Of Trials and Tribulations in the Time of Tempest



(File photo: “patapos na”| January 2015)

The recent Findings and Conclusions of the International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT) credibly adjudging President BS Aquino and his government guilty of rights violations lay further basis for him to face the music when he steps down. It validates what the people want: justice and accountability, self-evident principles the traditional legal fora have basically failed to deliver.

Thus, the clear and present danger is not a yearly rally by the discontented and disgusted hoi polloi during the alas final State of the Nation Address by the chief lord of a fascist government but the denial of a basic right to peaceably assemble, the exercise of which has been proven over the course of history to make things happen for the good of the oppressed and exploited many.

So when the Ombudsman has after  a long wait finally indicted the epitome of impunity  in the person of Gen. Palparan in another horrible case of rights violations, it is more of an indictment of our justice system even as we grudgingly welcome it anyway. Yet this will never salvage President Aquino for his own crimes against the people.

So he can still run his last year in office on either of these choices: ride it through, remain stubborn and out of touch. Or he can mitigate his accountability by rethinking, nay just thinking, of what good he can really do to the people. Keep it simple, sir. #


National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
Press Statement
24 July 2015

SONA 2015 | Gov’t boosts anti-rally contraptions along Commonwealth


Government personnel wearing Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) shirts rearranged and enhanced so-called security contraptions along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for President Benigno Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address.


Backhoes and trucks transferred “zebra” concrete blocks from the road’s West-bound side to its East-bound side to create two-layered deterrents to protesters expected to fill the area on Monday.


Steel barriers are placed on top of the first row of concrete blocks topped with newly-installed barbed concertina wires.


Large steel containers are also placed on U-turn slots to prevent the protesters from transferring to the other side of the road as has been their practice for years.


The Philippine National Police and the MMDA are expected to block the East-bound side of Commonwealth Avenue with several layers of steel containers to stop tens of thousands of protesters from coming closer to the House of Representatives complex.


Progressive organizations, human rights groups and media personalities have been protesting these measures as overkill that violate the people’s right to assemble as written in the Philippines’ Bill of Rights under its 1987 Constitution.

The Quezon City government has denied the petition for permit to rally filed earlier by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

Batas Pambansa 880 tasks local government units to “ministerially” act on such petitions within three days of submission, after which it is deemed granted if ignored.

Bayan international officer Rita Baua said she could not recall of any instance that contraptions of such enormity were erected even under Martial Law.

“It’s only under the so-called Daang Matuwid that we see such viciousness and blatant disregard of the people’s right to assemble,” Baua said. #


(Photos and text by Raymund B. Villanueva)