Sunday, December 30, 2007

In His Words

We can only serve our country by telling her the truth, however bitter it be.


Can't you see the perfection in the present?
Claiming that the status quo is perfect is a twisted and ignorant comment. It leads us to question the reader's power of observation. It is also saddening to find those who have developed thick skins, myopic eyes, and deaf ears. Although we do not seek perfection (there is and will be no such thing), we strive for a society that values freedom.

The 30th of December is Not Just a Holiday

Remember, remember the 30th of December
A blue-blooded mason was shot
We know of no reason
Why this blue-blooded mason
Should ever be forgot

Good day!

Allow us first to apologize for this intrusion of ours. We do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. We enjoy them as much as anyone would. But in the spirit of commemoration - whereby those important events of the past, usually associated with someone’s death or the beginning of some bloody revolution, are celebrated with a nice holiday. We thought we could mark this December the 30th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking sometime out of our daily lives to sit down and think for a while.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. In fact even now, as they read through this, they are already closing their minds to the truth that we speak and brand us as cowards and mere ranters. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words are the means to meaning; for those who will listen – the enunciation of truth. And the truth is there is something terribly wrong with this country and our own Ateneo community. We have cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression, poverty and suffering – all these feasting upon our apathy, ignorance, and inaction. But while some have the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you are called destabilizers and anarchists – coercing your conformity, and soliciting your submission and consent. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others. They will be held accountable. But again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only to look at a mirror. We know why you did it. You were afraid, who wouldn’t be? With everyone trying to live a happy, care-free, and comfortable life, only someone deranged would go out of his/her way and act. Everyone is pre-occupied with the worries and demands of mere living – getting high grades, being appreciated by parents, connecting with friends, finding a life-partner, celebrating victories and achievements, mourning over failures and disappointments. There were a myriad of problems that conspire to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear, apathy, and inaction got the best of you. You are resigned to conform and remain silent.

This year, we sought to end that silence. This year, the Society disturbed you from your dwellings of comfort, to remind you what you have forgotten. More than 100 years ago, a group of young men dreamt of a nation that is theirs and the greatest of them died a martyr’s death by gunfire. Our only hope is that his death will not be in vain. We may be free from the colonizers of past, but are we truly a nation worthy of the blood of our heroes? Do our actions give honor to the people who came before us and to the future that lies beyond us? Fairness, justice, freedom, democracy, and nationhood are more than just words. They are perspectives. So if you see nothing, if the crime of inaction remains unknown to you, we would suggest that you allow the 30th of December to pass unmarked. But if you see what we see, if you feel as we feel, and if you would seek as we seek. Then prove yourselves worthy to be called the hope of the motherland. Take a stand and stop thinking of yourself alone! Futures are destroyed for every second of your inaction.

If only we can be true men and women of a nation forged in the blood of heroes - only then can we give that blue-blooded mason, a 30th of December that shall never, ever be forgot!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Christmas Message

Here's a reply to an e-mail we received last December 17, 2007. Our reply is dated December 27, 2007. The e-mail sent to us is posted after our reply.

Greetings of peace to you!

Firstly, we do not wish to be recognized. We really do not understand why people think that all we want is the attention. We do not understand why people think we are so proud to be in last November's The Guidon headline. All we want is for people to discuss the issues that we raise. It doesn't matter whether our group is mentioned or not. The important thing is that people talk about the people and events that comprises our realities.

We do not propagate hate. People who act need not be afraid.

Rizal was hated by his enemies yet praised by those whom he defends and those who believe the truth of words and his works. The same goes for the whole Propaganda movement.

Again, these projects/activities that you claim are not for the Society to do but for the people who see the truth of our words. But we do claim that as individuals, not as a Society, our members are exemplary Ateneans who toil hard in their various fields. Our members are students worth emulating in academics and in co-curricular academics. Please stop lambasting those whom you do not know.

Many have accepted the fact that we shall forever cling on to the secrecy of our identities. It is futile to demand our names. It would be healthy if you would follow suit. Please stop demanding for our identities and let's talk about what needs to be changed, how students can be better formed, and what critical decisions should the administration be doing.

Truly, we commend the people who started the Sumilao initiative. As individuals, we have contributed to the campaign in several ways. But what we said in our last e-mail is true. Ateneo's support for the campaign is questionable. We are primarily referring to the support from the students, more specifically their actual physical presence. The Ateneans ability to pool funds is truly unquestionable. We commend Sanggunian for their efforts. But it is also unquestionable that many remain unmoved. Word is going around about students conversing about the farmers, mistaking their name to be that of a certain dance group. There is also news that although the farmers are warmly welcomed by the community, only a handful of students, faculty members, and professionals actually go our of their way to visit the farmers in front of DAR and accompany them to their various marches around the Metro. If Ateneo truly supports the campaign, why are these things happening? Again, as individuals, we have contributed to the campaign in several different ways. We pray that you also did.

We recognize the many unsung heroes of our Nation who are found in the Ateneo community. But we know that these people are enlightened to the fact that their deeds need no special attention. They'd rather have the inaction of the many to be subjected under the magnifying glass.

We do not claim to be infallible. We do not claim to be perfect. We understand that many are not pleased with what we are doing. But we know that we are doing our part. Although we welcome criticism, we believe that the Atenean flame of passion should be re-channeled to more constructive things.

May Christ be always in your Christmas.

Laong Laan


An e-mail we received from an undisclosed address.








Friday, November 30, 2007

Manila Peninsula Incident

Yesterday, when it was announced that classes from 6:00PM onwards were suspended because of a coup threat in Makati, everyone rejoiced. Did they rejoice because there's another attempt to topple GMA or is it just because of an early vacation?

Last night a lot of students were complaining about the curfew. Did they complain because there might be bloodshed at night or is it just because they have to call the late night parties off?

Some were calling Trillianes brave. Some called him stupid. Some didn't care at all.

Andres Bonifacio would have been so proud of us.

Recent Comments

We have been receiving a lot of e-mails asking us to reveal our identities. Why this obsession? Is there no truth to the words we speak? Must our faces and so-called identities be linked to what we are say so that they can be true? You are not blind, you know we are right. How can we be not right if we are just mirroring reality. Why can't you engage us in constructive dialogue amidst the anonymity? We remain anonymous not because we are afraid but because we want to prove a point - there are students who are bothered by the things that are happening and that are not happening. We are students, undergraduates. That should be enough. Why do we need to attach names, ID numbers, and courses to what we say? What end will that achieve?

In connection to "identities", there is the question of what exactly are we doing to make things "better". On the group level, we recognize that we cannot do everything. Thus we saw that it is our role to be mirrors of reality and popular student sentiments (we either agree or disagree to these). Isn't "disturbing" an action in itself? Why are people clamoring for us to do something concrete? Is this not concrete enough? And why should we have monopoly of all the actions? There are thousands of Ateneans out there. This is our part to play. What is yours? What is theirs?

On the other level, as individuals, we are deeply engaged in many activities related to our cause. Many of us are members of organizations and some of us are into student politics. We are people who have seen the system both inside and out. We know what we are saying for we are in the system, we are not detached but truly embedded.

Are we alone in our sentiments? No. There are many who support us. Many have e-mailed us, expressing their support for us. There are also those who support us. We are a gadfly, we don't expect everyone to agree with us - what is important is that people engage us.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Crippled Leadership

During the first semester of this school year, the Sanggunian has done nothing substantial or worthy of praise, except for the "Dress Code Buzz" if you call that note-worthy.

It's ironic how "men and women for others" can show more concern on their "right to self-expression a.k.a. right to choose what to wear in school" than on the rights of Filipinos to truth, good governance, and democracy in its true sense.

The Sanggunian, as of now, lacks the capability to move the student body towards "nation-building." Even some people from the inside are saying the same thing.

Tips for you guys:
1- Bridge leadership. Connect with different organizations and institutions (departments, etc). Create a strong network.

2- Show progress. Make yourself visible. E-mail updates to the student body or create your own website that posts updates on what you have been doing or what each of your committee/branch has been doing.

Suggested Breakdown:
- Central Board
  • Committee 1
  • Committee 2
  • Committee 3
  • Committee 4
- School Board
  • SOM
    • Seniors
    • Juniors
    • Sophomores
    • Freshmen
  • SOH
    • Seniors
    • Juniors
    • Sophomores
    • Freshmen
  • SOSS
    • Seniors
    • Juniors
    • Sophomores
    • Freshmen
  • SOSE
    • Seniors
    • Juniors
    • Sophomores
    • Freshmen
* You can add extra pages for message from the President or whoever.

3- Utilize all directions of communication: Top-down, Bottom-up, Lateral. Have an email address or tagboard where students can give you comments or suggestions. Have regular peer evaluations among the officers. Have your course reps evaluate you and the entire organization. Etc.

Good luck, Sanggu!

~ Dimasalang

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We Support the Sumilao March

Yesterday we saw a flyer inserted in the recent issue of The Guidon. It spoke of a current movement to support the Sumilao farmers of Bukidnon who are currently marching as a sign of protest against a government that continues to rob them of their land. We in the society deem this as a very good movement that the Atenean community should engage in.

We firmly believe that as Ateneans who should be men-and-women-for-others we should support initiatives that try to empower those who are victims of injustice. It's a pity that it's already the finals week. Ateneans tend to be most apathetic during the finals week and the weeks that would follow. Nonetheless, these things should not be a hindrance for us to extend our aid to our fellow countrymen who are in need.

We challenge Ateneans to show the fiery passion that they displayed during the dress code issue and re-channel this in helping out in creating structural changes in society such as by supporting the Sumilao March. Sanggunian, if you really are not obsolete, aid these farmers in mobilizing the students to support them. Make students aware that there is much injustice happening outside our hallowed walls.

We challenge every student group in the university, not just the Sanggunian, to take part in this initiative. Every organization, whatever the thrust may be, is aiming for a more just society. Why not support the Sumilao farmers in their fight against continued injustice?

Please don't tell us that the Atenean concept of injustice is limited to the violation of the right to flaunt your Havaianas to school. We dare you to move!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Sanggunian is Obsolete

It has been half a year since the current Sanggunian officers have taken their oaths as the governing and representative body of the students of the Loyola Schools. In a few months time, they will be replaced by a new set of officers. As the first semester of their term draws to a close, it is more than fitting to ask the question – How is the Sanggunian?
It is fairly common to hear students complain that the Sanggunian is not doing anything, that it is not effective, visible, proactive, nor relevant any more. Going back to the vision-mission of our student council, we find that their task is to participate in student formation. But given the recent strings of parties that our Sanggunian is known for, is it really doing anything that could be approximately called student formation?
Our members have discreetly approached those who are within the structure of the Sanggunian and asked them what exactly they are doing. One of the recurring answers is that they are busy attending meetings. It is true that Sanggunian officers are busy attending meetings but what exactly are they talking about? We have no idea. A few weeks ago, we e-mailed the Secretary-general, asking that we may be given a copy of all minutes of these Sanggunian meetings. As of the present, the Secretary-general has yet to respond. Some officers claim that these meetings are for discussing their upcoming projects. Are they finally hatching a project that would encapsulate that catchy tag-line we heard during the Mititng de Avance – “Going Local”? What ever happened to the “7 Innovations”? Have the students of the Ateneo lost their senses that they fail to see these platforms in action or did we just hear promises written on air?
Some officers claim that they are busy representing the students in the various school committees. Can anyone inform us what committees are they representing us in? Can we be informed what is happening in those committee meetings? Or are these meetings just about trivial matters like the number of pebbles in Zen Garden? Are they actually fighting for student interest? If the continuous increase in the tuition fees is to be a measure, we believe that they are not.
On July 15, the Human Security Act was enforced. We asked the question – “What will Ateneo do?” Sanggunian, the bastion of student involvement, responded to our challenge by hosting a series of talks on the controversial law. What has happened since then? Has the Sanggunian released any official statement on whether it has or has not supported the HSA? It has been months since the issue broke out, yet we still see no concrete movements on the side of Ateneans.
If asked, “Would it matter if there were no Sanggunian?”, we would guess the majority’s answer (no abstain included) to be NO. In short, we believe that at their current pace, the Sanggunian is an obsolete institution.
Is there still hope for the Sanggunian? As a popular brand would say, “Impossible is Nothing”.
First, the Sanggunian should tackle relevant issues that would directly affect the students such as tuition fee increases, the safety of the students along Katipunan, the unreliable wireless internet connection, the “unfriendliness” of the campus towards differently able students, the limited number of computers in the popular red light district of the RSF, and the increase of prices in the cafeteria, among others. The Sanggunian should not be primarily concerned about parties but on delivering quality services to the student body. But there is more to student services than lending calculators, bibles, and umbrellas.
Second, if the Sanggunian manages to provide such quality services, why not let the students know about it? The Ateneo Online Bulletin is neat, but it surely is not enough. Why not utilize the promo board in EDSA walk? While you’re at it, why not post the minutes of the various meetings of the school committees and the various school boards and of the central board? Let the students know what is happening in those meetings. Let us know how “well” you are representing us!
Third, why not hold an event that is similar to the presidential SONA? The Sanggunian president mentioned to us that he actually gives a “State of the Sanggunian” report monthly to block representatives. Why not deliver one every semester? If students are willing to listen to the winners of the last senatorial elections (we do hope that this event will push through), the more they should be enthusiastic about those whom they elect in the student council. Or are you afraid that your speeches wouldn’t even last for an hour?
Sanggunian, we believe that there is much work to be done in your side. The recent strings of failure of elections and vacancies in positions should be more than enough to jolt you. Please prove us wrong when we say that the Sanggunian is obsolete.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ateneo Doesn't Care

A few minutes or an hour from now, the verdict of the Sandiganbayan will be read to Joseph Estrada. What are Ateneans doing? They're still talking about the Ateneo-La Salle game. To my left, a guy is giggling at the Multiply account of who knows who and the girl to my right is cramming a reaction paper on an Entablado play.

VP Cuyegkeng, you should have suspended classes. I'm not expecting Ateneans to rally on the street. At least they'd have an inkling of knowledge on what's happening outside.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gadfly Society in The Guidon

Read the editor-in-chief's opinion column, Keeping Track. The article is entitled "Unknown watchdog". A copy of the article and our reaction to the article will be posted here soon.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

On Visibility

We believe that visibility is just half of what the students demand of Sanggunian. The bigger question is - If there were no Sanggunian, to what extent will the students be affected? Make us feel that we need you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Letter to Sanggunian and to its President

Dear Karl and the Sanggunian,

We have one question for you – HOW ARE YOU? It has been months since you have been elected into office by the students of this university. As GMA has delivered her SONA, may we ask that you also deliver yours. For years, the Sanggunian has been a blackbox. Strictly speaking, we know not what is happening within the student council. We hear that the CBs and SBs are busy with projects that would ultimately benefit the students and that they are losing precious time for studying over ceaseless meetings. Can the student body be informed of what is happening in these meetings? Where are the minutes? Or are these for “your eyes only”?

We heard that this coming weekend, there will be a SOSS event. But I believe this is primarily geared towards freshmen. How about the upperclassmen? What service will the Sanggunian provide and are currently providing for the students of Loyola Schools? Please do not point your fingers to ASCC and DSWS – these are not the only things that Sanggunian is capable of doing, right?

We also heard that Sanggunian officers sit in the various school committees. Can the student body be informed what committees are you pertaining to? What is happening in those committee meetings? Why are we not informed? Who are those who are supposedly representing us in these “important” committees?

How is the bureaucracy of Sanggunian? Honestly, the student body (yes, we have asked around) is perplexed with what each position in the Sanggunian does. We are not saying that we need yet another orientation. What we are saying is that we want to see SANGGUNIAN AT WORK. It is working, right? Because if it isn't, we think that the money that goes to the Sanggunian and the elections that put the officers where they are should be put to better use.

Freshmen elections are near. We hope that there will be no failure of elections for the Finance Officer. But it wouldn't be a shocker if there will be. We know that you understand what we are trying to say.

Karl, we shall be waiting for your SONA.

We shall be waiting for a Sanggunian that works.

Watching you always,

Gadfly Society

Friday, July 20, 2007

What Will Ateneans Do?

On Monday will be the State of the Nation Address by the President. But are Ateneans really concerned? Do they really care about what the President will say and do they even care about reacting on it?

It almost seems as though Ateneans are only concerned whether there will be classes or not. ("Free cut? Let's watch a movie!") While in another university, almost all the teachers are suspending classes to encourage the students to listen to the SONA and to participate in activities that aim to make stands and statements heard.

During the UAAP Basketball Finals last year, a television in the caf was used as a means for the students in the school to watch the Third Game between ADMU and UST. We wonder if it will again be used this time to bring to the students something more relevant...

We Dare You to Evaluate

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(SONA 2006 below)

Abrera's Interpretation

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 16, 2007

Perhaps legitimizing extra-judicial killings?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

SONA 2006

Last year, these were some of the words of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo:

"To my friends in Congress who... championed and passed some of the most severe and critical fiscal reforms to save our economy, maraming salamat. You are the true friends of the Filipino people... Dahil sa inyo, sa wakas may pondo na tayo, hindi lamang para ibayad sa interes, kundi para sa edukasyon, mas mabuting tulay at kalsada, pagbigay kalinga sa kalusugan at higit na trabaho sa ating bansa. Now, we have the money to pay down our debt and to build up our country...

To our men and women in the armed services, the huge and deep core of your loyalty has earned the nation's accolade. The few mutineers have been condemned by the people. They and their partisan cohorts and funders are being brought to justice.

And at a time when we must each, as individuals and as communities, take greater responsibility, our local government officials man the frontline of change: change for greater accountability, for better service and more responsiveness to their constituents.

So I stand before you today to deliver a state of the nation that is focused on what the people want; the people want to know the plan to put us on the path to prosperity.

I am not here to talk about politics; I am here to talk about what the people want; details on the state of the nation and what their government is doing to make progress every single day...

We now have the funds to stamp out terrorism and lawless violence... We now have the funds for constitutional and electoral changes. Sa kasalukuyang sistema, napakabagal ng proseso, at bukas sa labis na pagtutunggali, at sikil ang lalawigan at mamamayan sa paghahari ng Imperial Manila. Panahon nang ibalik ang kapangyarihan sa taumbayan at lalawigan... There must be a better way.

Meanwhile, now we can fund the Medium Term Public Investment Program... Sumusulong na ang ating plano na may tatlong yugto. Una, ang makaahon sa mga dekada ng utang at kapos ng pondo. Nagawa na natin ito. Ikalawang yugto, ang pagbabalik sa taumbayan ang mas malaking kita ng pamahalaan: upang makapagpundar ng kalinga sa kalusugan, edukasyon at trabaho na kailangang-kailangan ng mamamayan. Ginagawa na rin natin ito. And finally, Phase Three: to invest in the natural advantages and natural resources of each section of our nation so that when harnessed together, the major economic regions of the nation are larger than the sum of its parts...

To be world-class we invest in five comprehensive strategies for global competitiveness:

1. Make food plentiful and affordable to keep our labor cost globally competitive.

2. Reduce the cost of electricity to make our factories regionally competitive.

3. Modernize infrastructure at least cost to efficiently transport goods and people.

4. Mobilize, upgrade and disseminate knowledge and technologies for productivity.

5. Reduce red tape in all agencies to cut business costs.

The most prohibitive red tape is in our outmoded Constitution. We need Constitutional change to bring our rules of investment into the new millennium...

Pagdurugtungin natin ang MRT at LRT mula Monumento hangga... Sa pagbilis ng biyahe patungo at palabaas ng Metro Manila, makakatira ang manggagawa sa mas mura at maaliwalas na lalawigan.

Maayos na ang kapaligiran sa riles ng tren sa South Superhighway. Masaya ang mga pamilyang hinatid namin ni Vice President Noli de Castro sa kanilang bago at permanenteng relokasyon. Teddy Boy Locsin said it hadn't been done before, and couldn't be done at all. Well, Teddy? Ngayon gagawin ito sa Maynila, si Lito Atienza ang bahala.

We thank China for agreeing to fund these housing needs. Huwaran ng ating programang pabahay para sa mahihirap ang mga proyekto ng Iglesia ni Kristo at Gawad Kalinga...

The priority here is tourism investments. Coming soon for superstar Boracay are an instrument landing system for the Kalibo airport and a P3 billion private investment in a San Jose, Romblon airport, plus good roads to spillover destinations all over Panay...

Mindanao is our priority for agribusiness investments in the south. Mindanao is mostly fertile and largely typhoon-free, exporting coconut products and high value crops, and from its waters come 40% of the country's fish catch. Our investment priorities mirror those for North Luzon, and more because Mindanao has the poorest regions and poorest provinces and because we have to spend on a logistics system linking it to the north...

If we can harness the forces of good in our nation, the positive force at work here at home and those from abroad such as the US, Malaysia, the OIC and others, we shall prevail in Mindanao with a peace agreement that brings freedom and hope to all Filipinos. With this peace, we would reap dividends in resources invested in agribusiness, not aggression, to build up, not tear down, the Philippine south...

For those who want to pick up old fights, we're game but what a waste of time. Why not join hands instead? Join hands in the biggest challenge of all, where we all win or we all lose: the battle for the survival and progress of our one and only country."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

On Karl's Comment

Sanggunian President Karl Satinitigan commented
It may be more sober if we encourage dialogue first before actually coming out with official statements, which have not been very effective in the past few years.

My personal opinion is that we're barking on the tree if we constantly condemn the HSA and not soberly or constructively discuss our security issues with this administration.

Just a thought.
-Karl of Sanggu
We in the Society do believe that Sanggunian's task goes beyond releasing a statement that captures the sentiments of the student populace. We believe that for something as complicated (think broadly) as the HSA, it's truly difficult to take a stand (except on the gray areas). But we think it is foremost the Sanggunian's role to get the students involved in such a national issue. As many before me have stated, Sanggunian should not only be representative but also participatory, just like any form of democracy. We do believe those in Sanggunian know this more than we do. We just hope we don't get stuck on debating whether a statement issued by the Sanggunian is contradictory or not to the sentiments of the (uninformed/under-represented) student body.

Again, it is not just the Sanggunian's task to do all these. We are imploring the student organizations who claim to be socially relevant and enlightened to make their voices heard and their actions seen so that the whole student body may be spurred from inaction.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fast-Paced Philippines

Every day, new events occur - bad or good. Last Sunday, the HSA was implemented. Yesterday, Hermogenes Esperon (AFP Chief) released a proposal for ceasefire between the Army and the Communists, which the Communist leaders rejected just today. Next week, the President will be giving her SONA. And on August 1, there will be 2007 Census of Population.

My point is: Events happen fast.

What is Ateneo's response to all of these events?

It's time to be more vigilant. It's time to do more things. It's time to involve the entire student body and to respond to the changing times and the issues that come with it.

More Statements

Human Security Act is inhuman

Last updated 03:20am (Mla time) 07/17/2007

We, the convenors of the Inter-faith Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Network, as people of God called to raise the prophetic voice of the church against any policy that degrades the human person and to bring to light whatever untruths may cause injustice, hatred and division, would like to make known our position on the Human Security Act.

The church is and will always be the church of and for the poor. It is called to care and give hope to the marginalized and to the victims of injustice.

Committed to the doctrines and teachings of our faith; and believing in the human person as the primary revelation of God in the world -- Jesus Christ Himself became man and one with us -- we are firm in our objective to work for the promotion of human rights and to uphold human dignity. Because we believe in the sacredness of human life and all of Life itself, we lament the inhuman character of the Human Security Act (HSA) for the following reasons:

1. It criminalizes the act of demanding from government; it is an affront to freedom and equality because it penalizes anyone who expresses grievances. Free expression, which includes peaceful assembly, is the cornerstone of the social, political, economic and religious human person.

2. It is a clear declaration of authoritarianism and absolute power. It puts in danger anybody because it gives the arresting officer the power to define, in his own terms, the character of the offense the arrested is accused of. In short, “absolute” means “anybody.” This may be understood in the definition of “terrorism” in Sec. 3, Republic Act 9372, which is so broad that it is in effect a charge in itself and anyone can be arrested for anything he is doing.

3. It lumps together legal advocacy and incitement to criminal acts, as in the definition of an “unlawful demand.” Who determines an “unlawful demand”? The definition as stated in the HSA is constitutionally impaired.

4. It suppresses the rights of free speech, free press, assembly and redress of grievances by attaching to those rights the stigma of illegality; it declares that to demand from government can be unlawful. This will silence the people and make them totally submissive.

The HSA is deceptive. It distorts the meaning of freedom, which is intrinsic and innate in the human person. The HSA, therefore, should not be implemented. It should be declared unconstitutional.

BRO. GILBERT S. BILLENA, O.Carm, Inter-faith Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Network (IFJPICNetwork),


Global peace network asks SC to nullify anti-terror law

By Tetch Torres
Last updated 11:18pm (Mla time) 07/16/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) The Philippine secretariat of a global peace network and a militant labor group have asked the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the anti-terror law, saying it’s flawed and without “cogent legal foundation.”

The Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network Inc., together with lawyer Soliman Santos, told the high tribunal that the definition of terror acts in the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007 does not conform to the internationally accepted meaning of terrorism.

In their 31-page petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for injunctive relief, the petitioners said the anti-terror law, which took effect Sunday, is not meant to “protect people from terrorism.”

"If we refer to the full title of the HSA, it might only 'secure the state' but not 'protect our people from terrorism'," the petitioners added.

"The HSA covers only situations of ‘coercing the government.’ It omits international organizations from similar coercion. It does not cover a situation where the purpose is to intimidate or spread terror among the population," they said.

"These flaws, especially in the definition of terrorism, leave the rest of the said Act with no proper or cogent legal foundation to stand on…despite sufficient human rights safeguards in the law," they said.

They also asked the high court that "jurisprudential guidance be provided the legislative and executive branches of government as may be necessary for a reformulation of the anti-terrorism law with a definition of terrorism hewing closely to international legal developments, and likewise upholding human rights and the rule of law in combating terrorism.”

The law, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in March, allows detention of suspected terrorists without charge for three days and includes "rebellion or insurrection" among crimes considered terrorism.

The Militant group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, May First Movement) in a separate petition asked the Supreme Court on Monday to declare as unconstitutional the anti-terror law, saying it violates several provisions of the Constitution.

It said the anti-terror violates the constitutional provision on unreasonable searches and seizures because the law allows arrests without court-issued warrant.

A substitute warrant is allowed under the HSA which is a written authority issued by the Anti-Terrorism Council.

"But the Anti-Terrorism Council is not the judge referred to in Section 2 Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution," the labor group said.

The law also violates the constitutional provisions on the right to travel by placing an accused under house arrest, prohibiting the use of cellular phones, computers and other means of communication, KMU said.

The petitioners also said that law’s definition of terrorism is vague.

"What is extraordinary fear and how would we distinguish it from ordinary fear? Unfortunately the law fails to specify," petitioners said.

"If a law defining a crime is so vague that a reasonable person of at least average intelligence could not determine what elements constitute the same, the said law may be invalidated for being unconstitutional," the petitioners said.

Arroyo, one of Washington's staunchest Asian allies in the war on terror, says the new law will be indispensable in stamping out the terrorists who target innocent people, discourage investors and have destroyed critical infrastructure like cell phone transmission towers.

But human rights groups have condemned the new law, and even the influential Roman Catholic Church has called for a review of sensitive provisions that could curtail rights and invade privacy, including one that allows court-authorized wiretapping of suspects.

Petitioner Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network Inc. is the Philippine secretariat of the South-South Network for Non-State Armed Group Engagement.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What Will Ateneo Do?

Sanggunian, Matanglawin, Guidon, Ateneo Debate Society, The Assembly, and everybody else..


Sanggunian and HSA

Finally! The Ateneo de Manila University Sanggunian has showed an inkling that it is aware of the HSA and its implications!

View the Ateneo Online Bulletin post here: Ateneo Online Bulletin: Human Security Act

According to the Sanggu:
The HSA is so vague that it can be used against just about anyone, including you and me. The law is so sweeping that is can be used to curtain the rights of persons merely suspected of terrorism, even if they have been granted bail because the evidence of their guilt is not strong. And the law is so dangerous that, unless repealed, it would destroy the Bill of Rights of the Constitution and rip apart the very fabric of our democratic system.
What would be the Sanggunian's next move? Will there be a student forum? I hope it will be attended by a lot of students. Will there be a rally? Given the conservative nature of the Sanggunian, I doubt. Will they give an appropriate response in light of this HSA? This we would like to see.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Read the Full Text of RA 9372

Know more about the controversial Human Security Act of 2007.

Download the PDF File from:

No stopping anti-terror law July 15--Palace

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
Last updated 03:42pm (Mla time) 07/13/2007

MANILA, Philippines-- MalacaƱang reiterated on Friday that the Human Security Act (HSA) would be implemented July 15, amid persistent reports that it would be deferred because of lack of preparation.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita denied reports that he issued a memorandum to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo informing her that the law could not yet be enforced.

"It will be implemented starting July 15, as called for by the law, which is two months after the election. As a matter of fact, we had a meeting yesterday to prepare so we will hit the road running in the implementation of the law," Ermita said in a television interview Friday.

Ermita and Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol both clarified that what they sought to defer was the formal launching of the landmark measure, which officials said would give the teeth to authorities to go after terrorists, but which militant groups and the Catholic bishops feared would be used to quell popular protests against the administration.

Both officials said that they asked the President to move to another date the formal launch of the law because it would coincide with the Supreme Court's summit on extrajudicial killings slated on Monday at the Manila Hotel.

Ermita, Apostol, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Calderon, and Armed Forces Chief Hermogenes Ebdane were among those invited in the summit aimed to help find ways to strengthen the law in running after perpetrators of extrajudicial killings in the country.

Apostol said they recommended the launching of the HSA for July 20.

The Anti-Terror Council, which Ermita heads, met Thursday to discuss the details of the implementation on July 15.

Ermita and Apostol maintained that there was no need for implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the law to be implemented, saying the law is self-executory and that it could be easily understood.

"The Anti-Terror Council will implement it to the best of its ability so people will understand the purpose of the law," Ermita said, adding that the law's main purpose is to "protect the people."

In lieu of the IRR, Ermita said the council would circulate primers for all enforcement agencies "so they would know the do's and don'ts of the law and prevent violations that the people are afraid of."