saddam hanged

rumors were rife throughout the week that saddam might be hanged today. still, nothing prepared me for news about his death in the gallows just hours ago. i was half-expecting an islam holiday (eid al-adha, feast of the sacrifice) would stall the execution until after january 7. but they did rush his execution, just before 6 am in iraq, saturday, dec. 30, 2006 to beat the start of the holiday.

perhaps best known for invading kuwait in 1991 and for resisting bush's ultimatum in 2003, saddam was executed for ordering the killing of 148 people in dujail in his own country in 1982. this he admitted during the trial, although he said it was because of a failed assassination attempt on his life. throughout his reign, he was accused of political oppression and genocides.

bbc sums up immediate reaction in one line: hated by many, mourned by few. for his victims and their families, justice came with his death. bush considers saddam's hanging a milestone in iraq's path to democracy.

but really, was justice served with his execution? will iraq finally be at peace with his passing? i don't think so.

although i did say before that death by hanging would be a fitting end to such a controversial existence, but that would be like glorifying him, giving him the end that he deserves, assuring him of a place in history. if you want justice served, i'd say it would have been better to let him rot in jail and let him die in obscurity like all other dictators. but i bet the us would not want that, since they can never be too sure that a change of government would not bring him back to power.

my fear is that his death will only escalate the tension. saddam was himself happy to die in the hands of his enemies, since that would make a martyr out of him, what with all the allegations of a sham trial and the presence of u.s. troops in iraq. it's only a matter of time before a younger breed, angered and enraged by the fate that he suffered, will take his place. and the conflict lives on.


on a personal note, news of saddam's death saddens me a bit. no, i don't idolize saddam and neither will i grieve for him. it's just that, to me, he had always been a part of world politics.

growing up, i heard stories, mostly in the form of jokes, about a terrifying man named saddam. in bisaya, we even have this parody of a christmas song: whenever i see boys and girls selling lanterns on the street / i remember saddam, namaligya ug time bomb (i remember saddam selling time bomb)...and so the song goes. as a five-year-old, i remember an uncle coming home to our province from kuwait at the height of the gulf war; he had grown thin with his beard and moustache all over his face. all i could comprehend was that a terrible man named saddam was the reason for his coming home.

now that saddam is dead, it's as if there's a missing piece in the chessboard.


incidentally, saddam's execution took place on the very same day rizal was shot exactly 110 years ago. in my previous entry about saddam, i wondered if he ever read about rizal because at the time his verdict was handed down, he requested that he be executed by firing squad. apparently, his request was denied but he did die curiously on the same day as rizal, just before sunrise i assume.

saddam, surely is a farcry from rizal. i'd be committing blasphemy if i even attempted to compare him to our national hero. while rizal died for his cause, saddam died because he wanted to save his life.


while i was writing this, dzmm erroneously reported that saddam was hanged 10 pm in iraq. the anchor quoted cnn. but cnn reported that saddam was hanged shortly after 6 am then placed "10 pm friday et" in parenthesis to indicate time in the us eastern zone. if you check al jazeera and bbc and other news outlets, they all reported saddam was hanged before 6 am, with bbc explicitly stating it was local time, meaning, the time in iraq.

interestingly, i compared how the three major international news networks reported on the execution in their websites.

us-based cnn highlighted saddam's emotions during the execution: hussein executed with 'fear in his face,' its headline read, quoting a witness. british broadcaster bbc settled for a factual account: saddam hussein executed in iraq. qatar-based al jazeera english did likewise, albeit in a more dramatic manner: saddam hanged at dawn.

cnn lead: Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator who spent his last years in captivity after his ruthless regime was toppled by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003, was hanged before dawn Saturday for crimes committed in a brutal crackdown during his reign.

bbc lead: Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging at a secure facility in northern Baghdad for crimes against humanity.

al jazeera lead: Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president, has been hanged, according to Iraqi and US officials.

both bbc and al jazeera said saddam was hanged just before 6 am, quoting the iraqi deputy foreign minister while cnn said it was 'shortly after 6 am,' quoting the iraqi national security adviser. they must have different watches, i assume.

cnn's 1:46 am est report, the longest among the three, centered on the celebration after, about the end of a dark era. it did not mention any negative reactions. curiously enough, it reported that bush wasn't awakened during saddam's execution albeit he was briefed about it just before retiring. it quoted the statement from the white house, and interestingly said that no americans were present during the execution.

bbc's 6:35 gmt update gave an account of the execution, reporting that us troops were on high alert for fear of backlash, then went on to say that while shias generally welcomed the development, saddam's own sunni tribe were angered by it. then it quoted bush and the uk foreign secretary, hailing the execution.

al jazeera's 6:27 mecca time report was a relatively shorter account of the execution, quoting sources which confirmed saddam's death. it quoted bush but included the part where he admitted that bringing saddam to justice will not end violence in iraq. it said that saddam was ousted by a US-led "invasion" in 2003, a term the other news outlets did not use. it reported that details about the execution were kept secret for fear of violent backlash, and hinted that it may complicate efforts to reconcile shia and sunni muslims. while cnn emphasized that saddam was convicted of crimes against humanity, al jazeera said saddam was accused of widespread oppression and genocides. it quoted saddam's letter to the iraqis, offering himself as a sacrifice. the report ended with saddam's request to his daughter that he be buried in yemen until iraq is liberated.

both cnn and bbc posted a photo of saddam with the noose around his neck just before he was executed. al jazeera carried a photo of saddam raising his hand, with his index finger pointing upward, probably taken during the trial.

which among them is the most objective?

now consider yahoo: saddam hussein executed, former dictator hanged for crimes committed during brutal regime.

simulblog with pics at: driven 2


full circle

the first time i met rhea, i remember asking her if she had ever written any youngblood article. her full name, afterall, sounds familiar. we were then on our first day in one of our communication classes. it may have sounded like a lame pick-up line but really, it was just an honest-to-goodness attempt to strike up a conversation; as a journalism student then, i was only curious.

anyway, around three and a half years after that initial meeting, i'm getting an answer. here's rhea's youngblood article published yesterday in the inquirer. it's about her trip to china last october.

by the way, i'm not muslim, and i'm not the colleague she's talking about. read on:


By Rhea M. Alba
Last updated 01:14am (Mla time) 12/28/2006

Published on Page A11 of the December 28, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

I AM on a 24-hour train ride from Beijing to Guangzhou, China, as I write. My whole body is still stiff from running around the station while lugging over 28 kilos of baggage. And to think that just a few minutes ago, my colleague and I almost missed this train.

We had been delivered to what we thought was the right train station, until we found out, 30 minutes before our scheduled departure, that the Beijing Railway Station we were supposed to go to was on the other side of the city. After making a thousand desperate gestures and spending 135 yuan, my colleague and I finally arrived and boarded this train.

Unfortunately, since we were the last two persons to get in and we had no idea how to negotiate using Mandarin, we have no choice but to take the topmost bunks in a three-layered, prison cell-like structure that is now our cabin. It's not exactly the most comfortable place to be in, especially when you are sharing it with four other people speaking a language you cannot understand. And so we are left with the challenge of doing a careful balancing act every time we need to go down our beds to eat, stretch or pee. We cannot sit up straight, lest we bump our heads against the ceiling. And I'm a little too close to the ultra bright fluorescent light, guaranteeing a sleepless trip the rest of the way.

All this happened or is happening because I don't know how to communicate in Chinese. But it's only now that I have come to realize that in the past few days, I have survived by engaging in a seemingly endless game of charade with almost everyone I have to deal with.

I used to think charade is just a game for kids or noontime show stars who play it as if it's the most intellectually stimulating and entertaining game in the world. But because of my stay here and the dire circumstances I've gone through, I have become the newest recruit to the charade club. To find a shopping center, for instance, I have to take money from my wallet, point to my T-shirt, put them together and pray the other party understands enough to know that I want to go to a clothing store.

I have been lucky enough to have learned a few Chinese words that allow me to order food in a restaurant. For instance, I know that daocha stands for fork and knife, which is important if you are tired of using chopsticks. Bingshui means iced water, which is essential to know because their drinking water is normally served warm. But when we come to the main course, we have to check out the food to see if it is suitable for my Muslim friend. Whenever we are in doubt or we don't know what to order, we settle for chicken, but we have to do it by flapping our arms.

To ask whether a place of interest is within walking distance, I let my index finger and middle finger do the walking on my palm. But after walking non-stop in such a big, foreign city, I usually end up making imaginary driving motions to signify that I want to get a cab. The next step? I simply give the taxi driver the hotel's card.

It's a good thing that nodding one's head or making the thumbs up sign are also signs of assent or approval here. In fact, they are the gestures I eagerly seek after a long, tiring day.

Of course, I also had some misses while playing charade with the Chinese, because as my English teacher in high school used to tell us, "Actions speak louder than words--but they are not as clear." One time, my colleague and I almost got lost after taking a taxi. Because it was so dark, all buildings and Chinese lanterns looked the same to us. It turned out that we had been dropped on the right street but at the wrong hotel. Luckily, we only had to walk a few meters in Beijing's freezing weather.

When I joined a group tour to the Great Wall, I could not understand a thing because the tour guide spoke in Chinese all the time. A Chinese guy knew a bit of broken English, but he couldn't keep pace with what the guide was saying.

It was worse when we visited one of the Ming Tombs. I didn't know why all the Chinese tourists had a frightened look on their faces, and why the Chinese student I was walking with shrieked whenever I would step on a line or stone slab. I supposed it had something to do with feng-shui, burial rites and what-not, but no amount of hand movements or facial expressions could get me the information I wanted. Which was just too bad, because the English captions offered little by way of explanation as well.

Some people would say we should have purchased an English-Mandarin phrase book, but we did and it wasn't of much help. Then we should have hired an English-speaking tour guide, right? But looking back, I feel that aside from meeting new friends and seeing the historical sites of China, the curious charades we were forced to play made the experience more memorable for me (we couldn't afford the second option anyway). It forced me to become more creative in thinking of ways to express my thoughts and feelings. I've also realized that my ability to speak in English doesn't guarantee survival in other places. Sometimes, it's more important to hone communication skills that are beyond words to get a message across.

I'm glad that this train ride is about to end in a few hours because I'm so excited about the next thing that I have to do: move my right hand in an upward, diagonal motion and flash a big smile.

See you in the Philippines!

Rhea Alba, 22, is an MA Community Development student at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She was in China for the 2006 Asean Youth Camp.

simulblog with pics at: driven 2


not a bad christmas, definitely (a.k.a. sagada chronicles)

as luck would have it, no make-up classes during the christmas break. what a pleasant surprise! woohoo.

good thing i learned about it while still on the way to sagada two weekends ago with rhea and three of her co-volunteers, mish, maj and hazel. mish came to visit the philippines (she's from uk) and was on her last week so the group decided to take her to sagada.

the pre-departure itself was so eventful that the trip almost didn't push through.

i almost got left behind because i dropped by our block's christmas party at carol's place in marikina. was still on my way there when rhea texted me that the bus was to leave at 9:30 pm, 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. i arrived at carol's place around 8:10 pm, only to find out that my bag did some travelling of its own. after donning a sotanna for a costume, eating a little and having some photos taken while waiting for my bag to arrive, i rushed to dimasalang where we were supposed to take a bus. rhea would later text me i should head to espana instead, because unfortunately for them, they learned firsthand that it was the wrong place to go.

thanks to a very efficient taxi driver, i arrived at the autobus station right on time. then i was told the bus actually leaves at 10 pm. so much for the adrenalin rush eh?

but the adventure didn't stop there. because we dilly-dallied for a while, some other people were already occupying our seats by the time we boarded the bus. we were told we might have been left behind by the bus that had just left. panic overcame us, soon we were embarking on a fruitless chase. we hailed a cab to take us to the gasoline station where the bus was to refuel; too bad the driver either didn't know his way or was just taking us for a ride in the streets of legarda. when we got to the gas station, we were told it was the wrong station. so we took a tricycle (just one for the five of us) and passed by the flowers of dangwa on our way to the "right" gas station. we were rejoicing when we saw buses parked in the gas station only to be told that our bus had already left. as it turned out, we boarded the right bus; why we got off escapes me now, come to think of it.

was a bit annoyed at this point because i already missed the block party, now i'm missing sagada as well? it didn't help that dec. 15 had been a terrible day: no-show prof for a make-up class early that day for which i cancelled a class i was teaching; no lantern parade; no malcolm madness (at least for the block because of the christmas party). can't pin the blame on anyone though so i tried hard not to look pissed off. besides, i promised rhea i was joining the trip.

the great thing in being with volunteers however is that their spirits never seem to waiver. after having our tickets refunded, we decided to take the baguio route. at 2 am of dec. 16, we were on board a bus bound for baguio en route to sagada. the trip, from then on, fortunately went without a glitch. maybe dec. 15 was just "inauspicious," as the chinese or japanese would say.

the trip to baguio took 6 hours. it took 6 hours more to get to sagada. despite the duration, the trip was surprisingly light. or maybe it was just because we were either sleeping, talking or feasting on passion fruit the whole time.

we arrived in sagada around 4 pm, saturday, dec. 16. the place is way way colder than baguio. it helps that the trees are very much untouched and that not too many vehicles pass by the place. although there are plenty of inns and restaurants, with architecture ranging from the modern to the traditional, the structures have not overshadowed nature's beauty.

we settled in a place called alfredo's inn and restaurant. it looks simple from the outside but the interiors are richly decorated with local wood, providing a homey ambience with a native feel. it used to be the house of one of sagada's greatest sons, mayor alfredo lameng, a legendary figure in that part of the country and the first igorot to run for the senate. two years ago, they converted the place to an inn and restaurant, managed by lameng's granddaughter.

on our first meal in sagada, we feasted on chicken curry, pork adobo, sauteed vegetables and stir-fried vegetables. what's the difference between a sauteed vegetable and a stir-fried one? the former has some sauce, the latter is dry. but basically they have the same kinds of vegetables. talk about vegetables, they have plenty of them in sagada that we never failed to have some in every meal (even during breakfast) in the next two days. the people there really know how to cook their vegetables, not raw, not too cooked, just...right. and they'll cook it especially for you.

after that sumptuous dinner, we were ready to...sleep. at 8 pm, we were already in bed. that's because it's already dark outside, and the place is really quiet. great for relaxation (that explains why we saw a lot of children in sagada, hmmm...). either that or we were just tired from the trip. off to dreamland we went. i was deep asleep for the longest time in months. it felt good just to stay in bed, if it weren't for the sightseeing and the caving that awaited us.

not too early the next day, we visited the hanging coffins and the sumaging cave. we only saw the hanging coffins from a distance (but that, i guess was sufficient to satisfy our urge to pose for the camera). the descent down sumaging cave was the more challenging one. situated 30 to 45 minutes from the poblacion, it took another 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to the bottom of the cave. the trail was tricky, with rocks all over the place. they were either slippery at some point, or had dungs of bats in them. one time, we had to rappel our way down. at another, we had to hold on to the guide for support.

there was no light inside the cave so our guide had to bring a petromax, a gas-fueled lamp, so we could see our way. and if you expected silence, it will come later as the bats will first greet you, seemingly cheering you on to explore the depths of the cave.

what is remarkable about sumaging cave are the stone formations inside. one looked like an elephant. another looked like a woman's behind. the others, i can't recognize anymore but they were astonishing up close. we were told part of the cave used to be submerged in water which accounts for the variety of stone formations we found.

the descent in the cave and back left us hungry and so on our way back, we dropped by the yoghurt house. yes, they serve tasty home-made yoghurt but they also have great meals in generous servings. i opted for pan fried pork with vegetables.

since it was to be a leisure trip, we didn't want to stress ourselves with too much activities. we decided to hit the souvenir shops before...eating again! we were supposed to try shamrock and masferre's but shamrock didn't have much to offer and masferre's chef was on vacation (make that holiday for the britons), we went back to yoghurt house.

to complete the holiday, we decided to give ourselves a much-needed swedish massage. there are a lot of them offering their services in sagada, from shiatsu to the traditional hilot. at 300 pesos, may massage ka na, room service pa! (now this is not a paid endorsement)

the next day, monday, we packed our bags and bid sagada goodbye. i rode my first topload ride (on top of a jeep) from sagada to bontoc. mish was saying we should take some pictures just in case we don't survive. i wanted to tell her that among the superstitious, having your photos taken before a trip was the surest way to have yourself killed, but i didn't want to scare her. too bad we didn't take a photo but i did tell mish the trip's gonna be fine since the drivers know their way around.

i don't think i heeded my own advice because at the start of the trip, both my hands held on to the railings. one side of the road was a cliff afterall, and while the view of the mountains and the valleys below was spectacular, it was also a surefire way to end your life if you fall several hundreds of meters down. i decided i wasn't ready to die yet hehe.

the view from above was nothing less than breathtaking. as we approached bontoc, we passed by chico river, all clean and green, great for whitewater rafting. i find it unbelievable how only 2 or 3 decades ago, marcos would have wanted to put up a dam on it, which would have ruined everything.

the trip to bontoc took a little less than an hour. soon we were on our way to banaue to see the rice terraces. but the fog was heavy that day, and it started to rain. by the time we passed by the viewing deck, there was no view, just fog. we took our late lunch instead, shopped for more souvenirs, and headed straight to the bus station since we didn't want to miss our bus, not this time around. except for mish and me, work awaited the others.

just when we were 30 minutes early, it was the bus that arrived late. we were supposed to leave at 5:30 pm, but 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm came, there were no signs of the bus. the bus apparently got stalled somewhere and they were sending a "rescue" bus so to speak. hungry by then, we requested a resident to cook sardines for us (since it was the only one they were selling and we didn't want to go far just to eat). for the next hour, we feasted on family sardines, rice and spicy oishi prawn crackers dipped in fruit vinegar. that's fish and chips, filipino style, my companions, who have all been to uk for their volunteer work, quipped. now that's a volunteer, i said.

finally, at 9 pm, the bus arrived and we were on our way home.

simulblog with pics at: driven 2


christmas not just yet

it's less than two weeks before christmas but life in law school seems to have a calendar of its own.
we really should be looking forward to the lantern parade this friday. malcolm madness, a yearly tradition of lampooning our most-"loved" profs, comes right after. then, this year, our block christmas party happens to fall on the same night. plenty of happenings in one night eh? we should be in a partyin' mood right? not quite.
because on december 19 and 20, we're having make-up classes. and it's not a lecture class; it's a recit-based, 3-hour class with the most "verbatim" of all profs, joint class at that with 2 other sections. that's twice the normal coverage, almost twice the time spent standing and reciting at your wits' end, and with an audience of almost thrice the normal class size (if all are present, that is), before whom you better be ready to lose face. christmas nightmare?
lest i be misunderstood, i'm not complaining. i love going to school. what better way to spend time this christmas than doing what you love best, right? besides, what am i gonna do at home anyway? who cares about christmas? it's a waste of time, and money as well. we shouldn't be having christmas vacations. that way, we don't pretend having christmas vacations when there's really none!
pardon this rant, but just so you'd get the picture, i'm even talking about one of the more reasonable profs. wait til you hear about profs who don't show up and who do not even have the courtesy of informing you that there's no class until, say, 30 minutes before end of the supposed class. not that they have the obligation to inform you anyway. or profs who give you all or nothing exams, when the subject matter is highly debatable. and when you press for explanations, all you get is an "i believe in my heart" statement with no legal basis whatsoever. or profs who'll flunk you because they don't think you'd make a good lawyer.
i have nothing personal against any of these profs. i even like them as persons, but as profs...i might like them someday.
and what are we students doing about this? nothing.
because in a world where profs reign supreme, we mere mortals can only bow our heads in obedience and comply with their wishes. no matter how outspoken the image of a law student is, s/he must remain meek. nowhere is the distance between teacher and student more felt than in the halls of malcolm. some dare to bridge the gap, at their own risk.
to be sure, there are still brilliant, reasonable and compassionate profs. but they're getting fewer and older by the minute. help us find replacements pretty soon. even replacements for the not-so-old but not-so-likeable.
then again, i might just be exaggerating. bitter? nothing to be bitter about, for now. hope there won't be any reason to be so in the future.
and so, ever wonder why malcolm hall seems to be festive these days, what with all the lights outside and the poinsettias almost everywhere in the malcolm lobby? it's to make up for the lack of christmas spirit inside the classrooms.
what the classrooms lack however, we more than make up in the company of our peers, our blockmates.
merry christmas everyone. even if you don't feel it just yet.



i don't know what got into vic agustin's head but throwing water at someone's face will certainly not calm an angry man; it will infuriate him all the more. no matter how cold the water is.
of course, it's inappropriate to pass judgment on someone you don't know. renato constantino, the unfortunate receiver of an instant shower, must have been rude to the point of being annoying in that press conference. i certainly do not think that interrupting a press conference was a good thing to do. he could write all he want in his column, let these congressmen (tonggressmen as conrado de quiros would have it) talk all they want about con-ass in their presscon.
but throwing water at another columnist? that's unforgivable.
such a let-down for a pdi columnist. he must have been a huge fan of bituing walang ningning. lavinia wanna-be hehe.


it could've been us

two years ago, while working on our college thesis, rhea and i (plus her chaperon), boarded an inter-island pumpboat on our way to nonoc island just off the coast of surigao city. it was january and it was raining. the seas were rough and i hesitated for a moment whether we should take the trip. considering the size of the pumpboat, it's not unlikely the boat could capsize, and who knows, that could have been the end of us.
but having flown all the way from manila to do a quick weekend research, there was no other choice but to take that only trip to nonoc.
the anxiety i felt, i would soon find out minutes into the trip, was not unfounded. aboard the pumpboat, we had to take cover from the waves that seemed to batter the wooden boat. we had to slow down to lessen the impact of the waves. at one point, the boat completely stopped because one part of the boat's supporting poles (katig in bisaya) broke. good thing it wasn't the main pole, otherwise the boat would have listed.
imagine the horror of watching the whole thing from inside the boat. i wasn't scared for myself (because once you die, you wouldn't really know what happens after, right?). but i was more concerned about what will happen to rhea. i was responsible for bringing her there. if not for that ambitious project, she should've been enjoying a movie that weekend. whatever happens, it's my fault. i don't think i can live with the guilt should anything happen to her. it's one of those rare times i was wishing i'd rather end up dead.
as luck would have it however, we survived the trip and we're still alive. we finished the thesis, graduated, and well... you know what happened next. (He really must have plans for us, eh?)
and so when i heard the news about mb leonida 2 sinking off the coast of surigao, it struck me as something frighteningly familiar. not only did it happen in surigao, the pumpboat was of the very kind we were in. it could've been us, it could've been us.


looking for the drive

i tried searching for past websites i've made for some class projects back in undergrad. i'm glad all of them are still accessible. i haven't updated them because i really do not have the time. and i think i've forgotten how to handcode. sir arao's going to kill me hehe.

browsing through them however gave me some sense of amusement and fulfillment. amused at the thought that at some point, i was actually capable of creating one. i certainly think i can't make one now. fulfilled because i remembered the countless hours i spent working on them (handcoded pa--class requirement kasi), and the efforts somehow paid off, at least to me. and now, years after, i'm looking at them like some time capsule. memories trapped in the pages--one of the reasons i refuse to update them.

funny how browsing through these websites can give me that warm feeling that i never get out of law school these days.

i think i've lost the drive. i need to find one pretty soon.


was supposed to have dinner with college blockmates tonight for an early christmas celebration, but it didn't push through since most are not available. i spent some time chatting with blockmates and high school friends instead through ym. wasting my time? nah, time well spent i guess. the joys of having a 4-day weekend. tomorrow, back to civil procedure and avena, and a vow never to be made to sit down again for a lousy recit. if things work out, avena might just be the drive i need.

fyi: avena is the name of a terror prof. i have yet to judge for myself. as of now i'm suspending judgment and i'm abiding by the presumption of good faith.


multiply account

i've created a multiply account and i'm still deciding whether i should close this blog. i figured it's so much easier to post pics at multiply.

come to think of it, blogspot is still reader-friendly.

neway, here's the site:


i should be blogging soon.


our professors have spoken; block 1-B takes a stand


Last Friday, February 24, 2006, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation 1017, declaring a state of national emergency. Immediately after, she issued General Order No. 5, directing the chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to “immediately carry out necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of terrorism and lawless violence.”

Since then, these two issuances have been used to justify the imposition of severe limitations on—and in certain instances the outright denial of—civil liberties guaranteed and protected under the Bill of Rights, including the freedoms of speech, expression, of the press, and public assembly. Ostensibly on the strength of Proclamation 1017 and General Order 5, a general ban on rallies has been imposed, the PNP has raided one newspaper and threatens to take over other media outfits which “fail to conform to government standards,” and numerous persons, including several members of Congress, have been arrested without warrant.

We, the faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law, speaking with one voice, condemn in the strongest possible terms this brazen assault on essential freedoms. We firmly and unequivocally take the position that Proclamation 1017 and General Order 5, and the manner in which they are being applied by the Executive, consitute an unconstitutional infringement on civil liberties.

We refuse to accept the half-hearted excuse, put forth by some officials in the Arroyo administration, that the two issuances were “not intended” to violate the Bill of Rights. The simple and undeniable fact is that Proclamation 1017 and General Order 5 have been utilized by the PNP and other executive organs to mount a vigorous and unrelenting campaign against perceived critics of the administration, in full and flagrant disregard of the protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights as well as the legal rules of procedure. Equally undeniable is that the President has sanctioned, or at the very least tacitly approved, these actions undertaken by her subordinates, all of whom are fully within her control.

The indisputable truth is that the violation of the Bill of Rights done pursuant to Proclamation 1017 and General Order 5 are acts of the President.

It must be emphasized that nothing in the Constitution can authorize the suspension of the Bill of Rights. Even under a declared state of martial law, which the Arroyo administration repeatedly insists this is not, the Bill of Rights remains fully operative. Thus, the suppression of free speech, the muzzling of the free press, and the prohibition on public assembly sanctioned by the two issuances cannot be construed as anything other than clearly and unequivocally unconstitutional.

Our civil liberties, particularly the freedom of speech and public assembly are indispensable to our democracy. We cannot allow them to be arbitrarily suppressed. We therefore call for the immediate and unconditional rescission of Proclamation 1017 and General Order 5.


Proclamation 1017 (Proc. 1017) was issued on February 24 2006. Since then, our collective shock was overtaken by a series of state actions that run counter to our reasonable expectations as citizens of a democratic republic: violent dispersals of, and ban against public assemblies; denial of due process; the raid on the Tribune offices and police presence in media establishments; the threat of arrest against members of the House. Proc. 1017, and public officers’ acts pursuant to it, are clearly UNCONSTITUTIONAL. They trespass into a territory where they are most unwelcome – the sphere of civil rights and liberties which no less than the constitution deems hollowed ground. Proc. 1017 vests upon the President a plethora of powers akin to those enjoyed by Marcos during Martial Law. It is an issuance that, in substance and in operation, unabashedly tramples upon our protected freedoms. We believe that we have to contend against Proc. 1017 on the basis of actual consequences that it has already effected in society. The fact that it was couched in a language that is harmless by constitutional standards does not make it less reprehensible. Constitutional defect cannot be rectified by evasive phraseology. Consenting to bring the debate to the level of semantics is paying homage to the skewed legal minds behind the President, who had no qualms exploiting the gray areas of the constitution to serve unprincipled ends. We will not give them that satisfaction.

We laud the emphatic condemnation issued by the Diliman University Council and the College of Law Faculty against Proc. 1017, as well as the vigorous efforts of our professors to provide guidance and assistance to individual victims and the public in general. It is unfortunate, however, that the student body of our college has not shown the same convergence of principles and unity of action in response to this issue. Whereas students of other colleges in UP have lost no time asserting their convictions through varied means, we have not gone beyond discussion – those of the diffused and unconsolidated variety at that. Whereas student councils, departments, and organizations converged by the hundreds in Quezon Hall yesterday to declare UP as a Sanctuary of Civil Liberties, our student body was conspicuously absent. This is not a question of leadership. Ideally, our elected student government officers should provide venues and spearhead actions geared towards the aggregation and articulation of our sentiments. And yet there is no impediment to our taking the initiative in fostering unity among ourselves and adding our collective voice to the countless others already raging outside Malcolm Hall. We have a bottomless reservoir of talented and creative minds. We have a wide and open political space that our university has already claimed and secured. We are leaders in our own right. There is no reason why our potential should not be unleashed – effectively and expeditiously – through concerted action.

THE CALL is to speak – loudly, clearly, courageously – for ourselves and in behalf of those who cannot. If we believe that Proc. 1017 is unconstitutional, we should lead our fellow students on saying so without reservations or delay. We owe it to the students of UP, our faculty, and the College of Law to herald our presence in the university and national scene. The majesty of the law – what it is, what it means, what it stands for – is not confined in the classroom. It also thrives in the heart of society and pulsates through the veins of the body politic. There are times when the intellect must be enriched, and times when relevance must be asserted. There is no conflict between the two endeavors, if we believe in learning the law in the Grand Manner.

THE CALL is to learn FROM and WITH the people, to LIVE the days and not simply LIVE THROUGH them, and to be OBJECTS, not mere ACCESSORIES, of history. We must act NOW.

UP Law Class 2009B


Through BLACK we mourn the death of civil liberties;
through RED we invoke the spirit of resistance and militancy that will revive it.



Your Personality Is

Guardian (SJ)

You are sensible, down to earth, and goal oriented.
Bottom line, you are good at playing by the rules.

You tend to be dominant - and you are a natural leader.
You are interested in rules and order. Morals are important to you.

A hard worker, you give your all at whatever you do.
You're very serious, and people often tell you to lighten up.

In love, you tend to take things carefully and slowly.

At work, you are suited to almost any career - but you excel in leadership positions.

With others, you tend to be polite and formal.

As far as looks go, you are traditionally attractive. You take good care of yourself.

On weekends, you tend to like to do organized activities. In fact, you often organize them!

er, what does SJ mean?


What is Your Life Path Number?

Your Life Path Number is 9

Your purpose in life is to make the world better

You are very socially conscious and a total idealist.
You think there are many things wrong with the world, and you want to fix them.
You have a big idea of how to world could be, and you'll sacrifice almost anything to work towards this dream.

In love, you can easily see the beauty in someone else. And you never cling too tightly.

You are capable of great love, but it's hard for you to focus your love on one person or relationship.
You have a lot of outward focus, and you tend to blame the world for your failures.
You are often disappointed by the realities of life - it's hard for you to accept the shortcomings of the world.

got this from cy's blog.

agree na sana e, kaso... akusahan ba ng infidelity?


slacking off

the problem with vacations is that they tend to set you off the track. being set off the track is the enjoyable part really, just letting yourself go with the flow reassuring yourself that you'll have plenty of time to catch up later. but getting back on track is the more problematic part. it's like trying to climb a steep mountain; sometimes it's so easy to just let yourself slide down (if you have your harness) than to go up.

that's what has been happening to me lately. ever since christmas break, or even before christmas, i've been slacking off. it doesn't really help that our professors this sem are inching their way towards retirement--their lectures are at times excruciatingly slow and their voices...well, they do tend to speak monotonously. cue music and off we go to dreamland.

the thought of having two weeks off creates an illusion that you have lots of time in the world and that a few moments of bumming around at the start won't really hurt--not until those two weeks are gone and you still face the same pile of readings.

then you console yourself at the thought that at the very least, you've lived vacation to its truest sense and you spent more quality time with your family. what could be better than that?

but then midway into january you still find yourself struggling to shake off that vacation mode. you look at the calendar--a little over two months left before judgment day, a.k.a. finals. it's half-way through the sem and you still haven't done half of what you're supposed to do. panic ensues...you resolve to do better, pour more hours into your study and do away with distractions.

then your relatives invite you to spellbound, or star city, or worse, shake, rattle and roll! would you say no? uhm, let me think about that for a minute...what the hell, times like these are rare so better make the most out of them. besides, it's not often that you get to enjoy these things without spending a cent. and you're not really wasting your time, it's your family!

and so off you go, you enjoy the moment. you scream at the top of your lungs as the flying carpet thrusts you up into the air, leaves you hanging in mid-air for a second and quickly pulls you down creating that funny sensation that you left your stomach somewhere up there. you go to the next ride scaring yourself to death at the thought that as the machine whirls, a cable might snap hurling you into the air and into your doom but while you're at it, you wonder if that's how superman must have felt, flying up there parallel to the ground.

and finally, after you've conquered your fears, you go scare other people off inside those not-so-creepy horror mazes and find yourself laughing so hard at the sight of people so horrified they'd actually fall on top of each other as they run clutching each other's shirts. star city really knows how to entertain.

then, as classes near, with your first class for the week barely hours away and you still haven't touched your readings yet, you wonder if you could've spent your weekend a little better. you wonder, too, if the time you spent writing about it could have gone to studying, er, cramming for the next day.

and you blame vacations for it.

but what the heck. there's no use regretting time spent. there's nothing to regret really because everything is an experience worth retelling.

and so when ma'am chit asks you what you did over the weekend that's not law-related, you tell her i scared myself to death and realized i can conquer my fears. then you make yourself believe that after what you've been through, no pile of readings is insurmountable (you wish!). that way, you would've made those times spent away from studying worth it--just by enjoying and learning from all the experiences...by living the moment.

who says slacking off has no value?

pardon my pathetic attempt to justify my slacking off.


random thoughts

so many things happened over the christmas break, i'm now starting to regret i didn't write anything about them. the oc in me wants to list down everything, if only to make sure that this is an accurate blow-by-blow account, but nah, i'm just too lazy to even start thinking about them.

the more significant things however i just have to mention:

rhea's finally through with her contract with you-know-which network. i joined her on her last sunday there (when bosses weren't around). it felt like she wasn't leaving at all. she put in more than 12 hours of work (straight from batangas without sleep) and was so engrossed with what she was doing that she barely ate at all. i can't bear seeing her that way everyday so i'm just happy the ordeal is over (not that it was a horrible experience). although i was a bit sad when she made up her mind a few weeks ago (bye bye promotion and the chance to work with sir howie), it's a decision she has to make for herself. if she's not happy, there's no point staying.

i did get to see some of my old blockmates in a reunion of sorts. it just feels so good to see old familiar faces again--people you've missed through the past months and people you wished you'd be spending more time with. most of them are leaving or have left their jobs too, looking for more meaningful work where they can grow and just enjoy the experience. the others are pretty much happy where they are. over kare-kare, fish, lumpia, pancit and beer, we took our time reminiscing days past, as if they happened just recently. it was a fitting dinner to cap a grueling day (after 7 hours with rhea for her shopping spree...now i know why guys don't like helping girls do their shopping--masakit sa paa!)

at home, we also had our own reunion. my parents weren't here but some of my relatives from my mother's side were here for the holidays. it's fun having so many kids around. there's just something about children that takes all your stress away. is it their innocence, their smile, or their baby fats? i don't know. my brother and i can't resist ogling at cute babies wherever we go. they never fail to amuse both of us.

one freak accident, however, marred our new year celebration. while all of us were out jumping and blowing our torotots shortly before midnight, a firecracker in flames fell from the sky and hit my 6-year-old cousin. an aunt of mine quickly grabbed little buddha (the monicker i gave him) and embraced him to keep him from crying. as she loosened her hold on him, i was alarmed to see that the flames bore a hole on his shirt, on the left chest portion, the one closest to the heart. then a cousin shouted, "may dugo!" God, this can't be a tragedy, i prayed as we rushed him inside the house. i ran upstairs to get my brother's medical kit, grabbed some towels and raced back to a crowd that by then had surrounded my cousin, watching in horror as he was given first aid treatment. i could see his elder brother trembling, standing from a distance while his parents cleaned the wounds, trying to calm the child down while fighting back their own fears. luckily for my cousin, all he suffered were first-degree burns on the left chest and on his left hand. he didn't lose any of his fingers, and his heart was safely beating. that was just the best gift i've received in my whole life and i can't thank Him enough for it.

school is back again but for some reason, it seems as if the vacation's not over. these past few days i've been spending more time with relatives right after class--watching spellbound; exodus; shake, rattle and roll, among others. the other night i had to beg off from star city because i simply had to study. tomorrow, we're off to tagaytay. there goes my precious study time. but what the heck. the family's more important than anything else. won't exchange these bonding moments for an uno which i can't even eat. (at least with my relatives, there's food--lots of them, hmmmm...yummy).

anyway, i started jogging around the oval this afternoon--the first time in 4 years i think. the last time, i was still in the cocc program. i spent most of the 2 rounds walking anyway so it hardly counts as jogging but it was just enough to sweat and burn some of those excess fats away. hope this becomes a regular habit with my health-conscious blockmates. as a result of the jogging though, i missed the electoral judicial tribunal meeting (law school's version of comelec). plus, a blockmate dragged us into committing to the gradcomm core group. my god, i thought i'm done with all these things.

on sadder news, i lost my file case today. i left it near the fishball stand and it was gone an hour later. what could be more depressing than losing your readings? manakaw na lahat wag lang readings. on the brighter side, those files are recoverable anyway so if nobody is kind enough to return them, i can have them photocopied--again! ah, blessing's is really getting a lot of blessings these days. it's a good thing they thought of giving us calendar-planners and pocket diaries. now, that's a blessing.

my tickle test result puzzled me at first. would you believe my color is green?

You're green, the color of growth and vigor. Good-hearted and giving, you have a knack for finding and bringing out the best in people. Green is the most down-to-earth color in the spectrum - reliable and trustworthy. People know they can count on you to be around in times of need, since your concern for people is genuine and sincere. You take pride in being a good friend. For you, success is measured in terms of personal achievement and growth, not by status or position. Rare as emeralds, greens are wonderful, natural people. It truly is your color!

rhea thinks it was more likely black the first time we met.

Your color is black. The color of night. Serene and mysterious, black conjures up images of elegant evening gowns, dashing tuxedos, and gleaming limousines. Traditionally a symbol of success, black also represents power and an uncompromising demand for perfection. Not surprisingly, you tend to set challenging goals for yourself and do whatever it takes to achieve them - your strength of character is second to none. This unfaltering determination, along with your natural elegance, impresses people. But keep in mind that your personality might be intimidating to some. Try to temper your demanding side with a little softness - trust us, it won't kill you. Overall, though, black is the color of professionalism and achievement, which means it's clearly the color for you.

then it became brown.

You're brown, a credible, stable color that's reminiscent of fine wood, rich leather, and wistful melancholy. Most likely, you're a logical, practical person ruled more by your head than your heart. With your inquisitive mind and insatiable curiosity, you're probably a great problem solver. And you always gather all of the facts before coming to a timely, informed decision. Easily intrigued, you're constantly finding new ways to challenge your mind, whether it's by reading the newspaper, playing a trivia game, or composing a piece of music. Brown is an impartial, neutral color, which means you tend to see the difference between fact and opinion easily and are open to many points of view. Trustworthy and steady, you really are a brown at heart.

but she does point out that maybe i've probably changed these past few years. or maybe not. whatever, it's just a test.