Saturday, October 30, 2010

Solidarity with the Anti-Racist & Anti-Exclusion Demonstration in Amsterdam

by Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples' Struggle

WE express warm and militant solidarity with the organizers and participants of the October 30 demonstration in Amsterdam to stop racism and exclusion.

We join concerned migrant organizations and concerned Dutch citizens who have been sounding alarm bells over the increasing intolerance and rising incidences of racism and discrimination in the Netherlands.

There is a clear connection between the language of hatred and discrimination being popularized by anti-migrant and racist Dutch political parties such as the PVV, and the raging economic crisis. The right-wing government that now rules the Netherlands rode on the popular anguish and fear of the Dutch people over the downturn of the economy, and massive efforts to overturn the social benefits enjoyed by many in the Netherlands. These right-wing political parties and politicians are trying to shift the blame for the economic crisis, from the big banks and big business who have been siphoning off the people's money, to the workers and the migrant and immigrant populations and communities.

Indeed, there has been a constant influx of migrant workers to advanced capitalist countries in the west, but only because there is no source of decent livelihood for them in their countries of origin that have been devastated and impoverished by wars, plunder and exploitation instigated by these western capitalist states. Migrants are twice condemned by the situation they face – first they are forced to leave their countries of origin because of wars, poverty and exploitation by big businesses, and second, when they migrate to a receiving developed country, they are condemned as scapegoats of the economic crisis and victims of hate, discrimination and exclusion.

The Dutch people, particularly the working people, are also victims of the economic crisis, and they feel and suffer the effects of the crisis and the cuts in social welfare benefits. They see that instead of bailing out the people from the crisis, the ruling elite and the Dutch government would rather bail out the big businesses such as the banks, using the people's money.

De Dokwerker, where the protest will be held, is significant, because it has stood as a symbol of resistance among Dutch workers in general, against exploitation, abuse and exclusion. It was a reminder of the Dutch workers' resistance against the recent world wars that was caused precisely by the same capitalist greed, and racist views and policies that are now surging in the Dutch political arena.

The October 30 demonstration shall once again highlight in Dutch society not only the just resistance of the exploited and oppressed, but more importantly, their firm solidarity to fight exploitation, oppression, hate, racism and discrimination.

Long live international solidarity!Long live the solidarity between migrants, refugees and the Dutch working people!Stop racism and discrimination!No to anti-migrant and anti-worker laws and policies!



Sison, Jose Maria. 26 Oct. 2010. "Solidarity with the migrants, refugees and Dutch working peopleto stop racism and discrimination!"

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Aquino III on the Morong 43 vis-a-vis Trillanes, et al. Amnesty: Consistently Inconsistent

by Prof. Ted Te

...would be the kindest way to describe how the President has treated the case of the soldiers who staged uprisings against Gloria Arroyo (cf. Oakwood, Pensinsula, Marine stand-off) and the 43 health workers now known as the Morong 43.

The one thing that the President has repeated over and over again is his insistence that legal cases that will be pursued by his administration should be those that are provable by evidence. That was in fact the raison d'etre for the Truth Commission and also the principal reason for the review of the IIRC report (at least, that is the official pronouncement).  It is an admirable principle.  One should not waste the time and effort--valuable resources both--of the State, through its prosecutors to pursue obviously frivolous and unprovable cases.

Early on, the President had already made plain his thinking behind the case against Senator Trillanes IV and his co-accused in the Oakwood (and Peninsula) cases.  In one of his earliest public pronouncements, he thought out loud that perhaps the detained Senator was the victim of a raw deal and effectively ordered the Justice Secretary (the same one whose panel's report was reviewed by a second panel of two lawyers) to review the case.  Thus, it wasn't surprising that the President would later on issue Proclamation 50 granting an amnesty (subject to Congress' concurrence) for all those involved in the three uprisings.  This, of course, raised a firestorm of controversy as the promulgation of the Oakwood case had been set on October 28 and prompted some to say that perhaps the timing was off and that perhaps the President was interfering with the judiciary's exercise of power.  Despite all these, the President remained consistent--he did not budge, nor did he flinch.  Proclamation 50 remained.

At about the same time, the supporters of the Morong 43 had asked the President for a review of the charges filed against them.  To which, the President obliged.  Surprisingly, however, despite a statement (which was a correct appreciation of the law)  about the apparent inadmissiblity of the evidence seized as a result of the invalid search warrant, the President chose to leave it to the court to decide.  And he has also remained consistent about this--so far. See

I do not understand why the President's lawyers--even the Secretary of Justice--have not advised him that the Morong 43 case is the easier case to let go.

1.  They are charged with violating a Marcos-era special law on illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives. Even the President acknowledges that the search that led to the seizure of the supposed explosives and firearms is suspect and that eventually the evidence may be declared inadmissible.   Thus, eventually, the case would be for naught.  Clearly, the President's first principle in pursuing legal cases is served by withdrawing from these cases because time and effort would be wasted.

2.  The main reason for the raid was the belief that the health workers were members of the NPA.  Again, the President's lawyers ought to know that being a member of the NPA is no longer a crime.  The Anti-Subversion Law (RA 1700) was repealed during the presidency of a former General, Fidel V. Ramos.  Thus, suspicion, belief or even confirmation that they were NPA would be totally irrelevant and cannot form the basis for probable cause for a search or an arrest.  It is elementary that probable cause would consist of antecedent facts and circumstances that would lead an ordinarily prudent person (not necessarily a lawyer) to believe that a crime has been committed and that the persons to be arrested have committed it or that the place to be searched would yield fruits or effects or proceeds of the crime.  Being an NPA no longer is a crime and thus cannot form the basis of probable cause in the first place.  As an aside, the military's spokesman even came up with a really creative and novel twist to his conclusion that the Morong 43 were communist rebels;  see The Company You Keep

3. The continued detention of the 43, despite the patent illegality of the original search, is a result of an odious Marcos-era Supreme Court pronouncement that Habeas Corpus, the great writ of liberty, is moot and academic and does not lie to question an inceptively illegal detention when a criminal charge has already been filed.  This is the so-called Ilagan doctrine, from Ilagan v. Ponce Enrile (Laurente Ilagan was a FLAG lawyer who was arrested, together with two other lawyers; when they questioned their illegal arrest before the SC asking for Habeas Corpus, the Court ruled that because charges had already been filed, habeas corpus was moot; this would lead to many more decisions which reiterated this principle, thus making the ruling in Martial Law doctrinal even post-Martial law; I wrote about this in Larry, Tony, Marcos  The government's pursuit of the Morong 43 case further legitimates and perpetuates this odious ruling.

4.  Assuming, and only for the sake of making a last argument, that Col Detoyato (see number 2, The Company You Keep) is correct and that they are, after all, communist rebels, then wouldn't this fall squarely under the reasons for the Magdalo amnesty?  That it would further peace and reconciliation and that there is a public clamor?

Does the President have any means to end the prosecution of the Morong 43?  Yes.

He may order the Secretary of Justice to cause the withdrawal of charges against the 43, effectively nolle prosequi.  Under Crespo v. Mogul (and other cases), this motion to withdraw is subject to the court's approval but I do not seriously doubt that any court would continue prosecuting this case if the message sent is clear--the government no longer wants to pursue this case.

There is no reason for the President to be inconsistent here.  There are more than enough reasons for him to be consistent.

 (Reprinted with permission by Prof. Ted Ted)



Te, Ted. Consistently Inconsistent. 18 Oct. 2010.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pulahanes, Philippine Freedom-Fighters

DESPITE the enemy propaganda line that the Filipino-American War officially ended in 1902 with the capture or surrender of the generals of the First Philippine Republic, Filipino/Taga-Ilog freedom fighters in several islands of the archipelago well continued the war against the enemy United States forces. Notable among them were the forces of Gen. Macario Sakay and The Republic of the Katagalugan, the Muslims in Mindanao, and the Pulajanes of the Visayas.

The Pulajanes were freedom fighters from the Visayas who refused to submit to the wicked imperialism of the Bald Eagle nation. Having roots in the Spanish-era Dios Dios religious movement, the Pulahanes came to life either with the blood compact ritual of the secret-society-turned-revolutionary-government Kagalanggalangang Katipunan nang  manga Anak nang  Bayan (KKK) or after the bolo-wielding members that formed part of the local troops under Leyte's Gen. Ambrosio Mojica in Leyte and Samar's Vicente Lukban refused to follow in the foosteps of the officials who surrendered or swore allegiance to the enemy Americans during the Philippine-American War (1899-1814).

The Pulahanes, marked by ritualistic beliefs, fearless zeal  but mediocre strategy in battles, and extraordinary skills in hand-to-hand combat, were no bandits at all, as believed by imperialist American Governor-General for the Visayas,  Smith, who said that they were not robbers or thieves by nature but "quite the contrary." While there are those who trace the unrest of the pulahans to abuses by lowlanders, the fact remains that they fought the Philippine Scouts and pale-skinned American soldiers with zealous courage.

Antithesis to Philippine Scouts?

The patriotic Pulajanes can be said to be the antithesis of the traitorous Philippine Scouts responsible for abetting, guiding and pointing out the location and weaknesses of Filipino/Taga-Ilog patriots to the pale-skinned enemies. Earlier in 1905, the Philippine Scouts, a.k.a. local puppies to invader United States forces, along with the Philippine Constabulary, effected the capture and execution of Samar Pulajanes' leader Col. Enrique Daguhob.

The Pulahanes proved so strong a threat that at one point, the imperialist U.S. forces needed to field 17 companies of Philippine Scouts and four American companies, as eight U.S. Infantry were operating against the Visayan freedom-fighters. Their resistance against the Bald Eagle invasion at the turn-of-the-19th-century would be ended only following the 1907 capture and execution of Pulahaje hero Papa Ablen Faustino who led  the Leyte island's group in the continued fight against the imperialist Americans from 1906-1907.   


"Pulajane Chief Ablen Faustino
Operating against US troops in the island of Leyte, P.I. 1906-07.
Wounded and captured near Dagami, Leyte, P.I. June 11, 1907.
by Det. of the 8th Infantry under 2nd Lieut Jones and a Det. of Philippines Constabulary."

The imperialist United States nation, which has vilely pursued degrading propaganda against the natives since Day 1 of the Philippine-American War, has portrayed the Pulajanes as 'outlaws,' 'insurrectionists,' rebels, and even 'fanatics.' The real nefarious characters, of course, were the invader Bald Eagles who, wanting of human conscience, conned Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo into thinking they're allies before stealing Philippine Independence by staging the Mock Battle of Manila and then invading the archipelago. The Pulahajes can be regarded as local Filipino/Taga-Ilog  patriots who heroically tried to continue what the soldiers of the First Philippine Republic failed to do--freedom from despicable colonial rule for our dear Motherland.  

Not Honored at All

It is sad that despite their valiant and dogged show of heroism, tragically ended by American imperialist suppression and murders, the Pulahanes until today have not been honored by the people they fought and died for. According to a historian online friend, there's no street or place named after the Pulajanes, no shrines, no statues, no memorials, no nothing. Beyond sad, this fact is tragic because it indicates that the Filipinos/Taga-Ilog remain under the psychologically hold of the true, nefarious outlaws--the Kalbong Agila people. 

Ang patuloy na hindi pagkilala sa kabayanihan ng mga Pulahanes ay isang pagtatakwil sa kanila, na isang patunay naman na hanggang ngayon ay nakukubabawan pa ring ng Amerika ang isipan ng mga Pilipino/Taga-Ilog. Ang bagay na ito ba ay nakapagtataka samantalang hindi naman yata tayo tunay na pinakawalan ng mandaragit na bayan ng Estados Unidos?



"Curry Victim of Treachery." The New York Times. 26 March 1906.

Dios Dios and Pulahanism in Ormoc.

"For Martial Law in Samar." The New York Times. 14 May 1906.

"How the Scouts Slew a Filipino Demigod." The New York Times. 11 Sept. 1905.

Polo, Jaime B. Panulaan at Dulaang Leytenhon-Samarnon. Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1994.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Danny Lim Speaks about Amnesty

Press Statement of Brigadier General Danilo D. Lim (Ret) Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation


THE most common misconception about amnesty is that it encourages military uprisings. This is untrue. But it stems from the erroneous belief that those who participated in 1987 and 1989 were merely subjected to pushups as punishment. It is easy to believe these mistakes because the truth is much harder to confront.

The participants were detained, many of us in common prisons. Our pay and allowances were cut off and our families starved. We were detained for three years; the others more than five years and many were removed from the service. While amnesty did reinstate our duty status, it was at a cost. Despite the amnesty, there were no promotions for so long, nor any extra considerations. We were pariahs in the institution we loved and continue to love.

The pushups that the public saw, was only one of a string of humiliations. But it was one never complained about.

Despite that, many of the participants who did return to the service ended up distinguishing themselves and continued – some still continue – to serve their country faithfully and well.

Ret. Brig. Gen. Danilo D. Lim
The participants of the Oakwood incident were incarcerated for five years. Those that remain have been in jail for seven years. The accused for the events of February 2006 had been detained for more than four years before being released into the custody of ranking officers of their respective services. In both instances there were officers who were subjected to physical and mental cruelty beyond the acceptable limits of the law.

Under no circumstances can it be said that the participants and accused are merely being given a “slap on the wrist.” These officers have endured much pain, humiliation, deprivation, all in the belief that what they have done, they did to serve the best interests of their country, in accordance with their oath of service.

These untruths must not be allowed to pervade the amnesty provisions for nearly 300 officers and men who are accused of participating in various alleged uprisings. They do a disservice to the AFP and to the country to continue to subscribe to these falsehoods.

Uprisings do not happen in a vacuum. They happen in situations of social unrest and injustice. Issues like a stolen election, massive graft, the killing and oppression of Filipinos; these are real issues that helped propel dissatisfaction in the ranks of the AFP. When movements such as those being considered in Proclamation 50 occur, the idea of exoneration for subsequent charges does not enter the mind of the participant – the only consideration is the righting of wrongs and the institution of justice.

To say that amnesty alone encourages military uprisings exonerates government officials directly responsible for creating the wrongs that the officers felt compelled to address.

It is too easy an excuse to lay the blame for the country’s ills on what we had done to protect the country’s interests, because the officers can be removed and sent away into oblivion, away from a public who can believe them, away from any opportunity to rectify society’s wrongs, away from the service of one’s people, while those responsible for the injustice continue to occupy positions of power and continue to benefit from their ill gotten gains.

Finally, a word about Proclamation 50: While the grant of amnesty is welcome, it appears that the provisions for forced resignation are too onerous. Those who will be compelled to resign are those officers still undergoing trial who are still in the service. The irony here is that these gentlemen have not yet been proven guilty of any crime or violation of the Articles of War. For them to avail of amnesty therefore, would amount to a punishment for a crime for which they have not been convicted.

Yes, I understand the nature of amnesty that it can be given to those still undergoing trial. And yet it still is wrong, in this instance, to ask these officers to resign. It is as though this government seeks the shortest route to their removal regardless of their participation, regardless of their liability. The amnesty too, is tied to the timetable provided so that the officers are compelled to choose one remedy.

We cannot be faulted therefore for believing that this entire offer falls short. The impetus to any and all of the actions alleged to be undertaken has been a fierce love for our country. The impetus for the commission of the crimes of the previous administration has been greed for power and money. Yet looking at these two groups, it isn’t difficult to spot the injustice. We did what many of our countrymen want done, but are not willing to do it themselves.




Lim, Danilo P. Statement of Brigadier General Danilo D. Lim (Ret) Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation.

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Jose Maria Sison's Message of Solidarity to the International Cultural Festival in Berlin

Jose Maria Sison's Message of Solidarity to the International Cultural Festival in Berlin, 16 October 2010

The international cultural festival on 16th of October in Berlin is an initiative of cooperation of international organisations, and immigrants organisations as well, existing in Germany. It corresponds to a growing need, of going beyond the borders of one´s country to deal with situations together with others, to fight together with them, to exchange experiences with them, to bundle together our different forces, against those prevailing on us, into an alliance – and last but not least together to take care of the culture and the festival...
There is a real possibility of getting to know the ICOR-project. Around 70 revolutionary parties and organisations throughout the world, are engaged in the setting-up of an international organisation for coordination their practical activity (ICOR).
They share the view and understanding, that time has now come to develop an new level of over borders coordination and cooperation between revolutionaries. As an integral part of the international cultural festival, there will be reports on the progress achieved and on the participation in the founding process of the ICOR....MORE

Warm welcome to the homepage of the international cultural festival on 16th October in Berlin!

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Friday, October 15, 2010

HUSTISYA! sa Paglabag sa Karapatang Pantao ng Rehimen ni Gloria Arroyo

ni Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Tagapangulo, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
Utrecht, The Netherlands
14 Oktubre 2010

BILANG tagapangulo ng International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), taos-pusong ipinapaabot ko ang pakikiisa ng ILPS sa HUSTISYA! (Victims of Arroyo Regime United for Justice) sa okasyon ng kanyang Pangkalahatang Pulong sa Oktubre 14-17 sa Metro Manila.

Kinikilala namin ang mataas na kahalagahan ng pagtatatag ng HUSTISYA! noong 15 Setyembre 2006 upang pagkaisahin ang mga biktima at kaanak sa layuning kumilos nang sama-sama para kamtin ang katarungan laban sa mga paglabag sa karapatang tao sa panahon ng rehimen ni Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Kapuri-puri ang sigasig at bisa ng inyong pagkilos sa nakaraang apat na taon para ibayong palakasin ninyo ang panawagan para sa katarungan sa lahat ng biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang tao – lalo na para sa 1,206 biktima ng extrajudicial killings at 205 desaparecidos sa ilalim ng nagdaang rehimeng Arroyo.

Umalingawngaw sa buong daigdig ang inyong panawagan na itakwil at itigil ang Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), isang halimaw na instrumento ng terorismo ng estado at likha ng imperyalismong Amerikano sa digma ng teror nito. Humahanga kami sa tampok na papel ninyo sa Permanent People’s Tribunal tungkol sa Pilipinas sa The Hague noong 2007.

Angkop lamang na tawagin ang pansin at kunin ang suporta ng mga mamamayan ng buong daigdig dahil ang OBL ay pakana ng imperyalismong Amerikano at mga papet nitong malalaking komprador at asendero. Sila ang malupit na lumalabag sa mga karapatang tao na nakaukit sa mga internasyonal na batas.

Ipinagpapatuloy ng bagong rehimen ni Aquino ang OBL at inihahanda ang oplan na may ibang pangalan subalit nasa balangkas pa rin ng US Counterinsurgency Guide ng 2009.

Patuloy ang mga madugong paglabag sa mga karapatang tao at patuloy na pinagkakaitan ng hustisya ang mga biktima sa panahon ni Arroyo. Imbing balak ni Aquino ang malawakang sabay na paggamit ng karahasan at panlilinlang.

Kung gayon, karapat-dapat lamang na ipagpatuloy ng HUSTISYA! ang pakikibaka para kamtin ang katarungan para sa mga biktima ng paglabag ng mga karapatang tao. Darami pa ang mga biktima. At kailangang lumaban tayo para salungatin at pigilin ang mga krimen ng mga imperyalista at lokal na reaksyonaryo at sikapin nating baguhin ang naghaharing sistema na siyang nagluluwal ng mga paglabag sa mga karapatang tao.###

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Joma Sison)



Sison, Jose Maria. Mensahe sa Hustisya. 14 Oktubre 2010.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jc de los Reyes speaks against Population Control

by Jc de los Reyes
(repost of a June 2009 article)

IN response to the barrage of legislations in congress and in local legislative bodies which are antagonistic not only to human life in the womb, but to marriage and family life, I summarize this advocacy by declaring the following statements:

1. The proponents of the Philippine Population Program, from the late ‘60s to the present are more aggressive and vocal than ever because of the reluctance of the Filipino People to embrace methods and means to control birth antagonistic to their faith and morals. These programs have been at the initiative of foreign governments, development and funding agencies and interest groups officiously influencing every agency and office of government, especially local governments mainly through soft loans, grants and aid packages to carry out such depopulation policies.

2. The aim of these foreign governments and interest groups is to maintain access to strategic resources to benefit them economically even militarily. (Declassified U.S. National Security Memorandum 200 of Henry Kissinger)

3. Issues of national sovereignty and security as well as the physical health and integrity of Filipinos, have been raised in the face of intrusive interventions into the most intimate and vital aspects of national life – reproductive functions, conjugal and family life even the education of our youth. The term used in the field is “TOTAL INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT APPROACH.” The terminologies used such as reproductive health, reproductive rights, Gender Awareness, family planning, birth control, planned parenthood, etc., are euphemisms cloaked under coercive programs by interest groups to manipulate behaviour by limiting our choices and desensitizing our values. They seek to dramatically increase prevalence for contraceptive use to achieve an anti-life mindset that would gradually introduce abortion as another form of birth control.

4. Ideologies underlying these policies are violative of Filipino culture and the Philippine Constitution. Moreover, they are incompatible with our Judeo-Christian and Islamic values, also the social teachings of the Church. Our distinctly prolife Charter of 1987 has been marginalized and birth control proponents invoke International law, particularly the 1994 Cairo Conference and 1995 Beijing Conference to further skirt clear constitutional precepts that insure the autonomy and inviolability of marriage and family life.

5. Various forms of propaganda and psychological persuasion are employed to accept the debunked myth of overpopulation. This is made a scapegoat to accommodate international economic concessions and demands as well as government’s inability to advance social justice by prioritizing the fight against graft and corruption - the real cause of massive poverty.

6. This anti-natalist agenda is in the guise of many noble advocacies--the alleviation of poverty, the protection of women and children, reproductive health but the main objective is to prevent and/or terminate birth through biological and chemical means clearly against morality therefore against the laws of man and God.

I conclude by exhorting the pro life movement of the Philippines to continue its vigilance against such population control programs. God bless the Philippines.

Councilor JC de los Reyes, Olongapo City

(Reposted with permission from former Councilor Jc de los Reyes)



de los Reyes, Jc. "Statement against Population Control." 23 June 2009.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

The CenPEG REPORT on the MAY 10, 2010 AUTOMATED ELECTIONS: A Synopsis

THE CenPEG REPORT ON THE MAY 10, 2010 AUTOMATED ELECTIONS A Synopsis EU-CenPEG Project 3030 October 5, 2010
There was a high incidence of technical hitches, blunders, voting procedural errors, and other operational failures throughout the country during the May 10, 2010 automated elections. As The CenPEG Report reveals, these can be attributed to the lack of safeguards, security measures, as well as timely and effective continuity/contingency measures (software, hardware, technologies, and other system components) that proved damaging to the accuracy, security, and reliability of election returns. Lacking these vital mechanisms, the automated election system (AES) that was harnessed for the May 10 polls was not only vulnerable to various glitches and management failures but also favorable for electronic cheating including possible pre-loading of election results. The Comelec is called upon to disclose all election documents – public information – to test and validate its claim of election “success” and debunk allegations of electronic fraud – all for the sake of public interest and voters’ rights.

After months of exhaustive research – monitoring, observation, documentation, and field case studies – the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) today released its report on the May 10, 2010 automated elections. The CenPEG REPORT is being presented at the October PES (Post-Election Summit) convened in cooperation with AES Watch, a broad spectrum of various citizens’ watchdogs and advocates that also studied and monitored the automated election.

Among others, The CenPEG REPORT consists of incidence reports on the election and an analysis of the AES’s various components particularly technical and management. The full and final report – including the legal study - will be released within weeks after the October 5 post-election summit.

CenPEG’s Project 3030 report is based on extensive research that involved the following:
  • Project 3030 Monitoring of Election Incidents (May 2 – 31, 2010)
  • Extensive Case Studies conducted in 9 provincial areas (with informants from Comelec, BEIs/BOCs, DOST, Smartmatic-TIM ITs, PPCRV volunteers, voters, and others)
  • Consultants and expert analysis from the disciplines of IT (computer studies and science, security, programming), policy analysis, law, public administration, business, mathematics, Geographical Information System, anthropology, among others
  • Project research coordinators in 12 regions
  • Thousands of trained poll watch volunteers in at least 50 provinces
  • 18 student volunteers from UP (Manila and Los Banos)
  • AES Watch monitoring volunteers
  • CenPEG Project partners like CPU, NCCP (People’s International Observers Mission); Citizens Election Monitoring (CEM) group, bloggers, and others
  • CONCORD / Healing Democracy election monitoring in Mindanao
  • Eastern Telecommunications (for the electronic services) and media (for additional reports)
This CenPEG Report is based on a study undertaken by CenPEG titled “EU-CenPEG Project 3030: Action to Protect the Integrity of the Vote and Transparency in the 2010 Elections.” It is the sixth of a series of studies made by the policy research institution since the August 2008 ARMM automated election until today. Taking off from the “30-30 Vulnerabilities and Safeguards,” CenPEG’s 2-year study aims to deepen the understanding of the automated election system’s 30 identified vulnerabilities and propose corresponding 30 safeguards and safety measures as a mechanism for protecting the integrity of the vote and transparency in the 2010 elections in accordance with its policy research and advocacy program. It covered the critical technical, management, and legal components of the automated election system. The findings and policy recommendations of this and other studies will be the subject of advocacy in our engagement with Congress, Comelec, and other institutions.

Highlights of the new report follow:

PCOS malfunctioning, breakdowns

In many precinct incidents across the country, late deliveries, malfunction and shutdowns, unreliable back-up batteries, and equipment shortage marred the disposition and operation of PCOS machines thus causing delays in the opening of voting, counting, and the whole election day process itself.

Defective compact flash cards

Delays in the delivery of reconfigured CF cards (in some cases, absence or loss of the memory cards) and using defective memory cards figured in the high-incidence reports, delaying FTS and voting, or absence of FTS. A high percentage of CF cards being brought manually to canvassing, and precincts resorting to manual voting were also reported. In many cases, this problem also resulted in failure of elections or in electoral protests involving the manipulation of CF cards.

Thermal Paper
The use of unofficial thermal paper was registered as a high incidence across the country. In such cases, as explained by local Comelec officials, the official thermal paper was used up during the FTS. Still, questions remain where those unofficial thermal papers – whose lifespan will be shorter than the 5 years promised by the tech provider - came from thus further casting doubts on the security and accuracy of the election results.

UV scanners

Verifying the authenticity of ballots was not fully implemented as provided by law with the non-use of UV scanners by a significant number of precinct BEIs. (Based on the SWS survey, only 50% of BEIs used the ballot scanner.) There were reports of precincts not receiving any scanner at all; BEIs who received it either left the scanners untouched or widely mistook them for emergency flashlights.

Irregularities in voting procedures & voter disenfranchisement

The lack of change in management was evident in Comelec’s failure to put in place an effective voting system for the projected long queues of voters as a result of precinct clustering. What actually happened was near-anarchy as dramatized by conflicting procedures, violations of voting instructions, buildup of long lines due to technical hitches, and intimidation by politicians and supporters.
Minus the presence of PCOS machines, election day preserved the traditional forms of election cheating marked by violence especially in many hot spots. The voting turnout based on Comelec’s 75% - which Project 3030 estimates as conservative – was the lowest in national elections since the 1986 snap polls.

Transmission snafus

The fact about extensive transmission glitches – not simply an isolated case – shows an unsound decision to enforce an election technology when the required telecommunication infrastructure is unreliable. The satellite contingency hit snags.

With incidence reports showing the unexplained stoppage of transmission at certain hours, Comelec should explain credibly its claim of fast transmission of election results at the national servers when voting delays and transmission glitches taking place at the precinct and municipal levels nationwide may prove otherwise. There should be a full disclosure of transmission operations and data by the election managers.

Canvassing connectivity problems and discrepancies

The widespread mismatch of time stamps, discrepancies in audit logs, and canvassing print logs make the audit mechanism provided by Smartmatic-TIM unreliable and unsecure. Like the precinct-level failures, many municipal canvassing centers also had transmission glitches that obstructed transmission of canvassing results to the provincial and national canvassing.
Numerous reports of provincial COCs containing FTS results show the CCS program did not undergo testing and certification.

Vote buying, violence & other irregularities

Other widespread irregularities were vote buying (“the most rampant in several years”), ballot pre-shading, and flying voters. There were many incidents of police and military personnel inside voting centers contrary to law. Election-related violence was perpetrated by private armed groups resulting in failure of election in many areas. Military and other security forces were also involved in reports of vilification campaigns against some Partylist groups and militarization in the rural provinces intimidating many voters.


The lack of safeguards and security measures made the AES vulnerable to automated fraud particularly in a country where cheating of various types persists as a norm during elections. Comelec records show at least 100 election protests from 41 provinces and cities by June 2010 have been filed.

Many election cases apparently involved the complicity of certain Comelec officials, BEI members, and others. In at least one case, allegations about the tampering of CF cards have been given credence in the Pasay City election protest with Comelec ordering a recount of the votes for the mayoralty contest.

Board of Election Inspectors (BEI)
Training for the BEIs was insufficient making them unprepared for managing crowd control, systematically implementing new voting procedures, or even technical troubleshooting when circumstances forced them to.

Smartmatic-TIM IT technicians

Technical operations, maintenance, and troubleshooting were hampered by the hiring of many non-IT technicians; shortage of technicians in many precincts (some handling 10 clustered precincts); inadequate training and low pay.

Voter education

Voter education called on the voters to become hostage to the un-friendly, burdensome demands and rigors of the machine, not the other way around. The law says the adopted technology should be compliant with the “actual conditions” of the country, which includes a political culture aligned with modern technology.

Capability and readiness of the AES machine technology

The manufacturing of PCOS machines was delayed thus undermining quality assurance. The Smartmatic-TIM PCOS technology is the lowest end in the international market with limitations and disabled features (such as voter verifiability) that put undue burden to the voter with his/her rights violated; the fact that the machine is prone to tampering was hidden from the public.

Forwarders for election paraphernalia deployment

There was lack of transparency in the hiring of 3 logistics companies (public bidding), and in their papers, operational plans, and subcontracting. Project 3030 incident reports showed delays in the deployment of election paraphernalia and the possible risks involved in the delivery.

May 3 final testing and sealing (FTS)

The May 3 FTS fiasco involved the mismatch between CF cards and ballot designs but there were extensive reports as well of PCOS malfunctioning, missing SIMs, transmission glitches, problems with back-up batteries, etc. The FTS showed both Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM were ill-prepared for the automated election, management-wise.

Electronic transmission

Comelec’s and Smartmatic-TIM’s grasp of the power, road network, and transmission infrastructures that are critical to the success of the automated election should be challenged. Either they over-estimated the infrastructure capabilities or simply did not do their work in this field.

Mock elections and field tests

The mock elections and field tests, aside from suffering delays, did not simulate the actual conditions as required by law. As a result, they failed to anticipate the widespread election-day long queues of voters and technical hitches with viable contingency measures.

Ballot delivery

Aside from the issues involving the design and printing of ballots that compromised the ballots’ integrity and security, incident reports showed numerous problems including wrong deliveries and dangers with regard to storage and safekeeping.

“Fast results”

Just to conclude this portion: Actual voting in the automated election was by several hours – compared to the previous manual system. Mr. Aquino III was proclaimed as President on June 9, 2010 – 30 days after the May 10 election; Mr. Estrada was proclaimed on May 30, 1998 – only 19 days after the May 11, 1998 election. The election turnout in the May 2010 election is 75% (which is conservative) – the lowest in 24 years of presidential election. What then is the basis of the claim of “fast” results, quicker voting, and more voters voting under AES?


People’s International Observers Mission (PIOM): In a public statement May 15, 2010, the 86-member People’s International Observers Mission (PIOM) found the first automated election in the Philippines “far from being fair, honest and peaceful. “The widespread intimidation, vote-buying, corruption and violence showed that automation could solve only part of the problem,” PIOM stated. “In focusing on the machines, the Comelec [Commission on Elections] lost the people.”

Consortium of Christian Organizations for Rural-Urban Development (CONCORD): CONCORD, in its Healing Democracy report based on monitoring and documentation of the ARMM and Lanao del Sur elections described the May 10, 2010 election as “no different from previous fraudulent, anomalous, and violence-ridden polls in the country.” CONCORD said, like in previous elections, “Comelec should explain for the technical glitches, transmission failures, as well as incidents of fraud and violence taking place across the country.”

Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms (CSER), House of Representatives: In its June 2010 report, the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms (CSER), concluded, “On the national level, our (committee’s) assessment is of a mixed success. Automation showed no substantial advantage. On the local level, our assessment is profound unease.” The CSER reminded: The goal of automation was never two-fold: speed and accuracy. “It was always singular: accuracy.” Among other disturbing issues, the committee noted: Anomalies in time and stamp in various election returns (ERs); the May 3 FTS fiasco; the “curious distribution” of blank extra CF cards with two burners per province; the disenfranchisement of 3 million voters; cheating on the local level.
1. AES Compliance Issue: TEC Certification Did the AES operate properly, securely, and accurately?

The 16 facts enumerated below indicate failure of the AES to operate properly, securely, and accurately. While the TEC had issued the mandated certification, it was contingent on the implementation of procedural and technical compensating controls.

On the proper of operations of the AES

Fact 1: Election Returns generated during the Final Testing and Sealing of the PCOS Machines were transmitted to the canvassing laptops at the city/municipal level, the central server, and the server located at the Pope Pius Center.

Fact 2: Some Canvassing and Consolidation System (CCS) laptops failed to print the Statement of Votes (SoV) in some areas and for some contests.

Fact 3: Clustered Precincts - A common experience by voters on election day was having to fall in line for hours under the heat of the summer sun, waiting their turn to vote. While the issue of long queues is not a technical matter relating to the performance of the AES, it nevertheless is part of the whole system. Various groups had warned the Comelec of problems relating to the clustering of precincts resulting in increasing the number of voters per precinct to as many as one thousand voters. The warnings were unheeded, with the long queues resulting in disenfranchisement as some voters simply left the line and never came back.

Fact 4: Transmission Problems - Incident reports indicate that an undetermined number of election returns were conveyed manually rather than through the telecommunications infrastructure.

On the secure operations of the AES

Fact 5: The PCOS machine ultraviolet (UV) mark detection was disabled.

Fact 6: There was no review of the source code of the AES by interested political parties and groups.

Fact 7: Absence of the Digital Signature -

Fact 8: The Hash Code extracted from the PCOS Machine is not the same as the one published in Comelec’s website.

Fact 9: A Console Port is present in the PCOS Machine and the internal mechanisms, including the software, are accessible by connecting another computer to it.

Fact 10: The CF Card Problem: The CF card problem highlighted the failure of processes in the preparation of the system. The problem also highlighted the process failures within the Comelec with the reactive issuances of memoranda on the handling of the CF card problems in the field.

On the accurate operations of the AES

Fact 11: The voter verifiability feature was disabled or not made available.

Fact 12: The Election Returns generated and printed from various PCOS machines reflected varying date and time stamps.

Fact 13: There were reports of inaccurate counts of the ballot such that the machine count differed from the hand count done by the BEI. In Random Manual Audit (RMA) activities witnessed by the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) volunteers noted discrepancies in the machine count of the ballots and hand count. The requirement of accurate ballot counters in the PCOS machine is simply not met.

Fact 14: The number of registered voters in the canvassing system was wrong.

Fact 15: 99.995% accuracy was not met - On July 20, 2010 the Random Manual Audit Team reported a finding of 99.6% accuracy or an error rate of 0.4% (4 marks out of 1,000).

Fact 16: Compensating Controls not fully implemented.

Management and Procedural Issues

It appears that the TEC did not have enough latitude in the performance of its function or that the recommended compensating controls were not fully implemented. The Comelec project time table or calendar of activities was too tight. The Continuity Plan was not properly operationalized as evidenced by the absence of any training and drill exercise.

2. Logistics Issue: Deployment of Machines

The subcontracted firms did not go through the stringent evaluation and review by COMELEC’s Special Bids and Awards Committee. They were also not directly accountable to the COMELEC. There was no disclosure on the capability of the subcontracted logistics providers to handle sensitive cargo; and there was lack of information on road networks and mode of transportation.

In terms of security, the Forensic Team identified a vulnerability, the console port on the PCOS, which exposed it to possible breach while in transit or in storage. Forensic Team reported that the shell of the operating system of the PCOS could be accessed by connecting a laptop to it and the operating system does not even ask for a username/password combination.

Even given that the PCOS machines went through quality assurance testing at the Shanghai, China plant, the PCOS machines should have been individually subjected to quality assurance testing at the Cabuyao, Laguna warehouse. The tightened schedule resulting from delays in delivery may have caused the poor quality assurance testing, resulting in, for example, the varying date and time settings of the PCOS machines.

3. Field Tests and Mock Elections

The AES may have been demonstrated to work - but to what degree? Certainly not at 100%. Too many refinements and adjustments were needed to be done to the AES as shown by the problems (such as high ballot rejection rate and transmission delays) encountered in the field tests and mock elections. The field tests and mock elections are a failure.

No time and motion study was conducted by Comelec neither was there an evident change in management to prepare for the anticipated long queues of voters nationwide. With no sound estimate prior to election day and upon realizing on election day itself that 11 hours is not sufficient Comelec announced late in the day – 3 p.m. – to extend voting time from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. CenPEG had long raised the issue that 11 hours is insufficient and that voting time should be at least 16 hours or in extreme cases 24 hours to pre-empt massive voter disenfranchisement.
Lesson: The Technical Evaluation Committee should not have certified that the AES is operating properly.

4. Source Code

The right to review/study the source code of the election programs is a right of the citizens as part of the right to information guaranteed by the Constitution and is guaranteed by Section 12 of RA-9369. When the computer does not show how it counts to the public, then the public has the right to review the source code of the computer to check that it is doing the counting correctly. The actual events as they happened before election day, on election day, and after election day proved beyond reasonable doubt that the election computers and the people managing the computerization process made many serious mistakes.

The wrong way can be rectified, with a source code review done by parties independent of Comelec. Comelec did not perform its duty of doing a source code review, since the review done by SysTest Labs did not check the election programs for conformity to our election laws and Comelec regulations.

5. Hash codes

Initial report contained errors; hash codes were of the zipped installable programs, not the programs after installation. No facility was made available on election day for the BEIs and watchers to check whether the program running in the machines is the same as the source code held in escrow at the BSP – to assure the public that the program in the machine is one and the same in escrow – a PUBLIC TRUST issue. It is possible that a different program/software was running on the machines on election day.

6. Digital Signature

The implementation of digital signing in the automated election system is not technically or technologically consistent with the implementation of digital signature technology and is contrary to the requirements of the RFP-AES2010, clarified in the related Bid Bulletin No. 10. The claimed existence of a “machine digital signature” in each PCOS machine is debunked by the findings by SysTest Labs which failed to verify any digital signature as well as the failure of Smartmatic technicians to demonstrate the existence of a digital certificate that will confirm the existence of a digital signature.

The claimed “machine digital signature” does not legally exist. No Philippine law, rule, or statute has accorded legal recognition of “machine digital signature”.

Implication: The lack or absence of a digital signature on the ER, SOV, and COC impaired the authenticity and due execution of said election reports. The lack or absence of a digital signature on the ER, SOV, and COC rendered the election reports vulnerable to tampering and manipulation.

7. Transmission

The exclusion of certain components of the AES from review and certification, specifically the PCOS modem firmware and the non-implementation of Compensating Controls relating to transmission may have rendered the transmission infrastructure vulnerable to attacks or may have allowed the unauthorized access to data/reports for purposes of manipulating the same.

The COMELEC missed the opportunity to validate that all necessary components are in place and are performing as intended by not executing a final and complete dry run of the AES. Had COMELEC done so, the reported errors like varying date/time stamps on the PCOS and the erroneous registered voters count would have been observed and final corrections to the AES instituted prior to election day.

There is a need to conduct of full technical review of the transmission to fully explain the transmission irregularities.

8. UV lamp and ballot security

COMELEC’s lack of project management skills and required technical knowledge to understand the intricacies of printing is very evident in its handling of the printing of the ballots and ensuring that the required security feature is present. There was no need to disable the ultraviolet security mark sensing in the PCOS. For disabling the ultraviolet security mark sensing in the PCOS, however, at least PhP30million of taxpayers’ money had to be spent on the handheld ultraviolet scanners. The amount had gone to waste since, as reported by the SWS, only 50% was used. There are also reports that not all handheld ultraviolet scanners had been recovered.

9. Voter’s verifiability

Comelec rationalized the disabling of the Cast and Return button in the PCOS by claiming it would cause delay in voting. This deprived the voter of a mechanism to verify that the PCOS computer has interpreted his/her ballot correctly; voter intent may not have been correctly registered in the machine. (Voting delays on E-day were in fact caused by clustering and technical problems and not by the feeding of ballots.)

10. Final testing and sealing (FTS) & CF Card reconfiguration

The May 3 FTS disaster exposed Smartmatic’s inexperience in implementing paper-based AES. The actual number (10) of test ballots used during FTS is statistically insufficient to prove that the PCOS machine can correctly credit votes for candidates to the correct candidates.

In the rush to recall, reconfigure, and resend all CF cards, there were reports of delayed delivery or non-delivery of reconfigured memory cards. Contrary to Comelec claims, the reconfiguration was not done mainly at the Cabuyao, Laguna plant but also at DOST provincial offices. Reconfiguration opened opportunities to tamper with the memory cards, CF card switching, and other risks.

11. Canvassing and election results

Faulty programming caused miscalculation of total number of registered voters (Comelec canvassing CCS computer at PICC and Congress canvassing CCS computer) and the high incidence of FTS results transmission. As regards the high incidence of erroneous COCs containing FTS results, it is strongly evident that old faulty CF cards were used on election day. It was also caused by Smartmatic’s counting and canvassing system (CCS) program’s failure to reject invalid COCs and accept only the valid ones. The program was never subjected to testing and certification in accordance with Philippine election laws – despite the SysTest testing and certification issued by the TEC.

IV. Synthesis and Conclusion
Were the election day incidents as reconstructed isolated or did these happen on a small-scale or only in areas covered by Project 30-30 research? Were these incidents mainly caused by clerical or simple mathematical miscalculations or were these simple reports of technical glitches fabricated by “misinformed minds?”

If these were only isolated and treated as minor glitches, what explains the following disturbing findings that occurred NATIONWIDE and were validated again in congressional hearings, investigations and Project 3030 case studies?
  • Mismatched time and date stamps on all PCOS machines;
  • Transmission failures;
  • Erroneous COCs in at least 57 provinces and cities;
  • Ballots and CF cards delivered manually for canvassing;
  • Discovery of the console port in all machines making the PCOS vulnerable to tampering;
  • Erroneous entries of total number of voters and votes cast in the national canvassing center and Congress;
  • Near anarchy at the clustered precincts;
  • Not to forget the pre-election incidence of defective CF cards
All of these have tainted the integrity, credibility, and accuracy of the PCOS machines and the election system.

Based on CenPEG research that includes testimonies of Comelec officials, other election personnel like the BEIs, Smartmatic IT technicians, poll watchers and voters as confirmed and validated by House hearings and investigations conducted by independent IT groups, other election watchdogs and media reports – the magnitude of these problems was nationwide. There was high incidence and widespread occurrences of the technical and management problems. Based on available information, data and documents, the “rousing success of the AES” as claimed by Comelec is therefore without material basis.

Moreover, blunders in the automated election system implemented on May 10 can be traced to decisions made by the Comelec and its contractor Smartmatic-TIM to sidestep accuracy, security, and transparency standards on both hardware and software technologies needed to ensure reliable and credible election results. All these and more made the automated election vulnerable to all forms of cheating including ballot pre-shading and possible pre-loading of election data.

The challenge of establishing solid proofs and empirical data to prove automated cheating – including a possible pre-loading - whether wide-scale or systematic and establish in no uncertain terms the possible accountability of Comelec has been hampered precisely by the national poll body’s unexplained refusal to disclose vital election documents – all 21 of them – that were long requested by CenPEG and other citizens’ groups. The disclosure of these documents will also help test and validate Comelec’s claims of election “success” and dispel increasing allegations of electronic rigging. The more intransigent Comelec is in refusing to make this public information available especially for worthy causes like research without preconditions or under “controlled environment” the stronger public concerns there will be that the poll body is hiding something.

CenPEG is optimistic that answers and clarifications on the questions and doubts about the accuracy, trustworthiness, and security of the PCOS and the whole election system can be discerned from the 21 public documents it has requested but which were denied perfunctorily by the Comelec en banc last July 26, 2010.

In the meantime, Comelec should be made to explain why its implementation of the election automation was inconsistent with major provisions of the Philippine Constitution (voter rights, public information, government-citizens partnership in governance, etc.), RA 9369 and other election-related election laws.

Comelec should also explain in unequivocal terms why at the first instance it chose to outsource the Philippines’ automated election to a foreign company – under still non-transparent transactions at that – that proved to be ill-equipped and ill-informed of the country’s election conditions instead of tapping the Filipino IT industry whose skills and competence are comparable with IT giants in the world.

How easily the Comelec must have forgotten that elections are the sovereign act of a sovereign country and that, as the 1987 Philippine Constitution itself provides: “The State shall give priority to research and development, invention, innovation, and their utilization; and to science and technology education, training, and services. It shall support indigenous, appropriate, and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, and their application to the country’s productive systems and national life.” (Article XIV, Section 10)

EU-CenPEG Project 3030

 (This is a repost of MIGHT e2010's repost of the CenPEG sypnosis report dated Oct. 5, 2010)



American People Urged to Fight Back against Fascist Current in Homeland

by Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle

AT the center of the world capitalist system, the current of fascism is running high. It is whipping up the terrorism scare, racism, xenophobia, anti-migrant prejudices and religious bigotry. The Republican and Democratic parties keep moving towards the Right, egged on by ultra-Rightist groups and sections of the corporate mass media.

The finance oligarchy and the military-industrial complex are deliberately generating the fascist current and its various ingredients in order to conceal the root cause of the financial and economic crisis, to cover up their criminal culpability, to shift the burden of crisis to the proletariat and the people and to scapegoat the anti-imperialist and peace activists, the immigrants, the people of color, the Arabs and Muslims.

The fascist current took a new ugly turn when on Friday, September 24, 2010 the FBI raided at least six houses in Chicago and Minneapolis and began a US-wide intimidation campaign of activists who work with organizations such as the Palestine Solidarity Group, Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera (a Colombian political prisoner).

As revealed by the warrants and line of questioning by the FBI agents, the activists are being targeted and pilloried for their solidarity work with the people’s struggles for national self-determination abroad as well as for their work within the US to build a movement to oppose US imperialism, crisis and war. The intimidation campaign has included FBI raids, visits and Grand Jury subpoenas. It is obviously inspired by the reactionary ruling of the US Supreme Court in Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project on June 22, 2010.

The said Supreme Court ruling has made it a crime to provide support, including humanitarian aid, literature distribution, legal advice, and political advocacy to any entity that the government has designated as a foreign terrorist organization, even when such support is intended solely to promote the lawful and non-violent activities of a designated organization.

Civil rights advocates and a section of the mainstream media have condemned the Supreme Court ruling and have denounced the decision as violative of the US constitution by criminalizing free speech and imposing guilt by association.  On July 26, the Washington Post began publishing an investigative series critical of the extensive counterterrorism and intelligence network put up by the US government in reaction to the 9/11/2001 attacks.

In an interview on Democracy Now, the Washington Post reporters discussed how the top-secret world of US intelligence agencies has become “so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work”. Among the findings: about 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances; and more than 1,200 government organizations and nearly 2,000 private companies work on programs related to counter-terrorism, homeland security and intelligence in 10,000 locations. The US has practically become the biggest police state in the world.

The Obama administration is not any more gentle and kind than the Bush administration. On September 24 (same day as the FBI raids), it filed a court motion urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Constitutional Rights against the assertion that the US can assassinate US citizens anywhere in the world, without any clear criteria about who can be assassinated. The Obama administration cited an act on state secrets, prohibiting the public revelation of information prejudicial to national security, as the cover for assassinations.

The US is increasingly applying on its own citizens and other residents in the US the same viciousness and brutality it has applied on entire peoples outside of its national borders. An imperialist power that holds captive and brutalizes other peoples is ever inclined to oppress the people within its borders. Since September 21, 2001, US imperialism has unleashed wars of aggression and has whipped up state terrorism through its allies and puppets abroad. At the same time, it has enacted the USA PATRIOT Act in order to curtail and suppress the democratic rights and freedoms of the people in the US.

We firmly stand in solidarity with all the people in the US and vigorously support their struggle against US imperialism and all its ruthless policies and acts to exploit and oppress. We call on all the member-organizations and allies of the ILPS in the US to contribute the most that they can in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people of various nationalities in the US to uphold, defend and advance their democratic rights and to resist the latest FBI raids and all other oppressive and exploitative acts of the imperialist state. ###

(Reposted with permission by Mr. Joma Sison) 



Sison, Jose Maria. ILPS Condemns Rise of Fascist Current in the US and urges the American People to Fight Back. 5 Oct. 2010.

Photo credit:

Licencia de Creative Commons Reposts are licensed to the respective authors. Otherwise, posts by Jesusa Bernardo are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Philippines.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Revolutionary hero Emilio Jacinto & his "A La Patria" (To My Fatherland)

 by Jesusa Bernardo

EMILIO Jacinto y Dizon was dubbed the "soul and brains (intelligence)" of the Katipunan by Andres Bonifacio, the "Father of Philippine Revolution," and Supremo of the secret-society-turned-revolutionary-national-government Kagalanggalangang Katipunan nang manga Anak nang Bayan (KKK). Though born in poverty, Jacinto was innately intelligent and had the luck to be educated in good schools through the kindness of his uncle. Jacinto loved learning and grew to be an intelligent, patriotic, morally principled young man who would be recognized by, and would forge a strong bond of friendship with, the Supremo.

He occupied several posts in the Katipunan. Jacinto was only a pre-law student (at the University of Santo Tomas) when he was elected as fiscal or No. 2 official in the Supreme Council of the Katipunan. He also served as the KKK's Secretary and a military leader. His last position was as Commanding General of the Northern District of Manila, accordingly appointed by Bonifacio on April 15, 1897.
Emilio Jacinto Seal as Punong Hukbo
of KKK forces in Manila, Morong,
Bulacan & Nueva Ecija (late 1896 - early 1897)

Jacinto is well known for the Katipunan ethics code, the Kartilya, and his editorship of the revolutionary newspapaper Kalayaan. His best politico-social treatise, however, he wrote some five months after the terrible anguish over the coup murder-by-execution of his brotherly friend, Bonifacio, who fell prey to the greed of the camp of then Capt. Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy. Jacinto elected to fight the colonial Spaniards separate from the forces of Aguinaldo who liquidated the Supremo and his brother on May 10, 1897. Jacinto remained loyal to Bonifacio and true to the cause of the Katipunan, turning down Aguinaldo's invitation for him to serve in the latter's new de facto revolutionary government.

Possibly nestled by the shade of some tree but under fire from the colonial enemy; hurting from the most unjust death of his Supremo friend who distinctly had the guts and wits to propel the Philippines into a nationalist revolution; and hands grimy from combat efforts, Tagalog (Filipino) patriot Jacinto wrote his masterpiece "A La Patria" (To My Fatherland) on October 8, 1897 in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. The poem was almost surely inspired by Jose Rizal's "Ultimo Adios". Written in a neglected second language and, thus, not literarily excellent, Jacinto's poem nevertheless brims with patriotic sincerity and is said to equal Rizal's piece in nobility and loftiness of thought.

What follows are the original Spanish version of Jacinto's "A La Patria" and a modern English translation. A Tagalog version by this blog author is in the works.

 (Original) SPANISH Version


    por Dimas-Ilaw (Emilio Jacinto)

¡Salve, oh patria, que adoro, amor de mis amores,
que Natura de tantos tesoros prodigó;
vergel do son más suaves y gentiles las flores,
donde el alba se asoma con más bellos colores,
donde el poeta contempla delicias que soñó!

¡Salve, oh reina de encantos, Filipinas querida,
resplandeciente Venus, tierra amada y sin par:
región de luz, colores, poesía, fragancias, vida,
región de ricos frutos y de armonías, mecida
por la brisa y los dulces murmullos de la mar!

Preciosísima y blanca perla del mar de Oriente,
edén esplendoroso de refulgente sol:
yo te saludo ansioso, y adoración ardiente
te rinde el alma mía, que es su deseo vehemente
verte sin amarguras, sin el yugo español.

En medio de tus galas, gimes entre cadenas;
la libertad lo es todo y estás sin libertad;
para aliviar, oh patria, tu padecer, tus penas,
gustoso diera toda la sangre de mis venas,
durmiera como duermen tantos la eternidad.

El justo inalienable derecho que te asiste
palabra vana es sólo, sarcasmo, burla cruel;
la justicia es quimera para tu suerte triste;
esclava, y sin embargo ser reina mereciste;
goces das al verdugo que en cambio te dá hiel.

¿Y de qué sirve ¡ay, patria! triste, desventurada,
que sea límpido y puro tu cielo de zafir,
que tu luna se ostente con luz más argentada,
de que sirve, si en tanto lloras esclavizada,
si cuatro siglos hace que llevas de sufrir?

¿De que sirve que cubran tus campos tantas flores,
que en tus selvas se oiga al pájaro trinar,
si el aire que trasporta sus cantos, sus olores,
en alas también lleva quejidos y clamores
que el alma sobrecogen y al hombre hacen pensar?

¿De qué sirve que, perla de virginal pureza,
luzcas en tu blancura la riqueza oriental,
si toda tu hermosura, si toda tu belleza,
en mortíferos hierros de sin igual dureza
engastan los tiranos, gozándose en tu mal?

¿De qué sirve que asombre tu exuberante suelo,
produciendo sabrosos frutos y frutos mil,
si al fin cuanto cobija tu esplendoroso cielo
el hispano declara que es suyo y sin recelo
su _derecho_ proclama con insolencia vil?

Mas el silencio acaba y la senil paciencia,
que la hora ya ha sonada de combatir por ti.
Para aplastar sin miedo, de frente, sin clemencia,
la sierpe que envenena tu mísera existencia,
arrastrando la muerte, nos tienes, patria, aquí.

La madre idolatrada, la esposa que adoramos,
el hijo que es pedazo de nuestro corazón,
por defender tu causa todo lo abandonamos:
esperanzas y amores, la dicha que anhelamos,
todos nuestros ensueños, toda nuestra ilusión.

Surgen de todas partes los héroes por encanto,
en sacro amor ardiendo, radiantes de virtud;
hasta morir no cejan, y espiran. Entre tanto
que fervientes pronuncian, patria, tu nombre santo;
su último aliento exhalan deseándote salud.

Y así, cual las estrellas del cielo numerosas,
por tí se sacrifican mil vidas sin dolor:
y al oir de los combates las cargas horrorosas
rogando porque vuelvan tus huestes victoriosas
oran niños, mujeres y ancianos con fervor.

Con saña que horroriza, indecibles torturas,--
porque tanto te amaron y desearon tu bien,--
cuantos mártires sufren; más en sus almas puras
te bendicen en medio de angustias y amarguras
y, si les dan la muerte, bendicente también.

No importa que sucumban a cientos, a millones,
tus hijos en lucha tremenda y desigual
y su preciosa sangre se vierta y forme mares:
no importa, si defienden a tí y a sus hogares,
si por luchar perecen, su destino fatal.

No importa que suframos destierros y prisiones,
tormentos infernales con salvaje furor;
ante el altar sagrado que en nuestras corazones
juntos te hemos alzado, sin mancha de pasiones,
juramentos te hicieron el alma y el honor.

Si al terminar la lucha con laureles de gloria
nuestra obra y sacrificios corona el triunfo al fin,
las edades futuras harán de tí memoria;
y reina de esplendores, sin manchas ya ni escoria,
te admirarán los pueblos del mundo en el confín.

Ya en tu cielo brillando el claro y nuevo día,
respirando venturas, amor y libertad,
de los que caído hubieren en la noche sombría
no te olvides, que aun bajo la humilde tumba fría
se sentirán felices por tu felicidad.

Pero si la victoria favorece al hispano
y adversa te es la suerte en la actual ocasión,
no importa: seguiremos llamándonos "hermano",
que habrá libertadores mientras haya tirano,
la fé vivirá mientras palpite el corazón.

Y la labor penosa en la calma aparente
que al huracán precede y volverá a bramar,
con la tarea siguiendo más firme, más prudente,
provocará otra lucha aun más tenaz y ardiente
hasta que consigamos tus lágrimas secar.

¡Oh patria idolatrada, cuanto más afligida
y angustiada te vemos te amamos más y más:
no pierdas la esperanza; de la profunda herida
siempre brotará sangre, mientras tengamos vida,
nunca te olvidaremos: ¡jamás, jamás, jamás!
Octubre, 1897

 (ENGLISH Version)
              by Dimas-Ilaw (Emilio Jacinto)

Hail! Oh my native country!  More than aught I adore thee
Whom with so many treasures lavish nature has blessed;
Eden where flowers more fragrant bloom than in other gardens,
Where with more beautiful colors, rising, the dawn paints the heavens,
And where the poet, enraptured, sees what he elsewhere but dreamt.

Hail! Oh thou queen enchanting!  Filipinos beloved,
Venus beauty enshrouded, peerless, beloved land!
Region of light and color, poetry, fragrance, and gaiety,
Regions of fruits delicious and or sweet harmonies,
gently lulled to sleep by the breezes and the surf of the sea.

Pearl the most precious and dazzling of our Eastern Ocean,
Paradise built by the splendors of our brilliant sun:
Eagerly do I greet thee, and adoration ardent.
Offers my soul with the burning, fervent desire to see thee
Free from thy bitter sorrow, free from the Spaniard's yoke!

Ah, in the midst of thy splendors, sadly in chains dost though languish,
That which to thee is most precious-freedom, though has it not!
Ah, to relieve thee, my country, in thy distress, in thy suffering,
Pain would I give my life-blood, gushing forth from my bosom
To the last drop, and oblivion find, eternal rest.

What should be thine by Justice, rights unalienable
Are naught but words vain and hollow, cruel mockery to thee;
Justice is but a deception in thy sad situation,
Bonmaid art thou, though worthy of a Queen's purple instead,
Joy givest thou to thy tyrant, who gives thee gall in return.

What does it help thee, my country, sad bowed by dire misfortune,
That thou hast skies like the turquoise, clear and diaphanous,
That of thy moon the silvery beams are of matchless beauty:
What does it help thee, who, weeping, sighing in bitter bondage,
Hast for four centuries been suffering - what is the good to thee?

And what avail thee flowers covering thy smiling meadows,
What the bird's carols that sweetly in your forests resound?
Ah, the same breeze that their fragrance bears and their songs harmonious,
Bears on its wings cries and sobbing, weeping and bitter complaints,
That fill the soul with anguish and the mind with sad thoughts.

What is the good of thy splendor, pearl of virginal beauty,
What of the wealth oriental of thy alluring charms,
If all thy grace and beauty tyrants have cruelly blighted,
Bound with mortiferous iron, fetters or hardness unequaled,
Drawing enjoyment and pleasures from thy anguish and woe?

What is the good of thy fertile soil and its matchless exuberance,
That it brings forth fruits delicious and manifold, bountiful?
If all thy generous heavens smile down upon and shelter
Is claimed as his by the Spaniards, who stepping boldly forward,
Insolent in his vileness, loudly proclaims his right?

But to end comes all silence and must all servile patience,
Now, that the tocsin resounding call  us to light for thee,
And without fear, without mercy, openly, crush the servile serpent
That with its venom has poisoned  thy embittered existence;
Fatherland, here we are, ready, anxious to die for thee!

All, the idolized mother, and the wife whom we worship,
Even the babe whom his father loves like a piece of his soul,
In the defense of thy cause we abandon them, leaving behind us,
Happiness, love and hope: all we hold dear we give up,
All our fondest dreams, our illusions all.

And lo!  Throughout the country heroes spring up enchantment,
Burning with love of their country, radiant with virtue's light,
Fighting with ardor that only death can defeat and vanquish,
And even in dying they will utter thy sacred name.
Fatherland, wishing thee happiness, still with their dying breath.

Numerous like stars in the heavens, thousands of noble heroes
Lay on thy sacred altars willingly down their lives,
And when ye hear of the combats and the desperate charges
Fervent prayers to heaven send up, ye children ye aged,
And ye woman, that victory may be with our hosts!
Midst the most horrible tortures cruelty can imagine,

Only because they have loved thee and desired thy good,
Countless martyrs have suffered, yet in the midst of their torments
Blessings for thee have risen from their pure souls, and even
Those who were slain met death with  last wish for thee.

What does it matter that hundreds, thousands of sons of thine perish,
In the unequal struggle, in the tremendous strife,
And that their precious lifeblood flows till it seems like an ocean?
Is it not split in defending thee and thy sacred home?
Little it matters if fighting bravely, they die in thy cause!

Little it matters if exile is our fate, and the prison,
Or even torture, with savage fury inflicted on us,
For t the sacred altar that in his heart each patriot
To thee has raised, have us all, one and all have we sworn
Fealty to our cause, and our honor pledged.

And it we forth from the flight come with the laurels of glory,
And our self-sacrificing labor is crowned with success,
Future ages will honor heap upon honor and crown thee
Queen of the realm of the free, pure and unblemished queen,
And all the peoples on earth mute and admiring will stand.

On the horizon slowly rises the dawn, most brilliant,
Of a new day of freedom, love and prosperity,
And of those who have fallen in the dark night of the struggle
Never let perish the memory, and in their graves, cold and humble,
Happy their slumber will be, happiness being thine.

And if the crown of the victor should be the spoil of the Spaniard,
and if the fickle fortune should turn its back on thee,
Yet we shall always be brethren - be what it may the outcome,
Liberty will always have  the champions while there are tyrants alive.
And our faith will not perish - while there is life, there is hope!

Silent forces are working while  a false calm is reigning
Calm precedes the storm - soon will the hurricane rage,
And  with more firmness, more prudence will our work we continue
And start the struggle again, but with more ardor and strength,
Till in the end we shall triumph, till dried your tears shall be.

Fatherland, idolized, precious, as your sorrows are growing
So our love grows again, your affection for thee,
Do not lose hope or courage, for from the wound, the gaping,
Always the blood will flow, while there is life in us,
And we shall never forget thee in eternity's space.

October 1897
(Translation from )



Chua, Michael Charleston. KASPIL 1.

de la Camara, Eduardo Martin. Project Gutenberg's Parnaso Filipino, by Eduardo Martin de la Camara. Release date: July 4, 2005.

Documents of the Katipunan: Andres Bonifacio Notice of appointment, April 15, 1897.

EMILIO D. JACINTO (1875-1899): Brains of the Katipunan.

Emilio Jacinto.

"Emilio D. Jacinto 134th Birth Anniversary." 14 Dec. 2009.

Guerrego, Milagros; Encarnacion, Emmanuel; and Villegas, Ramon. Andres Bonifacio and the 1986 Revolution. 16 June 2003.

Introduction to A La Patria.

Today in History.

Photo credits:

Jacinto Punong Hukbo seal.

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