EDSA I Revolution: recall what happened

Scenes of the EDSA I Revolution, 22-25 February 1986.

Scenes of the EDSA I Revolution, 22-25 February 1986.

Today is the 27th anniversary after more than 20 year rule of Ferdinand Marcos ended in a bloodless 4-day massive demonstration at the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Quezon City, Metro Manila. The demonstration which turned into a revolution to end the 20-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos was a protest against the alleged electoral fraud committed by Ferdinand Marcos and his party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan during the snap election on 7 February 1986 where the Commission on Elections or COMELEC and the Batasang Pambansa acting as National Board of Canvassers declared the former as the winner for a new 6-year term over Corazon Aquino, widow of late Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and political nemesis of Ferdinand Marcos while the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections or NAMFREL declared the latter as the winner of the snap elections. Ferdinand Marcos declared a snap election on 3 December 1985 before the American television in respond to declining economy, increasing civil discontent, and losing American support of his regime and few days later, the reluctant widow of late Benigno Aquino Jr., Corazon Aquino accepted the clamor to run the presidency for the upcoming snap election.

Ferdinand Marcos’ demise was inevitable way before the EDSA Revolution as the assassination of his nemesis, Benigno Aquino Jr. created a severe economic instability, civil discontent, and losing American support of his regime. Factionalism within his administration was also intense as the last years of his regime, his health was declining as his incapacity was exploited by several factions of his administration to create instability of our country while the other factions were agitating to overthrow Marcos regime by military force. Shortly after the snap election, the Reform the Armed Forces Movement led by Gregorio Honasan backed by Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Constabulary Chief Fidel Ramos was trying to overthrow the falling Marcos regime by a military coup and install a military junta if succeeds, but the military loyalists led by Fabian Ver caught the plot of the RAM to overthrow the regime and the RAM led by their backers, Enrile and Ramos was calling a help from Manila Archbishop, Jaime Cardinal Sin to mobilize people at EDSA for a massive peaceful demonstration to bring the Marcos regime into its knees. The rest is history.

Claiming Sabah is a quixotic thing to do

Map of Sabah. Malaysia and the Philippines have a long-standing dispute on Sabah's sovereignty.

Map of Sabah. Malaysia and the Philippines have a long-standing dispute on Sabah’s sovereignty.

Last week, 12 February 2013, there was a stand-off in Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia where 400 persons including 20-40 who were armed have infiltrated the town of Lahad Datu in behalf of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III of the former Sultanate of Sulu on the basis that North Borneo or Sabah is in the dominion of the former Sultanate of Sulu and the recently signed peace deal between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF, appeared to have isolated that deal, prompted the decision to send the men to Sabah this month.

They were given until Tuesday or 26 February to withdraw from Sabah and return to Sulu but the Sultan has been consistent not to do so because the Malaysian government is still paying yearly rental dues to them as a result of the 1878 lease agreement between the British North Borneo Company and the Sultanate of Sulu.

The Sabah sovereignty dispute between the Philippines representing the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysia should be traced back in 1878 when an agreement between the British North Borneo Company represented by Alfred Dent and Baron von Overback and the Sultanate of Sulu, which stipulated that North Borneo be which stipulated that North Borneo was either ceded or leased (depending on translation used) to the British syndicate in return for payment of 5000 Malayan Dollar per year. The dispute on whether the Sultanate of Sulu leased or ceded North Borneo to the British North Borneo Company has been in contentious dispute until now because different interpretations of the American, British, Dutch, and Spanish interpretations of the word “padjak” where all of them expect the British interpreted to mean as “rent” or “arrendamiento” while the British interpreted as “grant or cede”.

The dispute has become a complicated ones when the Spanish colonial government in Manila, where the Sultanate of Sulu had belong as a protectorate after the Treaty of 1851,  relinquished all claim to North Borneo which had belong to the Sultanate in the past through the Madrid Protocol of 1885.

21 years later in 1906, the American colonial government, who was controlling the Philippine archipelago including Sulu after they ousted the Spaniards 8 years before, formally reminded Great Britain that North Borneo did not belong to the Crown and was still part of the Sultanate of Sulu. However, the British did turn Sabah into a Crown Colony in 1946. American reminders were denied on the basis that the Sultanate of Sulu was a mere protectorate of Spanish East Indies based in Manila during the signing of the Madrid Protocol in 1885 while they asserted that the Spain never acquired sovereignty over North Borneo.

This ambiguity has been passed to our Philippine government through the promulgation of the 1935 constitution which states that the national territory of the Philippines included, among other things, “all other areas which belong to the Philippines on the basis of historical rights or legal claims” as a weapon to claim North Borneo.

Malaysia asserted its claim on North Borneo after the British left in 1963 and the residents were decided through a UN-supervised referendum on whether to be a part with the Federation of Malaysia or with the Republic of the Philippines and when the results were announced, Sabahans chose to be a part with the former.

A year before the Federation of Malayan States, during the presidency of President Diosdado Macapagal, the former Sultanate of Sulu ceded its rights on claiming North Borneo to the Republic of the Philippines, thus gave the Philippines an authority to claim Sabah unsuccessfully from Great Britain. The Philippines broke diplomatic relations with Malaysia after the federation had included Sabah in 1963 but probably resumed it unofficially through the Manila Accord.

The Philippines tried to claim Sabah through force through forming a number of Moro Muslim recruits to train for the invasion of  Sabah which was not executed as most of the recruits were massacred during their training in Corregidor attempting to escape the training led by military handlers according to some accounts. The massacre became the root cause of Moro discontent against the Philippine government from Marcos up to the present time.

I think the reason on why Sabah is not ours was because the Spaniards were too late of consolidating their control on the Philippine archipelago including Sabah and when the Spaniards gained sovereignty over the Sulu and Sabah for a short period of time, the British, Germans, Austrians, and even Americans were already looking to control the then-Sultanate of Sulu and as Spain did not have enough money or manpower to control the then-Sultanate of Sulu, they had to relinquish Sabah in exchange for the sovereignty of Sulu archipelago. When the Americans wanted to claim Sabah in 1906 and 1920, it was way too late to claim it. Also, the Philippine government was way too late of pursuing to claim Sabah. Therefore, Sabah’s exclusion from the Philippines was a product of Spanish Empire’s long decline of its prominence to the British Empire, who  economically and militarily controlled the world when Spain gave up its control on Sabah.

I don’t think making foolish military actions to claim Sabah to us would gather sympathy to the Sabahans and in fact, the recent stand-off further scared the motives of the Sultanate of Sulu and the Philippines on claiming Sabah. We don’t have even an enough military technology and manpower to assert our claims on Sabah against the Malaysians, how much more of making a sensible military actions to claim Sabah?

We should not sacrifice our relations not just with Malaysia but also with the rest of ASEAN on claiming Sabah in a foolish way. We need to befriend all of them though a greater economic and political integration where if the latter achieves sometime in the future, it would be easier for the Filipinos to live and work in Sabah under the ASEAN supranation umbrella like what most European Union member states under the Schengen Area where the Germans can live and work in France or vice versa without barriers.

If we want to pursue our claims on Sabah, we have to clean our own backyard first like improving the lives of the Filipinos into Malaysian levels or greater than of that so that the people of Sabah will insinuate to be part of our country.

Surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI first appearance as a Pope, 19 April 2005.

Pope Benedict XVI’s first appearance as a Pope, 19 April 2005.

While I was checking the news feed of my Facebook account, less than a hour ago, I saw the shocking news of the resignation of Benedict XVI as the Bishop of Rome or more known as the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, the largest single Christian denomination on Earth. When I saw the news of Benedict XVI on my Facebook news feed, I did not believe the news and I had to verify through Google and I found out that he has resigned from the papacy which will to be effective on 28 February 2013.

His resignation was surprising as the Pope never hinted an intention to resign from the papacy although there were speculations way back 2010 that he would resign which he did today. On his resignation letter, he stated that his strength could not cope up with the burdens of governing the 1 billion Catholics due to his advancing age and declining health. Probably, he had a reason on why he stood down the papacy as the Catholic Church leadership needs youth to cope up the challenges facing the church of this 21st century like increasing number of clergy people being involved in sexual molestation, and the hardline stand regarding population and AIDS/HIV control that the Pope has been inheriting since his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

His resignation was surprising too as he is one of the most conservative leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in recent generation and Catholics and non-Catholics were expecting that he would lead the Catholic Church for life amidst of the rapid social, economic, and political developments of the 21st century.

For me, his sudden resignation will have a long-term repercussions of the Catholic Church. First, the next Pope will be lesser conservative than him. Second, the next Pope will have to address the pressing concerns I’ve mentioned above.  Third, the next Pope will have to address the Catholic doctrines in order achieve reconciliation with the conservative factions of the Anglican and Lutheran Churches. Fourth and the last will be addressing the long-time differences with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Here’s the resignation letter of Pope Benedict XVI:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013


USJR Scandal 2013: Sexual intercourse should be a private matter

University of San Jose-Recoletos, the Cebu-based educational institutional that has been tarnished by someone who uploaded a sexual intercourse video involving a student of the USJR.

University of San Jose-Recoletos, the Cebu-based educational institutional that has been tarnished by the former boyfriend of the woman involved on the video.

NOTE: Apologies, the male is studying at the University of Cebu – Maritime Education Training Center in Mambaling Cebu City and when the video was recorded, he was studying at the University of the Visayas in Downtown Cebu City, according to several sources. USJ-R school administration has announced that the girl will continue her internship and can graduate this coming March.

It has been the main discussion all over Cebu and in the cyberspace on what happened to the University of San Jose-Recoletos where someone uploaded a sexual intercourse video involving a student from that said university in the cyberspace. Since Thursday evening, my Facebook and Twitter new feeds have been flooded with comments and tweets from my friends about the viral sexual intercourse video which consists of not only one part, but allegedly, six parts. I myself watched the partial part of the video and after I watched that part of the video, I feel angry especially to the former boyfriend of the woman involved who uploaded the video as he never think the consequences of his actions.

On the part of the female student, the dissemination of that video was a big blow not only to her, but also to her family. The male whom she committed an intercourse was his boyfriend and according to several sources, the video was uploaded by her former boyfriend as a revenge of their separation. The male is studying at the University of Cebu – Maritime Education Training Center in Mambaling Cebu City, according to several sources I gathered.

I think the moment the video was recorded was a fatal mistake. That female student from USJ-R should have took her uniform off totally before the sexual intercourse and that fatal mistake put USJ-R into a subject of ridicule especially those who are narrow-minded people. That male student allegedly from UC-METC should have never initiated a sexual intercourse with the female USJ-R student especially during school hours and instead if they want to have an intercourse, they should have done it privately during weekends.

I know that it was painful especially to the female student from USJ-R, but the damage has already been done and all we can do is to help her to recover from the traumatic parts of her life destroyed by a certain uploader with unknown specific reasons as of this moment. To the cybercitizens who wants to watch the video more (or those who wants to watch the video for the first time), I am asking you to stop from watching and spreading the viral video because for every watching a scandalous video, it is like that you tarnish his/her dignity in an indirect manner.