I am currently somewhere in Europe partly for business and partly for pleasure. I do not know if I will always be enthusiastic to go to an internet shop while there are sights to behold and places to explore. Envy me. At least I am taking a respite from having to know about the wrong turns being taken by The Queen and her ilk, and the massive corruption further burying the Filipino nation into the muck and putting the Philippines on the brink of political collapse. (But the truth is I just have to know. Everytime I have access to the internet, I find out the latest happenings in The Queendom. Chismosa talaga.)

She was reportedly distressed over all the briberies. So upset she was that she ordered an investigation to get to the truth. Talaga? She is upset over the briberies or she is upset that her bright boys and girls did not do a clean job? Nabisto tuloy. The investigation must be for the purpose of identifying those whose head must be axed from her holy inner circle. Imagine bribing Crispin Beltran and Ed Panlilio? There is an Ilocano word for those who had the stupidity to offer money to Beltran and Panlilio: Tabbed!

Anyway, since I am supposed to be on vacation, let me do a Part II of a topic that brings me nothing but a light feeling: John Denver. Let me share you my poem in his remembrance.

For John Denver (In Memoriam)
by Cheryl Daytec

The sweet voice that spoke for them without tongue
The courage released where there was almost none
The saber that could pierce apathy and ire
The shield from a rain of bullets gone haywire
The unguent that calmed weeping broken hearts
The refuge of them whose sapped life lost all art
A candle illuminating in the dark
Jasmine strewing fragrance in a stinking park

You asked, What are we making those weapons for?
So much money to waste! Why not feed the poor?
Why do we exile the feeble refugees
When our gluttony forced them on bended knees?
Why do we have three worlds- first, second and third?
Let's tear down the curtain,for there's just one world
Women everywhere must have bread and roses
Wind down their toil from years of powerlessness

A small garden snail is a creature to defend
What more human infants unable to fend
For their own survival? Pity them sans power
Life is so sacred, protect it no matter
The cabbage and tomatoes complete life's circle
Honor their significance; respect their innate worth
Creation's a gift; every death must give life
Death that spells more death gives birth to more strife

I listened to you, a child I may have been
I had been repeating your questions since then
You made me imagine a night in the forest
Afterwards, I nurse no dread of snakes and beasts
As I have of men whose hands pull power's trigger
Whose callousness push the world into danger
So what is wealth when it renders others poor
What is an open gate when there is one closed door?

Your songs are in my soul, they are in my bone
You showed how a flower could shatter a stone
Your music is part of what I have become
Searching for fairness in places where's none
Your sweet voice summons, and not just the ear
It nudges the conscience to submit to fear
Of virtues such as love, virtues such as justice
Oh, these we must serve; oh, these we must please

I look for the rhyme and reason in your death
There's none I can see; but I still feel your breath
You had so much to share, and your all you did give
No grave lies in your name; and long you will live!

I wrote the poem while listening to John Denver one day in September. I sent it to my siblings, all John Denver admirers. My sister Betty (not just an admirer but a possessed fan) emailed to say the poem should reach people and John Denver's family. I posted it on Bread for the World. Carlos Navarro of the Bread for the World Movement said that he passed the poem on to Hank Bruce, author of the book Peace Beyond All Fear: A Tribute to John Denver's Vision. Bruce's wife Tomi Jill Folk said to me in Carlos Navarro's blog: "My husband Hank Bruce and I will be meeting John Denver's mother Erma and first wife Annie Denver at the Windstar Foundation gathering Sunday, Oct.14th, and will bring them each a copy of your poem, so it will indeed reach his family. We will be presenting them with Hank's book "Peace Beyond All Fear, a Tribute to John Denver's Vision." Two thousand people from all over the world are expected to be meeting in Aspen, (Colorado) to honor the memory of John Denver; your poem will tell his family that his influence extends to those not able to be present at the event."

I was floored. I told Betty. She was more floored.

I just thought you should know.

I'll be back in November.


He was a musician. He was a poet. He was a philosopher. More than all this, he was an activist.

What a shame that he died too soon.

On 12 October 1997, John Denver (born Henry John Deutschendorf) died when the private plane he was piloting crashed. The details of his death can be found here.

He is best remembered by the world for that very beautiful love song "Annie's Song." In the Cordillera, he is renowned for the song Take Me Home, Country Roads which was unofficially adopted as the Cordillera anthem.

But not everyone is aware that like Jackson Browne, John Denver was an activist who used his music to question inequality and injustice everywhere. As a young child raised in Sunday school, I was passionate about justice and equality. This was the 1980's. We had John Denver cassette tapes and I would listen to them over and over again. The virtues I learned to appreciate in Sunday school I appreciated all the more.

When I was in college, my generation was going gaga over Madonna and the orange-haired Cindy Lauper, and dancing to the ear-piercing sounds generated by weird looking people who called their noise metallic rock and roll. It could not relate to my music choice, and neither could I to its (although for a time in the 1990's, I was crying to Toto's I'll Be Over You after my first love slipped away. I also became deeply interested in Depeche Mode's Somebody because my then ka-relasyon who is now my husband swore he could have written that song for me).

Even among Filipino activists, Denver is not widely appreciated and I guess it stems from their not knowing how profound his music is. It seems not to have commercial appeal. In the 90's ear-damaging noise was selling and Denver was creating soft music although his songs created noise of their own because they expressed the concerns of the common people. I think Denver knew this. To his eternal credit and my eternal happiness, he did not succumb to the temptation of wealth. He did not let the market change his music. I think he was hoping he could change the market.

In the song One World, he laments global socio-economic stratification. He asks, "Why are you calling this the third world? I only know that it is my world. I hope someday it can be our world. Can you imagine one world, one world? This world is made for everybody. This life is gift for everyone. This earth is bound to keep on turning. This day is flowers in the sunshine, sunshine." In Let Us Begin, his castigation of US military interventionism and the Reagan administration's military spending policy is unequivocal: "What are we making weapons for? Why keep on feeding the war machine? We take it right out of the mouths of our babies, take it away from the hands of the poor. Tell me, what are we making weapons for?"

He invites the world's attention to the case of the homeless in Falling Leaves. "This is for the refugees/ The ones without a home/ A boat out on the ocean/ A city street alone/Are they not some dear mother's child?/ Are they not you and I/ Are we the ones to bear this shame? And they this sacrifice?/ Or are they just like falling leaves/ Who give themselves away/ From dust to dust, from seed to shear? And to another day?? If i could have one wish on earth? Of all i can conceive/ T'would be to see another spring/ And bless the falling leaves."

In It's A Possibility, the tenor-voiced John Denver exhorts the world to unite to end hunger and injustice. He says, "For all the times that you've wondered why/ The world turned out this way/ And all of the times that you've asked yourself/ About the games that people play/ About the politics of hunger/ And the politics of need/ How the politics of power/ Seem to be the politics of greed." He speaks for the defenseless children and poignantly articulates their dreams in I Want to Live.

He also popularized the song Bread and Roses written in 1912 by James Oppenheim as a tribute to the Suffragette Movement. Here are some lines from that song which moves me to tears everytime I hear it: "As we go marching, marching/ We battle too for men/ For they are women's children/ And we mother them again/ Our lives shall not be sweetened/ From birth until life closes/ Hearts starve as well as bodies/ Give us bread, but give us roses/ As we go marching, marching/ We bring the greater days/ For the rising of the women/ Means the rising of the race/ No more the drudge and idler/ Ten that toil where one reposes/ But the sharing of lifes glories/ Bread and roses, bread and roses." Tell me, isn't this beautiful?

And John Denver brought to life Ed McCurdy's The Strangest Dream during a massive rally denouncing the US-instigated Vietnam War. With fire in his soul, John Denver sang: "Last night I had the strangest dream/ I'd ever dreamed before/ I dreamed the world had all agreed/ To put an end to war." I think this song should be revived especially with a brewing US-Iran War and the ongoing US-led war in Iraq wreaking horror of all sizes, shapes and nationalities.

I could go on and on about John Denver's politics. As I said in the blog Bread for the World, "Many modern day intellectuals wrote books on ideology and theories that they developed and, for their works, are now extolled by the world as philosophers. John Denver wrote and sang songs that make him no less a philosopher. The whole world will one day realize this."

I never met John Denver. But we could actually have. The virtues he kept searching are the same ones I pine for. His music heavily influenced my life. This world is still as turbulent as he left it. Poverty is massive. Imperialism is still the norm for the First World. But there are people who, because of John Denver's music, are standing firm in the name of the peace, justice, love and equality to which he dedicated his career. This gives us hope that all is not lost. His life was short. But his influence outlives him.

Rest in peace, John Denver. Death insulates you from the politics and injustice that made you unhappy.

- cheryl daytec/ 12October07

SUPER MAID OR SUPER VICTIM: The Case of OFW Jocelyn Dulnuan (R.I.P)

Who killed Jocelyn Dulnuan?

Jocelyn Dulnuan, a 27 year old criminology graduate from Ifugao province left her practically newborn baby to work in Canada. Two months ago, she was employed as a housemaid in a S15M mansion. On October 2, the mansion became the scene of a murder - hers.

Up to this time, the killer has not been identified.

Aside from the one being pursued by the Canadian authorities, I know someone else who did it. Call me a stupid lawyer. But this case is not just about who owned the hands that pulled the trigger or plunged the knife (Reports are not yet clear as to how Jocelyn was killed.). This case is also about why Jocelyn had to leave her baby to work abroad. What a terrible social cost!

This is the undeniable truth: There are no jobs in The Queen's Queendom. The other undeniable truth is that it is the responsibility of the State to create economic opportunities for its subjects. On this score, The Queen failed. Miserably. Hers is not an Enchanted Queendom. Hers is like Skar's kingdom in the movie, "The Lion King Part II." So Jocelyn had to move out, perhaps without a portent of the doom she would eventually meet. Perhaps, she heard of the ordeals of OFWs but so what? Poverty has no fear.

When The Queen ran in 2004, she promised to create jobs. Whew. After she became The Queen without the benefit of an election, did she? She says she did, but the jobs that her subjects found were jobs abroad. She sponsored overseas employment aggressively, but she did not put up structures or erect hedges to adequately protect OFW's from abuse. (Do not ever forget how her Queendom mishandled the OFW's funds being administered by OWWA.) She was, as she is, more interested in perpetuating her reign at all costs. She left job creation for her subjects to other governments.

Meantime, her Unenchanted Queendom's economy remained afloat, thanks to the OFWs, even while she raided the GSIS' coffers so she could buy votes in 2004. In 2006, the total amount of OFW remittances was officially recorded at $12.8 billion, just above 10 percent of the GDP. The Philippines is now the world's third highest remittance-recipient country after India and Mexico, and the highest when remittances are measured as ratios to population, GDP and exports.

Last year, The Queen proudly launched her Super Maid policy, very much like FVR's Bagong Bayani policy under which Filipinos seeking jobs as housemaids abroad should first obtain training certificates and be registered as super maids. It is a super-exploitative policy. It is killing Jocelyn over again.

Fellow blogger Bill Bilig, Jr. eloquently dissected Jocelyn's case in Jocelyn and Julia: A Tale of Two Women:

When Julia Campbell was killed in Ifugao, the Philippine government moved heaven and earth to be of help.Gloria Arroyo, with her trademark faux sympathy, said something like: "We will give 110% to help her and her family. We will do everything we can." Hundreds of Cordillera police officers were sent to Ifugao to look for Julia... And Congress officially honored her as a hero. Well and good. When Jocelyn Dulnuan, our kailiyan from Ifugao, was killed in Toronto, do you know how the Philippine consulate in Toronto responded to requests for help?According to a source, consulate officials said something like: "Duh, she is not registered with the OWWA, so we can't help you.

Okay, we added "duh" for effect. But, other than that, those are the words spoken by our consular officials. Now, it is words like that which tempts us to throw away our advocacy for non-violence. Maybe we should get those officials and drop them from Toronto's CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the whole world. Or maybe we should send said officials to the mental institution at Queen's Street... Anyway, as stated above, the reason why the OWWA cannot help Jocelyn is the fact that she did not register with said agency.

Quotable quotes from the Philippine consulate in Toronto:

"If the person came direct from the Philippines, then they would have registered and paid their dues at the airport. But because this girl came from Hongkong, then she should have registered when she got here."

Our source pointed out to said consular officials that Jocelyn paid her dues, and thus registered, when she left the Philippines to go to Hongkong. Sadly, such fact apparently does not count. So let us get this clear: Jocelyn paid whatever it is that OWWA collects at the airport from departing OFWs when she left for Hongkong. But OWWA insists that she is not registered with them because she didn't pay anything when she moved from Hongkong to Canada. Wow, technicality, what a way to wash your hands off. So how did our source react to our consular official's insistence on technicality. Here's what she told us:

So I told them that they need to put it in their responsibility list to ensure the OFWs get educated on the importance of "registering" and make it so.

Exactly. We agree with her 110%. This strict interpretation of the registration requirement is really silly. Too often, it is used by our government officials to turn away from their responsibility to protect Filipino citizens. Eh klarong-klaro na OFW, ano pang hahanapin mo?

Actually, these consular officials are like the bus conductors or waiters who insist that old people present a certification proving that they are senior citizens before they are given the discounted rates for senior citizens. An old friend got so exasperated with this silliness so she shouted: "Eh obvious na matanda ang tao, hahanapan mo pa ng proof na siya ay matanda." We can excuse those bus conductors and waiters because they are most probably doing what their employers, who are in the business of making money, told them to do. However, it's hard to find an excuse for our consular official's insistence that an OFW must first be registered with OWWA (in the manner of registration they prescribe) before they lend a helping hand. To paraphrase our friend: "Eh obvious na OFW yung tao, hahanapan mo pa ng proof na siya ay OFW. Because the Philippine consulate is officially not helping (hopefully it will help unofficially), our kailiyans in Toronto are banding together to help raise funds to bring Jocelyn home.

From our source:

So at the moment, we are depending on the good hearts of citizens to raise over 15,000 dollars to send the body home. Since an ash is not going to do. I am asking help from all the Filipino associations and I just hope they will help.

In ending, let's go back to the tales of Julia and Jocelyn. We are glad that the Philippine government did everything it could in the Julia Campbell case. But we are quite sad to hear of the Philippine consulate's insistence on a stupid registration requirement in response to calls for help for Jocelyn Dulnuan.What foolishness in this worst of times.

Very well said, Bill. As a belated reaction, the DFA officials directed the Toronto consulate to extend full support to Jocelyn. But as Bill says, "Full support should include assuming responsibility in repatriating Jocelyn's body. Thank heavens. But we'll see if it isn't just for press release."

(Bill reported later that the Philippine consulate in Toronto pledged S5,000. Why not the entire $15,000? Anyway, the consulate's change of heart is thanks to the kailians and kababayans in Canada, the media and bloggers who did not let up in pursuing Jocelyn's case. Sadly, in the Philippine print media department, it seems that it is only Vince Cabreza of the Philippine Daily Inquirer who worked hard to give this tragedy the national attention it deserves. I could be wrong, though. But I am certain it was he who first wrote about this tragedy in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.)

Back to the question: Who killed Jocelyn Dulnuan?

Her blood is on The Queen's hands.


Here is a poem I wrote in the 1990s to express my disgust over FVR's Bagong Bayani Policy. I feel the same about GMA's Super Maid program. I feel my disgust over again because of Jocelyn's death.

Salt on Wound

When nature liberated its anger
its air stream unbridled its muscle
scattering leaves to all directions
deracinating life-giving verdure
Some plants were robbed of life on
the soil of their birth and youth
Others were swept to faraway
shores where they withered away
or struggled to reclaim animation.

Such is the blight of poverty you
nurture like a favorite pet in this
land you call your principality
It flings your people to the globe’s far
corners ramming them out of their homes,
away from their spouses’ embrace
You have orphaned the children
while their parents are still alive
Babies who yearn for a mother’s touch
grow up suddenly in the night; in the
morrow, they are acquainted with life’s
harshness forbidden in an infant’s world
The cradle has abruptly shrank for them.
Homes have been shattered into minute
slivers they could not be pieced together.

There you are- smoking cigar, counting the
gold wired to your kingdom’s coffers and
your elation reverberates throughout
the archipelago taunting loneliness and despair.
You ridicule the tears of the mothers as
they slave on foreign shores for the stomach
ignoring the yearnings of the heart.
You jeer at the anguish of the father
who has not witnessed the birth of his daughter
and her metamorphosis into womanhood.

Why do you call them heroes
when they are your victims?

cheryl daytec/ 12 June 1996


Last night, I was watching TV and there was The Queen's Executive muchacho declaring Malacañang's disgust over a dialogue in the September 30, 2007 episode of "Desperate Housewives."

The character Susan Mayer Delfino said: "Okay, before we go any further, can I check these diplomas? Because I would just like to make sure they are not from some med school in the Philippines."

Malacañang had this coming. For the record, I am not saying that I agree with Susan Mayer Delfino. I am upset. I am incensed. I inked my signature on the petition demanding apology from ABC and Desperate Housewives.

Desperate Housewives
must apologize. But Malacanang does not stand on a moral high ground as it demands it. In fact, Malacanang must apologize to Desperate Housewives for feeding it a false information. The derogatory statement is an offshoot of Malacanang's handling or, more appropriately, mishandling of the 2006 nursing exam fraud which was elevated into a scandal of international magnitude.

When examinees and nursing leaders complained to the PRC about the leakage of test questions, it ignored them because their complaint was "not official" even if they presented indubitable evidences of fraud. (Under the PRC Modernization Law, the PRC can investigate examination irregularities on its own without need of a complaint. This it neglected or, rather, refused to do). They filed an official complaint. Without looking into it, PRC issued a statement that there was no cheating. The fraud was cavalierly swept under the rug by the very same agency mandated by law to protect the credibility of licensure tests. The complaint was liberally injected with sleeping pills. The complainants' lawyer had to trade insults with some PRC officials before they finally retrieved the complaint from the slumber box.

Ignoring the complainants' call for the creation of an independent, competent fact-finding body, PRC assumed the task of investigation. The complainants had every reason not to trust it. After all, it precipitately dismissed the allegations of fraud even in the face of compelling evidence.

After resolute follow-ups by the complainants, PRC issued a resolution affirming that the exam was marred by cheating, but declined to pinpoint the culprits. Notably, it cleared itself of any involvement. It also referred the matter to the NBI for determination of the guilty, claiming that it did not have the competence to do it. (But that was why the complainants did not want them to investigate. Its people were evidently incompetent.) PRC Chair Leonor Rosero announced the forthcoming release of the exam result. Alarmed, the complainants wrote a letter asking PRC to adopt as its most urgent agenda the removal of the thick mist of doubt plaguing the test's integrity. In their letter, they warned PRC of more problems as a consequence of a premature release.

It released the results anyway. All hell broke loose. Whereas before, noise was coming from the cold northern mountains, this time it was reverberating from every corner in the country. The leakage became a national scandal. The complainants asked The Queen to step into the fray and reverse the PRC. She retreated into autism (as she often does when it is the small people asking government to do its job). Then the national scandal quickly metamorphosed into a badge of international shame. The Filipino people were polarized over the issue of retake. The "passers," cheaters and non-cheaters alike (There was no way to tell who was what and who was what not.) were attacked by questions on their competence and credibility. Calls for Rosero's resignation mounted. The Queen refused to budge. (It was later found out that Rosero's husband was a powerful PAGCOR guy close to The Queen's FG of AB..ZTE..FG notoriety. Rosero herself was -still is- The Queen's personal dentist. I stopped wondering why Rosero was so durable.)

The complainants -this time, a bigger multitude- went to the Senate. PRC ignored the body citing EO 464. They also went to the Court of Appeals seeking the nullification of the leaked exams and praying for retake.

By golly, the country was chaotic. Only blood and gore were absent to make it a killing field. Examinees, nurses here and abraod, nursing school deans, politicians, parents, students, nursing review centers and other stakeholders were shooting at one another. Someone in the palace was very happy, eager to capitalize on the bedlam to reinforce her illegitimate powers. When the country's berth of patience was saturated with desperation and everyone was praying for a messiah, The Queen stepped out of her ivory tower and shouted, "No retake!" She waited for applause. It was deafeningly loud. She was pleased until she realized that the quarters wanting cleansing through retake had an equally resounding voice. Reversing herself, she hollered, "Retake." More chaos. Realizing that any move she made at that point was political suicide, she declared in her distinctive, androgynous monotone, "I leave the issue to the Court of Appeals." Typical of her. (Shades of Honor the ZTE deal; Withdraw the ZTE deal.) The CA came out with a decision that pleased and displeased the public. Still more chaos. But the heat was off Malacañang; it was on the CA. (The Queen is still living under the rule of the Old Testament. She loves sacrificial lambs.)

While the country was struggling to come to terms with the nursing scandal, more reports of leakage in other licensure tests came out.

The USA, the number 1 absorber of the Philippine nursing labor force, was watching in the sidelines like a hawk. Even it could take so much ineptude. Through the CGFNS, it expressed its disappointment. To make a really long and winding story short, the USA said, "You want to come to the USA? Retake. Your license is valid for purposes of practising in your country, but not here." Haha. It virtually said that the "passers" were a possible menace to the American public's health without passing a retake. How could the Philippine government let them loose in an unsuspecting health service-consuming public? Loud was a veiled albeit sharp rebuke of the Philippine government for its incompetence in handling fraud which made indelible the stigma attending the license of the June 2006 nursing exam passers who would not retake.

Surely, Desperate Housewives owes the Filipino people an apology. But it owes Malacañang nothing. It was Malacañang that gave every reason for some outside quarters to doubt the competence of Philippine graduates of professions providing medical and allied health services. Malacañang should now apologize to the medical profession for making them vulnerable to undeserved slander and racial slur.

Again, I salute the examinees and nursing leaders who did not waver in their search for justice no matter how elusive it was. It was a long journey. It was a tiring journey. It was a disappointing journey. But to have begun it was a noble quest.


(You may be interested to read an analysis of the scandal by me and UST Prof. Rene Tadle, published by the Manila Times in October 2006:


We are living in dangerous times.

Here are some of the facts: Since The Queen assumed power in 2001, there have been close to 900 cases of political activists and human rights defenders brutally murdered, involuntarily disappeared, unjustifiably arrested and detained or subjected to extreme pressure, threats and harassments. Of the murdered, nineteen were lawyers.

Human rights violations continue to escalate. The Melo Commission, created by The Queen to investigate the killings established that the military was involved, although it virtually cleared its creator. The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Prof Philip Alston came for a visit, conducted his own investigation and affirmed what the enlightened quarters have been claiming- the State is liable for human rights violations. The dimwitted Secretary of Injustice (born a joke, lives a joke, will die a joke), also The Queen's muchacho, dismissed Alston as a mere muchacho of the UN.

Plagued by questions on the legitimacy of her totalitarian reign, The Queen forced the hand of Congress to pass the Human Security Act otherwise known as the Anti-Terror Law. Under this law, the expression of legitimate dissent to or righteous indignation over anti-people State policies may be repressed under the cover of anti-terror operation. It allows the detention of the accused for 72 hours without charge, surveillance and wiretapping. It becomes the paper justification for the violation of human rights. It becomes the paper justification to stifle, "Oust The Unelected President!" movements.

The Human Security Law promotes mainly one thing: Silence. This it does by legalizing State repression of freedom of expression. This it does by legitimizing human rights violations.

These are very trying times when the voice of the sober urgently needs to be heard. There is the ZTE Broadband deal (Please visit the blog Manila Bay Watch for an exhaustive, enlightened dissection of the issue, the broadbandits and the other members of the cast of characters in the drama.), and yet the truth about it is still beyond our reach. It is a story of unprecedented corruption in Philippine history, so massive that Erap’s plunder may sound very trivial. There is the Hello, Garcinungaling Scandal which demands closure. There is the Jose Pidal episode. There are so many more.

Silence is the people’s foe. The HSA is the last thing we need if we want to be free. Only truth makes freedom possible. As Martial Rule demonstrated in no uncertain terms, silence is not golden; it is the enemy of truth.

It is when democratic institutions and human rights are shaken and exposed to great peril that the people look unto the legal profession for refuge. Really, this profession has a commitment to democracy, justice and truth (although many of its members have chosen to take the side of these virtues' enemies in the name of cold cash, but that is another story). It is in times as trying as the present that a show of its dedication to the preservation of democratic institutions, rights, justice and truth is expected by the public. When the lawyers fail them, they turn to the priests and nuns. Sadly, though, our priests and nuns as a collective group have chosen to fold their arms and watch the scene, if they watch at all. The whole thing is sadder really when you note that the sustained protest against Myanmar's despotic regime is spearheaded by nuns and monks who used to be cloistered in their monasteries, seemingly oblivious to the slaughter of freedom and humans in the outside world. There is development somewhere; there is regression elsewhere. Cheers to the Burmese, by the way.

Aware of the gargantuan responsibility of the legal profession, some one hundred lawyers, paralegals and law students from all over the country gathered in Cebu and founded the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers. They elected veteran human rights lawyer Romeo T. Capulong Chairperson. Another lawyer of the same mold Frederico Gapuz of Mindanao was elected President. Atty. Neri Colmenares (who was often addressed The Congressman Without A Seat, being Bayan Muna’s third nominee) is NUPL’s Secretary General. NUPL is committed to the promotion, defense and protection of human rights especially of the poor and the oppressed.

For sure, NUPL members will be targeted as terrorists by their mere defense and, therefore, association with groups and individuals openly critical of the government and its anti-people policies. Many of them have been subjected to various forms of harrasment. But they are not cowed because “to embrace silence in these troubled times is to contribute to the assault on Philippine democracy, and to abandon our sworn duty to defend justice and struggle for truth is to contribute to the victory of repression, and to choose to be safe and uninvolved is a betrayal of our oath to protect and preserve justice and truth.”

The Queen’s totalitarian regime will succeed with a mute constituency. The NUPL will not be muted. It will continue to shatter silence where it looms. The Queen should not succeed.

Let not silence kill democracy
! Let not silence kill truth and justice!

Mabuhay ang NUPL! Mabuhay ang karapatang pantao! Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!


Philippines, 2007

What time and place is this?
Lies fly around like birds
Freedom’s banished away
Truth’s chained in an abyss

Terror rears its jagged head
Its fangs drip with more death
It spreads fright in the night
And rules the day with dread

What time and place is this?
Hope abandoned the slums
Mothers search for loved ones
Dirge punctuates the stillness

The dead crowd out the lists
Graveyards are getting small
Wraiths wail in Justice Hall
Orphans grieve with clenched fists

What time and place is this?
Smile is a luxury
Youth left children’s faces
Old people are in tears.

Like angry streams of blood
Puce rays filter through clouds
The air sucks out our breath
Disgust is like a flood

What time and place is this?
Is this when time will end?
Things could not get much worse
This place – this is bleakness.

But this is also when
The only choice is fight
Stand up for what is right
Home - this will be again. /
cheryl daytec