March 2011

Penguin Classics commemorates 150th anniversary of Jose Rizal's birth

Press release:


Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Harold Augenbraum

In our 65th anniversary year, Penguin Classics commemorates the 150th anniversary of the birth of José Rizal with the stunning continuation of his great revolutionary epic of the Philippines—in a new translation.


Picking up the story of Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) thirteen years later, the sequel EL FILIBUSTERISMO (Penguin Classics Original / On-Sale: June 2011 / ISBN: 978-0-143-10639-5 / 368 pages / $17.00), presents a gripping tale of obsession and revenge. Gone are the Noli’s themes of innocent love, its hero, Ibarra, a man of great integrity and vision, replaced by the mysterious jeweler Simoun and a venal—and reprehensible—cast of characters. The result of Rizal’s growth as writer and influenced by his exposure to international events, El Filibusterismo is a riveting and suspenseful account of Filipino resistance to colonial rule that still resonates today.

“Augenbraum has done a masterful job translating El Filibusterismo and provides another elegant, well-researched and thoughtful introduction. Though the Noli remains the better-known of the two, this powerful sequel shows us a more complicated, tough-minded Rizal and deserves a wider readership.” —Jessica Hagedorn

About the Author:

JOSÉ RIZAL (1861-1896) is known as the hero of the Philippines and the largest champion of Filipino nationalism and independence. Raised by an upper-class family of eleven children, Rizal left the Philippines for Spain in order to finish his education. Through his extensive travels and studies, he mastered twenty-two languages and practiced various professions, including journalism and medicine. His first novel,Noli Me Tangere, was published in Berlin in 1887, to the ire of the Spanish civil and religious servants in the Philippines whom it satired. Its sequel, El Filibusterismo, further angered the Spanish authorities, and, when the revolution broke out in the Philippines, Rizal was captured and imprisoned for sedition and rebellion. Rizal was executed on December 30th, 1896, at the age of 35.

About the Translator and Introducer:

HAROLD AUGENBRAUM is executive director of the National Book Foundation. Among his books are Growing Up Latino,Encyclopedia LatinaLengua Fresca, and the Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (with Ilan Stavans), The Latino Reader and U.S. Latino Literature (with Margarite Fernández-Olmos), and translations of Chronicle of the Narváez Expedition and José Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere for Penguin Classics.


José Rizal

Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Harold Augenbraum

Penguin Classics Original

ISBN: 978-0-143-10639-5
On-Sale: June 2011

Price: $17.00

Philippine Independence Day on June 12th commemorates independence from Spanish colonial rule. The national holiday in the Philippines is celebrated by Filipino communities worldwide.

For more information on José Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere listen to “The Noli: José Rizal and the Novel that Sparked the Philippine Revolution” on Penguin Classics On Air

For additional information contact:

Gabrielle Gantz / Publicist / Viking and Penguin Books

Tel: 212-366-2248[email protected]

The Filipino culture of schadenfreude

It has been a hell of a week. In the beginning we had Willing Willie, and allegations of child abuse case that spawned from it, has sparked a poor versus rich debate. So much for that apology. Willing Willie and Jan-Jan issue was followed rather swiftly by the execution of three Filipinos sentenced to die for being drug couriers, and I wrote that “Poverty does not excuse us from committing crimes.”

Throughout the week a theme seem to have developed. No, it isn’t that abject poverty has driven both cases, but rather our society’s values seem to have skewed. It skewed a lot. We’re not talking about sexual mores and how the conservatives would rage and rant on the proliferation of scantily clad women on magazines, no, this is far, far more horrifying. We’re talking about the cancer that has spread into every facet of society. That everything can be twisted and turned.

Children are now taught how to dance like an adult, and a segment of the public finds it humorous. We have Filipinos going abroad posing as drug couriers. Some of them victims, some of them willing to do it for a quick buck. We have Filipinos treating other Filipinos that way. And at the root core of it all is the abject poverty that many feel. We have sacrificed our values for a quick buck. What’s most frightening is that they don’t think it is wrong.

It has become norm to hash out problems with the Police to get out of a situation. It isn’t even bribery. Just asking for a favor, if you could please look the other way. Or ask the government to bail them out of a jam while abroad. Most certainly there are many who are indeed innocent, but where do we stand up for law and justice?

Then there is the frightening state of debate on Reproductive Health, where the Bishops proud of their role at EDSA and many other important junctures in recent history, simply disengaging themselves from the debate. The RH Bill story no longer becomes one on the merits, and details of the bill, but the vile thrown by both sides of the isle.

As a society we cringe at the thought of millions being stolen by military officials and their wives. It has become a daily afternoon telenovela for news junkies. We dream of a day when the Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez finally leaves or is forced to leave her office, and we agree, to “Nuke ’em.”

Yet the cancer prevailing in our society runs so deep, it boggles the mind. It isn’t just that millions get stolen from government coffers anymore. It is how We the People behave, and believe. Our social mores have twisted and turned into something far, far less civilized. Is this the price of decades of corruption? That we now have a culture of being un-Filipino?

The quintessential Filipino is basically good, isn’t he? He is funny, and happy, but his jokes while sometimes lewd, and hinting of innuendo, still respects kids. The true Filipino male does everything for his family, but while poor fears the law. That our idea of Maria Clara is a good woman: the devoted wife, and mother; the good sister. Are these merely nostalgic images from a bygone age?

Some of us don’t think so. In fact, as John Nery pointed out when Carmen Pedrosa was bitten by a mosquito, John Nery wrote a most eloquent op-ed, “Opinion and the gullible columnist.” In his concluding paragraph, he wrote about how some Filipinos think so lowly about our fellow Filipinos. Nery wrote on Pedrosa, “In all likelihood she began with her conclusion. Her low regard for her fellow Filipinos, especially those who did not see the wisdom of constitutional change during the Arroyo presidency or who were undiscerning enough to vote for Noynoy Aquino, is no secret. That must have been why, when she clicked on the link and saw the story, she failed to follow her own advice and “question information.” The story confirmed her worldview, and was therefore true.”

In many ways, his words too capture the culture of schadenfreude that Willie Revelame, and others like him pontificate.

We also think very lowly of country. How many times have people said, we cannot do this or that because, the country is not sophisticated enough. If elsewhere like Japan they cannot do it, what more in the Philippines? Why are we so afraid to dare? Why are we so afraid to take chances? Why are we so afraid to fail?

Today, does the Filipino fear the law? Do we fear the repercussions? Do we even think of the repercussions? Perhaps, this too is an awakening for those of us living in ivory towers. Maybe those nostalgic images were just vivid fantasies, and that changing our society is going to take much longer, and the changes must run deeper. Like many things wrong with our society, change begin in us, not the government not that neighbor of yours. In. Us. As the Weepies song goes, “Why everybody wishes they were somewhere else, but in the end, the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself.”

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by wili_hybrid

Senator Kiko Pangilinan Seeks to Introduce Amendments to Impeachment Rules to Expedite Trial

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan filed Senate Resolution 441 which would allow “the Senators to immediately vote on whether or not the impeachment is sustained when the presentation of evidence and arguments by the parties on one article of impeachment is completed; and if the impeachment shall not be sustained by the votes of two-thirds of all the Members, the presentation of evidence for the next article of impeachment shall commence accordingly.”

Pangilinan says the amendments proposed seek to make the impeachment trial of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez more efficient in the usage of both time and resources of the Senate. “Based on records of previous impeachment trial, it took the Senate nearly three months to cover two of four articles. With six articles, it is possible that the trial could drag on for a year, thereby affecting the entire legislative performance of the Senate.”

According to the rules of impeachment, “In the event that the prosecutors from the House of Representatives prove the case against Ombudsman Gutierrez in only one of the six articles, she will be formally removed from public office.” Pangilinan says that therefore, the Senate need not vote on all six articles of impeachment. If the Ombudsman has been convicted of one of the articles, the Senate may decide that subsequent votes on the remaining articles are unnecessary.


List of Congressmen urging burial of Marcos at Libigan ng Bayani

Here is a list of Congressmen who signed House Resolution 1135, introduced by Congressman Salvador H. Escudero III. It is a resolution urging President Aquino to allow the burial of the remains of Former President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The said Congressmen are:

Abayon, Daryl Grace J., AANGAT TAYO
Acharon, Pedro Jr. B., South Cotabato & General Santos City, 1st District, NPC
Acop, Romeo M., Antipolo City, 2nd District, Independent
Aggabao, Giorgidi B., Isabela, 4th District, LPC
Aglipay, Emmeline Y., DIWA
Agyao, Manuel S., Kalinga, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Albano, Rodolfo B., Isabela, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Alcover, Pastor Jr. M., ANAD
Almario, Thelma Z., Davao Oriental, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Almonte, Jorge T., Misamis Occidental, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Alvarez, Antonio C., Palawan, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Alvarez, Mercedes K., Negros Occidental, 6th District, NPC
Amante-Matba, Angelica M., Agusan del Norte, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Amatong, Rommel C., Compostela Valley, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Andaya, Rolando Jr. G., Camarines Sur, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Angping, Ma. Zenaida B., Manila, 3rd District, NPC
Antonino, Rodolfo W., Nueva Ecija, 4th District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Antonio, Patricio T., ABIAG
Apacible, Tomas V., Batangas, 1st District, Liberal
Apostol, Sergio F., Leyte, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Aquino, Jose II S., Agusan del Norte, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Arago, Ma. Evita R., Laguna, 3rd District, Liberal
Arenas, Ma. Rachel J., Pangasinan, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Arnaiz, George P., Negros Oriental, 2nd District, NPC
Arquiza, Godofredo V., SENIOR CITIZEN
Arroyo, Diosdado Macapagal, Camarines Sur, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Arroyo, Ignacio, Negros Occidental, 5th District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Asilo, Benjamin DR., Manila, 1st District, LP/KKK
Aumentado, Erico B., Bohol, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Avance-Fuentes, Daisy, South Cotabato, 2nd District, NPC
Bagasina, Catalina C., ALE
Bagatsing, Amado S., Manila, 5th District, KABAKA
Balindong, Pangalian M., Lanao del Sur, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Barzaga, Elpidio Jr. F., Dasmariñas City, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Bataoil, Leopoldo N., Pangasinan, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Batocabe, Rodel M., AKO BIKOL
Bautista, Franklin P., Davao del Sur, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Belmonte, Vicente Jr. F., Iligan City, Lone District, Liberal
Benitez, Alfredo ‘Albee’ B., Negros Occidental, 3rd District, NPC
Bernos, Ma. Jocelyn V., Abra, Lone District, PDSP
Bichara, Al Francis DC., Albay, 2nd District, Nacionalista
Bondoc, Anna York P., M.D., Pampanga, 4th District, Nacionalista
Bravo, Narciso Jr. R., Masbate, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Brawner Baguilat, Teddy Jr., Ifugao, Lone District, Liberal
Briones, Nicanor M., AGAP
Bulut-Begtang, Eleanor C., Apayao, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Cabaluna, Salvador III P., 1-CARE
Cabilao Yambao, Jonathan, Zamboanga Sibugay, 1st District, Nacionalista
Cagas, Marc Douglas IV C., Davao del Sur, 1st District, Nacionalista
Cajayon, Mary Mitzi L., Caloocan City, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Calimbas-Villarosa, Ma. Amelita A., Occidental Mindoro, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Canonigo, Ranulfo P., KAKUSA
Cari, Jose Carlos L., Leyte, 5th District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Castro, Jane T., Capiz, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Catamco, Nancy A., North Cotabato, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Celeste, Jesus ‘Boying’ F., Pangasinan, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Cerafica, Arnel M., Taguig City, 1st District, Liberal
Chipeco, Justin Mark SB., Laguna, 2nd District, Nacionalista
Co, Christopher S., AKO BIKOL
Cojuangco, Enrique M., Tarlac, 1st District, NPC
Cojuangco, Kimi S., Pangasinan, 5th District, NPC
Collantes, Sonny P., Batangas, 3rd District, PMP
Cortuna, Julieta R., A TEACHER
Cosalan, Ronald M., Benguet, Lone District, Liberal
Crisologo, Vincent ‘Bingbong’ P., Quezon City, 1st District, Nacionalista
Cua, Dakila Carlo E., Quirino, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Dalog, Maximo B., Mountain Province, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Datumanong ,Simeon A., Maguindanao, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Dayanghirang, Nelson L., Davao Oriental, 1st District, Nacionalista
De Venecia, Ma. Georgina P., Pangasinan, 4th District, NPC
Del Rosario, Antonio A., Capiz, 1st District, Liberal
Diaz, Antonio M., Zambales, 2nd District, Lapiang Manggagawa
Dimaporo, Fatima Aliah Q., Lanao del Norte, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Dimaporo, Imelda Quibranza, Lanao del Norte, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Duavit, Joel Roy, Rizal, 1st District, NPC
Durano, Ramon VI H., Cebu, 5th District, NPC
Dy, Napoleon S., Isabela, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Ejercito, Joseph Victor G., San Juan City, Lone District, PMP
Emano, Yevgeny Vincente B., Misamis Oriental, 2nd District, Nacionalista
Enerio-Cerilles, Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Enverga, Wilfrido Mark M., Quezon, 1st District, Nacionalista
Eriguel, Eufranio ‘Franny’ C., M.D., La Union, 2nd District, NPC
Escudero, Salvador III H., Sorsogon, 1st District, NPC
Espina, Rogelio J.,M.D., Biliran, Lone District, Nacionalista
Estrella, Robert Raymund M., ABONO
Evardone, Ben P., Eastern Samar, Lone District, Independent
Fariñas, Rodolfo C., Ilocos Norte, 1st District, Nacionalista
Fernandez, Danilo Ramon S., Laguna, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Ferrer, Antonio A., Cavite, 6th District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Ferrer, Jeffrey P., Negros Occidental, 4th District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Fortuno, Salvio B., Camarines Sur, 5th District, Nacionalista
Fua, Orlando B., Siquijor, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Fuentebella, Arnulfo P., Camarines Sur, 4th District, NPC
Garay, Florencio C., Surigao del Sur, 2nd District, Nacionalista
Garbin, Alfredo Jr. A., AKO BIKOL
Garcia, Albert Raymond S., Bataan, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Garin, Janette L., Iloilo, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Garin, Sharon S., AAMBIS-OWA
Gatchalian, Rex, Valenzuela City, 1st District, NPC
Go, Ana Cristina S., Isabela, 2nd District, Nacionalista
Go, Arnulfo F., Sultan Kudarat, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Golez, Anthony Rolando Jr. T., Bacolod City, Lone District, NPC
Gomez, Lucy T., Leyte, 4th District, Liberal
Gonzales, Aurelio ‘Dong’ Jr. D., Pampanga, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Gonzalez, Fernando V., Albay, 3rd District, Liberal
Guanlao, Agapito H., BUTIL
Gullas, Eduardo R., Cebu, 1st District, NP-ALAYON
Haresco, Teodorico T., ANG KASANGGA
Hataman-Salliman, Jim S., Basilan, Lone District, Liberal
Herrera-Dy, Bernadette R., BH
Jaafar, Nur G., Tawi-Tawi, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Jalosjos, Cesar G., Zamboanga del Norte, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Jalosjos, Romeo Jr. M., Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd District, Nacionalista
Jalosjos, Seth F. P., Zamboanga del Norte, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Joson, Josefina M., Nueva Ecija, 1st District, NPC
Kho, Antonio T., Masbate, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Lacson-Noel, Josephine Veronique R., Malabon City, Lone District, NPC
Lagdameo, Antonio Jr. F., Davao del Norte, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Lanete, Scott Davies S., M.D., Masbate, 3rd District, NPC
Lapus, Jeci A., Tarlac, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Lazatin, Carmelo F., Pampanga, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Leonen-Pizarro, Catalina G., ABS
Lico, Isidro Q., ATING KOOP
Limkaichong, Jocelyn S., Negros Oriental, 1st District, Liberal
Loong, Tupay T., Sulu, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Lopez, Carol Jayne B., YACAP
Loyola, Roy M., Cavite, 5th District, Liberal
Macapagal Arroyo, Juan Miguel, ANG GALING PINOY
Macapagal-Arroyo, Gloria M., Pampanga, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Madrona, Eleandro Jesus F., Romblon, Lone District, Nacionalista
Magsaysay, Eulogio ‘Amang’ R., AVE
Magsaysay, Ma. Milagros H., Zambales, 1st District, Lakas
Malapitan, Oscar G., Caloocan City, 1st District, Nacionalista
Maliksi, Erineo S., Cavite, 3rd District, Liberal
Mandanas, Hermilando I., Batangas, 2nd District, Liberal
Marañon, Alfredo III D., Negros Occidental, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Marcoleta, Rodante D., AVE
Marcos, Imelda R., Ilocos Norte, 2nd District, KBL
Matugas, Francisco ‘Lalo’ T., Surigao del Norte, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Mellana, Evelyn P., Agusan del Sur, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Mendoza, Joselito ‘Jonjon’ R., Bulacan, 3rd District, Liberal
Mendoza, Mark Llandro L., Batangas, 4th District, NPC
Mercado, Roger G., Southern Leyte, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Mercado-Revilla, Lani, Cavite, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Miraflores, Florencio T., Aklan, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Montejo, Neil Benedict A., AN WARAY
Nava, Joaquin Carlos Rahman A., Guimaras, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Noel, Florencio G., AN WARAY
Nograles, Karlo Alexei B., Davao City, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Obillo, Reena Concepcion G., ANG PAMILYA
Ocampo, Rosenda Ann, Manila, 6th District, LP/KKK
Olivarez, Edwin L., Parañaque City, 1st District, Liberal
Ong, Emil L., Northern Samar, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Ortega, Francisco Emmanuel III R.ABONO
Ortega, Victor Francisco C., La Union, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Padilla, Carlos M., Nueva Vizcaya, Lone District, Nacionalista
Palmones, Angelo B., AGHAM
Pancho, Pedro M., Bulacan, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Pangandaman, Mohammed Hussein P., Lanao del Sur, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Pangandaman, Solaiman C., AA KASOSYO
Panotes, Elmer E., Camarines Norte, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Paras, Jesus Emmanuel M., Bukidnon, 1st District, NPC
Payuyo, Ponciano D., APEC
Piamonte, Mariano Jr. U., A-TEACHER
Pichay, Philip A., Surigao del Sur, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Plaza, Ma. Valentina G., Agusan del Sur, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Ponce Enrile, Juan Jr. C., Cagayan, 1st District, NPC
Primicias-Agabas, Marlyn L., Pangasinan, 6th District, NPC
Puno, Roberto V., Antipolo City, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Quimbo, Romero Federico ‘Miro’ S., Marikina City, 2nd District, Liberal
Quisumbing, Gabriel R., Cebu, 6th District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Ramos, Deogracias Jr. B., Sorsogon, 2nd District, Liberal
Remulla, Jesus Crispin C., Cavite, 7th District, Nacionalista
Rivera, Michael Angelo C., 1-CARE
Robes, Arturo B., San Jose del Monte City, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Rodriguez, Isidro Jr. S., Rizal, 2nd District, NPC
Rodriguez, Maximo Jr. B., ABANTE MINDANAO
Rodriguez, Rufus B., Cagayan de Oro City, 2nd District, PMP
Roman, Herminia B., Bataan, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Romarate, Guillermo Jr. A., Surigao del Norte, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Romualdez, Ferdinand Martin G., Leyte, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Romualdo, Pedro P., Camiguin, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Sacdalan, Jesus N., North Cotabato, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Sahidulla, Nur-ana I., Sulu, 2nd District, NPC
Sakaluran, Raden C., Sultan Kudarat, 1st District, Independent
Salimbangon, Benhur L., Cebu, 4th District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Salvacion, Andres Jr. D., Leyte, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
San Luis, Edgar S., Laguna, 4th District, NPC
Sarmiento, Cesar V., Catanduanes, Lone District, Liberal
Sarmiento, Mel Senen S., Western Samar, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Sema, Bai Sandra A., Maguindanao & Cotabato City, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Singson, Eric Jr. G., Ilocos Sur, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Socrates, Victorino Dennis M., Palawan, 2nd District, NPC
Suarez, Danilo E., Quezon, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Sy-Alvarado, Ma. Victoria R., Bulacan, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Tan, Milagrosa ‘Mila’ T., Western Samar, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Teodoro, Marcelino R, Marikina City, 1st District, Independent
Teves, Pryde Henry A., Negros Oriental, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Tiangco, Tobias ‘Toby’ M., Navotas City, Lone District, Partido Navoteno
Ting, Randolph S., Cagayan, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Tomawis, Acmad M., ALIF
Tupas, Niel Jr. C., Iloilo, 5th District, Liberal
Umali, Reynaldo V., Oriental Mindoro, 2nd District, Liberal
Unabia, Peter ‘Sr. Pedro’ M., Misamis Oriental, 1st District, PMP
Ungab, Isidro T., Davao City, 3rd District, Liberal
Valencia, Rodolfo G., Oriental Mindoro, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Vargas-Alfonso, Baby Aline, Cagayan, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Vergara, Bernardo M., Baguio City, Lone District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Villafuerte, Luis R., Camarines Sur, 3rd District, NPC
Villar, Mark A., Las Piñas City, Lone District, Nacionalista
Violago, Joseph Gilbert F., Nueva Ecija, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Yap, Arthur C., Bohol, 3rd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Yap, Susan, Tarlac, 2nd District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Yu, Victor J., Zamboanga del Sur, 1st District, NPC
Zamora-Apsay, Ma. Carmen, Compostela Valley, 1st District, Lakas-Kampi-CMD

Source: ABS-CBN

Nuke 'em

“Making plutonium and fission products just to boil water (which is what a nuclear reactor does) is not a prudent approach to electricity generation.” – Arjun Makhijani, nuclear scientist

    (While I’m waiting for the trial of Ombudsgirl Merceditas Gutierrez)

    ME: Are you for switching on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant?

    SEN. MIRIAM SANTIAGO: It is alarmist to say we cannot have a nuclear power plant because look at what happened in Japan. We have to wait for what will be the effect of the partial meltdown in Fukushima before we make any comments with respect to the pending bill*.

    ME: So you want to start up the BNPP.

    SANTIAGO: The bill that I have filed only asks for public officials concerned to validate the operability of the BNPP. In other words, we are asking experts in our government to tell us if we can still operate Bataan, check for operability with respect to mechanical, electronic, and structural*.

    ME: Ah, so you only want to study it. In that case may I give you my expert opinion?

    SANTIAGO: Sure.

    ME: Nuclear power plants are very safe, as long as nothing goes wrong. Radioactive wastes can be stored safely, as long as nothing goes wrong.

    SEN. SERGIO OSMENA III: There is no such thing as absolute safety. If you always want absolute safety, we will never even develop the airline industry because there is always an element of an accident. It’s just the level of safety commensurate to the level of public acceptance*.

    ME: Who is talking about absolute safety? I’m talking about relative safety. A plane crash is different from a nuclear accident.

    OSMENA: Obviously.

    ME: But you brushed off the difference. You said, “It’s just the level of safety commensurate to the level of public acceptance.”

    OSMENA: At day’s end it’s the people that will decide whether they want nuclear power or not.

    ME: So it’s more about public relations than safety. Anyway, what happens when a plane crashes?

    OSMENA: People die.

    ME: What happens when a nuclear plant’s fail-safe back-up safety mechanisms malfunction?

    OSMENA: People also die.

    ME: That’s right. And furthermore, you mark out a radioactive fallout zone around the plant, like the 80 km. radius evacuation zone that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) drew around Fukushima. Now visualize that same fallout zone around the BNPP. Can you see that the evacuation zone will include practically all of Bataan and Pampanga and parts of Zambales, Tarlac, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Cavite, and Batangas?

    OSMENA: I know that.

    ME: Then I’ll ask you something you don’t know. Can a plane crash ever impact an area as large as a fallout zone?

    OSMENA: Of course not!

    ME: Of course yes when a plane dives into a nuclear power plant.

    OSMENA: Don’t be silly; nuclear power is safe.

    ME: Then why not build one right in the heart of Metro Manila? You can cut power transmission costs by half if you do that.

    SEN. ALAN PETER CAYETANO: I also want to know why some are insisting that we use the Bataan site. Is it really just cheaper or more advantageous*?

    ME: I think your concern over location misses the point. The problem is with the method not with location.

    CAYETANO: Huh?

    ME: Like the man said, “Making plutonium and fission products just to boil water (which is what a nuclear reactor does) is not a prudent approach to electricity generation.”

    CAYETANO: But nuclear power produces clean energy.

    ME: That’s true only if you ignore the fact that nuclear energy production is a process that begins with mining uranium and ends with hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive wastes that no one knows how to store or reprocess safely

    CAYETANO: Radioactive waste storage facilities can withstand practically any destructive human or natural force.

    ME: For at least 24,000 years?

    CAYETANO: What?

    ME: That’s the amount of time it takes for plutonium-239 to decay. At any rate, what do we do with the BNPP?

    ALL THREE SENATORS: That’s what we’re still trying to figure.

    ME: I have a solution.

    ALL THREE SENATORS: Let’s hear it.

    ME: Let’s just convert the BNPP into a prison for all those who will be charged with plunder after Ombudsgirl Merceditas Gutierrez vacates her office.

*lifted verbatim from newspaper reports

China executes 3 Filipino drug couriers

ABS-CBN News reported that Elizabeth Batain, Ramon Credo, and Sally Ordinario-Villanueva were executed by lethal injection in China.  They have been convicted drug couriers.  ABS-CBN quotes Vice President Jejomar Binay, who confirmed that the execution was indeed carried out.  Palace deputy spokesperson, Abi Valte was quoted by ANC’s twitter account, “We sympathize with the family of the 3, may this be a vivid lesson in the tragic toll the drug trade takes on entire families.”

The Official Gazette has published a Statement by the Presidential Spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda on the execution of Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, and Elizabeth Batain in Xiamen, China.

Mr. Lacierda’s statement read by the Deputy Spokesperson concluded, “We are resolved to ensure that the chain of victimization, as pushers entrap and destroy lives in pursuit of their trade, will be broken. Those who traffic in illegal drugs respect no laws, no boundaries, and have no scruples about destroying lives. Our response must be relentless, with government and the citizenry working together to ensure vigilance and mutual support to prevent our countrymen from being used by drug pushers as sacrificial pawns, whether at home or abroad.”

Twitter reactions on the execution:

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Photo credit: Lethal Injection Room by CACorrections, some rights reserved.

Filipino arrested for selling U.S. spy plane on eBay

RQ-11 Raven

A foreign national from the Philippines was charged for smuggling an unmanned spy plane into the U.S. and offering it for sale on Internet auction and shopping website eBay, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) said.

Henson Chua, 47, of Manilla, Philippines, was arrested on a criminal complaint on February 10 in Los Angeles, after he imported a defense article on the U.S. Munitions List, an RQ-11B ‘Raven’ Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, and attempted to export it without a license or written authorization from the U.S. Department of State.

After placing the item on eBay for $13,000, Chua began communicating with undercover agents from ICE Homeland Security Investigations posing to be potential buyers.

Read more at WiredUpdate

Photo credit: DoD photo by Tech. Sergeant Russell E. Cooley IV, U.S. Air Force, Public domain.

Does being poor excuse a Filipino for being a drug mule?

Three Filipinos are set for Death row in China.  The Chinese caught them smuggling drugs into China.  They were in fact, drug mules.  The nation rationalizes that they must be saved.  It wasn’t their fault.  And so the Palace has sought clemency.  The Vice President has made it his personal mission to save these people’s lives.  Yet the question arises.  Does being poor excuse a Filipino, or any person for that matter for being a drug mule?  For smuggling drugs?

If it wasn’t their fault, whose fault was it?

People know smuggling drugs is a criminal offense.  These people however poor their background was, did make that conscious  choice to be drug mules.  They did it to put food on the table for their families.  They did it for a better life.  There is a Filipino phrase for it. “Kumapit sa patalim,” and roughly translated into English means, you grabbed the edge of the blade.

A thief going into a convenient store and stealing food or money does so because he is hungry too.  It doesn’t excuse that he committed the crime.

The laws of China are without a doubt different from the Philippines.  They have different culture, and different perspective.  And any traveller must respect the laws of the country he or she visits or stays in.  It is a covenant.   And yet like many countries in the world, illegal drugs is frowned upon and is taken seriously.

This isn’t to say that the Filipinos are the only ones guilty.  This isn’t to say of course that those who gave them the drugs shouldn’t be hunted down, and put away.  In fact, that should be done.

Committing a person from death row to a life sentence may not the best thing; death isn’t the worst punishment there is.  There are some things worst than death, but most people don’t seem to think so.  Would you serve a prison sentence, and die in prison?  I suppose it would depend on a person.  This isn’t to say the government shouldn’t try to seek that the sentence be reduced.  It is to say, life in prison may be a harsher punishment than death.

And yes this is cold.  It is harsh, but perhaps the nation needs to be colder and harsher, if only by a degree.  When choices are made, we should accept their consequences.  When laws are made, we should apply them.  We will be a better nation because of it.

My take away from all this is that the nation ought to stop rationalizing whenever an OFW commits a crime.  Let us give OFWs in prison around the world, the best lawyer for their defense.  Let us make sure that justice be done.  When all our efforts have been defeated, and if they did commit the crime, we shouldn’t rationalize it that they only did so because of poverty.  There are many people slaving each day to get out of poverty who do so without becoming drug mules.  Poverty doesn’t excuse us from committing crimes.   This isn’t also to say, we shouldn’t hunt down those who made them drug mules in the first place.  This isn’t also to say we shouldn’t find better jobs for people in the Philippines, or to wallow in despair.



Photo credit:  CACorrections, some rights reserved.