Category Archives: Religion

Tucson Shooting Incident; Sorrows for the loss of a Girl

It is barely two weeks after celebrating the coming of a New Year (2011), the world is shocked by the attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords by a suspected mentally ill 22 year-old man (lone gun man) Jared Loughner. The Congresswoman survived the attack (now on stable condition and a 101 percent of chances of survival as reported) along with 13 other victims. But six others, including a Federal judge and a 9-year old girl did not.

My heart laments for this senseless killing of innocent victims particularly a 9-year old girl who was so talented with a bright promising future. Christina Taylor Green was born Christina was born on 9/11 and dreamed to be the first woman to play major league baseball (having been the granddaughter of Dallas Green a former pitcher and manager in the Major Leagues). John Green describes his daughter Christina as “a good speaker” and “could have easily seen her as a politician” This is the reason why this outgoing and intelligent student leader was on the “Saturday’s event because of her interest in government.” Roxanne Green (Christina’s mother) sees her daughter as one who has the passion to help other people and being involved.

What a lost of life! Dreams shattered because of the untimely death of this sweet, lovely and beautiful girl. I share in the sorrows of the parents, relatives and friends of Christina for losing her. Similarly I also share in the sorrows of other parents all over the world for losing their love one in a senseless killing like this. I hope there will be no more incident of this kind to happen in any part of the world. Let there be peace, love, and harmony.

On the other hand I am also perplexed on the motive of this young man Jared Loughner for killing and injuring other people if his plan was to assassinate a politician for what ever reason. Even a mere contemplation to deprive one of his life is already a crime and deplorable act of moral iniquity (how much more when the criminal plot is acted upon which include a number of innocent victims); how could such evil came into the mind of this person who like others may also have a great future? On issues of this kind we can not help but think of the role of the family, particularly the parents, the school, and the community. What is the law enforcement people and organization doing? How could the State which collect high taxes remiss on its function to protect the public and the tax payers?

Unfortunately this is not an isolated case, killing and harming people by individuals and groups of individuals is rampant all over the world. It has been said that crime does not pay for the long arms of justice will also run after the culprits and anyone who try infringed on the law. But since then, crime and lawlessness has never ceased despite modern technical and technological advancement in the society where we live. And how are we in the academe, social services, business, and government look into the roots of all these problems? There must be some sociological, economic, political, and spiritual explanations of all these dastardly acts that deprive people of their lives, property, and sense of security.

Of course the prophets of doom will always say that the world is coming to an end. The magnitude of lawlessness and enormity of crimes committed each day is just one little manifestation that the world is not getting any better and that sooner or later there will be a divine intervention to put an end to the sinfulness of mankind. Is it?

Sorry but I don’t share similar views. I still look at the role of the home and community in the upbringing of people to become productive and law abiding citizens. Unfortunately we have a growing number of population all over the world but with dwindling economic resources to most of the underdeveloped countries. Isn’t it important also now to look and appreciate the possible connection between large population size and the kind of law and order we have in the land?

Going back to Jared Loughner, the young man is reported to have been heavy pot smoker, confused, bitter, and have an attitude problem. I am sure his parents did not want him to be that way but somehow Jared Loughner grew up as someone who could not get along with other people. There is no reason to blame his parents to the tragedy, although they could be partly responsible too to what he (Jared) became as other people think about; they too are saddened and devastated to the incident involving their son and did not know why this thing had happened.

Yes this is not the only incident where a girl is senselessly killed; I pray this will be the last. I know how Christina feels the pain and sorrows of losing her. My condolences with them and the rest of those killed in that shooting incident.

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Condoms and the Presidential Election

This is the news, “Women activists present condoms to Philippine bishops.” What’s new? The Philippine Catholic bishops have been waging a bitter war with the government against the use of contraceptives. The Catholic church has never been weakened with its stiff stand against Family Planning and the use of artificial methods of birth control.

The Philippine Catholic Bishops have always been critical of any administration or political parties that support birth control and family planning. In fact presidential aspirants in the like of Senator Noynoy Aquino have been very careful with their stand with regards to population issues. The Bishop can always call on the Catholic faithful some 75 millions out of the 90 to 100 million Filipinos not to vote for any candidate who supports the family planning program of the government. One of the important criteria the good Bishops are looking to any politician vying for an elective position in the government is his policies and stand on the issues of family planning and birth control.

Even if President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo knows the significance of high birth rate in combating poverty problems in the Philippines, having been once a DSWD secretary, she tends to be careful with its population management program so as not to provoke the ire of the already critical Clergies to her administration. The bishops also took advantage of the government soft stand on Family Planning and birth control by calling for a ban on the advertisement of condom however the Arroyo’s administration only shrugged off their demands.

As if trying to maim the bishops stiff opposition on birth control and contraceptives, here comes Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral (former DSWD Secretary) “handing out condoms on February 13 as part of an information campaign on HIV-AIDS.” Her action may not necessarily be the collective stand of the government but nobody in the bureaucracy stood up to sanction her. She had not violated any law, she just exercised her political independence to promote actions responsive for the health and general welfare of the entire population. Yet the Bishops angrily called for her to resign.

But Health Secretary Cabral found allies on women’s health and rights advocate groups like the Party of the Workers who picketed and presented two baskest full of condoms at the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops Conference.

Judy Ann Miranda, the party’s secretary-general asked the bishops to “bless the condoms as a conciliatory gesture to unite for reproductive health and women’s rights” but unfortunately no bishop was around to receive/bless it.

As a response to the women activists action the bishops said, through spokesman Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, that they could not compromise on the church’s opposition to birth control devices. Again, a manifestation of the unwavering Catholic dogma on contraceptive devices which are perceived to tamper with the flow of nature and life. They the bishops however have no specific response on how to promote women’s reproductive health and quality of life.

“If contraceptives are immoral, nothing can change that… not even the vote of the whole country can change that,” Quitorio said. But should he not consider also immoral to see the health of women deteriorate just because couples are denied on the used of contraceptive devices. I think there is nothing more immoral than allowing spread of diseases and overpopulating the limited space we have in this country just because we can not control our rapid population growth.

And going back to politics, is the issue on contraceptives a leverage for a politician to improve his chances of winning in the presidential race? Will the good bishops support senator Manny Villar if he makes a covenant with the Catholic Church in the Philippines never to support legislative measures that advocate the use of contraceptives and other birth control devices? What will happen to the leading presidential candidate on surveys now should he decide to go against the bishops on their resistance to contraceptives and population control programs of the government?

So there we go, peace on earth and condom to all!

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Filed under Community life, democracy, education, Philippine government, Religion, Religion and sexual behavior, Reproductive Health, social justice, Wealth, Poverty, women

Political Platform and Broken Promises– (A class discussion)

It’s a heated political discussion in Secondlady’s Parliament of the Extreme. The wise and the fool want to trace the roots of poverty and underdevelopment in this land. These wise men and women pretending as senators and congressmen are now closing in to the eye of the problem. They temporarily abandoned the concept of greed, ignorance, and incompetence in the government so as not to see a couple of horns in their heads.

Gloria, not her excellency, raised the question: ” Is there such a thing as politician’s broken promises?”

But Randy the KSP and pasaway made fun with her question.

“Why did somebody promise you a grand wedding but instead ran away with a gay?”

Laughter followed. I had to intervene.

“This is a serious class discussion, behave or I’ll send you out.”

Emong the OFW son manifested his intention to participate. Permission was granted.

“Ma’am Seg, my classmates I just want to be clarified about a few things in relation to our topic. First, in the use of the word ‘promise.’ What is that being ‘promised’ by the politician? His platform of goverment or the programs/services he intends to do/accomplish during his/his term of office; second how does a politician arrive at his platform of government? Is it with consultation to people around him or he just based it on what he things/knows as best and right for the interest of his country and people; and third, for a politician to pursue his platform of government he has to translate everything into specific programs and services to be implemented. The question is this, are people involved (particularly those in the grassroots) in the identification of these needs, problems, solutions and their aspirations to keep the public official busy during his term of office? If not, nothing worthwhile is expected hence the notion of a broken promise.”

Samantha, the free thinker in the class raised her hand. I acknowledged her.

And she said: “Emong used the term “platform of government.” Is it really a “platform of government” that he is talking or he means a “political/party platform?” To me kasi, the the term platform of government is a more neutral term, it is a collective vision of what a government should be. This is people’s ideal not necessarily be that of a politician and his party.”

“And what’s the point you’re driving at Samantha Samantha?” I asked.

“Whether you are LP, NP, PALAKA, PM, KBL, UNO, etc., when you talk of platform of government your ideals and goals to serve goes beyond the boundaries of your personal/party interest. Everything you do is for the general interest of the majority of your people/constitutents, be they are rich or poor. And this is what Emong is saying as consultative goverment/governance. But I bet, most of these politicians are mouthing only the political platform of their party. It may not necessary address the needs of the majority but of the few. E, sabi pa naman, the government exists for the interest of the majority not of the few.”

Before I could say something somebody called our attention that Gloria’s question is not yet answered.

Joy the pragmatic mind stood up and said: “Kaya nga iyong sinasabi ninyong broken promises is a result of subordinating people’s interests over personal and party’s interest. The politician once elected into office has to attend first to his party’s interest, particularly those who support him during elections rather than those of his general constituents when it comes to implementation of programs and services. Siempre uunahin niya kaagad iyong mga bomoto sa kanya. Ladies and gentlemen this is partisan politics. This is the root of all the evil of governance in this country.”

Laughter and much applause followed.

“Para kang si Brenda niyan,” somebody shouted.

“Hey tumigil ka diyan, if you really know something makipag-participate ka ng maayos.

I saw somebody raising his hand at the corner. It’s Joel the son of a minister and the class’s moralist.

“Okay class let’s hear from Joel. Joel…”

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). The problem with us is that people have impinged their hopes to the politicians with the notion these men and women in the government chosen by the majority of the electorate to serve are fix-all technicians. Governance is a participative process, tell them what you need and discuss how you collectively act on it. Ma’am Seg said once, no public servant is really a servant at all. If I understand her right, sa akin lang, kung gusto ng mga tao ang pagbabago ay kumilos din sila. They too have to participate. She used the term “makialam.”

Somebody butted in. “Kaya nga hindi tayo nagkakaisa masyadong maraming pakialamero diyan. We have an abused system and abused exercise of democracy. The government, politicians and officials at that, are overwhelmed by so many issues and problems of the country. They just don’t know where and how to start. They are at lost how to satisfy everybody. And they just don’t know what else project they do to make money.”

Metring, the working student, also expressed what is in her mind. “First of all I would like to say there is an incongruence of minds– from the government institutions, the politicians, officials, and the people. People are also divided on what they think as the problem of the country. The government institutions plan and propose budget to fulfil their mandates based on their studies and feedback from their own people in the field; and what the politicians understand about programs and services is nothing but personal accomplishments which will have an impact to the electorates later. It may not be the need, it may not be the solution to the need, it’s a kapalpakan. Suma tutal, nagpapapogi lang. For all you know what they claim as accomplishments are failed projects to the people. Perhaps you can even say- to those who failed to see the significance of these projects may consider the same as ‘the broken promises’ of ‘an honest government sana’ kung hindi nila ito pinagkakitaan.”

And now the activist mind stood up and said: “The government is a system of power which reside on the will of the people. But the politicians thwart this ideal once in power. Once elected they think they are now the power themselves not the people. Classic example the Maguindanao case. They are now the government, they are now the laws, they are now in control of everything including the people’s mind. They say to the people, this is your need, and this is what the government can do. And all of these things ay ‘utang na loob ninyo’ sa aming mga politicians.”

Raising his fist he said, “down with all those politicians who act more for the advantage of foreign interest than our national interest. Mga nagpapagamit lang iyan, mga salot na sanhi ng paghihirap ng mga tao. They promised to pursue the welfare and interest of the people but sad to say they preserve instead the interest of their capitalist masters. It’s not on hanging projects and services alone which they have failed in their promises, it is on subordinating the interest of their nation for their personal gain. Example? Ito, Seg este Sec. may dalawang daan ka rito.”

His political statement created much laughters and uproar in the class.

I wish I could have more time with them discussing political issues. This is not a political science course, it’s a class on social problems and development. But we all agree on one thing, a political problem is a social problem, and a social problem is a political problem. Both impair efficient and honest governance. We have graft and corruption in the government because it runs in the system. People are fragmented by their political party affiliations. We perceive that politicians, businessmen, industrialists, and foreign powers have a hand on this. In a highly corrupt and politicized system, all what the people could expect from them politicians are nothing but broken promises. The have a faulty view of their political platform, they neglect people’s interest to give way to their party interests. And when they talk about programs and services, it is not on what the people want but on what they believe is useful and necessary to them.

But as they say it in the neighborhood, puwera de los buenos. Which means while there are corrupt public officials and politicians there are also a few good ones. But their tribe is still need to increase. Until such time we see more of them, we will never be done with politician’s broken promises.

My students do not showcase the best minds in the world. Many of them are struggling to survive in many of their subjects. But there is one strength (a glimpse of hope for tomorrow) I see in them, they are aware of issues and they will never give up on what they believe is right. Yes, right for their country.

Our class is no Senate, although one or two attempted to be a clown in the circus. But these are serious students who still believe, we are not done yet with the Philippines. Yes, may pag-asa pa!

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Index of Happiness

“Gusto ko Happy Kayo (I want you to be happy)” – Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

It has been said that life is a combination of joys and sorrows. Life is a game, and it is up to us how to play and win. But every person deserves some kind of joy and happiness in his journey to this life. But what makes a person happy?

To be happy one should know what does it mean to by happy and the sources of human joy of happiness. The index of happiness vary from “people to people and from culture to culture.” What is treated as happiness to some may be rejected by others.

There are several school of thoughts which try to define happiness.

1. “Spiritualistic School of Thought”, which recited, that real happiness consists essentially in spiritual mode of life.
2. “Materialistic School of Thought” upholds that real happiness lies simply in the conduct of materialism.

3.“Rationalistic School of Thought” stresses that only reason/wisdom and logic can attain happiness.

4. “Islamic School of Thought” states that the three types of life: the spiritual, the material and the rational are together essential elements of real happiness life. Divine Reality and the basic concept of the Oneness and Perfect Attributes of God gives real happiness and blessings.

But what is “real happiness?” For many religious believers they say it is a state of perfection attainable only in the life hereafter. Unfortunately happiness in this context happiness is not in our world. Religion tells us that real happiness happens only when people will receive eternal reward for their good deeds on Earth.

Likewise religious teachings, doctrines and philosophies “shield people from painful realities, such as human immortality, the lack of ultimate justice, and the ravages of an indifferent natural world.” Of course there are studies which support that religious believers are happier than non-believers around the world. It is because they experience a “sense of social support, as well as sense of purpose and hope for the future.” Take it from them, if you negate the egos of the heart, you will experience relative peace and happiness. That is if you agree with the religious people that happiness is not confined only to materialistic things but to the blessings and submission to the Lord Almighty God.

But at the passage of time religion and materialism now combine to induce one’s happiness now and hereafter. So Chalmers introduces three things that will make a person truly happy in this world: 1) someone to love, 2) something to do, and 3) something to hope for.

In the practical side of life, the poor believes that it’s economic prosperity that could bring happiness in this life. But this is not guarantee however for one to be ultimately happy because at the arrival of enormous wealth his life will be stressed on how to keep and make his wealth grows. Senator Manny Villar who raised from rags to riches is now haunted by the C-5 controversies. Wealth can be a source of happiness, it can also be a source of pains, sorrows and humiliations.

Yes the concepts of happiness have changed in our modern time. Happiness is not something that happens; not even a result of good fortune, and something that money can buy. It does not depend on outside events but how we interpret them ourselves. “Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person. People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives.”

Ang kaligayan daw ay nasa isip lang. Papano naman kung kumakalam ang iyong sikmura? Para sa akin ang kaligayahan ay isang bagay ng hinahangad, minsan iyong makakamtam. At kung minsan naman ay mabibigo ka. Ang kaligayahan sa isang banda ay ang patuloy mong pakikibaka sa buhay at pananagumpay. Ang tunay na kaligayahan ay bunga ng ating dugo at pawis, paghihirap, at pagpupunyagi. Wala sa kamay ng mga pulitiko at pamahalaan. Instrumento lang sila at bahagi ng pagpupunyaging iyan.

Ang umaayaw daw ay hindi nagwawagi, ang nagwawagi ay laging maligaya.

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What if there are more males than females in China?

Mainland China with it’s monstrous population has done everything to curb population growth to a level it could sufficiently support. But the Chinese are not comfortable with skewed China birth rate as this would leave more than 24 million Chinese men of marrying ages single since could no longer find themselves spouses in 2020.

The study, by the government-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, named the gender imbalance among newborns as the most serious demographic problem for the country’s population of 1.3 billion, the Global Times said.

“Sex-specific abortions remained extremely commonplace, especially in rural areas,” where the cultural preference for boys over girls is strongest, the study said, while noting the reasons for the gender imbalance were “complex.”

Researcher Wang Guangzhou said the skewed birth ratio could lead to difficulties for men with lower incomes in finding spouses, as well as a widening age gap between partners, according to the Global Times.

Another researcher quoted by the newspaper, Wang Yuesheng, said men in poorer parts of China would be forced to accept marriages late in life or remain single for life, which could “cause a break in family lines.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100111/hl_afp/chinapopulationmenmarriage

So what does this mean to other Asian countries where there are more females than males? An opportunity for mail order brides by 2020? This is not a remote possibility since many women are attracted with economically stable Chinese men with China’s economy getting stronger each year. Filipina women as well could not be left behind.

But who ever is interested to venture into this kind of marriage scheme should think twice or thrice before plunging into becoming a mail-order-bride. As experienced by a lot of our Filipina women mail-order-bride does not always work as expected. Some bride are subjected to humiliations, harm, and even racial discriminations.

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Filed under Community life, education, politics, Population Control, Religion

The Right of Reply Bill; the Next to Impossible

If there is something that journalists do not want Congress to legislate is the right of reply bill which will surely bring more trouble to them and to anybody with the intention to express his political views and opinions once this will be enacted into law. This is self-serving to the politicians as journalists may lose the appetite to be critical of them in the press unveiling  their evil in the government. Once this becomes a law journalists need to take the extra effort to get the side also the politicians. Something that may impede press freedom and the autonomy of the press people to do their job.

But here is a more disgusting content of the bill as posted in the internet:

The Right of Reply bill will affect not only journalists, but also bloggers, texters, and users of social networking sites and other electronic devices, a lawmaker said Sunday.

Manila 6th district Rep. Bienvenido Abante, sponsor of House Bill 3306 or the Right of Reply Bill, admitted that the bill would also cover Web sites, emails, Internet social networking sites and other electronic devices in its scope, Kabataan Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino said in a statement Sunday.

Palatino said Abante admitted that fact during his interpellation of the bill in the lower House.

Palatino said it would not only affect press freedom but also could lead to Internet censorship and affect freedom of speech and expression of bloggers, texters, and even iPod users.

‘All internet users affected’

The bill’s Section 1 states that: “All persons natural or judicial who are accused directly or indirectly of committing, having committed, or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the right to reply to charges or criticisms published in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites or through any electronic device.”

“The bill, therefore, would not only affect media outfits and journalists but also all website owners, website masters, email account holders and other netizens who are not necessarily media practitioners,” Palatino said in the statement.

“This would affect the more than five million bloggers and millions more of Internet users in the country. My fear is that when this bill comes to law, it will be used to regulate the content of the Internet,” he said.

“When we are checking our emails, when we open our Friendster or Facebook accounts, we are checking our websites. Does this mean that we will be compelled to moderate, modify or edit our personal websites? Is this not Internet censorship and suppression of freedom of speech and expression?” he added.

“Does this mean that whenever a criticism is published in these venues a person can use the Right of Reply to compel a blogger or moderator of a social networking site to publish a space or a reply for that person? Or when an individual decides to copy or re-post an article from a news website in his or her personal blog, and in the future the said article becomes a subject of this Right of Reply, will he or she be sanctioned or fined also?” Palatino added. ( From abs-cbnNEWS.com | 05/31/2009 5:26 PM)

I agree with Palatino’sview that this going to be a curtailment of the press freedom. On the other hand how in the world will you implement this kind of law with millions of internet users, bloggers, texters, etc., who one way or the other may share views through the digital and electronic media particularly in the cyberspace?  Do you think the politicians themselves or anybody being criticized in the media and internet, etc. could realistically respond to thousands and even millions of people who criticize them every hour of the day? This is something crazy and to be more specific “idiotic.” Rep. Bienvenido Abante, sponsor of House Bill 3306 or the Right of Reply Bill should have a better idea than this. I myself is against any infringement and curtailment to press freedom. This is to me is next to impossible. I stand corrected if you could convince me so.

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Filed under ABS-CBN, education, government, Justice, Philippine government, politics, Religion, Salvation

Smith is Acquitted; a Reason for Outrage?

The Supreme court has spoken, smith is not guilty. It was “a spontaneous, unplanned romantic episode with both parties carried away by their passions and stirred up by the urgency of the moment caused probably by alcoholic drinks they took…”

What does this mean? Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith can go back home a free man with his dignity restored and he has nothing to be ashame of. He can see friends, relatives, and people around head up; he could be called immaculate had not the court ruled he had a consensual sex with a drunk Filipina. A, smith is no longer a virgin, he proved himself a “fucker.” Perhaps there could have been a repeat performance had he properly parted with her with a word, Thank you.

Suddenly the moment of parting came and the Marines had to rush to the ship. In that situation, reality dawned on Nicole—what her audacity and reckless abandon, flirting with Smith and leading him on, brought upon her.

“That must have been shattering. But added to this was the mocking moment she heard from inside the van: ‘Leave that bitch!’ or words to that effect, which really broke her as she shouted back her denial: ‘I am not a bitch!’,” the court went on.

From the court’s point of view, Nicole cried rape out of shame—“dumped in a curb literally with her pants down”—upon the thought of her mother and boyfriend Brian.

“She had to hit back in the only way she could—to salvage at least a vestige of her self-esteem,” the court concluded.

So smith is the loser, he had been sentenced and jailed for sometime for an offense he did not commit at all. He has the looks every woman is looking for which they term in Filipino “makalaglag panty.” What about Smith’s compensation for a lost virginity or innocence of his manhood (if ever he had at the time he was on top of Nicole)? Maybe Nicole should even be thankful to Smith for giving her the taste of glory from a good looking guy.

But this is not so from public perception. Nicole was a victim and deserve to get justice on the shame and pain inflicted on her. It’s unfortunate, the appellate court look at it the other way around. For how could she convinced the court it was rape when it found no evidence to show “force, threat, and intimidation.” If ever Nicole was drunk, then she could not “danced non-stop to the urgent beat of rock and hip-hop music in an inebriated state for 15 minutes without stumbling clumsily on the floor.”  

She lied including the other witnesses, if I were to interpret what the court said as: 

This gap in her narration with the malingering explanation that she was dizzy and could not remember is dubiously fanciful for being what the court perceptively describes as contrary to ordinary experience of man,” the court said.

The court found the testimonies given by three persons at the Neptune Club who described Nicole’s supposed drunken state to be “rehearsed.”

The court was suspicious that the witnesses uniformly used the word “pasuray-suray” (walking unsteadily as if swaying) in describing Nicole before the court, but they never used the word when they spoke to investigators.

“The uniform description gives the impression that the testimonies were rehearsed,” the court said.

Unfortunately Nicole is no longer here and neither her mom is interested to pursue to the case to the Supreme Court. Nicole is now in the US and probably will be married soon to her boyfriend. Perhaps Smith could be invited also to the wedding and give his best wishes to the bride and groom.

But then this is not what most people think about. Not that Smith was not guilty, he may have been lucky the victim prefered to doubt if she was raped at all. Of course we respect the decision of the court. The magistrates were trained to evaluate cases based on evidences. Ours may only be a conjecture, it may not be the truth. But who has the truth, or at least closest to the truth.

To most of the Filipina women, probably Smith’s acquittal may only suggest one thing, the danger that Filipina women can be raped anywhere and may not get justice at all.

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Filed under ethical standard, government, Justice, Philippine government, rape, Religion, Religion and sexual behavior, social justice, Wealth, Poverty