Friday, March 27, 2009


The savage brutality of how a young woman by the name of Rebelyn Pitao, aged 20, suffered and died simply took my breath away. In this day and age when human rights are regarded as nothing short of sacred-- a crime such as this is simply inconceivable and unimaginable. But then again anything is possible in the Philippines and so it has come to pass that a young defenseless and blameless teacher shall suffer tremendously and lose her life in the hands of shameless, conscience-less beasts.

I really wonder today how the men responsible for raping, torturing and murdering this girl ever go to sleep at night. What possible reason on earth can they have to justify their actions? No doubt up to this moment, the fading voice of sanity in their tiny minds is still trying desperately to convince them that they did the right thing.

Are they so inutile as to lash out at the innocent daughter rather than the father himself, who is presumably their enemy? What could they have eaten to prompt them to shed their humanity and attack and violate this woman who was living a quiet and respectable life and was just starting on a career of her own? What could have she done to deserve so much hatred? Was it having a father who fought for his radical political and socio-economic beliefs? Is this a crime? Well assuming for the sake of argument it was—then she was better off treated as a criminal because then she would be subject to the privilege of due process like the right to a hearing, Miranda rights etc. It seems she was guilty of something worse than committing a crime, if there was such a thing. Because compared to her, criminals were subjected to a far more humane treatment.

I said this again in the case of Mariannet and I’ve said it before in the case of the teachers who burned to death in a polling place in Tanauan—what kind of a country would allow its women and children to die so horribly? Don’t we have a Constitution? Don’t we have laws to prevent these kinds of things from happening? Sadly, the latest spate of killings only goes to show that the system in place does not work. It does not work because the protective power of the State as Parens Patriae still fails to benefit those who are in need of it the most--the poor, powerless and defenseless. This is a country still governed by men and not by laws. This is a country where brutes and bullies still abound, roaming and causing terror with impunity. This is a country where sweet innocent young women are abducted in broad daylight, loaded into vans to be raped, tortured and murdered and dumped into a ditch.

*photo courtesy of abs-cbn news

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Patriot named Francis

Last March 6, after coming from Robinson’s Ortigas, I was on my way to the ground elevators of the Medical City Hospital to visit my sister (who was confined on the 11th floor due to dengue fever), when a swarm of reporters blocked my path at the hospital lobby. I asked a security guard standing nearby who told me that Francis Magalona had died at around noon that day.

I was surprised at first because to my recollection, it was only recently that I saw him on television—alive and kicking. I, along with a lot of people apparently-- presumed he was winning his “happy battle” because in all the pictures we saw of him, he was always smiling. There never was a moment that this guy looked glum or in pain. Upon confirmation of this news, I was overwhelmed with sadness, not only in behalf of his beautiful wife and children—but because he was a great loss to the Filipino people as a whole.

I spent my pre-teen and teen years listening to members of my generation mouthing every imaginable version of the lyrics of Mga Kababayan Ko everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere--in the streets, at the school grounds, at home. FrancisM inspired and spawned countless young Pinoy hiphoppers from different generations. This was a guy I have never met or seen personally, but in a sense, it was as if I knew him. The rapper, composer, designer, photographer, the artist that he was—but above all—the Patriot.

It is rare to find an artist-patriot in the entertainment industry and FrancisM embodied this enigmatic combination with a compelling sense of integrity, originality and identity. His art was very true to himself and so was his sense of nationalism. Having died at so young an age makes his legacy all the more precious… What a good, great man. What a true Filipino. Disease may have vanquished him but his legacy shall live on for generations to come. His voice and message shall forever ring true. To all Filipinos-- may we never fail the legacy of FrancisM. May we continue it and never let perish…