Saturday, October 1, 2016



   We, the WOMEN WRITERS IN MEDIA NOW, are outraged.

   The intent of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, supported by the Secretary of Justice, to show during a House hearing the video, purportedly of a woman senator having sex, is vile, sexist, if not outright misogynistic. It is meant to defile a human being, who is, by right, entitled to respect, privacy, and dignity.

  This behavior of our national leaders is a disgrace. It violates the right of every person—female or male, whistleblower or lackey, young or old, ordinary citizen or senator—to the guarantees of dignity and respect by our Constitution. It is, for us, a source of anguish and anger that the leaders of the House and the Executive show no trepidation or qualm about violating these guarantees, with malice towards one.

  We are incensed by this cavalier threat by the Speaker and the Secretary of Justice to expose the sexual proclivities, real or imagined, of any person. This is an abuse of power. It effectively defiles a person who has not been proven to be in the right or in the wrong. And, even if the person were eventually found to be in the wrong, what can that person’s sex life have to do with the case under investigation, other than to shame the accused, titillate the public, and herald the powers of a speaker and a justice secretary?

  As journalists and as women, we are enraged by this virtual rape of Senator Leila De Lima by our lawmakers. We are scandalized by this attack on her basic constitutional right to dignity and privacy. Slut-shaming is cruel, despicable, and in this case, un-parliamentary. It is, at its core, an assault on all women. Yes, on all of us. Your very own wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, and friends.

  All of you who smack your lips with delight at the thought of exhibiting a sex video to the world to shame a woman, are you not descending to the level of perverts? Yes, perverts.

  A man, no matter how crass, is not made to undergo such a punishment. But, under a misogynistic government, women are fair game. When a woman rails against the powers to express outrage, she is dismissed as hysterical; when a man hurls personal insults in anger, he is lauded as decisive. When a woman is sexually active, she is shamed; when a man has multiple sex partners, he is extolled.

   These vestiges of a double-standard have no place in our society in the 21st century. We demand the respect due us who hold up half the sky. We demand to be treated as co-equal partners in building our nation. We must put an end to this ugly voyeurism that has publicly debased a woman senator without regard for her personhood. We call out our legislators' impaired thought processes.

  We want the return of respect, dignity, and due process for all. We insist, as citizens, to be treated right.

  We still, after all, live under a democracy, last we looked.●

Signed October 1, 2016

Neni Sta. Romana Cruz
Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Fanny Garcia
Mila Astorga Garcia
Sol Juvida
Fe Panaligan Koons
Sylvia L. Mayuga
Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon
Gemma Nemenzo
Paulynn Paredes Sicam
Rochit I. Tañedo
Marites D. Vitug
Criselda Yabes
Karina Africa Bolasco
Elvira Mata

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Martial law massacres

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

The vigilance and defiance of a people against a despot won in the end. Those who fell in the night did not die in vain. Tyrannical rule, abuse of power and unprecedented plunder committed against a nation forced to its knees shall not see a repeat.

On the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law that threw the Philippines into darkness for 14 years (1972-1986), it behooves us to remember, remind and revisit, to vow to ourselves and shout to tyrants, NEVER AGAIN!

Not all of the victims of Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship were chosen individuals only, pursued, picked out and punished unjustly and severely. The despot’s iron hand had a grasp so big it could crush groups and communities in one bloody swoop.

Massacres they were called. In the 1980s, I was part of a book project that documented the excesses of the Marcos dictatorship. The book was “Pumipiglas: Political Detention and Military Atrocities in the Philippines, 1981-1982” initiated by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines. This was the second of the Pumipiglas series.

Going over it conjured up places, faces and events. I saw a number of photographs I had taken myself, recognized words I had written myself. No bylines, no photo credits for us—it was better that way, at that time.

Here are excerpts from the chapter on massacres.

Guinayangan, Quezon. Feb. 1, 1981. While the government was fussing over the so-called “lifting” of martial law and the coming of Pope John Paul II, the peasants in five towns of Quezon province were astir. The coconut farmers’ grievances had piled and wanted to air them. They marched from different directions. As a group of farmers neared the Guinayangan plaza, the military opened fire. Two people died and 27 were wounded.

Pulilan, Bulacan. June 21, 1982. In a dimly lit house in barangay Balatong, Pulilan, Bulacan, a group of six sat huddled together. The six were peasant organizers discussing and assessing their work… Suddenly a window burst open to reveal 25 to 35 uniformed military men with firearms. Five of the peasants were taken by elements of the 175th PC Company. The sixth was able to slip away. The military men took their captives with them and drove off to Pulo in San Rafael town some 20 km away. By midnight, five corpses lay at the municipal hall of San Rafael. All were riddled with bullets.

Daet, Camarines Norte. June 14, 1982. People from several barrios marched with streamers denouncing the “fake elections” and Cocofed and to demand increase in copra prices. As the marchers moved forward, the soldiers opened fire. After the smoke cleared four marchers lay dead and at least 50 were injured. Two of the seriously wounded died two months later.

Las Navas, Samar. Sept. 18, 1981. Residents of Barrio Sag-od were awakened by gunfire. Armed security men of the San Jose Timber Corp. who were also members of the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) ordered residents to come out of their homes. These men were allied with the so-called Lost Command, a paramilitary group pursuing insurgents. Suddenly, there was gunfire that lasted more than 15 minutes. When it was over, 45 men, women and children lay dead.

Culasi, Antique. Dec. 19, 1981. More than 400 residents of Culasi’s mountain barangays held a rally to raise two issues: their complaint against a new PC company in their place, and the reduction of taxes on farm products. Despite the warnings, the marchers pushed on. While on the bridge, the soldiers opened fire. Five farmers were instantly killed and several were injured.

Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur. May 25, 1982. Airplanes dropped bombs on Barangay Dimalinao. Three died and eight were injured. The bombing was seen as military reprisal against the community because communist rebels killed a soldier two days earlier. Two men from the community were picked up days later and killed. Some months later, the residence of Bayog’s parish priest, a Jesuit, was strafed with bullets. He had written letters protesting the torture and harassment of Subanon who were suspected to be supporters of armed communists.

Labo, Camarines Norte. June 23, 1982. Five men who had just finished constructing the 45th Infantry Battalion’s Mabilo detachment were gunned down by soldiers of this army unit. It was to avenge the death of a friend of one of the soldiers in the hands of unidentified gunmen.

Tudela, Misamis Occ. Aug. 24, 1981. The Gumapons, a Subanon family, were asleep in their house in Sitio Gitason, Barrio Lampasan, in Tudela when paramilitary members of the so-called Rock Christ, a fanatical pseudo-religious sect, strafed their houses. Of the 12 persons in the house, 10 were killed, an infant among them.

Hinunangan, Southern Leyte. March 23, 1982. Eight people were killed in Masaymon, a barrio in Hinunangan. Six of the eight victims were 3-18 years of age. The grieving mother identified the perpetrators as troopers of the 357th PC company.

Talugtog, Nueva Ecija. Jan. 3, 1982. Five men in their twenties were last seen being rounded up by military elements at around 7 p.m. Their corpses were found the next day. The military had suspected them to be communist supporters.

Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur. Feb. 12, 1982. Members of the notorious Ilaga, a terrorist cult known for cannibalism and who also served as CHDF members, killed 12 persons to avenge the death of their leader who was reportedly killed by the New People’s Army. There is no more space for two more massacres in Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte, and Gapan, Nueva Ecija.

Not to be forgotten is the massacre in Escalante, Negros Occ., on Sept. 20, 1985. On the eve of the 13th anniversary of the imposition of martial law, hundreds of sugar workers, farmers, fishermen and students marched in protest. The Regional Special Defense Force and CHDF members fired on the crowd. Twenty marchers were killed and scores were injured. Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/97552/martial-law-massacres#ixzz4Kz7KVA5Y Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Nanlabán, patay

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

As soon as you switch on the television to watch the news in Filipino, the word you hear again and again and again is “patay” (dead). The word comes as different parts of speech (noun, verb, etc.) and in different tenses and conjugations-pinatay, pinapatay, pumatay, pumapatay, napatay. Drug-related, of course.

The other word of the season is “nanlabán” (fought back). Filipino grammarians should be able to explain why “lumaban” (also translated as “fought back”) is not as precise as nanlabán (accent on the last syllable, pronounced mabilis). If a diacritical mark (tuldik) were to be used, it would have a pahilis on the last syllable-thusnanlabán. (Remember malumay, malumi/paiwà, mabilis/pahilís and maragsa/pakupyâ in Balarila class.)

Nanlabán does not seem to have an exact equivalent in other Filipino languages and dialects. What they have is the simple equivalent of lumaban (pronounced malumay). In Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, it is nagbatò.

Nanlabán, if at all it was meant to sound more onomatopoeic than lumaban, means to fight back, and fight back with defiance. The mabilis/pahilís sound gives it a defiant streak. But Balarila aside, the word patay that should evoke solemn thoughts and feelings—for the dead that deserve respect no matter what they were before their souls left their bodies—now has a criminal connotation. That is, in the news.

The word patay that is being used nowadays especially in news reports, means “corpses”—lifeless bodies and cadavers strewn about on sidewalks, grassy fields, dark alleys, even inside homes and hovels. Some died while allegedly shooting back at their pursuers (nanlabán), others were summarily killed, their corpses wrapped in garbage bags, fastened with packing tape and completed with a warning scrawled on a piece of cardboard: “Pusher, huwag tularan.”

Didn’t PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa say something about allowing the pursued to fight back? “Kung ayaw lumaban, palabanin.” If the pursued does not fight back, make him fight back. Defiance justifies a bullet.

I used to get irritated when, with aplomb, newscasters would shout out loud the day’s headlines and (with imaginary drums rolling) exclaim: “PAT-AY!” As in “Batang nasagasaan ng tren, PAT-AY!” As if it were a cause for rejoicing. I’m not saying they should sound elegiac, but even with the volume lowered you can tell by the look on the newscasters’ faces and the tautness on their necks that they are shouting. Now there is really no need for them to shout “PAT-AY!” Because “patay” is the new normal.

President Duterte’s war on drugs has drawn strong reactions here and abroad because of the rising number of corpses since he took office two-and-a-half months ago. The number has hit the 3,000 mark. No need to describe here the gruesome details, only to say that the deaths have been classified according to how the 3,000 or so met their gruesome end. Drug bust, extrajudicial, shoot-out, vigilante-style—name it. What, no suicide?

Three days ago, Inquirer Opinion ran an open letter to President Duterte from three commissioners of the Global Commission on Drug Policy (http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/to-the-president-of-the-philippines/), Fernando Cardoso, former president of Brazil; Louise Arbour, former UN high commissioner for human rights, Canada; and Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group. The letter is now circulating on the internet.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy was established in 2010 by political leaders, cultural figures and globally influential personalities to contribute to the world debate on drug policy. It aims at bringing to the international level an informed, science-based discussion about humane and effective ways to reduce the harm caused by drugs to people and societies.

The commission has 23 members, including eight former heads of state. It advocates an open international dialogue on issues related to drugs, and on the negative impact of the current international control regime on health, human rights and development. It calls on broadening the debate on drugs and drug policy beyond just drug trafficking and organized crime. In their letter, the commissioners pointed out to the President that his strategy that had already been used in Thailand failed to reduce drug trafficking there. They pointed out the marked successes in harm and crime reduction in countries that employed alternative strategies.

“Mr. President, we believe that your current strategy also constitutes an unwinnable war, at a terrible cost to your population. It is not a question of choosing between human rights and the safety of your people, as you have claimed, but the means employed to address crime must not result in further crimes against individuals whose conduct often causes very little harm…

“An effective drug policy is far more complex than you portray it, and should include investments in drug prevention and treatment, harm reduction, public health, socioeconomic development, criminal justice reform, as well as security. “These measures will help address the root causes of drug use and drug trafficking, and not only respect the needs and rights of all individuals, but will also be far more effective long-term than the brutal approach which you currently favor.”

With Mr. Duterte’s let-it-be stance on drug convict Mary Jane Veloso, who is on death row in Indonesia, he could not—for the life of him—suddenly be a bleeding-heart President begging Indonesian President Widodo to spare her life. Mary Jane had been found guilty of smuggling 2.6 kilograms of heroin. The Velosos who, on cue, had rudely lambasted then President Benigno Aquino III—who, to be fair, did all he could to stay Mary Jane’s hanging—are now pleading for help from the new President who counts corpses at breakfast.

No, he did not plead for her, President Duterte announced, minus the usual expletives. #

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Q & A with Sr. Mary John Mananzan, documenting Philippine church history from the viewpoint of the 'vanquished'

Global Sisters Report/ Q & A/ by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

There is no dearth of information on how colonial history unfolded in the Philippines and how Christianity was implanted, making the Philippines the only country in Asia with a majority Christian population for centuries until East Timor became independent from Indonesia more than a decade ago.

But these historical facts were written about by the conquistadores during the early years of conquest, and in Spanish at that. And because history is most often written from the point of view of the victors or the colonizers, the stories of and about the vanquished or the colonized are not included in official history. And if the stories are written at all, they remain in the archives, there to gather dust for centuries.

Approximately two decades ago, Benedictine Sr. Mary John Mananzan got a grant to do research on the history of the Roman Catholic church in the Philippines from the people's perspective. The grant enabled her to do archival research in the Archivo General de Indias, the Valladolid archives and the national library in Spain as well as the Archivo General de Nación in Mexico. The result is Mananzan's fifth book, Shadows of Light: Philippine Church History Under Spain, A People's Perspective, which was published in July.

Mananzan belongs to the Benedictine Missionary Sisters founded in Germany. She is a feminist theologian and the founder and executive director of the Institute of Women's Studies of St. Scholastica's College, where she served as president for six years. She is now co-chair of the Office of Women and Gender Concerns of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.

A much-sought-after speaker on issues related to women, gender, theology and history, Mananzan continues to be in the forefront of the feminist movement in the Philippines. But despite her busy schedule, she finds time to play Candy Crush, solve Sudoku puzzles and take in a movie or two.

GSR: You said you did research for this book decades ago. Why did it get published only now?

Mananzan: I wasn't sure of myself then because of the presence of big historians like Jesuit Frs. John Schumacher and Horacio de la Costa. Also, because it was typewritten, my only copy was lost for 10 years. We found it only last year.

What can this book contribute to our appreciation/understanding of our Catholic faith as introduced by the Spanish colonizers?

I think it will help us understand why we have what Jesuit Fr. Jaime Bulatao calls 'split-level Christianity.' It is also why we are steeped in the kumpare [patronage] system, the lusot [getting away with it] mentality, our colonial mentality, and our chronic failure in being a church of the poor. It will help us appreciate the efforts of the early missionaries in spite of the mistakes and abuses of both the secular and religious authorities at that time.
Left, cover artwork; Right, illustration of the babaylan (priestess-healer), who were suppressed when Christianity was introduced to the Philippines in 1521. (Illustration by Ziggy Perlas / photos by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo)

What can missionaries learn from this experience? Filipinos are now missionaries themselves in foreign lands.

First of all, we should have a profound respect for the culture of the people and not demonize it. These days, we should not use the direct conversion method, which amounts to proselytizing, but just share the person of Christ and his teachings without too much dogmatic and moralistic preaching.

Why the title? What do you mean by 'people's perspective'?

'Shadows of Light' — the light is Christianity and the shadows are the negative aspects of Christianity being introduced in the context of colonization. 'A people's perspective' means that I tried to see the events from the point of view of the people who were colonized rather than from the colonizer's perspective. So I included the resistance of the people to conversion in many parts of the islands. I discussed the oppressive policies like forced labor, discrimination of the native clergy, domestication of the mujer indigena [the native women]. I also discussed the injustice of the colonization itself and the abuses of the religious congregations, such as land-grabbing and persecution of the babaylans [the priestesses and healers].

Is the subject of history ever final or closed? Or does the retelling and interpretation change depending on who tells it at a certain juncture of history?

I think history is not a photo of a reality, but a choice of what one considers significant. So it will always be an interpretation according to the perspective of the author. Many things happen simultaneously at any given time in history, but one has to choose what one considers significant. Men, for example, most often focus on wars, conflicts, etc., so they write about these things more than other events, and their heroes are, of course, soldiers, warriors, etc. Women would include culture, daily lives of people, etc. Those in power, the victors and colonial masters, would focus on their victories and their successes. People will dwell on their oppression, their sufferings and the injustice they experience.

You saved the best for the last chapter: the topic of mujer indigena, the native woman, her status in society in the pre-Spanish era, during and after. As a feminist theologian and historian, are you hopeful that the negative imprints of history on Filipino women will dissipate?

I think it is already happening. We insist that our feminism is not a copy of the West's but is the recalling of our dangerous, subversive memory of our original equality. We have to acknowledge the gains that have been made by our women's movement: the awakening of gender consciousness as shown by our many laws favoring women, our government's Gender and Development budget, the recent Commission on Higher Education memo mandating all tertiary educational institutions to mainstream gender. We have to acknowledge the militancy and effectiveness of our women's organizations in championing the causes of women: victims of rape or human trafficking, etc. Of course, we still have a long way to go, but we have gone quite far, I think.

What is it about our indigenous pagan heritage as Filipino women that we must take back, own, appreciate and live out?

We have to take back our original gender equality, which stems from our foreparents' lack of the concept of a virginity cult, which therefore made them treat boys and girls equally and not overprotect the girls. Dignity cannot be equated with virginity. We have to take back our status as spiritual leaders of our community, like the babaylans who were the main religious practitioners mediating our relationship with the spirit world. We have to take back our foremothers' active role not only in the home, but in society and in commerce.

Should it worry the church if Filipino women try to go back to our roots? Don't the women, in fact, become richer for it?

No, the church should, in fact, work on getting rid of its patriarchal values and structures. It will then become a more compassionate, more Christ-like church. And maybe by reclaiming what we have lost, we will contribute to this endeavor of de-patriarchalizing our church. In the book, I noted with emphasis that the Filipina has somehow retained the subversive, dangerous memory of her original equality.

For religious women and men, especially those in charge of formation, how can this book help in understanding Filipino spirituality?

Well, I hope it will help them understand the lack of integration of faith and action and endeavor to arrive at a congruence of our faith and our life. I hope it will help in understanding the mistakes of the past and moving on to make our church a real church of the poor and, as Pope Francis expresses it, a church that heals wounds and warms the hearts of people.

Pope Francis is creating a commission that will study the role of women deacons (Phoebe, for example) in the early church. Does this augur well for church women? Does it matter what the findings will be?

I think it is Pope Francis' way of really trying to give women an equal status in the church, but since the whole of tradition is blocking him, this is the best he can do. It's like what we say: consuelo de bobo [small consolation]. Give him credit for trying.

[Ma. Ceres P. Doyo is a journalist in the Philippines. She writes features, special reports and a regular column, Human Face, for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.]

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Marcos 'war medals' exposed, questioned (conclusion)

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Because of the outcry of tens of thousands of victims of the Marcos dictatorship over Pres. Duterte’s plan to bury in the Libingan ng mga Bayani the corpse of president-dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. who died in Hawaii in 1989, I serialized here, in four parts, “The Other Version of FM’s War Exploits”  by Bonifacio Gillego published in WE Forum in November 1982.  The piece had caused the raid and closure of WE Forum and the arrest of editor Jose Burgos Jr. and staff. (Read footnote below.)

 The mayor of Natividad, Pangasinan, Alfredo Balingao, reported to the 14th Infantry that on or about November 18, 1944, a certain Hay Hunt of Lapham's guerilla unit questioned the presence of Marcos in the area and interrogated Marcos.

It was on the recommendation of Lino Patajo, Marcos' law classmate, that Marcos joined the 14th Infantry, not the 212st of Major Barnett, some of whose members were out to avenge the pre-war killing of Nalundasan who defeated Marcos’ father in the congressional election.

Marcos left Natividad, Pangasinan on December 7, 1944 and arrived at regimental headquarters of the 14th Infantry on December 20, 1944. He was accompanied by an aide and bodyguard by the name of Isidro Ventura.

At this point, Rivera confirmed Manriquez's statement that Marcos was confined to staff work as S-5 in charge of civil affairs. At no time was he ever given any patrol or combat assignment during his service with the 14th Infantry. Marcos sought transfer to USAFIP NL headquarters on April 28, 1945, he left for Camp Spencer on a Piper Cub with Helen McQuade, an American missionary who was ill at the time. Marcos took the seat of Mrs. Romulo A. Manriquez.

To the best of his knowledge, Rivera concluded, the 14th Infantry never cited Marcos for any award or decoration. He suspected that Marcos obtained those awards under false pretenses by affidavits executed after the war or forged statements. He would not at all be surprised, he said, because sometime in March 1947, Marcos approached him to sign an affidavit claiming that the 14th Infantry commandeered carabaos and cattle from the Marcos ranch, if ever there was one in Nueva Vizcaya. He turned down the request.

Even Col. R. W. Volckmann, in his “After Battle Report, USAFIP NIL” dated November 10, 1945, made no mention of Marcos at all.

Almost two years after the government shut down WE Forum, sequestered its printing plant and equipment and confiscated three new vehicles on Dec. 10, 1982, publisher Jose Burgos, Jr. was technically still under house arrest, along with columnists Armando Malay, Francisco Rodrigo, Salvador Roxas Gonzales, Ernesto Rodriguez, Jr., and staffers Crispin Martinez, Teddy Cecilio, Edward Burgos, Angel Tronqued and Teodoro Burgos. Still pending were the subversion case against Burgos and the WE Forum and a P4-million libel suit against Burgos filed by Jose Salindong, Venancio Duque and Brig. Gen. Sinforoso L. Duque in behalf of other war veterans who felt maligned by the newspaper's series questioning the authenticity of Pres. Marcos' war medals.

The subversion case was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City; the libel case with the Manila City Fiscal's office.

For the series on Marcos’ war medals, Burgos et al. were charged with plotting to overthrow the government. The charge stated:

“That on or about November 1982 and for sometime prior thereto, in Quezon City and elsewhere in the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping each other, being then officers and/or ranking leaders of subversive organizations, did, then and there, knowingly wilfully and feloniously, and by overt acts and/or covert acts, continue and remain officers and/or ranking leaders of the Movement for a Free Philippines (MFP), April 6 Liberation Movement (U.S.-based), April 6 Movement (locally based), Light a Fire Movement (LFM) and the Communist Party of the Philippines until their arrest on December 7, 1982, save those who were newly included in this third Amended Information for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and/or removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Philippines or any part thereof, with the open or covert assistance or support of a foreign power or the open or covert assistance or support from a foreign source of any association, organization, political party, group or person, public and private by force violence, terrorism, arson, assassination, deceit or any other illegal means as in fact the above-named accused, together with the other officers and leaders of said subversive organizations have taken up arms against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and in furtherance thereof, did, then and there, feloniously, unlawfully and knowingly have in their possession voluminous subversive materials and publications which incite people to publicly rise up in arms in order to pave the way, for the destabilization and the eventual overthrow of the government by means of force, violence, deceit, arson and other illegal means through the WE Forum, a local publication stationed in Quezon City, print, publish and circulate false derogatory and libelous stories and articles designed to subvert and undermine the people's confidence in duly constituted authorities; and possess printing machines and other printing parapharnelia for the printing of subversive and the Communist Party of the Philippines’ propaganda materials.”

Included among the accused was Sen. Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., as shown in the Third Amended Information dated July 6, 1983, and former Manila Times publisher Joaquin “Chino” Roces.

The libel suit never prospered beyond the preliminary investigations, prompting lawyers to comment that the prosecution never seriously meant to pursue the defendants to a jail sentence. Instead, the lawyers opined, “This was a case of stopping the WE Forum from publishing, period.” The prescribed one-year period for a libel suit expired.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Marcos 'war medals' exposed, questioned (3)

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Because of the outcry of tens of thousands of victims of the Marcos dictatorship over President Duterte’s plan to bury in the Libingan ng mga Bayani the corpse of former president-dictator Ferdinand Marcos who died in Hawaii in 1989, I am serializing the piece “The Other Version of FM’s War Exploits” by Bonifacio Gillego published in WE Forum in November 1982. It was written for a major US newspaper but publication was withheld because of Marcos’ state visit. The long piece caused the raid and closure of WE Forum and the arrest of editor Jose Burgos Jr. and staff. Gillego, a former soldier and member of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, was in exile in the United States and working with the Movement for a Free Philippines when he researched his piece. He became a congressman after 1986 People Power toppled the Marcos dictatorship. Gillego died in 2002. His name is etched on the Wall of Remembrance of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.

Capt. Vicente L. Rivera, a lawyer who has also a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan, is now a respected leader of the Filipino-American community in Detroit. He served the 14th Infantry in various positions as S-1, S-2 and S-4, and subsequently as Executive Officer of the 2nd Battalion. When the USAFIP NL incorporated itself as a veterans organization to assist the widows and orphans of the members of the unit, he served as its National Adjutant (1961-1964). As chairman of the Awards and Decorations Committee of the USAFIP NL Inc., he said he had not come across any item or citation recommending Marcos for awards. Captain Rivera, a recipient of American and Philippine awards truly deserved, has written his memoirs and from there he culled the events relevant to this writer’s request regarding the Marcos awards. ADVERTISEMENT On March 17, 1945, the day Marcos allegedly held at bay singlehandedly an enemy patrol that attacked the RCP for which he received a Distinguished Conduct Star (per G.O. No. 157, GHQ, AFP, December 20, 1963), Rivera was S-4 of the 14th Infantry. As S-4, he was also the commanding officer of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, hence he was in charge of the security of regimental headquarters. There was no attack against the RCP on that day. What happened on that day as recorded in his memoirs was this: Marcos was designated OD (Officer of the Day). Before he left for duty around the perimeter of the RCP, he asked for food. Sgt. Sofronio La Rosa killed a small chicken, roasted it and gave half to Marcos. At about three in the morning, they were awakened by bursts of fire obviously from a Thompson submachine gun. Personnel headquarters took cover in a nearby creek while Maj. Arturo Dingcong, Executive Officer of the 14th Infantry, was sent to investigate the firing. Upon his return, Dingcong reported that it was Marcos who did the firing. Marcos fired at the rustling leaves thinking that Japanese snipers were lurking behind them! The only other incident, Rivera recalled, when Marcos fired his gun was when he was issued his Thompson submachine gun to test it. As S-4, Rivera received 300 guns from the Americans (Dec. 28, 1944 to Jan. 4, 1945) in Toyak, Mountain Province. As to the Gold Cross Medal received by Marcos for allegedly sighting Japanese troops in well-camouflaged trucks a kilometer away from the RCP and engaging them in a firefight that forced them to withdraw, Rivera said that geography is the best evidence against this preposterous claim of Marcos. Panupdupan is very far from the road, he said. It takes half a day by foot to reach it. As to the Silver Star Marcos received for the Battle of Hapid, Rivera said that Marcos never participated in this battle nor in any battle for that matter in Kiangan. In the first place, he said, the 14th Infantry did not have an engineering company which Marcos allegedly commanded together with a combat company that reinforced the beleaguered 2nd Battalion at the Hapid airfield. Rivera said that he should know because at that time he was already the Executive Officer of the 2nd Battalion under the command of Maj. Zosimo Paredes. To his recollection, the Battle of Hapid lasted 11 days from March 25 to April 4, 1945. They had all together 268 officers and men who fought courageously against the Japanese forces driven from the Balite Pass by General Swift of the 25th Division of the US Army. The 2nd Battalion had to withdraw eventually for lack of food and ammunition after sustaining a number of casualties. Marcos was nowhere in the vicinity of Hapid all the days that he was supposed to have engaged the Japanese in hand-to-hand combat. Neither was Marcos in or near the vicinity of Bessang Pass as the battle there was fought from May 22 to June 15, 1945. At that time Marcos was already in the relative safety of USAFIP NL headquarters in Camp Spencer, Luna, La Union. The companies of the 14th Infantry that participated in the Battle of Bessang Pass with other units of the USAFIP NL were Company E under Lt. Benito Miranda, Company I under Lt. Panfilo P. Fernandez and Company M under Lt. Teofilo Allas. Rivera remembered some of their casualties, among others: Ismael Reyes, Felix Solon and a certain Francisco. On the circumstances that led to Marcos joining the 14th infantry, Rivera had this to say: They knew of the presence of Marcos in the vicinity of Burgos, Natividad, Pangasinan. With Narciso Ramos, who became Secretary of Foreign Affairs under Marcos, and former Congressman Cipriano S. Allas, Marcos organized his Maharlika unit with but a few members, not the 8,300 he claimed for backpay purposes. Marcos was on his way to La Union to inquire into circumstances surrounding the death of his father, Mariano Marcos. (Concluded next week)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Marcos 'war medals'exposed, questioned (2)

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Because of the outcry of tens of thousands of victims of the Marcos dictatorship over President Duterte’s plan to bury in the Libingan ng mga Bayani the corpse of president-dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who died in Hawaii in 1989, I am serializing the piece “The Other Version of FM’s War Exploits” by Bonifacio Gillego published in WE Forum in November 1982. The long piece caused the raid and closure of WE Forum and the arrest of editor Jose Burgos Jr. and staff. It is included in the book “Press Freedom Under Siege: Reportage that Challenged the Marcos Dictatorship” (UP Press, 2017).

A strict accounting of the Marcos medals that would include such essential details as the General Order number, the date of issue and the issuing headquarters would reveal the following: Eleven of the 33 awards were given in 1963.
Ten of the 11 awards given in 1963 were given on the same day, Dec. 20, 1963. Three awards were given in one General Order, also issued on Dec. 20, 1963. One award was given in 1972. Eight of the “33 American and Philippine Medals” (“President Marcos: A Political Profile,” Office of the Philippines) are, strictly speaking, not medals but campaign ribbons which all participants in the defense of Bataan and in the resistance movement are entitled to. Awards are duplicated for the same action at the same place on the same day. One is a Special Award given by the Veterans Federation of the Philippines. All these are included in the count of 33 and foisted upon the unwary public as having been awarded to Marcos during the war. To repeat, most of the medals claimed had been acquired long after the end of World War II. Even as late as 1972, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) gave Marcos on his birthday the Philippine Legion of Honor (G .O. 121, GHQ, AFP, Sept. 11, 1972). On Dec. 20, 1963, almost 20 years after the end of World War II, the AFP awarded Marcos for services in Bataan and in the resistance movement two Distinguished Conduct Stars; two Distinguished Service Stars, two Gold Cross Medals; and three Wounded Soldier’s Medals. One General Order alone (No. 155, GHQ AFP, Dec. 20, 1963) granted Marcos three medals for having been allegedly wounded in Bataan on April 5, 1942 and on April 7, 1942 and in Kiangan, Mt. Province on March 17, 1945. If these awards were truly deserved why were they not conferred earlier? What prompted the AFP to go on an awarding splurge one day in December 1963? Those in the know believe that President Macapagal allowed the AFP to give Marcos awards so an appeased Marcos would not contest his (Macapagal’s) bid for reelection. For identical citation as guerrilla and underground leader, Marcos received two Distinguished Service Stars (G.O. 435, HPA, April 24, 1945 and G.O. 152, GHQ AFP, Dec. 20, 1963). For the same action at Panupdupan on April 5, 1945 when allegedly Marcos singlehandedly forced the enemy to withdraw after 30 minutes of combat, Marcos received two Distinguished Conduct Stars: on Oct. 16, 1963 (G.O. 124, GHQ AFP), and another on Dec. 20, 1963 (G.O. 157, GHQ AFP). Both Col. Romulo A. Manriquez, commanding officer of the 14th Infantry, and Capt. Vicente L. Rivera, adjutant of the same unit, in their signed testimonies, stated that Marcos had no participation whatsoever in any combat operations during his service with the 14th Infantry. As commanding officer of the 14th Infantry, Col. Manriquez never recommended as there was no basis at all, Marcos for any award. If Marcos, as claimed, was ever wounded at all, Col. Manriquez quipped, it must be that Marcos was bitten by a leech. With the wholesale and indiscriminate grant of awards in one day, the duplications, the multiple awards in one General Order, the inclusion of the campaign ribbons, etc., Marcos is truly the most decorated Filipino soldier in World War II by extrapolation. One wonders how the future will reckon with this man who has so audaciously, and unconscionabIy distorted our military records when men of the caliber of Col. Romulo A. Manriquez, Col. Narciso Manzano and Capt. Vicente L. Rivera will come out and speak the truth. In consideration of Marcos’ legal background, Manriquez assigned him as S-5 in charge of Civil Affairs. From the time Marcos joined the 14th Infantry to the time he asked for transfer to the headquarters of the USAF IP NL in Luna, La Union, Marcos was never involved in any patrol or combat operations. How could he, in conscience, Manriquez said, recommend a person for an award who had not even fired a single shot at an enemy he had never even seen while in Kiangan? He recalled that one day in March, Sergeant Manat, a native of Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, came running to headquarters to report sighting of Japanese troops about a kilometer away. He thus placed headquarters personnel on alert and in position. He said he saw Marcos run to a nearby creek raising his .45-caliber pistol with a quavering hand. The Japanese were apparently enroute to safer grounds beyond guerrilla reach so the RCP was not subjected to any attack. But as reports of more Japanese troop movements were received at the RCP, Marcos, Manriquez said, asked for a transfer to Volckmann’s headquarters in Camp Spencer, Luna, La Union. Thus the saga of Marcos “heroism” in Kiangan, according to Colonel Manriquez, who vowed to face any person or court to expose Marcos. This much, he said, he owes to the real heroes of the 14th Infantry under his command who died in genuine operations in Kiangan. Asked if he knew anyone in his staff who could have signed an affidavit on behalf of Marcos, he recalled that his communications officer then, Lt. Conceso Bejec, was asked by Marcos for an affidavit. But, he said, he advised Bejec not to. It was at this juncture that Colonel Manriquez mentioned his former adjutant, Capt. Vicente L. Rivera. (Continued next week.) Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/96781/marcos-war-medals-exposed-questioned-2#ixzz4KJ4fJ0eE Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Marcos 'war medals' exposed, questioned (1)

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Because of the outcry of tens of thousands of victims of the Marcos dictatorship over President Duterte’s plan to bury in the Libingan ng mga Bayani the corpse of president-dictator Ferdinand Marcos who died in Hawaii in 1989, I am serializing the piece “The Other Version of FM’s War Exploits” by Bonifacio Gillego published in WE Forum in November 1982. It was written for a major US newspaper, but publication was withheld because of Marcos’ state visit. The long piece caused the raid and closure of WE Forum and the arrest of editor Jose Burgos Jr. and staff. It is included in the book “Press Freedom Under Siege: Reportage that Challenged the Marcos Dictatorship” (UP Press, 2017). Gillego, a former soldier and member of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, was in exile in the United States and working with the Movement for a Free Philippines when he researched his piece. He became a congressman after Edsa I toppled the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. He died in 2002. His name is etched on the Wall of Remembrance of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.

How many medals did Marcos actually receive for his alleged feats of heroism in World War II? The count has become a numbers game. Hartzell Spence, in his book, “For Every Tear a Victory: The Story of Ferdinand E. Marcos” (McGraw-Hill Inc., New York, 1964), credits Marcos with 28, including American awards. More a hagiographer than a biographer, Spence has been the purveyor of embroidered tales about Marcos’ life and deeds to the credulous and gullible public, both Philippine and American. It was Spence who propagated the myth that Marcos singlehandedly delayed the fall of Bataan by three months—with the encouragement and consent, no doubt, of Marcos. It was Spence who recounted the ridiculous story that when Gen. Omar Bradley “saw Ferdinand’s six rows of ribbons headed by 22 valor medals including the Distinguished Service Cross, the four-star general saluted Marcos.” ADVERTISEMENT The story is patently false because in May 1947, the date of the comic Bradley-Marcos encounter in the Pentagon, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) could account only for six war medals. Most of the medals of Marcos were conferred on him by the AFP only from 1948 to 1963. On the occasion of the multimillion-dollar extravaganza (the Marcos state visit to the USA), the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC gave the widest dissemination of propaganda materials glorifying the war exploits of Marcos. A brochure titled “Friends in War, Ferdinand E. Marcos in the Pacific War, 1941-45” tabulates 32 medals. The souvenir program contains, among others, a picture of Marcos with the inscription at the back that during the Pacific War, Marcos won 33 American and Philippine medals. A more modest claim, however, is made that Marcos delayed the fall of Bataan “by weeks,” not three months, as Spence propagandized earlier in his campaign biography of Marcos. The salvo of paeans to Marcos’ vaunted war heroism was part of a well-funded drive to influence the powers-that-be in the US to award Marcos the Congressional Medal of Honor. At this juncture, it may be recalled that it was Spence again who fantasized that upon hearing the exploits of Marcos in Bataan, Gen. Jonathan Wainwright from his headquarters in Corregidor called by phone the 21st Division directing that Marcos be recommended for a Congressional Medal of Honor. Accordingly, Brig. Gen. Mateo Capinpin allegedly made the recommendation but the papers got conveniently lost, hence the explanation why Marcos was robbed of the singular honor of receiving the much coveted American award. Claiming that the recommendation was “sidetracked,” Bataan, purportedly a Philippine magazine published in Washington, DC, came out with a special edition (Sept. 20, 1982) urging the conferment of the Congressional Medal of Honor on Marcos 40 years after the guns of Bataan and Corregidor were silenced! Unfortunately for the drumbeaters of Marcos, the grant of the Congressional Medal of Honor has prescribed time limitations. The recommendation has to be made within two years after the deed of extraordinary valor above and beyond the call of duty. The actual conferment has to be made within three years after such deed. Only the US Congress can waive the time limitation, but apparently the move for Congressional waiver was laughed off. There is not a scintilla of evidence in the files of the US Army Center of Military History, the National [Personnel] Records Center of the [National] Archives, the US Army Library in Pentagon, the Library of Congress, etc. that Marcos performed an authentic deed of extraordinary valor deserving the grant of the Congressional Medal of Valor. The reports of and about the defense of Bataan by the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Jonathan Wainwright and George Parker Jr. do not show the faintest trace of Marcos’ single-handed feat of stemming the tide of Japanese advance in Bataan that delayed its fall by three months. Even the foremost deodorizer of the Marcos dictatorship, Carlos P. Romulo, made no mention of Marcos among the heroes he “walked with.” But the count remains. The statistical projection, whether it be 28, 32 or 33, creates and fosters the impression—as it is deliberately intended to—that Marcos was the most decorated Filipino soldier in World War II. None of the participant nations during the war could produce a hero with as many awards as Marcos—not excluding General MacArthur himself. That is, if the count of the Marcos medals is devoid of fraudulence and deception. What is deliberately concealed in the accounting of the Marcos medals is the date of issue of each of the awards. If this one essential detail is shown, the stark truth stands out. It was not during the war that he was awarded these medals. Marcos managed to have himself awarded these medals by the AFP long after the war was over! (More details in succeeding parts.)#

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The door at DepEd

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

On exhibit since two days ago (till Aug. 23) in the lobby of the Department of Education (DepEd) main office in Pasig City is a piece of a door with 13 bullet holes. This was the door in the house of Kalinga chief Macli-ing Dulag in Bugnay village in Kalinga. Macli-ing was killed by Marcos forces on April 24, 1980.

This Kalinga brave led the opposition to the construction of the Chico Dam that would have wiped out large portions of Kalinga ancestral domain in the Cordillera. April 24 is now celebrated as Cordillera People’s Day. Macli-ing fought the Marcos dictatorship and is hailed as a hero, so his name is among the hundreds inscribed on the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Wall of Remembrance in Quezon City.

Last Tuesday, Aug. 9, was World’s Indigenous People’s (IP) Day. Hereabouts, Aug. 9 is also National Indigenous People’s Day as provided in Republic Act No. 10689.

The DepEd observed the day not only by opening the mini-exhibit but also by issuing a memorandum dated July 21 and signed by Secretary Leonor Briones “enjoin[ing] all its offices and schools to observe the said national celebration, declared as a special working holiday, through various commemorative and advocacy activities.”

The memo further stated: “As the primary government agency mandated to protect and promote the right of every Filipino learner to basic education, including the inculcation of values that promote recognition of the nation’s cultural diversity, it is imperative for DepEd to actively contribute to the nation’s meaningful observance of the National Indigenous People’s Day.”

This is consistent with the aims of the K-to-12 Basic Education Program and—note this—the DepEd’s National Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) Policy Framework which stipulates that “within the framework of maintaining inclusive and effective learning environments, the DepEd shall nurture, among all learners and DepEd teaching and nonteaching personnel, respect for human rights and cultural diversity,” and that the DepEd shall “promote greater awareness and appreciation of the [IP’s] cultural heritage and history—and integral yet often neglected part of the nation’s cultural heritage and history.”

It is heartening indeed that awareness and appreciation of our IP heritage is now being pushed in early education so that ignorance and biases against IPs would be no more, and so that they would stand proud of who they are and of their roots. And stand proudly distinct, too.

Exhibiting Macli-ing’s door and important IP information at the DepEd lobby is a great move. Behind this activity is the DepEd’s Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPsEO) coordinated by Rozanno E. Rufino. Yes, the DepEd has an IP Education Office!

I learned through the grapevine that the Aquino administration had approved the construction of hundreds of school buildings (with teachers, of course) in far-flung IP areas—not with a DepEd budget but with another agency’s budget. Here’s hoping that this does not get snared in an ideologically-tainted tug-of-war, if you know what I mean. Here’s hoping that Briones can stand her ground. Sadly, some IP areas are taken over by contesting groups with clashing aims—armed, ideological, religious, corporate groups—and turning these areas into hotbeds.

I was pleased to learn that included in the DepEd exhibit are excerpts from my book “Macli-ing Dulag: Kalinga Chief, Defender of the Cordillera” (University of the Philippines Press, 2015), along with the door. I saw and touched that bullet-riddled door when I went up to Bugnay in 1980 with a fact-finding team shortly after Macli-ing was killed. I laid my eyes on the door again last year, when it was exhibited with other Kalinga artifacts, at the book’s launch in UP Baguio.

Anthropology professor Analyn Salvador, an avid researcher of Cordillera culture, had asked for the door when she saw that parts of Macli-ing’s old home were being demolished for renovation. Salvador had lived among the Butbut (Macli-ing’s community) and made Bugnay village her field base for research. The door is now part of UP Baguio’s Cordillera People’s Archives and Museum. IPsEO’s Rufino asked UP Baguio if he could borrow the door for the DepEd exhibit.

There are now learning materials for greater IP awareness. I know that a group of Aeta and a group of Mangyan had written children’s books highlighting their culture. If I remember right, these were published by Assisi Foundation. I remember I wrote about these books for the Inquirer’s front page. It is so good to know that there are many efforts in this area. Even fashion designers are doing their part by coming up with wearables that are highly marketable.

The IPEd program supports education initiatives undertaken through formal, nonformal and informal modalities with emphasis on, but not limited to, these key areas: indigenous knowledge systems and practices and community history; indigenous languages; indigenous learning systems (ILS) and community life cycle-based curriculum and assessment; and education goals, aspirations and competences specific to the indigenous cultural community. It encourages elders and other community members in the teaching-learning process, assessment and management of the initiative, while recognizing and continuing the practice of the community’s ILS. All these were crafted in consultation with representatives of IP communities.

I suggest we all learn to write our names using our indigenous baybayin/alibata (the Mangyan have their own syllabary). Who said precolonial Filipinos did not know how to read and write before the Spaniards came? Under my byline in my latest books, I have my name also written in baybayin. Here it is:

Thursday, August 4, 2016

'Shadows of Light'


Because history is most often written from the point of view of the victors or the colonizers, the stories of and about the vanquished or the colonized are ignored and, if at all, remain in the archives, there to gather dust for centuries, until…
Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB, got a research grant to write the history of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines from the people’s perspective. The grant enabled her to do archival research in the Archivo General de Indias, the Valladolid Archives, the National Library in Madrid, and the Archivo General de Nacion in Mexico.

There is no dearth of information on how colonial history unfolded on our islands, but this was written by the conquistadores during the early years of conquest, and in Spanish at that. Now the data had to be dug up, read with new eyes, interpreted and presented to show what it was like from the so-called underside.
Mananzan’s “Shadows of Light: Philippine Church History Under Spain, A People’s Perspective” (Claretian Communications) does these and adds a twist to enable the reader to see, believe and understand why we are what we are. Instead of simply throwing out long-held assumptions that die hard with bolo (not sword) in hand, she presents another view. But she does not tread lightly, she who is unmistakably a true daughter of the Church—and more.
The book’s cover is subversive enough: in the background a hazy image of a Spanish-era church, and up front a cross that casts a shadow shaped like a sword. Didn’t we learn early on in history class that the Spaniards came with the sword and the cross? It is these two weapons—used to colonize and to Christianize—that cast shadows on these islands that Mananzan tackles to give light to darkened spots in our past and our present. Pardon the mixed metaphors, but aren’t we a somewhat mixed-up race with a somewhat mixed-up concept of ourselves and of our religious faith?

At the outset, Mananzan lays out a reality: the “split-level Christianity” on which groundbreaking Filipino psychologist Fr. Jaime Bulatao, SJ, had expounded. But “Shadows of Light” is not a treatise on Filipino psychology or sociology; it is about history. So like the historian that she is, Mananzan dwells on historical events and their impact, and invites the reader to see with “a people’s perspective.”

The first chapter opens with an illustration of a babaylan, a priestess-healer. (All illustrations are by Ziggy Perlas.) The chapter is about the “Prehistory of the Church in the Philippines,” and what culture and religion were like in pre-Spanish society. This is often glossed over in history class. Here Mananzan also provides a European context of the conquest of the Philippines, and what was happening in the Church in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries. And then Christianization in the context of colonization—plantatio ecclesiae—the missionary activities that reduced the inhabitants to submission, the methods used, the suppression of “idolatrous beliefs,” and so forth. How the frailes—first the Augustinian pioneers, followed by the Franciscans (1577), Jesuits (1581), Dominicans (1587) and Recollects (1606)—conducted systematic evangelization alongside the conquistadores.

Mananzan tackles the role of the clergy in military conflicts, and the conflict between Church and state—for example, between bishop and the civil administration, between archbishop and governor general, between governor and inquisitorial tribunal. The development of the indigenous clergy is no doubt a high point in the story, and how it helped in the struggle for independence. The continuing struggle of the Filipino clergy exploded in the Cavite mutiny of 1872 that later saw the martyrdom—sentenced to death by garrote—of three Filipino priests, collectively known to us as Gomburza.

Let me say here that Mananzan was a history major in college (magna cum laude), and completed her master’s degree in theology and doctorate in linguistic philosophy (summa cum laude) in Europe. She is a feminist theologian, and served as prioress of the Missionary Benedictines Sisters and as chair of Gabriela. She is the founder and executive director of the Institute of Women’s Studies of St. Scholastica’s College (where she served as president for six years). She is now cochair of the Office of Women and Gender Concerns of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.

Having said all that, one will not be surprised that Mananzan saves the best for last. The final chapter of her book, “The Impact of the Spanish Church on the Mujer Indigena,” first deals with the women in precolonial Philippines, their place in myths and legends, and, more importantly, their active role in the community. They were leaders, healers, priestesses.

Historian Fe Mangahas, who wrote the foreword for “Shadows of Light,” and coedited with Jenny Llaguno the book “Readings on Babaylan Feminism in the Philippines,” would have much to say on that pre-Spanish period, when women rocked!

Mananzan rues: “The imposition of a strongly patriarchal system had decidedly negative consequences on the role of women in society.

“Though the missionaries were forced to acknowledge the superiority of the mujer indigena (native woman) which they could hardly deny, they nevertheless condemned as vice any behavior which they could not reconcile with the moral prescriptions for women in their mother country. So they praised the women’s intelligence, strong will and practicality, but they censured her for being too sensual and too free in her behavior.”

Thus was spawned the stereotypical Maria Clara, “a delicate ornament of the home or the victim soul of the convent.”

Unrestrained, Mananzan exclaims in bold font: “However, she retained the subversive dangerous memory of her original equality!”

“Shadows of Light” is a good read before 2021, the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines.#

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The photograph

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

The banner photograph of the Inquirer last Sunday drew a negative off-the-cuff remark from President Duterte. He showed he was pissed off when he ditched the teleprompter and ad-libbed during his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday and dwelled on his favorite subject: his war on drugs that, during his 25 days in office, has seen more than 100—and counting—blown to kingdom come.

Many were reportedly killed during shoot-outs and drug busts, while the rest were killed by unknown persons, their bullet-riddled bodies dumped on the wayside. Others were found wrapped in plastic or inside sacks, head and arms tightly taped. Some were found with a sign bearing a message: drug pusher, huwag tularan (do not be like them). The Commission on Human Rights is very busy indeed, according to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism that is following up the cases.
During his Sona Duterte said a newspaper had come out with a photo of a woman and a corpse made to look like Mother Mary cradling the dead Jesus Christ. He must have been thinking of Michelangelo’s “Pieta.” It was as if this broadsheet was calling for sympathy for what he considered the scum of society that needed to be eliminated through fair means or foul—and why should anyone care?

His words: “Eh tapos nandiyan ka nakabulagta and you are portrayed in a broadsheet na parang Mother Mary cradling the dead cadaver of Jesus Christ. Eh yan yang mga yan magda-dramahan tayo dito.”

The photo was taken by Inquirer photographer Raffy Lerma. It is a captivating image to behold, especially if one withholds judgment and simply looks at it without bias. Near the feet of the victim and the weeping woman is a piece of cardboard with the words “drug pusher.”

The caption was simple: “Lamentation: A weeping Jennelyn Olaires hugs partner Michael Siaron, 30, a pedicab driver and alleged drug pusher, who was shot and killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen near Pasay Rotonda on Edsa. He was one of six killed in drug-related incidents in Pasay and Manila yesterday. (Story on Page A8.)”

Below that banner photo is the Sunday issue’s banner headline “Church: Thou shall not kill” with the subhead “Message to Duterte to coincide with Sona.” Well, Mr. Duterte was certainly pissed off. As always, with the Catholic Church.

The Philippine Sunday Inquirer (the word Sunday written in lovely font) front page is usually dedicated to good news and inspiring stories to give readers a breather, except when very important breaking news are anything but, and grim images that land on the news desk are so irresistible because they speak loudly.

Lerma’s photograph silently speaks. Luck, pluck, vigilance, readiness and talent synchronized to spring that photo opportunity that comes once in a rare while to a photojournalist who is constantly on the run. The photograph almost looks like an oil painting—with a burnished look of a Rembrandt, if I may say so. I don’t know how much, if at all, our art department enhanced the photo, but this “Pieta” certainly evokes thoughts and feelings.

The two figures look illumined in the middle of the blackness. While examining the image, I found interesting details: the word “drug” very small (I had to use a magnifying glass) and “pusher” big, the intricate tattoo on the weeping woman’s upper arm, her blue nail polish, the colorful fabric strewn on the concrete. The two figures have no footwear. I could not make out the signage behind. The face of the victim is not seen, only the back of his head. No blood is seen, only the sorrow on the face of the woman, Jennelyn.

What’s with that name? Years ago I did a piece (“Sad photograph”) on a photo of a teenage girl, an armed fighter of the New People’s Army who had survived an encounter with the military. (It was a front-page banner photo captioned “Still Life by a Soldier.”) A soldier found her wounded, all alone and seated among the ferns in the wilderness, and took her photo. Her name was Jenalyn. All her comrades in arms had died.

I have not spoken with Lerma about the what, where, when and how of his photograph and to congratulate him. But here is Lynett Villariba of the Inquirer’s art department and her post on Facebook: “The final layout is a conspiracy of the universe. We have this banner story. The pic by Raffy Lerma lands on the news desk like it is beamed from heaven. No argument. No doubt. No-brainer. Even the printing cooperates. [News editor] Jun Engracia braces for the Pieta effect. And this is it.”

Chelo Banal-Formoso posted on Facebook: “‘Positive Sunday’ would have been a big lie if the Inquirer didn’t use this heart-wrenching photograph taken by Raffy Lerma… For many years now, ‘Positive Sunday’ has been the guiding light for the editorial team that works on the Sunday issue of the Inquirer, to make reading the newspaper a pleasant or more pleasant experience if only for a day. All week the team sets aside the positive news and feel-good features turned in by reporters and contributors for publication on Sunday.

“But the reality of Bloody Sunday was too compelling to ignore, as we can see in this photo and the story on the indiscriminate killings going on in our country.”

When US-based photographer Rick Rocamora gifted me with the huge book, “In Our Time: The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers,” he included a copy of a letter of photojournalist and Magnum founder George Rodger to his son Jonathan: “You look into the viewfinder and what you see there may be pretty and gay or it may be sad. Your heart may stand still for the horror of it or your eyes dim in pity or in shame. But it is all a reality and you must know what to do with it.” #