Photos by Ayi S. Muallam
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Photos by Ayi S. Muallam
‘Pro-Porsche’ betrays real Aquino, drives Filipinos nuts
It would be so easy to dismiss all this as another one of those communication gaffes that have been hounding Aquino’s presidency, but I think it’s more than that. I think this betrays the real Noynoy Aquino, a scion of one of the richest political families in the Philippines and who has been having a tough time trying to be what he is not — a president who supposedly understands the poor — so that when he does the comfortable things that his class and pedigree provide, he contradicts himself and creates a political storm.
Dr. Alex Montes, one of the Morong 43, made a good point in this morning’s ANC Headstart: Why did President Aquino release the health workers because of pressure from the public? He’s the president, he claims to know right from wrong, his family is a victim of human-rights violation — why be pressured to do what is right?
Just like that, Rigoberto Tiglao, the mouthpiece and propagandist of the corrupt regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, sought to demolish me.
In his column in the Inquirer today, Tiglao talked about President Aquino’s Nobel-China fiasco, defending Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo. A paragraph in his column reads:
Mr. Aquino will use this fiasco though to get what he wants. This boo-boo will be blamed on Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, whom he wanted to kick out from the time he assumed power. Already, the New York Times (and a colleague on this page) quoted an Aquino “senior adviser” as saying that Romulo decided on the boycott without telling him, a ridiculous claim to anybody who has worked with Romulo. The senior adviser is obviously message-maker Ricky Carandang, who has been using the New York Times’ local stringer since the elections as his media asset.
I don’t know what Tiglao meant by Carandang “using the New York Times’ local stringer since the elections as his media asset.” (To those wondering, I’m the only stringer in the Philippines of the Times so I’m pretty sure he was referring to me.) It doesn’t sound nice so I take that as an insult.
I’m not about to start discussing my sources here but, just to set the record straight, no one “uses” or “used” me at any time since I became a journalist. If Tiglao can show proof that Carandang or anybody has been “using” me, let us have it. It may help, of course, for him to read my blogs and stories about the Aquino presidency. If he gets the impression that I’m the Aquino administration’s or Carandang’s stooge, I should probably look for another job.
A job, I might add, that would be a million times more ethical than being the propagandist, apologist and toady to the most corrupt and most oppressive of regimes after the Marcos dictatorship that Tiglao claims to have fought.
Human Rights Watch urge Aquino to investigate Philippine military’s mistreatment of Morong 43, others
Philippines: Aquino’s Order to Free ‘Morong 43’ a Positive Step; Government Should Investigate Allegations of Mistreatment
(New York) – Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has taken a positive step by ordering the Justice Department to drop charges against the so-called “Morong 43″ detainees, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should initiate a civilian investigation of alleged mistreatment in military custody, Human Rights Watch said.
Military and police forces arrested the 26 women and 17 men on February 6, 2010, in Morong, Rizal province, accusing them of being trainees of the communist rebel New People’s Army. Police charged them with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. After being held for 12 weeks in military custody, the suspects were transferred to police custody in Manila. On December 10, Aquino ordered the Justice Department to drop the charges against the 43 suspects because they were based on illegally obtained evidence. The 43 suspects are awaiting a court order dismissing the charges and providing for their release.
“By ordering the release of the ‘Morong 43,’ President Aquino is telling security forces to uphold the law for arrests and detention,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “This is a step toward meeting Aquino’s promises to tackle injustice and impunity.”
The Morong 43 detainees told Human Rights Watch that at the time of their arrest, the authorities did not provide them the reasons for their arrest or inform them of their rights to remain silent or to obtain legal counsel. Such rights are guaranteed under the Philippine constitution. Some detainees described ill-treatment in military detention, such as being blindfolded and interrogated on and off for as long as 36 hours. Several detainees have filed complaints with the national Commission on Human Rights alleging torture and ill-treatment.
“The mistreatment of detainees will only end if the abuses are also investigated and prosecuted,” Pearson said. “Aquino should promptly order a criminal investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment in military custody.”
“We feel that we did not violate anything so there is nothing to apologize for,” says a military spokesman.
Just to make sure I get this right: So what the military is saying is that its commander-in-chief, the president, was wrong when he ordered the withdrawal of charges? That President Aquino was referring to the Three Stooges when he said, and I quote, “We recognize that their right to due process was denied them… As a government that is committed to the rule of law and the rights of man, this cannot stand.”
When will these people take their heads out of their asses?
If the lives of Filipino drug traffickers on China’s death row were the real reason for Manila’s snub of the Nobel gala, the Philippine government should have stated that from the get-go. But no, it had to put forth the silly excuse that our ambassador to Oslo had a prior commitment.
The fact is, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo decided on the boycott unilaterally, disregarding its possible implications on the president i.e. that it would make him look silly to the world. Romulo put the president in a tight spot and so the administration had to come up with something.