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This Time the Free Condoms Are At Fault

It looks like I went off-tract in my previous post, went on and on,  and fizzled away. Where were we when I went a side…Hmm…

Ah, Saying one thing and doing another thing… That is also one of the primary factors that contributed to the Quirino hostage crisis fiasco, if we remember. Negotiator Yebra told gunman Rolando Mendoza that Roberto Mendoza’s service firearm was already returned when Rolando found out later that it was not. It caused heat that fed until it blew up.

Currently hot, the President has a row with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines [CBCP]. He was seen assuring everybody that government’s role in the controversial Reproductive Health bill, which the Church opposes, is limited to dissemination of information and to leave decision and methods  of birth control to married couples. That is conflicting and is non re-conciliatory with government’s acts of distributing free condoms and other contraceptives.

Government has been giving away those things since several past administrations. Malacañang spokesperson has acknowledged their acts defending them. Was the President only thinking loud of his wishes on the matter when he issued his statement? Reality showed different from what he said.

The Catholic Church has always opposed artificial birth control, which is behind their now stiff opposition to the passing of the RH bill in general. Population control is a World program. It has governments for its conduits. It is also being pushed by Non-government [NGOs] and private organizations. Everything going on in there is, in fact, old. But for government to put  the matter into law is now met by the Church as something very different.

At the side, I suppose Juan dela Cruz will also be spending multi-billions of pesos on those contraceptives, next time, instead of the international grants at present? Money is not really the issue. Our system of accounting public funds is. It is one nagging issue in everywhere of our bureaucracy. Multi billions, almost all in the administration of President Arroyo, have not been accounted  yet and it looks like they’ll have to be written off. Or maybe the new administration can deliver surprises for Juan dela Cruz regarding them?

Then in the midst of the controversy, like an intermission in a play, entered tour guide named Carlos Celdran who made a dramatic show during a mass in the Manila Cathedral known home of the Philippine bishops. He looked very amusing in a Jose Rizal costume, which is a Charlie Chaplin outfit, actually.

But not contented with the big placard he carried that said DAMASO, the name of an abusive Church friar in Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel, he also yelled at the bishops for their meddling in the proposed RH bill. Anti-friar Jose Rizal himself might have been horrified by Mr. Celdran! If somebody does that to you in your house would not that  be invective and disrespect?  Let’s think of religion and religious beliefs and respect for them irregardless of sect.

Yes, the church is considered a house of God and is open to all, but… Hand cuffed, taken away and detained I guess Mr. Celdran has got it coming. Public scandal, maybe, or something like that? I really don’t know. And I guess his best defense would be for his lawyer to plea ‘insanity’ or ‘temporary insanity’, I’m not really sure. I am a carpenter.

Forgive him fathers. He said he has no regret whatsoever for what he did. Maybe the church is losing its grip on the young generation of Filipinos. Mr. Celdran, released on bail, has now become an overnight sensation that is heard to be reaping ‘raves in cyberspace’!

Where were we…But, I think, for the President, the issue has spilled beyond morality, beyond what is right and what is wrong with using condoms, with RH bill.

Saying one thing and doing another thing. The President and his men has got more reasons to be careful of their acts together because at the end of the day, the buck stops with [him], as he had said with the Quirino hostage crisis. Yes, folks, he pays for all his men and he knew that.

Saying one thing and doing another thing. The matter has got many ugly kapatid [relatives] not seen yet, for the President to be caught seated on that spot, or for him to be seen with, everywhere he goes, everything he does, again, again and again!?

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Aftermath, Tell Us What Really Happened, Sire/Ma’am

It is nearly a month today after the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking. That there were human lives lost, like had happened in other parts of the world, is harsh reality that can be accepted. But this one was viewed by the world as one awfully shocking fiasco by authorities, which has dragged everybody up to the President, in the search for who’s to blame.

A commission detached from the Department of Justice [DOJ] to investigate the matter was set up. The commission’s inquiry is over and its report was already submitted to Malacañang Palace. So, there is already a formal say on the matter for everybody and that’s it. The report has yet to be disclosed to the public. The world is waiting for that.

As already hinted by the DOJ secretary, about a dozen names to include a few media persons, are recommended for prosecution. Now this is interesting. I don’t believe anyone of them is going to jail. I don’t think there was a crime committed by anyone on the side of government and media unless there was intention by any of them to kill the hostages. A number of people probably did not deserve their posts entrusted them in government. There must have been a lot of lapses. Some stupidity might have been, at worst.  But then they’re all there is for them there. To think that there was more would show utmost intrigue if not insane.

But, wait, there might have been reckless imprudence committed  to warrant criminal prosecution. From where I look at and saw things, I doubt it, but who knows. The investigating commission who looked very close in there may have seen different from those seen by any Juan dela Cruz in the streets. People expect no stone left unturned.

The Philippine Senate did its own inquiry regarding the incident, too. Very provoking, however, is Senator Joker P. Arroyo’s citation of media as faulted for airing live the hostage crisis. That media should have not telecast it live because, as a result, it put the whole nation to shame before the whole world.  I found it horribly disgusting coming deep from the mind of Senator Joker P. Arroyo who is considered a great legislator and a champion of the Filipino people. If reality has put shame on us all, then let’s accept that and be sorry for them.

What is more dignified, honorable and trustworthy than people who stand with the Truth? And, yes, courageous because sometimes truth can be painful.

And maybe hostage crisis management must include people TRUSTED by the hostage taker, whoever they are, among the negotiators, if it comes to that. It simply is crazy for people with distrust fixed in their minds to be seating together  or negotiating it out.

For a former officer of the law to take hostages and to threaten lives, believing  that the act will win him back his job,  must be crazy. But, I think, former police Captain Mendoza still made sense when he decided not to talk anymore to people  that he saw lied to him.  To trust a liar is non-sense. That was very shortly before he started counting fast and then started killing his hostages putting his feet across the threshold of no return.

Where were we. Was the Senator telling media to air only what is deemed beautiful and to hide what is deemed ugly? Who deems what, and what is what? Media as a party to F cking the world?  I hope the Senator does not really entertain the idea that media should be censored by the state.

Heroes don’t grow old, they only fade  into their place in history. But this one does. He must be getting old. I think the Senator deserved it when ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs chief, Maria Ressa, gave it to him straight:  That it is not business of media to prop up anybody and anything. That the business of media is to deliver true, nothing but true, and it was only doing that job!

Amen here. And since human values have been involved, may I add Ang hindi sinungaling ay may mga kapatid yan – honesty, atbp.

update Sept 22, 2010

The IIRC report as disseminated yesterday.

Aftermath, One Small Step That Never Was

Eight tourists from Hong Kong lay dead or were fatally shot by the time the police seized control of the bus after a 12-hour standoff on Monday, during which the hostage taker also spoke by mobile phone with local radio stations.

That’s fact or factual.

“The fact that there was essentially live video was mistake number one,” said assistant professor John Harrison, a homeland security analyst at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

That is an opinion.

Maybe professor John Harrison should reiterate further and fully his opinion as he already sounds disgusting viewed from freedom of the press and viewed from rights of people to Information i.e. right of people to know what really is going on in the world. The fact that there was essentially live video was no mistake. It was very unfortunate. It was a misfortune. A case of bad luck to a group of tourist that day, to simplify the matter. Society cannot sacrifice the riding public and the whole world just because of one man holding a dozen or more hostages, denying people of information when they need them in what actually is happening.

Right now media is free to cover, as long as their own safety allows it, and as long they don’t hamper actual ground operations of authorities. Maybe Professor Harrison, especially in his stature, should be careful in what he is saying because he could actually be influencing a return of this country to fascism.

Today,  media can cover police precincts anywhere, any day, anytime. No, you don’t see names like Jake Maderazo, Mike Enriquez, Ted Failon, Erwin Tulfo, and many more of their kind hanging and speculating in there. But if you go in there, the odds are that you’ll find media rookies always hoping for some big break there. That’s how we got to learn  in our homes that a couple was charging their neighbor of molesting their child, or a carpenter stabbed an electrician with a chisel and got stabbed with  a screwdriver in return.

But, you see, police have nothing to hide and ought not to hide because what they always do is right [or they don’t do anything at all]. They have no closets stuffed with unwanted skeletons so to say. At least in principle. Surely there are things that they need to be privy and they have that in some quarters, like the privacy of their conference rooms.  And despite that kind of press freedom, we still saw in You Tube a suspect being tortured inside one police precinct. And I bet the suspect was reported to have died of something else, somewhere else! And if that dead felon did not even have a formal complaint or a warrant of arrest on him I doubt  if we can even call him a “suspect” of anything. Now, let’s imagine a law passed that could easily be invoked by any such criminal in police uniform to furtherance their acts.

He told AFP there should have been a media blackout to deny the hijacker feedback on what was going on around him.

Instead, he was able to follow events — including frenzied speculation by serving and former police chiefs appearing on Philippine networks — via the bus’s internal TV.

Surely Professor Harrison is not instigating a law to gag TV and radio right at or from the broadcasting stations. OK, maybe he means pushing reporters a few miles away from where they ought to cover. I think we should have a law that says media must cover right there where a hijacker and the police are negotiating face to face so we get a close up of their faces, instead.  But are  not they equally crazy?

OK, maybe Professor Harrison is saying No TV on board buses. That also must mean public transport in general, all public places, in fact everywhere, where hostage-taking might happen. Bus commuters – people,  won’t like that though it sounds better than all other implications of his thoughts.

But wait, the Professor means a law that will make it mandatory for bus operators to install bus television in such manner that they can be disabled or rendered useless from the outside. Now that sounds like the professor John Harrison and not any unthinking moron who does not know what he is talking about.

How about that folks?  An invention that will knock out any electronics as they are, inside a bus, or inside a building. I’m sure governments will pay handsomely for that than sacrifice freedom and democracy! You see, a free press and a free society are the pillars, the bastion, of democracy. We cannot talk of democracy without meaning the people, mind you.

A press that is subservient to a state is masked fascism. Maybe they can have that in My nm r but not in the Philippines, please. Because they are the initial points [attributed to] of the professor. And there is no such thing as a good fascist and a bad fascist because fascism is fascism. Democratic governments and states are by the people but power is something passing. They can be administered by the Pope one day and by Satan, chanting papal song while doing satanic deed, the next day.

Hong Kong newspapers bemoaned missed opportunities by police to end the siege much earlier, including a moment when the gunman waved from the bus door. Protestors Tuesday picketed the Chinese territory’s Philippine consulate.

Fostering hair-trigger mentality. Be trigger happy, some people will like that. Yeah, shoot at the first and earliest opportunity. Kill at the first hint of violence, which include hostage taking because the mere act  itself  is an act of violence. And hope it does not involve any foreign national gone nuts in Philippine territory or we will have an international row in our hands. Let’s imagine police did that. Now police is faced up with public out-roar why they did that when there were wide chances of resolving the crisis without any loss of life and property. Worst, the sniper grazed the hostage-taker in the ear and no square hole in between the eyes, so that it made him kill all his hostages before he was taken down! Damn!

You see Ex-police Rolando Mendoza was not a quacking duck like some people are telling themselves. I think he tried to be a respectable warrior – putting the act where the mouth is [or was it putting the mouth where the act is?] Whichever, or don’t open the mouth. They don’t talk peace and friendship while their fingers are in the trigger guards, or their holsters’ fly are open and with their fingers wriggling over their guns.

Ex-Captain Mendoza, by “carelessly” exposing himself, was clearly  and perfectly communicating by his actions. He knew police won’t shoot him that early and he was very well aware and in control of his own situation. He trusts so he should be trusted.  He means no harm so he should not be harmed.  A little back-step by him at that point would have put everything back to where they once belonged; he must have been thinking of that. But later he saw deceit that generated mistrust and distrust, and not even his shadow did he put in the skyline or put on anymore. Because, as some people know, lurking not far behind those tips is the thing called treachery, and yes, as we all saw, atrocity.

Dennis Wong Sing Wing, an associate professor of applied social studies at City University in Hong Kong, said the police operation was “really shocking” to watch as it unfolded live on TV.

“I am very angry about their unprofessional performance,” he said.

What we saw is what it was. I mean, the world saw reality. Focus seems to be in how police handled the operation. Some saw it as “ill-coordinated”. But it could also be ill-executed, ill-prepared and what might ills. I think SWAT, especially its assault teams, should be composed of field combat, battle tested, experienced personnel. I must be imagining too much of scenes in movies like Band of Brothers and comparing them to what we saw.

Looking back at them, just one small step  that never happened could have changed it all. And I think there was not one but more of them one small step, not any was realized, that converged to one sorry sad destiny mark in history that day.

A Boring Drama That Swerved Bloody Exciting

Eight foreign tourists just got slaughtered in a 12-hour hostage drama that unfolded and ended at Quirino Grandstand in Metro Manila, Philippines.

It was any ordinary day for me and I was doing some construction work around the house. I’ve been constructing a hundred square-foot annex to my house that I intend to make into a small, neighborhood internet café. I’ve been on it for a month now, working solo for the fun and, of course, for the economics of it.

Like I said somewhere, my TV is always open people are watching or not. This time there was wife and daughter glued in there as I went inside the house. It was around lunch time and I was feeling hungry to make me peek what’s cooking. The housewife was done cooking alright, but the table was not set. Damn those Korean tele-novelas with Pilipino dubbing that many women have been addicted to!

But, no, it was not any soap opera.  It was Erwin Tulfo in TV 5 who was unusually out from his Tutok program that instantly caught my attention. He was covering live at the Quirino Grandstand with a tourist bus for his background.

So, it’s all about some tourists being held hostage by one boryong ex-police Captain who wanted some attention… Oh, he’ll get what he wants, he’ll be releasing everybody, and everything will be fine in the end. It could not be real hot stuff  like shown in  the face and tone of Mr. Tulfo. It must be another of those sensational TV reportings, and…I am hungry and I have many better things to do.

I carried my lunch to the TV set, eating alone.  The housewife was in her occasional mood of ‘my time is done, whoever is hungry just go get it’… Getting real and more insights of the drama are worth the while, but…I have many other better things to do.

Mid afternoon came and there was rain. In fact it was raining intermittently all day. I guess I was feeling spent for the day that made me notice the rain from a leaking structure whose roof was not done with flashing yet… Maybe I should be playing games in my computer… Oh, it’s still Mr. Tulfo and the tourist bus out there when I went inside the house.  Are not they done and over yet?

Command & Conquer [Tm] Generals by Electronic Arts is an old game that I’ve installed recently. I’m new to the game actually. I remember when beating Easy opponent was hard. Today, beating a brutal opponent has become equally boring as with the easy ones. Defeating two or more brutes has kept my interest in the game alive.

EA is the company that created Red Alert and Yuri’s Revenge. They are purely statistical-logistical economics and warfare, contests of strength and wit, unlike Battle Realms and Stronghold Crusader that are with social components, if you have not tried them all. EA is also creator of Speed.

What are old like me doing with computer games? Well, for me its one good way of unwinding. Games can be relaxing.

My PC and my TV are still located exactly where I have described them, somewhere here, before. I have learned to live with both just fine, focusing at any or both at any time. Like, there are times when I have to pause at the PC to see what is in the TV. Maybe it is the tones, some words or phrases in TV that automatically shift my focus of attention.

They’re firing! They’re firing! [Or, was it They’re shooting! They’re shooting! I don’t exactly remember.]… So, this hostage drama is serious than I thought…I decided to pause the game. And later it looked to me like I would be watching  for long so I decided to  exit and shut down. I noticed it was already way in the evening.

Here is the 12-hour action as they registered in me:

o Mr. Erwin Tulfo in clean white polo shirt reporting things as they get to him, with the hijacked tourist bus behind him, most of the time  I made a look at the TV.

o Mr. Tulfo announcing that two persons were approaching the bus and when I turned to look the camera was focused at him, or was it at the bus, but no two persons that he was talking about. [One of them turned out to be a brother of the hostage-taker.]

o One unmindful mongrel walking leisurely in the foreground, between the TV camera and the hijacked bus.  I guess in a seemingly still scene it was the only thing that moved. Or maybe it is that picture speaks more than all words put to [them] why I was focused at what I was seeing and lesser at what I was hearing. I was actually wondering whether or not it was any of those SWAT dogs that might have been set loose or wandering alone.

o SWAT’s many unsuccessful attempts to bash open the rear and front shields of the tourist bus with a sledge hammer. [Which made me think that maybe construction workers could have hacked better. Or, maybe next time it came to that, they should bring in a forklift to turn a bus on its side that will expose all, hostage-taker and hostages alike, to view. It will also be easy bashing  of front and rear wind shields for forcible assault. I got that from a bus accident I had experienced as a teen.]

o SWAT tying a rope to the bus door in an apparent move to forcibly open it. [I had bet it won’t work because bus doors are designed to swing in and not throw everyone out…But wait, good, it might topple the bus on its side… tossed and broken survivors are better than dead hostages. ] The door did not open and the bus did not topple. But, maybe they should include tying Knots and Hitches, like those taught to seamen and some construction workers, in SWAT courses.

o Before or after all that, a man in white was running as he was yelling, away from the bus, and on to safety. [He turned out to be the bus driver who has escaped through the windows in the left side of the bus.]

o When everybody seemed discouraged at bashing away the glass shields, some SWAT swung open the emergency exit door of the bus like it was no sweat!  After about an hour of frustrating attempts, why has not anybody thought of it before? I have not, either. I remembered seating next to that door many times as a commuter, have memorized and figured out the printed instructions, in fact, just in case.

o As the bus was gassed to flush out gunman [and hostages alike], people in their homes were focused at the open emergency exit door where anybody is expected to jump out anytime. Next thing viewers saw at the front end of the bus, was the hostage-taker already lumped dead, halfway through the glass door-window that SWAT had broken earlier.

o I think the biggest climax to all viewers is when two tourists, what appeared to me a female then a male, managed to pop out of the emergency exit by their own capacity. Before all that was a feeling of total carnage inside the bus. May buhay! There are survivors! It really brought some chorus of Ohs, Ahs and Ay, salamat from viewers. I noticed some neighbors in my company.  They just come and go without hi and without any good bye; no need for them to knock, too, since my front door is usually open most of the time. We are like that since I can remember. Yes, my sala is sort of a public area to some regular neighbors or their kids.

o But Shits! There was this mass, a throng, out of nowhere, and the bus at the Grandstand cannot be seen anymore! I feel like I was watching people at the end of a ball game or at the end of a boxing fight. Iba talaga ang mga Filipino.

o Last scene I remember is a lonely bus seating under a heavy downpour, I don’t remember seeing anybody moving in or around it… maybe it was the rain, or maybe it was time for bed. But, no, I did not readily sleep that night.

I tried to imagine myself as the hostage taker. It was impossible. I could not. I cant imagine any situation like that.

Next, I tried to imagine myself as the brother of the hostage-taker [who is also reported as a cop]. I saw myself approaching the bus like it was a pure family affair. Somebody tried to stop me. I insisted to be let in the police line. Maybe a media reporter got a quick interview of me “Sir, are you here to save the hostages?” “Hell, no. I’m here to save my brother from sure death! Because if I don’t talk him out of this, soon SWAT will be storming the bus, he is armed and dangerous and he is finished!”

And then I put myself in the shoes of the theater commander. “Who is that fool that tried to cross the police line?” “He is a brother of the hostage taker, Sir, a fellow cop.” “Just my lucky day. Bring that arrogant nicely in here. I think we have someone who can talk sense, talk point-blank, and talk best to Captain Mendoza out of all these. This must be my lucky day! ”

I guess imagining things is easy. Reality showed everything and everybody wasted.

Brewing Storm over the Horizon

Will truth set people free? Maybe they did and maybe they didn’t.

Case of Armando V. Sierra, Negros Oriental, Circa 70s to early 80s. Serial disappearances and murders. Principal accused  was not found guilty. State witness  claimed he killed and buried victims (recovered) . The victims were allegedly delivered to him [bound and sedated], that he killed  on orders of his master, the principal accused. Prosecution failed to establish their allegations against Mr. [Armando] Sierra based on the testimony of state witness.  Question now is who’s responsible for all the victims?

The state witness was a farmhand working for the Sierra family. The victims were ladies, at least 5 of them working as secretary one after another for the Sierras, that went missing whom police has found where witness said he had buried them.

Remembering the case of Mr. Armando Sierra also reminds me of the Dacer Corbito case. The cat has already been let out of the bag. I mean, a story is told and a case has been filed,  so who’s gonna be it … Aquino-Dumlao, Lacson, or Erap?

Would the brewing storm come or would it dissipate? While obviously there are fingers that would like to point to Erap behind the crime, so far its all hear-says as in the Cesar Mancao’s statement, which seems obvious reason why former President Erap is spared from  being named in the formal complaint.

So, who’s gonna be nailed? Former police officers Aquino and Dumlao the alleged operatives, Senator Ping Lacson who was then Chief, National Police…or why not former police officer Mancao himself.  He claims knowledge about it.

The case happened to have been filed during the approach of the May 10th Presidential polls. Was it really politically motivated that some have said?  What now as election is over. Where does that leave us, people, bombarded by all the drama and controversies that have come into our senses?

Should Filipinos always sleep with so many questions posed and left uncleared in mind?  Then I bet it is easy for everyone to make their own conclusion. That’s making things easy, necessary  for going on with daily life unperturbed. Problem there is that there are people who cant sleep with presumptions.

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