, nakatingin, at humihinga ng malalim upang kagyat muling bumalik sa kanilang ginagawa: huntahan ng Eat Bulaga, mga tanong sa Deal or No Deal ni Kris Aquino o magkamot ng alipunga na nababad na naman sa baha.

Ang ingay ng ulan ay bubuhusan pa ng mga ingay ng mga radyo at tawanan sapagkat iyon ang napapala ng mga pakialamero yang mga erehe sa gobyerno o yung sobrang mag-isip kaya nakukursunadahan ng mga heneral na nagtatrabaho lamang upang panatilihin ang kapayapaan sa loob ng tahanan sa palengke sa kalsada sa ilang na pook sa buong kabayanan.

Ano ang kanilang kasalanan? Ilang talaan ba na ng nadisgrasya ang kaniyang natunghayan buhat nang siya’y magbinata sa Maynila at ngayo’y namumuti na ang buhok sa kaiisip ng pera sa pamantasan, ganito pa rin hanggang ngayon? Ilan na ba sa mga kakilala – malayo o malapit - ay di na nya nabalitaan pa at kung mabalitaan man ay may sukob ng lagim ang mga kwentong maririnig.

Ilan daang taon na bang nangyayari ito: ang bumalikwas na naliligo sa malamig na pawis kung may kakatok sa pinto sa oras na wala namang inaasahang darating o makakasalubong ang isang tao nananinipat ng tingin at ika’y kagyat na iiwas sa pagsulyap sapagkat baka isang peligrosong engkwentro ito.

Malaki na ang mga bata. Silang nalahian na rin ng takot ng matatanda ay bagkus ngayong tumatahak sa daang kanyang iniiwasan. Marahil sa kanilang panahon ito ngayon ang nararapat gawin. Marahil anuman ang mangyayari, inisip nilang baka pagsisihan sa dakong huli ang di pagsunod sa kutob at lohika ng nararapat sa mundo.

Ganun nga siguro. Ang kinabukasan ay nililigiran ng mga bangkay ng mga berdugo ng kapitalismo at mangingibig ng hustisya at karapatan.


Dear Friends,

The materials gathered here come from varied sources. We wish to thank the authors for sharing their work for the cause.

Para sa hustisya at kapayapaan!

the moderators