Friday, June 22, 2007

Life Behind Bars

This is how it looks when the sun is about to set at the Davao Penal Colony and you happen to look up from where you're seated outside the security gate talking to a broadcaster behind bars for libel. Your eyes momentarily leave the face of the person you're talking to and the absorbed faces of your companions to roam around and wonder what lie beyond the shadows.
On Easter Sunday, when the Communist New People's Army (NPA) led by Kumander Parago raided the Davao Penal Colony's armory without firing a single shot, jailed Davao broadcaster Lex Adonis was already inside to serve his four and a half year sentence in jail. He was brought there from the Maa city jail two weeks before. At the Penal Colony, he said he would surely meet the shadowy characters he had attacked on air. But his father, who visited him on the eve of the raid, had said it was much, much safer for him to be there than anywhere else. The day after the NPA raid, the whole area was crawling with journalists feasting on the breaking story of the day, not knowing that one of them was already behind those bars, unable to break that story.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another journalist is nabbed for libel

Jeez, I can't believe it. Jofelle is simply too beautiful to spend time in jail! This is unbelievable!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

You Must Remember this!

Now that detained junior officer Antonio Trillanes finally made it to the Senate, it's time to look again into the Greenbase Expose and find out more truths about the twin Davao bombing in 2003.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Breaking Taboos

I arrived at the davaotoday office one day to find a stranger in our midst. I thought, who is this guy staring at Gra's computer monitor?? For all I can see from the door was a clean shaven head and a back of someone wearing a shirt, someone I initially thought was a he. Until she turned around and I saw that it was Chi. Why a sweet, young girl suddenly decides to shave her hair like that--must be for a very good reason. I tried hard to hide my surprise. But how can I stifle my excitement?? For a young woman to shed herself of that crown of hair that people used to define her gender is no mean, ordinary feat! It was an act of defiance! It was crossing to the other side of taboo!
For doing the "unspeakable," she had crossed the line that constricted her, the line that used to define her as girl/woman and all the restrictions that come along with it. By breaking taboo, she has crossed the line to the other side where the rules no longer apply and any attempt at definition is no longer possible. She's now in a place where taboo has suddenly lost its grip and power! It's no wonder, then, that everybody who has any inkling of this big triumph gravitates towards her---and for me, Chi has turned into some sort of a heroine that day!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Voice from the Killing Fields

Fr. Albert Alejo (who preferred to call himself "Paring Bert") said he wrote this poem in 1987 at the height of the alsa masa movement against the NPAs which earned Davao the reputation as the country's "killing fields." Now, amidst the extra-judicial killings happening in the country and in Davao particularly, I often catch people saying that all these killings have been bequeathed to us by the history of bloody killings that characterized Davao in the past. This poem has been originally posted in the Filipino Jesuit literary blog and posted here with the permission from the author.


Sanayan Lang Ang Pagpatay
(Para sa sektor nating pumapatay ng tao)

ni Paring Bert Alejo, SJ

Pagpatay ng tao? Sanayan lang 'yan pare.
Parang sa butiki. Sa una siyempre
Ikaw'y nangingimi.
Hindi mo masikmurang
Tiradurin o hampasing tulad ng ipis o lamok
Pagkat para bang lagi 'yang nakadapo
Sa noo ng santo sa altar
At tila may tinig na nagsasabing
Bawal bawal bawal 'yang pumatay.
Subalit tulad lang ng maraming bagay
Ang pagpatay ay natututuhan din kung magtitiyaga
Kang makinig sa may higit na karanasan.
Nakuha ko sa tiyuhin ko kung paanong balibagin ng tsinelas
O pilantikin ng lampin ang nakatitig na butiki sa aming kisame
At kapag nalaglag na't nagkikikisay sa sahig
Ay agad ipitin nang hindi makapuslit
Habang dahan-dahang tinitipon ang buong bigat
Sa isang paang nakatingkayad: sabay bagsak.

Magandang pagsasanay ito sapagkat
Hindi mo nakikita, naririnig lamang na lumalangutngot
Ang buo't bungo ng lintik na butiking hindi na makahalutiktik.
(kung sa bagay, kilabot din 'yan sa mga gamu-gamo.)
Nang magtagal-tagal ay naging malikhain na rin
Ang aking mga kamay sa pagdukit ng mata,
Pagbleyd ng paa, pagpisa ng itlog sa loob ng tiyan
Hanggang mamilipit 'yang parang nasa ibabaw ng baga.
O kung panahon ng Pasko't maraming paputok
Maingat kong sinusubuan 'yan ng rebentador
Upang sa pagsabog ay magpaalaman ang nguso at buntot.
(Ang hindi ko lamang maintindihan ay kung bakit
Patuloy pa rin 'yang nadaragdagan.)

Kaya't ang pagpatay ay nakasasawa rin kung minsan.
Mabuti na lamang at nakaluluwag ng loob
Ang pinto at bintanang kahit hindi mo sinasadya
At may paraan ng pagpuksa ng buhay.
Ganyang lang talaga ang pagpatay:
Kung hindi ako ay iba naman ang babanat;
Kung hindi ngayon ay sa iba namang oras.
Subalit ang higit na nagbibigay sa akin ng lakas ng loob
Ay ang malalim nating pagsasamahan:
Habang ako'y pumapatay, kayo nama'y nanonood.

Friday, June 01, 2007

My Borrowed Workplaces

To honor all borrowed workplaces in my increasingly nomadic life.