News Round-up


is old & sickly,
has to be cradled
in his wheelchair
as they push him
into jail.
Surely, the photo
would bring tears
to the eyes
of the beholder
who’d find the detainee
a regular guy.
But German lawyers
had charged
the former camp guard
with “helping to kill
28,000 Jews
in World War II…”
Yet he looked harmless
as if
he couldn’t hurt a fly.
Of course, quick he is
to deny the allegation:
it was too long ago,
& who remembers,
even himself,
such tall tales?


“It is very unfortunate,”
he begins at the Hague,
“that… disinformation,
lies and rumors…
would associate him
with such titles
or description….”
as butcher,
rapist, murderer,
ritual cannibal.
This is not true.
He speaks fluently
the King’s English,
looks dapper in suit
before the magistrate
to explain his side.
But a witness
that when he saw
the ex-president of Liberia
whose troops
cut his arms
& raped his relatives,
Charles Taylor
wouldn’t look at him
in the eye,
as he raised
his prosthetic arms.
Of course,
he belongs to the jet set
of modern-day dictators
who are versed
in international law,
& smell of expensive
they do not guzzle
virgin blood
as in old tales,
but cuddles babies
& kiss housewives
before the camera
with their loyal crowd.
They are the new breed
that upholds
the democratic creed.
But the crimes
have been the same
through the centuries:
“murder, torture,
rape, sexual slavery,
using child soldiers
& spreading terror…”

Kremlin List

Natalya Estemirova
probably knew
when her friend
Anna Polikovskaya
was murdered by thugs
in her apartment
she would be next
in line.
She had filed
hundreds of human rights
in Chechnya…
Salvaging & disappearance,
as in Manila,
are high-profile issues
Kremlin hitmen
wouldn’t just shrug off:
Why couldn’t
she simply keep quiet
& let things pass?
But she was committed
to observe
her own ethical norm
bureaucratic control.


40 years ago today,
American austronauts
landed on the moon,
their footprints
pressing for eternity
the soil
of an alien world.
A new frontier
had been claimed
for mankind.
Yet the planet
would remain stuck
in small wars
& humongous crimes,
perpetual poverty
& traitorous politicians.
O Even an idiot
will pose to wonder
what the fuss
is all about.


After six months
in captivity by Abu Sayyaf,
Eugenio Vagni
boarded the KLM flight
for Italy
in the company of his Thai wife
& daughter Letticia.
Of course,
it was diplomatese
when he riposted
he’d be back
after spending vacation with family
in his own country…
Or he might altogether
& enjoy a private life.
Enough of heroic deed?
This land ravaged
by war & corruption
would always find
foreign aid workers
golden booty.
Yes, he didn’t have
to curse
& grit his teeth
at the perfidious act:
It is damned racist
to insist, after all,
as in old colonial days,
only a good Muslim
is a dead bandit.

Death Wish

It was
Romeo & Juliet
for old lovers
this time
when Edward Downer,
84, former concert conductor
growing blind & deaf,
died “hand-in-hand”
with wife Joan Downes,
54, former ballet dancer
who was terminally ill
with cancer.
The scene
was a Zurich clinic
by assisted-suicide
group Dignitas.
This right to die
they had exercised
where only certainty
& privilege were reserved
for philosophers.
demonstrated it
with so much class
that many
can’t still figure out
why death
can be so beautiful
& so just.


Brother Tito Jackson
they confronted MJ
about his use of drugs,
but sister LaToya
counters it ain’t so:
her brother
was murdered
& LA police
are nodding their heads.
O the family,
embattled by truths
& lies,
doesn’t speak with
one voice:
his death, after all,
is a burden of guilt
for the living
who must answer
for a wayward departure.
But when will
the spirit lift,
like a heavy stone
that presses
on their chests?
Alas, it’s too damned late
in the day —
they must carry
their grief
to the grave.


They’re digging
in Davao,
as they do everywhere
in Southeast Asia
where massacres
& genocide
fill your usual buzz
at the breakfast table:
The curtain
on Davao Death Squad
slowly lifts
as experts exhume
skulls & bones.
But orphans & mourners
will never have
that peace
even if they believe
the remains
are fully theirs —
once loved,
even hated,
yet once alive
just the same
& could be reprieved
to mend their sordid ways…
But city ghosts
thought it better & wise
to clean up the site…
For God sides
with those souls
who exorcise
the cult of demonic hood.
O Killing fields
dot the city
& countryside,
as if spraying the air
with carbon monoxide.

Parking Lot Revisited

He has not been seen
of late in the premises.
His reserved parking space
at petty drivers
like a sentinel
tasked to guard the air.
No one could park
on it,
lest you get a ticket.
It might as well
be a memorial lot,
so you couldn’t contest
the presence
of anything
even if perpetually absent.
In this country
of perks & privileges
classes & institutions,
you are warned
to keep your peace
if you don’t have
money or official


Sarah Raymundo
is still in limbo:
Big Boss
is still sitting
on her papers
to be justly tenured
but he is freezing
the ball,
as it were,
so as to perfect
the lie that the law
allows its own violation?
The marchers
were disciplined,
barely ruffling the rustic
no pillbox here,
but a megaphone
that boomed a message
to onlookers:
what about a world
ruled by academics
who mouth
as if they invented it?
The kids are watching
Will they
in their own time
& situation
of power tripping
do the same?


The priest-governor
may as well
pray for a miracle:
the Supreme Court
has ordered
recount of electoral votes.
& if God doesn’t intervene
in the scheme of men,
he’ll find himself
again saying
to the people
who tired of political thugs
& egged him on
to take over the post.
But he believes
that universe is testing
his resolve:
what the Lord sayeth,
he will accept.
Will the poor
stirred by his affliction
dance to his
metaphysical tune?


The philo student
meant well
when he asked for
how to reach
the labor union:
they need extra hand
for their workforce
is almost burnt out
by the job
of achitecting words
for plans
& schematics
of a proletarian world.
So many things to do,
so many people to serve…
But how to live
a life
by the dialectics of change,
without the rigorous
knowing of
the history of despair?
Each to each
to his own putrid circumstances.
Survival is private?
Pure is the will to exist?
But this has been
the formula for chaos
through the ages!


He is running
against the One,
to stop, he claims,
the march of evil —
Enough is enough!
The people won’t stand
another power round!
But here in the city,
he steers clear
of decision
to put a period
to a simple stand-off,
opting instead
to feed someone
to the dogs,
as it were,
by saying nothing,
stepping out of collision.
& he desires
to call the shots
in an arena
more dangerous & complex
than his safe response?
He has lived off
the kindness of superiors.
Why can’t he stand by
a positive moral measure?
But it isn’t easy
to conclude:
the country has never reeled
from excess of turpitude.

(For Camille)

she has always wanted
to share her knowledge
with kids
who in the future
will themselves
turn mentors,
assiduously preparing
the reading list,
taking note of points
& counterpoints
to mark the score,
& hoping that everyone
But they barely listen,
look out the window,
fantasizing how
they could scoot out
of the neighborhood
for that dream-stuff
Will they remember
that moment
when this idea was introduced,
that discourse
pinned down
for its ideological falsehood?
Only what lingers
before their very eyes —
food, cars, high-end posts —
would matter, after all.

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2 Responses to News Round-up

  1. Pingback: Payag ka ba sa Palit-ulo? « Kapirasong Kritika

  2. edel says:

    depende kung saan ka nakaupo

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