Written on 7:12 PM by isko b. doo


Written on 7:11 PM by isko b. doo


Written on 7:09 PM by isko b. doo

Dealing with a monster


Written on 9:39 PM by isko b. doo

Stirring the dying

When Mayor Rodrigo Duterte admitted that city government is having a difficult time controlling the harbingers of death roaming the city's streets on board a two-wheel contraption boasting 125 cc of horsepower, I said to myself: finally!

There's nothing whimsical in that statement because it takes a lot of guts/humility for the mayor to concede that a.) the killings might have gotten out of control; b.) the city government has been helpless in curbing the killings.

Yes, he accepted responsibility for the killings but the heroic(?) gesture rings hollow when he exonerated the Davao City Police Office (which incidentally won the best police office in the country) of blame by claiming that killings are not unique to the city and that he was satisfied with its performance, and in the same breath, challenged his critics to produce evidence on the existence of the Davao Death Squad.

I mean, are you kidding me? For all his vaunted obstinacy, bipolar statements like that just leave everybody confused. I think he has become a victim of his own image. That's the only explanation I could think of. Growing up, I've heard the rumors: of death riding on motorcycles, their scythes shooting .45 caliber of hot lead. To this day, I never heard anybody allegedly belonging to the vigilante group (if there ever was one) arrested, much less incarcerated.

Don't get me wrong. To think there's a single organized group out there that's cleaning the streets of criminals would be a stretch even for a paranoid bastard like me. It would be more logical to think the killings are perpetrated on a hit basis in exchange for a monetary reward. But the paranoid in me can't help but think the killings won't last this long without the go signal from the police and, by extension the local government (one of the mayor's famous words was nobody will fart in Davao City without him knowing about it) and sadly, the public itself.

Why else would the killers insist on using the same M.O. and risk arrest when each Pedro and Maria is already familiar with their methods? Unless they were meant to be a warning, a badge of immunity if you will. Back off, or else.

This tacit approval by the public can be gleaned from the comment made by a Ms. Rosie I. Tan who said:

“True the street maintenace is not something to be proud of. The infrastructure needs a little boost. But I’ll take that anytime knowing that my kids are safe when they come out of school to buy project materials in the malls. I’ll accept that as fair trade knowing that my husband will be safe on his way home from work. Maybe Vigilantism is a monster in a bottle. Maybe it has some casualties. But I’d love to hear a Davaoeno lambast the Davao Death Squad, face a kidnapper and say he forgives him for killing a loved one. Criminals harm and kill ordinary citizens. Vigilantes kill criminals. That’s justice for me.”

I'm not going to belabor her point but for a full text of here comment click here. She is right, however, I have yet to hear a massive outrage from ordinary citizens. Duterte has an explanation for it: the culture of violence that started in the late 1970s and early 1980s -- when killings are a daily occurrence and as boring as watching ice melt -- still pervades in the city to this day.

I don't buy it. The killings continue because the public allowed itself to be cowed. In the words of Ms. Tan, the killings are a fair trade to knowing your husband and kids go home safe. She called it a monster in a bottle which presupposes a semblance of control but as I told her, the monster is no longer bottled up. Keeping that monster on a leash gives her a sense of security, but what’s stopping evil men from using that same monster against you and me?

Apart from desensitizing the public, the killings are breeding copycats. And yet the police and the Commission on Human Rights pointed to the lack of witnesses as the main reason why the investigations could not get off the ground. Hmm... ya think anyone likes to get involved if he/she thinks the government is the enemy? Who will protect them then, the criminals?

Let's get it out in the open. Do I believe the city government is behind the killings? I have no proof to categorically say yes. But the funny thing is it doesn't seem too concerned about being seen by everybody as a such, apart from the ministerial denial and directives for investigation. At the most, the local government is guilty of being phlegmatic.

The public and even the media have even stopped making the police accountable. After all, what's the difference between one murder or two?

Now Duterte has directed the police to unmask the killers to dispel the notion that the murders are sanctioned by the state. Knowing the tendencies and bipolar statements of City Hall, I'm going to hold my applause for this one. Let's see how he can control this multi-headed monster.

Vengeance and mercy


Written on 7:15 PM by isko b. doo

Davao City is abuzz with Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's revelation that a popular parish priest, the spokesperson of Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla, was in fact married. It was bannered by the two community newspapers here (for Sunstar's take on the issue, click here).

Yes, Duterte all but threw the kitchen sink at Fr. Pete Lamata. And for what? Well, apparently the priest was politicking and, according to the mayor, actively blackballing him before the parishioners in his sermons. And horror of all horrors, the priest facetiously referred to Duterte's daughter, Davao City Vice Mayor Sara Duterte, as Inday Badiday.

Now there's nothing wrong with name-calling, he said, if used in the spirit of fun but when laced with mockery, that's a different story altogether. And the mayor's response? He dropped the bomb on the priest' marriage during his public service program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa.”

And so here we are. Some people have been asking why our paper did not carry the story. For two days in a row, newspapers have been having a heyday writing all the angles to the story. The queries beg an explanation: was it a legitimate story?

I say it is. On any other day, it's a story that warrants a one-column treatment at the very least. I closed the paper on the day the story broke but I decided we wouldn't be dragged down in the muck. Sure, a priest being actually married is a legitimate story but there's something supercilious about the information coming from the mayor with an axe to grind. Duterte's intentions were clear: to sully the name of the priest not at the public's interest but to serve as a warning: he's not beyond kicking you in the balls if you touch any of his children.

True, you wrestle with a pig and you get dirty. And the pig will like it.

I can understand his protectiveness but when you throw your children into politics, you'd expect their immaculate shirts to get dirty, wouldn't you? Duterte is not even beyond reproach, so how can he expect his children, who are holding high positions in the local government riding on his coattails, to be untouchable? In politics, as in love, everything is fair game.

What the story would be about instead is the reaction from priests and explanation from the archbishop.
For one, I didn't know that you can go back to priesthood even if you're married but apparently, based on Capalla's statements, you can.

The archbishop admitted that indeed, Lamata as a young man “had gone through a civil marriage with a woman.”

According to Church law this is a serious violation which brings about an automatic suspension from the priestly ministry. So Father Lamata was suspended.

According to the same law, to be forgiven and restored to the priestly ministry, there are steps and procedures to be followed aside from humble repentance and separation,” Capalla said.

Now, that's something I'd expect the public to be interested in rather than the information after the fact, and relayed through very suspicious intentions no less. I wonder though how the Church can accept back a priest separating from his wife in order to serve his parishioners again when it has been savagely denouncing divorce on the argument that marriage is sacred? What about the vow of celibacy then? The priest did dip his peter on somebody's bush. Doesn't that count for something?

Of course, my interest is purely scholarly based on the questions above. I could not care less if the parish priest is married or not. Nor am I advocating for him to be banned from practicing priesthood because that's between him, his parishioners, and their God.

Obamarama claims victim


Written on 9:07 PM by isko b. doo

This news report cracked me up.

Now, I don't mean to make light of the tragic end of the victim, but really, it just shows just how the global community has shrunk over the years.

Who would have thought that the new US president's influence would creep to my city of 1.4 million people, south of Philippines? And who would have thought that two drunks could have a very intelligent conversation? Really now, Obama's bloodline?

That's sick right there!

It's just sad that things took turn for the worse between two friends.

Friend stabbed dead
over Obama debate

By Guy Lorenzo Lao

An argument over United States President Barack Obama lineage led to a death of a 36-year-old farmer last Monday afternoon.

Erlinda Revisa, 49, an owner of a ‘sari-sari’ store in Marilog proper, told PO3 Rolando Mitran of Marilog Police that neighbors, Narciso Amban, 36, and alias ‘Toto’ Rondia were drinking when their topic turned towards the new US president.

The police officer said Rondia and Amban argued whether Obama had a Muslim blood. Amban allegedly insulted his friend in the middle of their argument which prompted Rondia to pull out his hunting knife and stabbed Amban in the chest.

Rondia left the scene while Revisa called help from the Marilog Police. Responding members of Central 911 declared the victim dead on the spot due to a single wound on his chest.

Mitran said they are still tracking down the suspect while Amban’s body now lies at St. Peter Funeral Parlor in Calinan.

Simple solution


Written on 4:49 PM by isko b. doo

For most of us, it might be difficult to understand the reason for the downward spin of the global economy but it boils down to overproduction and speculation. While we can point to the highly-excessive US economy and its neo-liberalist policy, which makes it vulnerable to abuse by some enterprising multi-nationals with a lot of grease money to make sure the market forces are artificially stable, we can also cite some countries (led by China), flooding the world with cheap goods and imitations which makes it virtually impossible for small businesses to compete.

Of course, free market forces adhere to the maxim that supply creates demand. What is happening now, however, is not the lack of supply but production is not meeting the demand of quality in products. To put it simply, it's the case of putting the cart before the horse. There are too many cheap products of the same design but nobody is buying after hearing too many horror stories of toxic poisoning in children, breakable products, and unreliable warranty.

This distrust towards cheap products is further aggravated by the economic downturn which creates a vacuum of demand for non-basic products, which leads to retrenchments and profit loss. It's no wonder therefore that China is badly-hit by the global recession since it forces nations to cut down on imports and develop local products.

You have the richest family on the block, which becomes the envy of the neighborhood because the parents, who were savvy entrepreneurs, always had the most beautiful cars and clothes, the kids had the latest toys and gadgets, the mansion covers nearly half the block with a 24-hour security detail.

One day, the rich father showed you how he devised a system through maximized use of credit cards, subprime mortgages, and manipulating the market to keep profits soaring. You tried it and saw your bank account expand, you get a new car, renovate your house, send your kids to exclusive schools. Finally, you're living the American dream.

So what happens when you notice the cars of your neighbor missing one by one? When his kids are now taking buses to school or even transferring to another cheaper school? One day, you see furniture and appliances being wheeled out of the mansion and rumors have it that they are being pawned off. The pool dries up, the dogs stop barking, the security guard goes missing.

You know something is wrong but you're not sure what. Then you start hearing rumors about banks foreclosing properties, loans getting rejected, markets falling, your friend getting fired from his job, and your center of balance start spinning. You hold on to your valuables and hard-earned money hoping to weather the difficult times. But you know in your heart it's only a matter of time before you get what's coming to you.

At work you hear whispers, softly bouncing off walls at first but it gets louder and more persistent. You are next to go.

What do you do?

Our lawmakers found a solution: just add another P2 billion to the pork barrel.