My Ninong and Ninang

When Alan and I got married, we were constrained by US Immigration requirements to wed within 90 days of my arrival here on American soil on a fiancee visa.  We would’ve easily opted to do a civil wedding but we decided instead to have an ecumenical ceremony on the grounds of the banquet venue where we had our reception for 30 friends and family.  We didn’t want a big wedding because we really just wanted to start spending the rest of our lives together.

Our wedding entourage was devoid of frills as well.  My sister, who would have been my Maid of Honor failed to make it here to the US with my Mom.  No one from my family was present, but we had chosen my sister-in-laws parents-in-law to be our Ninong and Ninang.  They were ever solicitous and very concerned for me and were godparents to a T.  Through the last 5 years, we have become like children to them and they, parents to us, and we became one big happy family.

Recent events which tore the family apart made my Ninong and Ninang casualties of a fight they were never a participant of.  I wrote them a letter last week thanking them for all that they have done, particularly for making me feel like I was a part of THEIR family.  They would invite us to what used to be immediate family member gatherings where we got to know their own extended family.  In essence we were only related by affinity, but we felt a strong bond which fostered the highest respect for these two people who were very generous with their patience, wisdom and love.

As the angry words were hurled in e-mails they were eventually copied on, it became clear to Alan and me that much as we would want to maintain the same ties we had before things went awry elsewhere, they had their own family ties to respect.

Thank you is not enough to express the gratitude we want to convey to them.  I asked forgiveness for anything that may have been said or done which may have offended their sensibilities or feelings.  I told them that much as we would want to continue to see them like before, we know that their son’s feelings would take primacy.  Ang dugo ay kadugo.  Sometimes, you don’t want to take sides but you are forced to because you don’t want to hurt those you love.  We told them we understand.

It was enough for us that those words were said.  It is never easy to say goodbye although I stated there to Alan and me, this was not goodbye.  I couldn’t help but shed a tear when I wrote that e-mail because I have come to love my Ninong and Ninang like real parents.

You can never truly say you are not taking sides because someone will get offended if you don’t.  We would like to think we are open to reconciliation, but with the pain still so vivid and fresh, only time will tell when that can happen.  And as I had stated, peace only works if both sides come to an agreement to go for it.

They were always there like our own parents — like a Lolo and Lola to Angel.  Married over 30 years now, theirs was a marraige we emulated and hope to surpass if not at least equal.  Pinoy na pinoy sila, a trait which some who have grown up and considered themselves Americanized would frown upon, but that is a trait of theirs that has endeared them to me personally.  They are always here in our thoughts and prayers, and knowing that they know we feel that way is enough for now, at least until we can be a family again — whenever that may be.

Watching from the sidelines

Inside PCIJ provides a very good discussion board on the State of Emergency declared by GMA.  Worth reading if you have the time.

Dong Puno’s latest article in THE PHILIPPINE STAR also provides some sound illustrations and leaves one to judge.

I’m still in the thick of reading, so I’m not prepared with a response just yet, except to say that the exercise of emergency power, whether warranted or not, is always an act of desperation.  And desperate people tend to have questionable judgment.  While practically everyone wants to leave the Philippines and move to the US (which I understand but disagree with), life isn’t necessarily any better here if you look at the big picture.  You earn in dollars, you spend in dollars.  Living the so-called American Dream has it’s price.  But we’re straying from the issues at hand.

Power can be intoxicating.  And the drunk are never trustworthy.  I just wonder if the Filipino people can wait for GMA and her people to sober up.

Full text of Proclamation 1017 of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo



WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists — the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State — who are now in tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004.

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the President;

WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State — by obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country;

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensity their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;

WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;

NOW, THEREFORE, I Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that: “ The President…whenever it becomes necessary,…may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress…rebellion…, “ and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.

IN WITNESS HEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 24th day of February, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and six.

Republic of the Philippines

The Revised Penal Code articles relevant to Rebellion, Sedition and Disloyalty

So many things have happened in Manila this past few days and we have seen many personalities get arrested right and left.  I have always tried to be apolitical here but it doesn’t mean I don’t hold any political views.  But since this is my space and I’m entitled to say anything I want to say here, I want to educate the people who stray into this part of the web about what exactly GMA’s government is supposedly or factually struggling against.

Thanks to some illustrious law firm that published many of our bodies of law in toto (in full) on the web, I picked out the relevant articles in our Revised Penal Code just so you can see the exact definition of those words that have been bandied about so brazenly in this state of national emergency.  What exactly is Rebellion, Sedition and Disloyalty?
Do take note that under the law, one cannot be held guilty of the crimes described therein unless ALL of the elements of the crime or those parts which define its commission are actually committed.  So you be the judge.  I’m scouring the web for a text of the infamous declartion of GMA — that’s coming next if I can find a verbatim publication online.
This too, shall pass.
Title Three
Chapter One
Art. 134. Rebellion or insurrection; How committed. — The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives. (As amended by R.A. 6968).

Article 134-A. Coup d’etat; How committed. — The crime of coup d’etat is a swift attack accompanied by violence, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth, directed against duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the Philippines, or any military camp or installation, communications network, public utilities or other facilities needed for the exercise and continued possession of power, singly or simultaneously carried out anywhere in the Philippines by any person or persons, belonging to the military or police or holding any public office of employment with or without civilian support or participation for the purpose of seizing or diminishing state power. (As amended by R.A. 6968).

Art. 135. Penalty for rebellion, insurrection or coup d’etat. — Any person who promotes, maintains, or heads rebellion or insurrection shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Any person merely participating or executing the commands of others in a rebellion shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal.

Any person who leads or in any manner directs or commands others to undertake a coup d’etat shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Any person in the government service who participates, or executes directions or commands of others in undertaking a coup d’etat shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period.

Any person not in the government service who participates, or in any manner supports, finances, abets or aids in undertaking a coup d’etat shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period.

When the rebellion, insurrection, or coup d’etat shall be under the command of unknown leaders, any person who in fact directed the others, spoke for them, signed receipts and other documents issued in their name, as performed similar acts, on behalf or the rebels shall be deemed a leader of such a rebellion, insurrection, or coup d’etat. (As amended by R.A. 6968, approved on October 24, 1990).

Art. 136. Conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d’etat, rebellion or insurrection. — The conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d’etat shall be punished by prision mayor in minimum period and a fine which shall not exceed eight thousand pesos (P8,000.00).

The conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion or insurrection shall be punished respectively, by prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine which shall not exceed five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) and by prision correccional in its medium period and a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos (P2,000.00). (As amended by R.A. 6968, approved October 24, 1990).

Art. 137. Disloyalty of public officers or employees. — The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon public officers or employees who have failed to resist a rebellion by all the means in their power, or shall continue to discharge the duties of their offices under the control of the rebels or shall accept appointment to office under them. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

Art. 138. Inciting a rebellion or insurrection. — The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any person who, without taking arms or being in open hostility against the Government, shall incite others to the execution of any of the acts specified in article 134 of this Code, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same end. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

Art. 139. Sedition; How committed. — The crime of sedition is committed by persons who rise publicly and tumultuously in order to attain by force, intimidation, or by other means outside of legal methods, any of the following objects:

1. To prevent the promulgation or execution of any law or the holding of any popular election;

2. To prevent the National Government, or any provincial or municipal government or any public officer thereof from freely exercising its or his functions, or prevent the execution of any administrative order;

3. To inflict any act of hate or revenge upon the person or property of any public officer or employee;

4. To commit, for any political or social end, any act of hate or revenge against private persons or any social class; and

5. To despoil, for any political or social end, any person, municipality or province, or the National Government (or the Government of the United States), of all its property or any part thereof.

Art. 140. Penalty for sedition. — The leader of a sedition shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine not exceeding 10,000 pesos.

Other persons participating therein shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine not exceeding 5,000 pesos. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

Art. 141. Conspiracy to commit sedition. — Persons conspiring to commit the crime of sedition shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium period and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

Art. 142. Inciting to sedition. — The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without taking any direct part in the crime of sedition, should incite others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners, or other representations tending to the same end, or upon any person or persons who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels against the Government (of the United States or the Government of the Commonwealth) of the Philippines, or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof, or which tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the Government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).