Atenews Election Issue 2022 Vol. 67 No. 2

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est. 1955 MAY 2022 | ELECTION ISSUE 2022 | VOL. 67 NO. 2

COVER BY Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte, Katelyn Mae Uyking, and Mariz Aylah Cenojas

Member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines End the Silence of the Gagged!



End the Silence of the Gagged.

Don’t let the late dictator’s son win EDITORIAL We are approaching a possibility of another dark era in our country with the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. topping the charts in his bid for presidency. Marcos Jr. is leading with an overwhelming support from the masses. In figures, the Pulse Asia survey on March 17 to 21 reported that 56 percent of the voters preferred Marcos Jr., while lagging behind him was Vice President Leni Robredo with only 24 percent. If the late dictator’s son and namesake grabs hold of the highest seat in the land, we can expect the next six years to be led by:

A president who banks on his army of trolls and revises history. The success of Marcos Jr.’s campaign relies heavily on his army of trolls, aiming to peddle misinformation drives that benefit him. In fact, he is the biggest beneficiary of misleading posts which helped boost his campaign, in contrast with his rival Robredo, who is the biggest disinformation victim. Social media indeed plays a huge role in manipulating the narrative. A simple video or image that claims a certain “fact” can be regarded as an actual fact because most don’t bother checking the sources of such a claim. The scope and reach of information is also wide, and often, it is difficult to keep track of where they do come from.

A president with no concrete plans and relies on chicanery for the most part. We bear witness to how, among the many presidential debates he was invited to, he was only able to attend one—the one being hosted by SMNI News Channel, owned by his ally Apollo Quiboloy. His absence speaks a lot about how he treats public forums, discussions, and media in general.

Marcos Jr. uses this doubleedged feature of social media to his advantage. Because the younger generation may not be aware of the atrocities of his father’s regime, as the Martial Law years are rarely taught in schools, he launches misinformation drives to revise history, painting the darkest years in the country as its “golden years.”

Ultimately, he is complacent and plays safe, forming strategic alliances with some media outlets that he could use for his political machinery. A media outlet that is, in essence, operating as a puppet and mouthpiece for the president is the final nail in the coffin of our already dying democracy and press freedom.

Once he successfully revises history, collective amnesia follows, with people forgetting how cruel and corrupt the Marcos administration was. And again, history repeats itself.

Admittedly, not attending debates on Marcos Jr.’s part is a smart move because he banks on his supporters’ blind fanaticism, cheering him on as the “Cheetah” who doesn’t need to debate with the second placers for presidency. Because when he does show up, he winds up performing poorly the same way he did in 2016, risking his lead and smearing his campaign. Thus, his highfalutin promises of “unity” and “sama-sama tayong babangon muli” are just that— bravado and lacking substance, because Marcos Jr. himself refuses to explain his platforms and concrete plans once elected as president.

Sofia Roena Guan Editor-in-Chief and Art Editor for Photo

Julia Alessandra Trinidad

Never again, never forget!

ART BY Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte

STAFF Carlio Isiah Escarda Ethel Marren Guerra Ali Bani Sixto III Martinez Hilary Vera Parcon Raphael Eddmon Tiu

Associate and News Editor

Senior Cartoonists/Illustrators

Joeshua Dequiña

Angelo Mari Cabual

Managing and Social Media Editor


Rappler writer Philip M. Lustre, Jr. perfectly described the biggest heist in the Philippines as, “The lesson in history seems to be that crime pays. When one steals, he has to steal big to buy his freedom.” Can we really trust a president whose family thinks that they are higher than the laws of the land?

With another Marcos in power, our country will inevitably fall into years of turmoil, uncertainty, and destabilization. Let us exhaust all means to prevent Marcos Jr. and his family from ruling the country and abusing their powers to orchestrate another huge heist that will cripple our still suffering country because of their past atrocities.

A president who abuses his position and power to get away with his family’s ill-gotten wealth. Various reports could not provide an actual amount of the Marcos family’s unexplained wealth, with estimates that could go up to 30 billion USD. Despite recovery efforts of the Presidential Commission on Good Government of the family’s and their cronies’ ill-gotten wealth, the Sandiganbayan convicting Imelda Marcos as guilty on



seven counts of graft, and estate tax liability amounting to 203.8-billion pesos, not one of the Marcoses and their cronies spent a day in prison.

Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte Art Editor for Cartoon

Son Roy Almerol Art Editor for Layout and Web

Gwyneth Marie Vasquez Honorary Editor

Senior Feature Writer

Hanna Maj Piccio

Senior Field Correspondent

Moammar Nawang Jake Salvaleon

Senior Layout and Graphic Artists

Johanna Vaughn Dejito Danica Malle Peña Senior News Writers

STAFF Leah Genny Altizo Jeni Anne Rosario Senior Photojournalists

Katelyn Mae Uyking

Junior Cartoonist/Illustrator

Asiana July Celestial Arch Sealtiel Ventura

Julianne Kaye Cortez Clein John Dumaran Heart Haezel Gacayan Denyz Zaira Persygas Alona Grace Ruyeras Junior News Writers

Alfonso Miguel Cordoviz Junior Photojournalist

Kaye Semilla

Junior Feature Writers

Junior Videographer and Video Editor

Rianne Calsa Cherisha Nneka Gargaran Joseph Lance Hilaga

Stephanie Alexa Ang

Junior Field Correspondents

Mariz Aylah Cenojas

Junior Layout and Graphic Artist


Dr. Cheryl Baldric Moderator

Mariz Aylah Cenojas Tabloid Design

Tel No. (082) 221-2411 loc. 8322

VOL.67 NO. 2

Election Issue 2022



◘ Heart Haezel Gacayan Oasis


Member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines G/F Arrupe Hall, Martin Building, Ateneo de Davao University E. Jacinto St., 8016 Davao City

Ruptures of political elitism

ven before the start of the 2022 National Election campaigns and rallies, presidential bets’ supporters had already scrambled to raise the spirits of their ‘future leader,’ even beyond the grounds of morality. Intrinsically, national elections political rallies are known to be “messy,” but now even more as it evolved into a battle of principles—on which choices best fit the conscience of Filipinos. When asked what makes Philippine elections begrimed, people instantly think of corrupt practices, such as vote-buying and hakot. Considering how the Philippines is a third-world country, and 23.7% of its residents lie on the poverty line as reported by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), this strategy by politicians to entice the people is now implanted in the country’s politics. At this point, Philippine politics will always be concomitant to corruption. However, the rise of newage media introduced a much more crippling challenge to the Philippine electoral scheme, most importantly regarding the political aspirants’ supporter behavior. One

of which is supporters’ borderline fanatical behavior, where they vilify those who disagree with them. Now, it has evolved into elitism, where education and socioeconomic background become a matter of scrutiny and criticism. Its usual dynamics rely on Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo’s supporters, also known as the kakampinks, associating Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr’ supporters as “uneducated” and “poor” compared to them on social media platforms. Mostly, this feud roots in how the kakampinks despise the capitalization of Bongbong Marcos’ supporters on historical revisionism and how the latter’s supporters tag kakampinks as “bayaran.” This feud might have been something Filipinos witnessed in the ordinary course of political rallies as it has been present ever since. For instance, back in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte’s supporters clashed with Former Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas II’s supporters, where they went back and forth with the dutertards and dilawans bickering. Although only a portion resonates with this alienating attitude, and it does not absolutely define Leni nor her other

supporters, it still unveils the unknowing efforts of furthering the class struggle, which the socalled “uneducated” and “poor” people did not decide on in the first place. Maybe, they were provoked. Perhaps, they intended to ‘convert’ them by putting them inside an outcasted bubble because of their status. Maybe, they wanted to debunk their allegations and prove them wrong. Still, no matter what angle you look at this approach, it is counterproductive and divisive. In a country where choice is a privilege, compassion should have been the middle ground in this grueling election season, especially when our future is at stake. The Vice President’s daughter Tricia Robredo had since addressed this issue in a Facebook post saying, “Avoid name-calling (ie bobo, bayaran). Maraming nabiktima lang din ng disinformation. Maraming hirap, kumakayod at naghahanap lang ng maiuuwi sa pamilya. Ipaglaban din natin sila.” As much as Filipinos do not want to waste any vote, apathy toward the grassroots and the most vulnerable stakeholders of this electoral process will lead nowhere but to a more ravaged nation. “Educate,” they say but is

not this the exact mechanism of the colonizers, who ramified the Philippines as a nation? May it be the reminder that political rallies and campaigns in this election season serve to open the hearts and minds of the people to a brighter tomorrow, not widen the aperture that’s already taking a toll on the ‘once’ unified nation. The aspirants are not colonizers who shall impose the ‘Divide and Conquer’ technique to gain authority, where they wholly boxed out those who they did not want to govern. They are Filipino citizens as well, who willfully desire to change the country’s system for the welfare of their compatriots and address its impending challenges. Not only does this plight of election season reveal elitism but also the ongoing and protruding struggle of Filipinos to have better access to quality education and services. Bleed whatever color or party you endorse but don’t bleed the Filipinos through a struggle they have constantly been battling since time immemorial. As Filipino voters and individuals affixed in a conflict-driven society, we must keep our integrities in check and remember the very essence of this national election—to tramp towards a better Philippines.

Truth: for whom? ◘

Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte


Liberal democracy has always given premium to the individual in its complete agency in choosing its votes. In that case, it suggests a degree of relativity in the choice of their candidates. Hindering that agency would result to backlash, which shows how much Filipinos care about the right to vote freely. Votes always have consequences. Voting for one candidate over the other would legitimize a certain ‘truth’. For instance, certain discourses perpetuate the claims of an ‘Aquino truth’ perpetuated in mainstream education thus silencing the truths of the Marcoses. History has always favored the victors rather than the losers, and there is a certain truth in that aspect. Though, there is also a certain, and even widespread truth in the case of extrajudicial and summary killings and tortures under Marcos’ term. Amnesty International (AI) have reported that there were

107,200 victims of killings, torture and imprisonment under his term. There is also a certain truth to the absence of a ‘golden’ era in the Philippines in the time of Marcos. With external debts reaching up to 28 billion by 1986, and daily wages of workers and peasants as low as 30 pesos, and prices of basic consumer goods tripling according to the Martial Law museum. Until now, the effects of Martial Law have been reflecting on succeeding presidents such as Aquino, Ramos and Arroyo, but blaming has been misdirected to the ones that succeed rather than the roots of it. What is really important here is seeing whose truth serves whom. The current narratives of the denial of the experiences of Martial Law victims and the claims of a ‘golden era’, is a Marcosian truth. In the sense that it denies other experiences to be true despite its wide array of claims. It tries to forward a certain Marcosian dream: to restore the ‘New Society’ of industrial and military might united under one ruler and one ideal. With current elections looming and the dictator’s son currently running for president.

It’s about time to think: For whom do our truths serve? Electoral politics in the Philippines has always been the politics of the popular. With popular rhetorics of ruling class candidates about corruption as the sole reason for poverty widespread throughout the Philippine political discourse, while ignoring root problems such as imperialism, bureaucrat-capitalism and feudalism in the country. This is because electoral politics is the politics not for the popular, but those who are popular. It serves the interests of those who are already influential; the ruling class. It is their truth that is legitimated, not the masses. In that case, for whose truths should we serve? Is it of the ruling class? Or those of the masses? This is not to say that we shouldn’t vote for ruling class candidates, but instead, favor a certain truth; the truth of the masses. The return of a Marcosian regime denies that truth, in the sense that it attempts to deny the lived experiences of certain people. Sure, you yourself may not have experienced the effects of Martial

Law. But others do. These are not just yellows nor communists, these are landless peasants, laborers, journalists, students, lawyers, activists and indigenous peoples, denied of their own realities and sufferings. A return of a Marcosian regime would take away the ‘historical relativity’ we always have been fighting for in favor for a monolithic truth. Favoring a Marcosian regime is not a selfish vote, it is a selfless one. One gives up their truths in favor of the truths of the already powerful ruling class. The right to vote and the ability to express one’s opinion is evidently one of the Filipino’s most precious rights, thus a resistance for a Marcosian truth is not a selfless act, but a selfish one with the Filipino masses in mind.



End the Silence of the Gagged.

Ka Leody De Guzman, “Manggagawa Naman”

◘ Johanna Vaughn Dejito


eteran labor leader Leodegario “Ka Leody” De Guzman has been clear from the beginning – he is running on a pro-labor and workers agenda. Despite his loss in the 2019 senatorial race, De Guzman announced his decision to run for the 2022 presidential election on September 28 last year under Partido Lakas ng Masa. Since then, he has been known for his strong opinions against some government programs, such as the administration’s war on drugs, political dynasties, and mining. True to his words, his platform includes a Php750national minimum wage, end sub-contractors, and a “billionaire’s tax” on the 250 wealthiest families in the country.

bachelor’s degree in Customs and Administration at the Philippine Maritime Institute. The assassination of Ninoy Aquino, Jr. inspired him to be an activist and join nationwide movements against Marcos’ dictatorship. Since then, the path he forged highlights the struggle of laypeople. His experiences as a farmers’ son and a laborer helped him create reasonable and informed policies that experts acknowledge.

Among the plans for economic reform is the revival of agricultural and manufacturing industries. Ka Leody also planned to help micro, small and medium enterprises by allocating Php125 billion. “It actually feels good to know that a presidential candidate thinks seriously about the plight of the small businesses since this is one area that our national government has continuously neglected

“Ka Leody can craft very realistic and grounded policies on agriculture because he is one

Elections presidential debate. As an anti-Marcos dictatorship, Leody has repeatedly expressed his contempt against the dictator and a future regime under the dictator’s son. “Hindi pwede na isang kandidato na ayaw magbayad ng buwis at walang pakialam sa mga proseso, na nagsisinungaling at ’yung kasalanan ng kanyang mga magulang ay idine-deny at sumasakay doon sa katwirang na ang kasalanan ng mga magulang ay hindi kasalanan ng anak,” he said in an interview with After the Fact. Although he could not give a direct answer when asked who he wants to win for

Growing up in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro in their household, he was exposed to the farmers’ and peasants’ struggles early on. After graduating from high school, Ka Leody worked in a leather gloves factory. Juggling both school and work, he finished his


Para bang ‘pag ikaw ay labor leader, dapat pagbabawalan mo ‘yung iyong anak na. ‘Anak, huwag mong tatanggapin ‘yang oportunidad na ‘yan kasi malaki ang sweldo niyan sa cruise ship, eh ako’y labor leader’. ‘Misis, darling, may promotion ka, huwag mong tanggapin kasi tataas ang sweldo mo, magkakaroon ka ng benepisyo eh ako’y labor leader’. Parang, ganoon ba,” he told ANC.

“Ang kinakatawan ko bilang kandidato ay ang pamumuno ng masa para kamtin nila ang minimithing tunay at ganap na pagbabago para sa nakararami sa lipunan. Ito ang mas malalim na kahulugan ng aking panawagang ‘Manggagawa Naman,” De Guzman said.

Before Ka Leody was the chairperson of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, a socialist labor center and federation of trade unions, and a presidential candidate championing a progressive and worker-centric platform, he is the seventh child of farmers.

Ka Leody drew flak after a picture of him and his family was posted with his supposed “lavish” Christmas dinner set up and a corgi.

On the other hand, Ka Leody emphasized that they worked hard for what they have and quashed all claims of him using a workerscentric platform for theatrics. “Para bang ‘pag tinawag na manggagawa dapat dugyot, dapat ay naghahalo ka ng semento, parang ganoon ba. Wala kang karapatan na ‘yung iyong mga anak ay maggayak nang ganyan.

“Bagong Politika, Bagong Ekonomiya” effectively translates his vision for the Philippines. More than a regime change, he aspires a system change.

Ka Leody, a farmers’ son

Christmas dinner setup and corgi debacle

“His house is beautiful! Like a hotel! May everyone afford a splittype AC,” another user commented, as cited in the Inquirer.

Characterized by his use of Tagalog during debates and interviews and calm demeanor, Ka Leody has raised the electoral discourse through his progressive takes and staunch criticisms of the elites and neoliberal economic practices.

Despite his idealism armed with clear-cut platforms, Ka Leody can noy seem to break the glass ceiling that prevents a regular individual who does not come from a political family from winning a national post.

Bukod duon, napakaliit ng pakinabang diyan ng ating pamahalaan,” he said during his interview with Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Blue Vote’s CANDID DATES 2022: The National Conversations, emphasizing that it only emboldens corporations to depend on contractualization amid a hazardous environment.

Unfazed amid survey results

ART BY Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte and Katelyn Mae Uyking

with those in the sector,” Froilan Calilung, an assistant political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas, told BusinessWorld. “When you know the problems very well, it will be easier to craft solid solutions to these existing predicaments,” he said.

Definite platforms Leody’s platform is definite and comprehensive. On his website, his platform aims for a people’s economy, political and electoral reform, for real social development.

notwithstanding its significant contribution to our national economy,” UST-Department of Political Science Chair Dennis Coronacion commented via BusinessWorld. He also pushes for the resumption of peace talks with communist rebels, demilitarization of society, and the prosecution of past and present government officials for crimes against the public good, whether through the local justice system or the International Criminal Court. “Ating gobyerno mismo ay dapat mayroong pagrespeto doon sa ating sariling mamamayan,” he said in the second Commission on

president aside from himself, he blatantly said that he does not want Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to win. One of his platforms include the recovery of Marcos’s ill-gotten wealth. His support for the legalization of divorce, decriminalization of abortion, and recognition of same-sex marriage is unrelenting, as reflected in his debates and interviews. Another issue he slams without reservations is mining in the Philippines, calling for the repeal of the 1995 Mining Act. “Napakaself-serving nito para sa interes ng mga malaking korporasyon ng minahan at winawasak ang ating kapaligiran.

Despite his drop to the ninth spot for the presidential race in the Pulse Asia survey, Ka Leody remains determined in running for the people he and his political party represent. “Hangga’t ang aming mga karibal ay patuloy sa pagsusulong ng kanilang plataporma na papakinabangan lamang ng mga bilyonaryo’t mga dinastiya, walang panlipunang pwersa ang makakapigil sa lumalaban na manggagawa,” he told reporters. He continuously hopes that the “silent majority” will be on his side. “Yan ang pag-asa ko, yung silent majority –‘yung mga manggagawa at itong mga taong unti-unti nang namumulat sa ‘trapo’(traditional politicians) at elitistang pulitika na wala namang ginagawa kundi magpayaman ng magpayaman, nakawin ang pera ng bayan at pinapabayaan ang sambayanan,” he said.

Tel No. (082) 221-2411 loc. 8322

VOL.67 NO. 2

Election Issue 2022

Member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines


G/F Arrupe Hall, Martin Building, Ateneo de Davao University E. Jacinto St., 8016 Davao City


Leni Robredo:

The only woman standing ◘ Alona Grace Ruyeras


ver since the news broke on October 7, 2021 that she would be running for president in the 2022 elections, Leni Robredo has received different kinds of reactions: loud and proud support and an uproar of laughter and mockery. Before she became vice president, Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo became popular when she stepped in to continue the legacy of her late husband, former Department of the Interior and Local Government secretary Jesse Robredo. In 2013, she started her political journey as the representative of Camarines Sur’s Third District. She was also formerly a researcher and an economist. If elected president, Robredo aims to prioritize five things: restoring the people’s trust in the government, boosting the strength of Philippine industries, ending workplace discrimination, supporting small businesses, and supporting the unemployed and out-of-work. Will Leni Robredo be able to give her promise of an honest and trustworthy government?

A woman in a race of men Out of the ten presidentiables, Robredo is the only woman. During her announcement that she would be joining the presidential race, Robredo mentioned that she would be the Filipinos’ ‘mother figure’ if elected as president. She believes that as a mother who sees the suffering of her beloved, she could show her love through her willingness to fight for her beloved. Being the only woman in the race, Robredo is also prone to misogynistic comments saying that a woman is not capable of leading. In an interview with Sharon Cuneta, Robredo mentioned that there has always been a stigma on women being weak leaders. She was, however, proud to say that she had dared to do what no male official had, as stated in an article from Manila Bulletin. “Not to defend myself, pero andami kong pinasok na hindi nga nag-dare yung ibang lalaki eh,” Robredo said. One of her advocacies as vice-president was women empowerment. Now that she hopes to be president, Robredo continues to be an inspiration to women by proving that a woman can also stand out in a line-up of men. To quote her, “The best man for the job is a woman.”

Vice-presidency under the Duterte administration Duterte and Robredo were two politicians from different sides of politics.

Rodrigo Duterte ran under PDPLaban with Alan Peter Cayetano, while Leni Robredo was with Mar Roxas representing Liberal Party. The two came from opposing partylists, which have caused some conflicts between them. Robredo was appointed as the Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council by President Duterte in July 2016. However, in the same year, she resigned from the position after she had received a text message informing her that Duterte wants her to refrain from attending the Cabinet meetings. In 2019, Duterte promised to appoint Robredo as the anti-drug czar. However, he retracted his decision because of his doubts on Robredo. He feared that Robredo might also leak the information to her party, especially that she is the leader of the opposition. Besides the disagreements with the Cabinet positions, Robredo is also known to be critical of Duterte’s decisions and actions, like the burial of former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani and his war on drugs. Despite her conflicts with the President, she still continues to do her job through different projects that she has implemented in the Office of the Vice President. Her flagship project as vice president, Angat Buhay, has helped a lot of poor communities around the country. It is an antipoverty program that is centered around six key advocacy areas: food security and nutrition, women empowerment, education, healthcare, rural development, and housing. For three consecutive years, her office has earned the highest audit rating of “unqualified opinion” from the Commission on Audit. This rating is given to government offices that have fairly presented their financial statements in accordance with the set standards. During the pandemic, she also led a comprehensive response to COVID-19. Through the OVP, she has implemented the Swab Cab initiative, which aims to increase accessibility of antigen kits to areas with high transmission rates, Vaccine Express, which strengthens the vaccine drives of LGUs, and Bayanihan E-Konsulta, which serves as a free telemedicine service to unclog hospitals.

From yellow to pink Robredo was a Liberal Party (LP) candidate in 2016, but she surprised everyone when she announced that she would be running as an independent candidate in 2022. Opposition coalition 1Sambayan even declared Robredo as their standard bearer, but later refused their endorsement as she prefers to run independently. “Hindi naman ako nag-resign from the Liberal Party. Pero

running [as an] independent is our symbolic way of showing na bukas kami sa pakikipag-alyansa sa maraming mga partido, ‘yung aming isinusulong na inclusivity,” Robredo mentioned during a press briefing. According to an article by Rappler, Robredo seems to be distancing herself from the “dilawan” label caused by her alliance with the Liberal Party, a party that President Duterte dislikes. Duterte and his allies have always been critical of the “dilawans.” Recently, he claimed that the “dilawans” are teaming up with communist rebels, plotting something to disrupt the elections. In 2020, President Duterte also made a statement telling the public not to listen to the opposition, or the “dilawans”, after the socalled “yellows” threw criticism at his administration’s COVID-19 response. “Huwag po sana kayong maniwala dyan sa mga dilawan, opposition na hampas dito, hampas doon, kung ano pinagsasabi,” Duterte said. In another article by Rappler entitled “The fall of the ‘dilawang’ Liberal Party”, DLSU political science professor Julio Tehankee revealed that their constant criticism against political opponents make them appear elitist. “His anti-corruption campaign was targeted against political opponents and critics. Worse, when they were supposed to be for reforms and the ordinary Filipino, they all appeared elitist,” Tehankee said, referring to Roxas’s 2016 campaign. Despite her deviance from the said party, Robredo remains to be its chairperson. Her allegiance to the LP seems to be intact, with her vice-presidential candidate and some candidates on her senatorial slate coming from LP.

Leni vs BBM Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator, is one of Robredo’s opponents in the 2022 presidential race. The two candidates began their rivalry when Marcos lost the vicepresidential elections to Robredo in which he demanded a recount.

ART BY Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte and Katelyn Mae Uyking Although it has been almost seven years since Marcos lost, Marcos spent years refusing to believe that Robredo won the election. However, in 2021, the Supreme Court finally junked Marcos’s protest against Robredo. According to the latest Pulse Asia surveys, Marcos is the top choice of Filipinos in the upcoming elections. The March 2022 survey shows that 56 percent of voters prefer Marcos, while Robredo comes second with 24 percent of likely voters choosing her. In another survey conducted by OCTA Research, 57 percent of the respondents prefer Marcos while 22 percent prefer Robredo. During the PiliPinas Debates, Robredo has cited studies that have shown that she is the top victim of disinformation spreading during the elections, while Marcos appears to benefit from most of it. This is in contrast to Marcos’s statement during the Kandidatalks interview wherein he claims to be a victim of fake news and fact-checkers with political agenda. “Meron naman tayong tinatawag na mga fact-checker, pero ang mga fact-checker naman paminsan ay may sariling agenda. Finafact-check lang nila [ay] one side of the story. ‘Yung kabila, di nila ginagawa,” Marcos said during the interview. CNN Philippines reported that according to UP Journalism professor Yvonne Chua, Robredo is the top victim of disinformation, while Marcos greatly benefits on false or misleading claims that promote him. Robredo also mentioned during the one-on-one interview with Boy

Abunda the reasons why she thinks Marcos should not be elected. “Number one, sinungaling. Pangalawa, in the difficult moments, hindi siya nagpapakita.” Marcos, on the other hand, chose not to answer the question during the same interview, as he believes that he should not indulge in negative campaigning.

Universities’ top choice Robredo is the top preferred candidate of Ateneans, according to the recently presented Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Blue Vote In-Campus Survey results. The majority of those who preferred Robredo as president came from ages 18-24 years old. This situation is not just in AdDU. A lot of university surveys show that their students and staff mostly prefer Robredo as president, such as the University of the Philippines System, Xavier University, Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology, and Bulacan State University. Despite being AdDU’s top preferred presidential candidate, the signature of AdDU president Fr. Joel Tabora was not seen among the Jesuit priests who have shown support for the Leni-Kiko tandem. The statement showed more than 100 Jesuit priests endorsing Robredo and Pangilinan’s candidacy. Among all the Ateneo universities’ presidents, only Tabora was not a signatory, which gained both suspicion and praise from the people.



Page 6

End the Silence of the Gagged.

Most contested candidacy:

Marcos Jr. remains steadfast despite controversial presidential bid

◘ Heart Haezel Gacayan


ollowing his late dictator father’s steps, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM) pushes through presidential aspirations amidst his infamous family and personal background. Prior to becoming a presidential hopeful, he was a former senator and governor of Ilocos Norte.

His path towards seeking the presidency was nonetheless surrounded by controversies that included him being an Oxford dropout, their riches being tagged as “ill-gotten wealth” by the Presidential Commission on Good Government, and his prior tax conviction. Still, he holds a stable spot in the upper tier of the popular vote among the presidential candidates. He has already topped multiple national presidential surveys and other independent surveys, including Pulse Asia’s March voter preference survey.

“biased” history, and (3) there are also postings which are intended to disinform the public about the governance of his late father. “On the other hand, it is also important to note here that BBM does not win in all surveys. Survey results in almost all colleges and universities reveal that BBM is far behind another presidential candidate,” he stated. Numerous organizations, such as Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDPLABAN), the partylist where Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte hails from, Tingog Partylist, and fraternities had announced their support to Marcos. His bid has also convened influential families’ party lists, namely the Former Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Joseph Estrada. The Political Science Department professor interpreted this gathering as them wanting to “retain their political power for the interests of their families.” “They allied together to protect themselves from possibly facing legal suits filed or to be filed against them because of their excesses e.g., graft and corruption, human rights violations, to silence their critics, and for their crimes to be lost to posterity,” he said.

ART BY Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte and Katelyn Mae Uyking

In the 2016 elections, he lost the vice presidential race to Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, his contender for the same spot in the upcoming national elections. As a senator, he authored 52 bills, with only one being enacted into law, namely the Senate Bill 1186, which eventually turned into Republic Act 10632. This law aimed to postpone the 2013 Sangguniang Kabataan elections. He also co-authored four senate bills, including the RA 10645 or “An Act Providing for the Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage for All Senior Citizens.” Now, the younger Marcos is geared toward “improving the country’s pandemic response and continuing the Duterte administration’s anti-insurgency campaign as well as its bloody campaign against illegal drugs but with a focus on prevention, education, and rehabilitation,” as reported by Vote Pilipinas.

In the said National elections 2022 voter survey, BBM remained the presidential frontrunner with a 56 percent rating despite a massive drop in support among the Gen Z from February’s 71 percent to 57 percent. However, he only placed second in the BlueVote Survey in-campus survey of the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) voting population released by the University Research Council, falling behind another crowd favorite, Vice President Leni Robredo. An AdDu professor from the Political Science Department, who chose not to be named, cited three reasons for this phenomenon, namely: (1) many social media posts have been created about him and his family, which made him very visible to many Filipinos who are known to spend a lot of time on social media, (2) the content of these social media posts projects BBM as if his family has been wrongly accused of crimes and they are only victims of a

Although he is more known in the north and was even dubbed “The Tiger of the North,” he still bears a stronghold in Mindanao because of his running mate’s influence, Davao City Mayor Sara DuterteCarpio.

Carrying his father’s shadow In a Mindanao Consortium of Ateneos online conference in October 2021, AdDU President Fr. Joel Tabora stated that BBM is indeed a “dictator’s son,” noting how his father’s father’s orders were considered decrees. Following that line of thought, the main criticism of BBM’s campaign is on how they allegedly capitalize on historical revisionism, portraying Marcos’ fascist regime as the “golden age” of the country and bolstering its campaign with his father’s achievements.

stands out is that the Marcoses never stole the people’s money; they are nowhere in jail and thus are not guilty of corruption,” he shared. “However, many of our government agencies and even foreign institutions like the Swiss banks have found the billion-dollar assets of the Marcoses here and abroad which the family could not prove of their legal acquisition,” he added. Others have claimed that the Marcos scion has no other achievements other than his father’s but should take responsibility for the damage by his father to the Filipino people. At the same time, his supporters explain that his son should not carry the grievances against his father.

203B estate tax liability The Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner (BIR) Caesar Dulay confirmed to have sent a letter to the Marcos heirs, Imelda Marcos and BBM, demanding them to pay their estate taxes liability amounting to P203 billion on December 2, 2021. In a report by Manila Bulletin, the Former Supreme Court Associate and lead convenor of coalition 1Sambayan Justice Antonio Carpio explained that under the Tax Code and the Revenue Regulations, “the co-administrators of the Marcos Estate, Imelda Marcos and Ferdinand Marcos Jr., as well as the other heirs of Marcos Sr., are expressly made liable to pay the estate tax in the original amount of P23.3 billion, which has now ballooned to over P203 billion.” He pointed out that as per Section 91(D) of the Tax Code, “the estate tax imposed by Section 84 shall be paid by the executor or administrator before delivery to any beneficiary of his distributive share of the estate.” Although there is a possibility that BBM will obtain ‘immunity from suit’ if he becomes the president, Former BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares stated that the case would persist. “Sakali kung maging presidente si [Marcos Jr.], may immunity from suit ho ‘yong president. Hindi mo pwedeng demandahin, pero pag tiningnan mo ‘yong batas, marami ho kayong pwedeng demandahin… ‘Yong other co-administrators ng estate, maliban kay [Marcos Jr.], puwede ‘yong ibang tao, kung gusto nyo ho. Puwedeng kasuhan,” Jacinto-Henares said in an interview with ABS-CBN TeleRadyo.

The AdDU professor affirmed that “negative historical revisionism on the reign of his late father fuels the popularity of BBM over all other candidates.”

Before Dulay verified the Marcos’ inheritors’ estate tax dues, the Former Supreme Court Justice informed that a possible disqualification might surface against BBM due to his tax evasion conviction.

“Among the many negative historical revisionisms about the Martial Law years, I think what

Carpio stated that BBM was found guilty of tax evasion, which is punishable by perpetual

disqualification from public office under the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), in a report by Meanwhile, BBM’s camp argues that the case on estate tax liabilities is still pending in court. In an official statement, BBM’s Chief of Staff and Spokesperson Atty. Victor Rodriguez accused Carpio, their ‘political adversary,’ of promoting “falsehood, lies, hatred and black propaganda.” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III nevertheless declared that the government stays adamant about collecting the unpaid estate taxes from the Marcoses, noting that the BIR is “studying this issue very carefully,” in a report by Philippine News Agency.

Campaign strategy Out of all presidential debates, BBM has only attended the SMNI Presidential Debate 2022, hosted by Sonshine Media Network International owned by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, an endorser of the candidate. Despite his frequent absence, his standing in the presidential surveys remained consistent, even making him trending by his supporters on Twitter to the extent of name-calling other presidentiables. Some have claimed that BBM uses online trolls to drive his campaign (e.g., the spread of fake news, black propaganda against other candidates, etc.), hence posing an implication to the Philippine elections. The AdDU professor tagged these alleged online trolls as the “worst virus on social media,” where they feed the netizens with made-up stories about BBM and his family, including fabricating documents and splicing videos. He also observed that these trolls practice “hate speech against other candidates and attack supporters of other presidential candidates.” In fact, Atenews has become one of the victims of the said “trolls,” where a publication material posted by the organization was altered by Team BBM 2022, aiming to spread misinformation. “One implication of these online trolls to the May 2022 national election is their content will misguide the voters in choosing the candidate who benefits the most from these fake-news peddlers,” he told Atenews. Nearing the election proper, the BBM-Sara tandem has been silent on these claims and is focused on visiting multiple cities for their political rallies with the help of celebrities, such as Andrew E. and Toni Gonzaga.



Page 7

End the Silence of the Gagged.

Isko Moreno:

From national to local spotlight ◘ Julianne Kaye Cortez

are open to all COVID-19 patients.


Part of Domagoso’s plans to combat COVID infections was the construction of the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital in front of the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park that caters to the city’s mild and moderate COVID-19 patients.

ne of the aspirants in becoming the next president of the Philippines was born in the slums of Tondo, Manila. Francisco Moreno Domagoso, popularly known as “Isko Moreno” and “Yorme Isko,” collected and sold discarded food and sold old newspapers and used bottles before entering the world of entertainment. Taking the route of politics in 1998, 23-year-old Isko Moreno ran for the City Councilor of the 1st District of Manila, won, and served for three terms. Moreno then became Vice Mayor of City of Manila (20072016), National President of Vice Mayors League of the Philippines (2008-2016), Vice President of Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (2014-2016), Chairman and President of North Luzon Railways Corp. (2017), and Undersecretary of Department of Social Welfare and Development (2018). He became the Manila mayor from 2019 to the present, gaining him almost 24 years of public service. Moreno initially showed disinterest to run for presidency in 2019, explaining that it was too early and he has yet to prove himself, but he filed his certificate of candidacy for president as Aksyon Demokratiko Party’s standard bearer, with running mate Dr. Willie Ong under Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats Party. Contradicting his previous statement, Moreno emphasized that his years of public service are enough for him to be considered a proper candidate for the position. The Mayor even compared his situation to the former President Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino, saying that the public had previously elected her in 1986 despite her being a “plain housewife.” Addressing criticisms of what others call a “rushed” decision to seek the presidential position, Moreno emphasized that half of his life is dedicated to public service and said that what really matters is that people trust him. In November last year, he said he would not be hostile to critics of his administration if he were elected as president.

“We should always be ahead of COVID infections. We were the first to purchase Remdesivir and Tocilizumab. And now this wonder drug Molnupiravir, tayo din ang naunang bumili. I will continue to listen to science,” Moreno said. His other COVID-19 pandemic responses in the city are mass vaccination drive, free mass swab testing, and hazard pay and sleeping quarters for frontliners. In 2019, Moreno signed an ordinance that took effect in January 2020 which gives P1,000 monthly stipend to students in “good standing” from the Universidad de Manila and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. The Manila mayor has also signed other ordinances which grant a P500 monetary allowance for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, solo parents, and all qualified Grade 12 students in the city. Moreno, as a mayor, had notable housing achievements such as Tondominium 1 and 2, Binondominium, and San Lazaro and San Sebastian Residences. Under his term, Manila topped the 2020 Highly Urbanized Cities of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) under the Cities and Municipalities Competitive Index with an overall score of 65.9782.

Moreno tagged as Duterte Lite or Duterte 2.0 In 2021, Moreno said he would continue President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs if elected.

Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano likened Moreno to the incumbent president, saying fearlessness was what he had seen in Moreno and Duterte.

Bello stressed that the Rice Tariffication Act should be repealed; however, Moreno pledged to revise the rice tariffication law when elected.

“Sinuportahan ko ang ating Pangulo, ngunit nakita ko po kay Mayor Isko Moreno ‘yung nakita ko kay Mayor Duterte, ‘yung matapang,” Cayetano said.

Pia Ranada, a reporter who covered President Duterte and Moreno’s campaign, wrote: “They both use their home cities as launching pads for their national political ambitions, showcasing their local accomplishments as a “prototype” of what they can do nationally.”

The presidential hopeful said he would not resort to extrajudicial killings and uphold human rights and the rule of law. “Basta ako, tuloy-tuloy lang yung war on drugs. At ito yung war on drugs kung saan hindi natin tino-tolerate yung pagbebenta ng droga. But the thing is we must go to the source,” the Manila mayor said on March 3. In agriculture, Moreno was nothing more than a “Duterte 2.0,” Laban ng Masa vice presidential candidate Walden Bello said. During a dialogue with Tarlac farmers last October 2021, Moreno explained his platforms to improve agriculture and food security. A few of his plans are to put up coldstorage facilities in all provinces on National Food Authority land and reduce rice imports by imposing higher quality standards. “It is disappointing that, despite promising to be on the side of the poor, Moreno sounds more like a ‘Duterte wannabe,’” Bello said. He further said that though Moreno’s plans have several positive components, the entire program is fundamentally flawed because it skirts the main causes of farmers’ hardships and the overall stagnation of agriculture in the country.

During the second Comelec presidential debate last Sunday, April 3, Moreno said, “Nagawa sa Manila, kayang gawin sa buong bansa.” However, he has denied accusations of being a Duterte lite or Duterte 2.0 but would welcome President Duterte’s endorsement.

Three-way Race Moreno continues to be one of the top three picks for presidency in different surveys. The Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer placed second with 24.21 percent of the voter preference in the latest Manila Bulletin-Tangere survey on the 2022 elections conducted on April 4-6. Moreno was notably the top pick garnering 37.58 percent of the 2,400 adult Filipino respondents if their first choice did not continue their candidacy. However, he placed third in the recent Pulse Asia survey released on April 6. If the elections were held from March 17 to 21, 8 percent of the respondents—2,400 adults aged 18 years old and above—would pick Moreno. Moreno’s camp sees May 2022 as a three-way race between him, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and Vice President Leni Robredo.

“We’ll go after those syndicates, drug lords, lalong lalo na, mas nagpapanting ang tenga ko, nangangati ang mata ko pag banyaga ang may dala ng droga,” he said.

However, before Moreno filed his COC, he vowed to ramp up his campaign outside the National Capital Region to improve his chances of winning in 2022’s national elections. The Pulse Asia survey that was conducted from September 6 to 11 last year and the recent survey showed Moreno lagging behind other candidates in Visayas and Mindanao. Moreover, in the recent Ateneo de Davao University In-Campus Blue Vote survey, Moreno placed fourth with 5.5 percent out of the 840 respondents of the University’s voting population—students, faculty members, administrators, NonTeaching Personnel, and Jesuit Fathers of the Matina, Bangkal, and Jacinto campuses.

‘Be a hero’ On Easter Sunday, Isko Moreno, Panfilo Lacson, and Norberto Gonzales held a joint press conference at Peninsula Hotel, announcing that none would withdraw from the presidential race. “We are offering ourselves to you. I offer myself to you, kung gusto niyo ng kapanatagan,” Moreno said. He also added that the very least he could give is peace of mind on top of each one’s problems. “Kami dito, humaharap para in the remaining three weeks, wala ng entertainin na fake news, misconception, or deviation, ‘yung gusto kang lituhin. Wala pong aatras samin, that is a guarantee,” Moreno emphasized. He then stated that if Robredo loves the country, she should initiate a “supreme sacrifice.” “If they are calling for supreme sacrifice, the ‘yellow/pink’ are calling for supreme sacrifice… Edi ang pinaka-supreme sacrifice, if you are not a good player to win, then you pay the supreme sacrifice, you withdraw... Now we are calling, be a hero, withdraw Leni,” he said. However, Lacson clarified that they do not collectively call for Robredo’s withdrawal as it was only Moreno’s position.

“I will try to be reasonable to them. I will listen first to them, if their opposition to something is valid. Then, if it makes sense, then I’ll listen. If not, we go straight ahead again, because you’re the one that the people elected,” Moreno said in an interview with DXDD.

“Kung mahal natin ang bansa natin, kung mahal natin ang Pilipino, ang kapwa natin, igagalang natin ‘yung resulta. Hindi ‘yung kapag natalo ka, mag-cecreate ka ng gyera, gulo, terrorism, rebolusyon that will not bring us any better with our situation,” Moreno said.

Achievements as mayor The incumbent mayor has procured anti-viral drugs such as Tocilizumab, Baricitinib, Remdisivir, and Molnupiravir that

“It’s actually an unfair characterization for some that it will be a 2-way fight. On the contrary, it will be a 3-way race as evidenced by Mayor Isko being consistently the top second choice,” Ernest Ramel, chairman of Aksyon Demokratiko, said in a text message.

ART BY Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte and Katelyn Mae Uyking

NEWS Page 8


End the Silence of the Gagged.

Second shot: Lacson attempts another presidential run In 2016, “the Senate realigned P8.3 billion in the proposed 2017 national budget to cover students’ tuition in in-state colleges and universities,” the peoplepill report revealed. This was after Lacson “discovered and moved to take out the ‘pork-like’ insertions made by the House of Representatives.”

◘ Clein John Dumaran


arrying his nearly 40 years of experience in public service, he vows to restore public trust in government through a corruption-free brand of leadership.

His recent exposé was during the Covid-19 pandemic about the overpriced procurement of ambulances by the Department of Health and the government’s questionable deals with Pharmally Pharmaceuticals.

Anchored in his personal credo: “what is right must be kept right; what is wrong must be set right,” he aspires for better governance and an action-oriented presidency that dismantle ‘syndicates’ in and out of the government.

His constant battle against corruption earned him the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in March 2019.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson was the first candidate to officially declare his presidential bid in September last year, alongside his running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

Such anti-pork advocacy even tempted Manila Mayor Isko Moreno to appoint Lacson as an anticorruption czar if elected president. According to VotePilipinas, Lacson is a pivotal member of the Senate who authored laws such as the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the Philippine Identification System Act of 2018, and the Reproductive Health Act of 2011.

At his campaign launch, the no-nonsense public servant emphasized, “The public servant thinks of the ART BY Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte and Katelyn Mae Uyking nation and the next generation while the politician Philippine National Police (PNP) Around this time, the agency thinks of himself and the next to being elected a senator thrice, gained a 64 percent record-high election.” Lacson is utilizing his long track public approval rating, while record to champion for an honest Lacson earned an approval rating While their ‘roadmap’ is yet and better government. of 73 percent. undisclosed, the 73-year-old Senator said that his leadership “We know that during the time Supercop to would include judicious of General Ping Lacson, we saw big anti-corruption czar government spending, purging the changes [at the PNP], not only in bureaucracy of corrupt officials, addressing the issue of kotong cops, Lacson graduated from the and allowing local governments but as well as his financial reforms,” Philippine Military Academy in more autonomy and accountability. retired General Guillermo Eleazar 1971 and joined the Philippine told Manila Bulletin. Constabulary afterward, which was “It is only proper that we a law enforcement service of the prioritize the greatest number “If there was a role model I Armed Forces of the Philippines of Filipinos,” he said, adding followed during my whole stint as a responsible for maintaining peace that leaders must be an epitome policeman and and order in the country. of dignity and respect to allow chief of the Philippine National Filipinos to earn it. Police, it would be presidential After the Constabulary’s aspirant Sen. Panfilo Lacson.” decommission in 1991 followed “When the leaders are his rise to the government ladder competent and well-respected, the In the Senate, Lacson is a as he joined the PNP. He earned a ordinary Filipino wins,” Lacson tough, unrelenting watchdog of stern and solid reputation as a cop, said. the national budget. He is most dealing with high-profile crimes keen on scrutinizing congressional such as kidnap-for-ransom cases in The 2022 elections is Lacson’s insertions and deleting those the late 1980s and 1990s. second attempt for the presidency. questionable appropriation of In 2004, he finished third in a fivefunds, including the Priority The 2000 movie “Ping Lacson: way race against former President Development Assistance Fund or Super Cop” is eponymous with the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in pork barrel. law enforcer’s prominence. which he ran as an independent candidate.

As a public servant, he has been a vocal critic of the questionable use of funds in the country’s annual budget and a strong proponent against wrongdoings in the government. From being a member of the Philippine Constabulary to becoming the chief of the

Moreover, his chiefship from 1999 to 2001 was PNP’s glory days because of his intensive eradication of ‘kotong’ or bribe culture among police officers. Such internal cleansing and his instituted rigid physical fitness test for officers, eliminated ‘scalawags’ in the armed forces.

The lawmaker is known to have refused to accept his pork barrel share since entering public office in 2001. Rather, he remains firm in exposing numerous corruption cases and budget anomalies involving government officials and reallocates them to other beneficial areas that require funding.

Lawmaker and lawbreaker?

Despite his contributions to both law making and enforcement, Lacson has also been accused of breaking laws, particularly his implication in two high-profile murder cases. The lawmaker was implicated in the double murders of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2001. Lacson fled the country shortly after being suspected of involvement. During the presidential interview with Jessica Soho, the politician says he did not breach any law “as there was no hold departure order against him then.” Lacson was also linked to the 1995 Kuratong Baleleng murder case, where 11 members of an anti-communist vigilante groupturned-crime syndicate were slain by people from the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission led by him. While the Supreme Court has already absolved Lacson in both cases, he repeatedly denied

any involvement in the incident as it continues to haunt his campaign. Meanwhile, in a study by US historian Alfred McCoy on the human rights abuses under the Marcos regime, Lacson was identified as member of the infamous elite torture group Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group (MISG). The book states, he and Robert Ortega “tortured together for over a decade, forming a tight faction that would rise together within the police after Marcos’s downfall.” Lacson denied such accusation stating that he was assigned to the “police intelligence branch” which focused on crimes such as kidnapfor-ransom and robbery and not insurgents. This was the path that sprung his rise atop the PNP.

Undeterred amid challenges On March 24, Lacson resigned as the standard-bearer of the Partido Reporma party following their Davao del Norte slate’s decision to endorse another presidential aspirant, effectively making him an independent candidate. The pre-election survey results also showed him far behind his rivals. Based on the recent Pulse Asia survey released on April 6, Lacson got two percent – less than his previous four percent. On top of this, he received countless withdrawal proposals from rival camps in an attempt to boost Vice President Leni Robredo’s bid. However, the senator remains undeterred. “I reiterate that we should not waste our votes on ‘survey politics’—we should choose a leader who is the most qualified and competent, not the one dictated by surveys,” he said in a Philstar report. “Instead of thinking we will waste our votes on those who are qualified but not leading in the surveys, we should remember that it would be a bigger waste if we select the wrong leader who turns out to be less competent,” he added. In a joint press conference in Manila Peninsula last Easter Sunday, Lacson reiterated that he, along with Moreno and former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales, would not drop their presidential bid amid allegations that the Robredo camp was trying to make them quit the race.

When the leaders are competent and wellrespected, the ordinary Filipino wins.”



Page 9

End the Silence of the Gagged.

Legend’s new errands:

A closer look at Pacquiao’s presidential bid ◘ Arch Sealtiel Ventura


s the country nears the next general elections, many are in pursuit of the available office positions. With the number of candidates from which people can choose, the future of the country depends upon these choices that will affect the next six years. One out of the ten aspirants for the country’s presidency and the first among them to file his candidacy is Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, Sr., who is famously known as the ‘People’s Champ’. On October 1, 2021, Pacquiao made his presidential bid official as he was the first to file a certificate of candidacy. Alongside him was his running mate for Vice President, former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza. The public had mixed reactions to his declaration of his presidential bid, with people questioning his credentials to run for the highest office. While he continues to push forward with his candidacy, he still lags behind his co-aspirants in local and national polls. As he pursues his campaign, he continues to pledge to stand mainly against poverty and corruption, and that corrupt government officials would end up incarcerated.

Pacquiao’s substandard political career Globally known as a boxer since 1995, Pacquiao stepped into the world of politics when he was first elected as a Congressman in 2010, in which he represented the province of Sarangani in the 15th Congress. He served his first term until 2013, and was re-elected in the same position in the 16th Congress, serving from 2013-2016. In the 2016 National elections, he ranked seventh in the Senatorial race, garnering 16 million votes from the Filipino people. However, despite his political wins and being elected into two big offices in the country’s legislative body, his political career was regarded negatively as a top absentee in the Congress. As the representative of Sarangani in the 16th Congress, he was the top absentee in 2016, having only attended once on officially-recorded plenaries, and was absent 22 times. In 2019, he was also named top absentee in the Senate, recording 12 absences from July 2018 to June 2019 as the 17th Congress adjourned. In his time as a lawmaker, Pacquiao was able to author and co-author 25 laws, with 12 enacted, from 2010 until the present. As a Congressman, he principally authored RA 10828, an act establishing a regular district office of the LTO in Sarangani and allocating funds for the said office and co-authored 6 out of 7 passed laws as a Congressman.

Some of the laws he coauthored were RA 10679 (Youth Entrepreneurship Act) and RA 10699 (Sports Benefits and Incentives Act). As a Senator, he principally authored three laws, namely RA 11163 (National Bible Day Act), RA 11227 (Handbook for OFWs Act), and RA 11224 (Establishment of the Sarangani Sports Center). He also co-authored several laws such as RA 11223 (Universal Health Care Act), RA 10929 (Free Internet Access in Public Places Act), and RA 11215 (National Integrated Cancer Control Act).

Conservative stands on social issues Despite the criticisms on his stand on key social issues, Pacquiao remains steadfast in his vision to pursue the country’s fight in overcoming social issues. According to him, leading survey results do not automatically mean victory. Moreover, he believes that his hardships will equip him to help his countrymen fight the battle against poverty and corruption. Pacquiao is not known to stand on the same ground with many people on certain issues. For instance, his personal and religious reservations towards the LGBTQIA+ community gained him the most backlash for referring to homosexuals as “mas masahol pa sa hayop ang tao” because of same-sex relationships after he was asked about his stand on same-sex marriage. These same reservations were the foundations of his stance on not legalizing divorce because he believes in the sacredness of marriage. Also, he was against the legalization of abortion, not even for victims of sexual abuse, because of his belief in the sanctity of life as it is a gift from God. On the contrary, Pacquiao had a common ground with many people and even co-aspirants in terms of other long-existent social issues on corruption, the West Philippine Sea, and fake news.

peaceful relations with China. In 2021, Pacquiao’s reputation was tarnished by fake, hateful news. He formally filed a complaint against Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church’s founder. Reportedly, Quiboloy spread fake news which claimed that Pacquiao spent P3.5 billion for a project in Sarangani. During the Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews, Pacquiao stated that the public has the “freedom to use social media but shall be limited to avoid abusive behaviors.”

Stadiums to podiums As a boxer, Pacquiao’s career was remarkably acclaimed. He was mostly successful, tallying a total record of 62 wins, 8 losses, and 2 draws. On January 22, 1995, he started his boxing career with a win at the age of 16. He then rose to become a world champion on December 4, 1998 after dethroning Thailand’s Chatchai Sasakul, the match from which he first gained a world-title. Ten years later, he had his breakthrough victory against Olympic gold medalist and American boxing star Oscar De La Hoya.

Despite tallying a number of losses, Pacquiao still managed to secure win after win, which brought him to his 62-8-2 record. In total, he triumphed with 12 major world titles in 8 different weight divisions. From boxing rings on different stadiums and arenas, Pacquiao found his way to political podiums when he first became a Congressman in 2010. It was not the first time he tried to enter politics. In 2007, he first ran for Congress but lost. It was on his next tries in 2010 and 2013 that he won via landslide victories as the representative of the 1st District of Sarangani. In 2016, he won a seat in the Senate, being his latest political victory. However, like many other legends, Pacquiao eventually hung up his gloves as he went on with his presidential bid. On September 29, 2021, he posted on his Facebook and Instagram accounts his sentimental goodbye to his 26 victorious years in boxing. In the 14-minute video, he highlighted his entire journey and thanksgiving for everything he had accomplished.

As he ended his speech in the video, he stated that it is difficult for him to accept that his time as a boxer is over, and announced his retirement afterwards. “I just heard the final bell. Tapos na ang boxing. Maraming maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. God is good all the time. Thank you.”

On to a new chapter Despite a very emotional goodbye to his boxing career, Pacquiao claimed to be “very excited” with a new chapter of his career. This time, he focuses on the biggest fight of his political career the bid for the presidency. Pacquiao firmly believes that he is capable enough not only to lead the country, but to specifically put an end to corruption and poverty which is his main campaign. As of date, he is still yet to publish concrete policies, proposals, and platforms. Currently, Pacquiao continues to lag behind his competitors in multiple local and national surveys. Optimistic, he believes that he still has chances to win the elections: “sanay naman ako sa dehado na naipapanalo ko.” Also, he stated that in the past two decades of elections in the country, there were no candidates who led the surveys and won. Unfazed by his standings, he believes that his ranking in surveys does not reflect the support he has been receiving from the people. Recently, in AdDU’s Blue Vote survey results, Pacquiao placed eight with only 0.6% votes from AdDU’s voting population.

Firstly, he believes that riddance and punishment of corrupt government officials must be a top priority. For him, corruption is the root cause of economic recession and mass poverty. He will be inclined to an iron-fist leadership, but will not tolerate any form of profanity within the government and his administration. He also stated that he will not allow China to bully him under his administration, if he is elected as President. This pertains to the dispute on the West Philippine Sea which dates back to January 22, 2013 when the Philippines started an arbitration against China regarding their territorial and maritime conflict. Pacquiao believes that the issue must be resolved through having a proper dialogue, because he claims that the country must also maintain

ART BY Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte and Katelyn Mae Uyking



Page 10

◘ Danica Malle Peña


avao Youth For Leni (DFYL) volunteers reported that red-tagging is among the challenges faced by their group on top of harassment, amidst house to house campaigns in Davao City. “Daghan jud red-tagging even mag house to house mi, mao jud na ilang gina-ingon na mga NPA daw mi…or NPA si leni,” DFYL Head Rose Quimod told Atenews, sharing the youth volunteer group’s experiences with red-tagging.

End the Silence of the Gagged.

Youth opposition volunteers red-tagged, harassed in campaign

This was after Diokno’s team received reports that the DFYL volunteers were harassed by village officials during their campaigns, where they were shouted at and barred from the houses.

“...Even sa among family, gina redtag na mi… Kay naa daw mi diria, kay ‘pink’ daw mi, nag support daw mi kay Leni,” she continued. However, the group leader admitted that some of the volunteers were not well-informed of what the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) is or where the communist ideology came from.

“Amoa jud gina pasabot diri na ‘di man mi NPA, wa man mi nag take ug arms, nag support lang man mi ug candidate, ug among grupo wala sad mi naga support ug violence labi na kining mga kabataan,” she clarified. Quimod said that the volunteers from DFYL are firmly fighting for “matino, mahusay, at masipag na pamumuno” which they believe presidential and vice-presidential candidates Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan could give the country

On red-tagging, threats, and harassment: “Musukol mi” When asked how the group handles red-tagging and harassment, Quimod said that as

According to Diokno, one of their lawyers is already closely monitoring the case.

CAMPAIGNING FOR THE OPPOSITION. Davao Youth for Leni volunteers were challenged by red-tagging and harassment in their house-to-house campaigns for presidential bet Leni Robredo. PHOTO courtesy of Youth for Leni - Davao City

the DFYL head, she urges her volunteers to fight back. “Kaning grupoha ni, akoa dyud ginatudlo saila na musukol jud. Labi na naa mi diri sa Davao na dili mi magpa hadlok-hadlok lang kay kabalo mi hadlokhadlok lang ilang ginabuhat saamo,” she asserted.

Harassment in elections has no space in democratic institutions and an occasion where people will choose and give legitimate mandates to people who vie for leadership and service.”

She said that even when they encounter red-taggers and harassers in their campaigns or in their Facebook page, they refuse to ignore or delete comments.

“Dili mi ingon na pasagdan lang, ginatubag gyud namo… Kay para at least maopen pud ang topic sa ila ba ug kanang kabalo sila musukol gyud among grupo,” Quimod said.

Of better choices and representation: Mags

Maglana advocates progressiveness and inclusivity for 1st District ◘ Heart Haezel Gacayan


rom a student leader and activist to a development worker—now a Davao City 1st congressional seat aspirant. Maria Victoria “Mags” Maglana, who worked for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in promoting peace and gender equality, now endeavors to become the Davao City 1st District Congresswoman. She is one of the three candidates going up against Davao City’s Former Vice Mayor

“Harassment in elections has no space in democratic institutions and an occasion where people will choose and give legitimate mandates to people who vie for leadership and service,” Maglana said. Senatorial candidate Atty. Chel Diokno likewise said in a statement that he “condemn[s] this blatant disrespect of our volunteers and flagrant violation of the right to campaign, which is part of our freedom of expression.”

Quimod added that even some of the volunteers were red-tagged by their own relatives after campaigning for opposition presidential bet Leni Robredo.

Quimod shared that they try their best efforts to explain these issues to the group, and they made it clear to their fellow volunteers that they are not supporting the CPP-NPA.

In an interview with Davao Today on the DFYL harassment incident that took place after the Caravan of Hope, Maglana said motivating the people of Davao to participate in the 2022 elections will not happen “if attacks on people who hold different views and stands continue to persist.

and incumbent 1st District Representative, Paolo “Pulong” Duterte. Although only in this upcoming elections did she decide to run for office, she has already been exposed to numerous governmental practices as a consultant. According to her blog, she has over 30 years of experience in “accompanying local governments and communities through capacity building, technical assistance, and direct support” locally, nationally, and internationally. With this expertise at hand, she

detailed that she has “a good grasp, ‘di lang working grasp but a very intimate grasp of government and government processes.” “I do policy research in support of [the] legislation, and I’ve been dealing with multi-stakeholders, politicians, our bureaucracy, civil service bureaucracy, other stakeholders, [and] international stakeholders. So kumbaga, para sakin, I’ve been dealing with the operational and [the] back-and-side of governance,” she told Atenews, referring to her experience before her candidacy. When asked about her reason

However, the DFYL head emphasized that whenever they respond to red-taggers and harassers, they make sure to do it politely. “Mutubag mi but politely… Para wala sila’y maingon sa amoa or baliktaron among grupo na mang harass,” she said.

Local, national candidates denounce DFYL harassment, call on authorities for an investigation Davao City First District representative candidate Mags Maglana, who is running against incumbent Paolo Duterte, condemned the harassment incidents towards the youth volunteer group.

for running, she simply stated that the people, especially of District 1, deserve better. “One, we deserve better choices in the elections. Two, we actually deserve better representation in the house of representatives,” Maglana said. However, she acknowledged that not everyone understands the role of congressmen and congresswomen in upholding the rights of the people. She shared that people would usually “serbisyo o proyekto” when asked about the work of congressmen and congresswomen. “Unfortunately, sa’ting kultura ngayon, I think it’s an indication of gaano na kamuddled ang ating political awareness and education na marami sating botante na hindi nila naiintidihan ang papel ng pagiging kongresista,” she said. “So kung representate ka, ibigsabihin nun, dapat kilala mo yung kinakatawan mo, you know their kalagayan, kung sino sila, what their

“To our Davao Youth for Leni members, isang mahigpit na yakap sa inyo. Chel lang kayo. We have your back,” the senatorial candidate added. Both Maglana and Diokno in different statements called for the authorities to act upon the incidents and hold people behind the harassment accountable. On February 11, SunStar Davao reported that police authorities were already conducting an investigation regarding the harassment incidents. According to Davao City Office (DCPO) Spokesperson Maria Teresita Gaspan, they had already received the police complaint filed by Robredo’s youth volunteers and that the San Pedro Police Station is already handling the case. “We are still conducting [an] investigation to determine if it is election-related,” the DCPO official said. As of writing, the authorities have not yet released any updates on the development of the DFYL harassment case.

challenges and their aspirations are, and then you make sure, you get their input on the burning questions of the day,” she added. Her primary campaign revolves around the upgraded version of the infamous Philippine Politics 3Gs, which is originally ‘guns, goons, and gold.’ She cited her 5Gs, namely: (1) Governance, (2) Good quality of life, (3) Grassroots-oriented approach to peace and human rights, (4) Global solutions to disasters and climate change, and (5) Genuine postpandemic economic recovery. Meanwhile, Maglana, the only woman candidate, ranked first with 40.6 percent of the total votes in the Ateneo de Davao University’s (AdDU) Blue Vote 2022 InCampus Survey for the 1st District Congressional Representative.

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Page 11

End the Silence of the Gagged.

Humble beginnings Despite Maglana’s decorated background as a former AdDU Student Central Board president for two terms and student activist, she admitted that she was not initially inclined to activism and progressive activities ever since. “When senator Ninoy Aquino was assassinated, the public perception was that the Marcoses was behind the assassination. In my class, I think I was the only one who did not believe that. I wanted to give Marcos the benefit of the doubt,” she stated, denoting her former conservative environment. In college, she recalled attending AdDU’s Freshman Christian Formation Program. She was introduced to diverse communities, such as the Badjao, noting that “dun nagsimula ‘yung being able to see beyond my immediate circumstance and those of my family, my personal experiences, and being a student.”

However, what essentially sparked her devotion to activism was when she encountered a group of students questioning the University’s tuition hike, deeming it unreasonable.

She was also affiliated with the National Union of the Students in the Philippines and Buklod Atenista, where she mainly championed the Students’ Rights and Welfare.

She revealed that it was somewhat successful as they encouraged dialogues and received support from the teaching and nonteaching staff.

“Sinasabi ko activism save my life. [It] saved me from my directionless life,” she described.

From then on, she became more acquainted with protest actions as she had seen the urban poor, Lumad, and workers among a few who actively contested for their ‘survival’ around the city. She called these experiences “paglalim at paglapad.”

If triumphant in this congressional seat bid, Maglana intends to prioritize addressing women’s discrimination, Magna Carta on the Informal Economy, and solid waste management as an industry.

“I also listened and talked to them, and then I understood that they were contesting because their rights and their bare survival were being affected by the policies and machinations of the Marcos administration, so literally, for some of them, it was a fight of survival,” she said.

Projects for the 1st district

She observed how women’s discrimination remains rampant despite the bills and laws, saying, “Inihain na ang mga bills na iyon nang matagal pero hindi siya umuurong, kasama rin dito yung SOGIE equality bill.” For the Magna Carta on Informal Economy, Maglana also mentioned aiding micro and unregistered

businesses in transitioning to a formal setup. “Kung walang suporta diyan, walang ding nabatas, I mean ibig-sabihin, hindi rin tayo makakapagbibigay ng sapat na specific responses na makakatuloy sa kanila whether that’s additional access to capital, additional training, or access to technology, or just this whole recognition na it’s not the big malls or the big businesses that make our economy robust,” she explained. She further proposed the Solid Waste Management System as an industry, which she named “the next big thing in Davao” and is related to the concern of the informal economy. “Parang, on the one hand, you’re addressing the very real problem of solid waste management, which is a score to all urban places in the country. That’s on the one hand. But on the other hand, they’re also doing it in a way na hindi big businesses ang nagdodominate at hindi rin ‘yung masasyadong maliit-liit na mga na parang, alam niyo ‘yun, they don’t take it [as] a dent in the problem,” she detailed. Among other issues, she also expressed her purpose to tackle flooding, demolition, and transitional justice.

Reframing the game

PROGRESSIVE LEADERSHIP. Davao City 1st District Representative hopeful Mags Maglana, an activist and development worker, advocates for a progressive type of leadership with emphasis on championing women’s rights, magna carta on the informal economy, and solid waste management in her bid against incumbent Paolo Duterte. PHOTO BY Sofia Roena Guan

As Maglana recognizes the laborious feat of running against a member of the most famous dynasty in Davao and confronting personality politics, she understands that her team must be more proactive in communicating their cause. “Sabi ko, we can’t use the same metrics, we can’t use the same playbook because the

dynasties wrote that, the traditional politicians wrote that playbook, and they perfected it,” she said. The 1st congressional seat hopeful conveyed after filing her certificate of candidacy that she first sought to break the perception that there are no other candidates than Congressman Pulong by spreading the news. She then elucidated the responsibilities of the position she is running for to the people, revealing that “it’s not that easy because people don’t have the patience for that explanation.” “Nagugulat rin ‘yung mga tao [sinasabi] na, ‘ay may kalaban pala?’ At palagi ko pong sinasabi na hindi ko po kalaban si Congressman Pulong kasi mahirap namang kalabanin. Nagkataon lang na sabay kaming tumakbo so katapat ko siya at bukod sa kanya, mayroon pang dalawang tumatakbo na lalaki,” she said. Changing the narratives of the usual campaign machinery, Maglana came up with more ‘creative ways’ to amass the people’s votes, such as sikadcades/ sikadravan or tricycle procession since motorcades and autocades are prohibited. She also emphasized the need for ‘sipag’ or perseverance, which she thinks the dynasts often overlooked. “People remember my father; some people remember my father. But they don’t know me. So kailangang magpakilala at ang sipag na ‘yan ay literally, person by person, house by house, street by street, [at] barangay by barangay campaign,” she said. With the May elections fast approaching, Maglana tells the voters that it is high time for a woman to lead and provide inclusive policies in the first district after many years. “So ngayon, mayroong seryosong babaeng tumatakbo sa kongreso, may plataporma, may kakayahan, may baruganan. Andam mubarog with you ug para kaninyo,” she concluded.

RoSa tandem preferred by voting Ateneans ◘ Julianne Kaye Cortez


iming to determine voting behavior, leadership preferences, and perceptions on policy-related sociopolitical and economic import issues to the local and national government, the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), through the University Research Council, conducted Blue Vote 2022 In-Campus survey for the voting population from March 7 to March 17. The voting population comprised AdDU students from the Higher Education Units and Professional Schools, administration and Jesuit community, faculty members, and non-teaching personnel. 511 of the 840 respondents were registered in Davao City, of which 61.6 percent, 24.5 percent, and 13.5 percent of them were officially registered to vote in Districts 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Vice President Leni Robredo topped the survey as the voting population’s preferred presidential candidate, while Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte emerged as the top choice for vice president.

Robredo was preferred by 43.2 percent, which was 8 percent higher than Marcos with 35.2 percent, while Lacson got 7.2 percent.

Pangilinan who will take his oath as vice president.

However, Robredo’s partner, Senator Kiko Pangilinan, ranked only second with 26.8 percent, while Duterte, Marcos’s running mate, topped with 66 percent overall.

Robredo not only tops in AdDU’s survey but also in mock polls of known universities such as Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), Far Eastern University (FEU), National University (NU), University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), and University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Based on the Age Disaggregated data, most of those who favored the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem were young adults ages 18 to 24, while the majority who chose DuterteMarcos were from four adult age groups, ranging from 25 to 64. The Leni Robredo-Sara Duterte tandem, dubbed RoSa, is continually gaining supporters nationwide. Various groups and individuals, such as Misamis Oriental Representative Juliette Uy, House Committee on Ways and Means Chair Rep. Joey Salceda, and KaLeSa or Kay Leni-Sara supporters, are pushing for the pairing. Although the incumbent vice president is willing to work with Sara, Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez said that they are doing everything to ensure that it will be

Leni-Kiko top university surveys

nila ang kanilang kahusayan maging isang lider—mula pa lang sa kanilang mga programa, polisiya hanggang sa kanilang tapat na pamamahala,” FEU Central Student Organization wrote in a Facebook post. The president of UE University Student Council, Raymond Cayabyab, said they trust in a leader who will stand in any season and be there for the people no matter the difficulties they face.

Bro. Armin Luistro, one of the 1Sambayan convenors, said during the TAPATan Forum that this election is about the young people as another six years of a bad president will have a terrible impact on the young people and their dreams. “I think that’s what the young people are fighting for. This is the fight of their lives,” he said.

Student councils of ADMU, FEU, UPD, UST, and Adamson University formally endorsed Robredo and Pangilinan for president and vice president during a press briefing last April 2. Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila said that the tandem’s years in service proved that they lead with values that reflect the ideal Atenean—choosing the more loving option and doing more than what is required. “Sa ilang taong nakalipas, naipamalas

GRAPHIC BY Stephanie Alexa Ang and Mariz Aylah Cenojas



End the Silence of the Gagged.

Pay the price, keep the change ◘ Arch Sealtiel Ventura


hange—one of the most inevitable facets of life. Sometimes it comes anticipated; sometimes, it’s the other way around. Either way, what sets things apart is how one takes into account the differences brought about by change. Just as there is ambiguity in destiny, change, albeit unavoidable, also brings a sense of uncertainty as to what lies ahead. Take, for example, our incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte. From where he stood in the local politics of Davao, he responded to the call of change, accepted the challenge, and bid for the highest office in the country. With this, he marched onwards with his battlecry: change is coming. However, change comes at a cost. While the former is imminent, the latter could either be theoretic or literal; it depends upon the kind of change that was intended. Now, as his term comes to an end, we reminisce about how we were promised change. Looking back at the years spent chasing after the change we desired and were affirmed with, we ask ourselves: after prices were paid, what kind of change has come?

Tatay’s new brand of leadership Commonly known as “Tatay Digong,” he was a leader who both wanted and promised for change. With his candidacy and presidency, many believed that indeed, change will come. Hailing from the south, Duterte was the first Mindanaoan president. In a cultural sense, it was already a kind of change in the country’s political system. He didn’t heavily receive criticism for being an “outsider politician” who was not from the Metro nor was he negatively stereotyped as a Bisaya, a Davaoeño. He gained praise just for being bold enough to challenge what was a political system dominated by people from the north. One of the first few changes was the downward trend in criminality in his first few months in office. It reflected his promise to rid the country of criminality within his first three to six months as President. Also, there was progress in the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the release of some political prisoners, which the previous administration failed to do.

Moreover, his administration maintained healthy international relations. Obliging under treaties and executive agreements like the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US, keeping the country’s vital relationship with Japan and Vietnam, and maintaining the membership in the ASEAN were some of these. However, there were changes the public did not take lightly. One was him being the only President who constantly cursed in his dialogues. But, in one of his first few speeches in 2016, he said: “Do not keep complaining about my mouth, because my mouth is not the problem.” In October 2016, he said in an arrival speech that God told him to stop cursing. However, it doesn’t deny the fact that he was frequently obscene towards the church, even before being elected into office. It can also be recalled that in 2015, he cursed Pope Francis for causing heavy traffic during his Papal visit early that year. More notably, the campaign against illegal drugs had been one of the bloodiest crusades that started early in his term. Yet, in a 2016 article published in The Guardian, civilians from across the country described the campaign as a good way to address the problem, an accomplishment, and something that promotes reconnection with families. This shows that regardless of the thousands of recorded deaths and surrenders to authorities, people still laud his initiatives to rid the country of illegal drugs, being his most critical campaign.

that was out of the usual. But they did not choose to see it the bad way. Instead, Duterte continued to gain praise for being the kind of leader that he is.

Voices behind silence and struggle The war on drugs was just the start. It was just at the top of the list. One of the most appalling cases during his term was the horrid count of human rights violations. It was bloody, it was certain, and it was relentless. Anyone in the society was vulnerable to prejudice that is often a threat to their lives. Victims, suspects, the indigenous peoples, professionals and nonprofessionals, the media—many civilians from all ages of any sector in the society were in fear of being next in the list of alleged criminals. However, the President did not care about human rights, as he said so himself. According to Rauf Sissay, Bayan Muna-Davao coordinator, an activist, and a human rights defender, the administration had a good start, especially with the progressive peace talks and agrarian reforms. But despite those beginnings, he said that like many people, progressive groups remained critical of the administration’s policies, especially on the anti-illegal drug war which drastically impacted a lot of people, especially the urban poor and other marginalized sectors of the society.

Sissay believes that the war on drugs is something on which the Duterte administration evades accountability. He believes that the people should condemn the administration for not taking responsibility over the huge number of deaths which were caused by the drug war alone. “Ang response naman ng administration ay of course, naturally, they’d be defensive. Idedeny nila na ganito kalala ‘yung record ng mga pinatay at namatay sa ilalim ng kanilang administrasyon.”

They should be upholding our rights, supporting free education for us. Instead, they want us to leave our communities. So many have already been killed. We don’t have rights anymore. Only the military have rights under martial law.” Albeit positive, these statements from civilians do not go well with the statistics. Government data shows a total of 6,215 people died in the anti-illegal drug campaign. However, this count failed to include vigilante-style killings. According to human rights groups, the total estimate of deaths should be between 27,000 to 30,000 which more than triples up on the government’s data. Consequently, the life of victims and suspects was the devastating cost for the socalled change we were given. To many, his new brand of leadership posed something

“On our side, we agree that illegal drugs should be ended in the country. But, we disagree and strongly criticize the way that the administration implemented its policies against illegal drugs,” Sissay stressed. It was a campaign that ran on a “shoot-to-kill” order by the President. It was a bloody crusade that promulgated violence and fear. One infamous case of the anti-illegal drug war was the death of 17 year-old Kian Delos Santos who was allegedly involved with illegal drugs and killed by police officers who were indicted the following year.

Also, they strongly condemn the imposition of the Martial Law in Mindanao from 2017 to 2019, which was a result of the heinous Marawi siege. Originally, the martial law was constitutionally mandated to last for only sixty days, but was then outstretched to two and a half years. To them, the long extension was an infringement on the basic democratic and human rights of Mindanaoans, especially the Lumad communities and their right to movement and education.

ART BY Sean Anthony Penn Lacorte

“During this time, Lumad community schools were starting to close because of Duterte’s and the AFP/PNP’s push to close these schools. They red-tag these schools as training grounds for the CPP-NPA. But, those allegations against the Lumad community schools are unfounded.” In 2017, Inquirer published a news story about the situation of Lumads due to the worsened red-tagging under martial law. Their team was able to interview 13 year-old Dimlester Dumanglay who was part of the Manobo community in Surigao del Sur, studying at a Lumad alternative school operated by non-governmental organizations. “They should be upholding our rights, supporting free education for us. Instead, they want us to leave our communities. So many have already been killed. We don’t have rights anymore. Only the military have rights under martial law.” Dumanglay told the Inquirer in Tagalog. Dumanglay, like many other victims, continues to struggle in the hands of power.

Tel No. (082) 221-2411 loc. 8322

VOL.67 NO. 2

Election Issue 2022

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G/F Arrupe Hall, Martin Building, Ateneo de Davao University E. Jacinto St., 8016 Davao City

This tips the scales of truth not in favor of those who genuinely deserve it, but those who want to control it. According to Valle, with a flick of the President’s fingers, he can crush media institutions if he wants to, which he did. “These attacks against ABS-CBN and Rappler were meant to silence and intimidate the press in general, and in the process, curtail press freedom as enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution,” said Valle. On July 3, 2020, Duterte signed RA 11479 (Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020). It is a counterterrorism law which aims to suppress, prohibit, and penalize acts of terrorism in the country. However, before it was signed into law, it garnered much attention from people of different backgrounds, filing petitions in hopes to prevent the law from happening.

This tips the balance of power, as affected by the actions of those who are hungry for it.

More than just a statement, his words reflected how martial law worsened their struggles in accessing their basic rights, and how he was aware of the threat that the military brought. It was a sentiment that expressed a child’s desperation to still be able to experience his dreams without having to fear for his future, for being deprived of living a full life.

Tipping the balance of truth and power Speaking truth to power comes at a cost. For some, it’s sacrificing a significant amount of time and effort to deliver progressive agenda. But to others, it’s a greater risk than just sparing time and effort. Either way, it’s no simple undertaking. In pursuit of amplifying the calls for justice of those who cannot speak for themselves or had their voices silenced by the high-and-mighty, the press and media continue with their cause to help these people be seen and heard. However, while pushing forward for genuinely wanting to help those who suffer, the unfavorable results that meet them is a strike at the heart of their actions.

Veteran journalist and development worker Margarita “Ging” Valle believes that since Duterte took the helm of power in 2016, he had been trying to project a strongman character to be feared and awed by his subjects. She added that Duterte seemingly chose to impress the public only to be feared for being ‘in control’ of everything, so citizens must obey everything he says. But, media agencies have been valiant in their efforts to keep the public informed. They did not feign the courage in speaking truth to power, and were unfazed by the constant intimidation and threats. “He may sound tough and rough especially when he utters abusive language and below-the-belt attacks against his perceived enemies and critics, but the same might also be showing how fearful he could be in the face of truth surrounding him, (as I see it.)” she said, quoting how Duterte is someone afraid to face the truths from the press. Every time someone speaks of the injustices that have taken place, something follows. While it could entail both good and bad results, it’s mostly the bad which overpowers the good.

One of the dire concerns of petitioners is that it is a breach to the people’s safety, regardless of being innocent or uninvolved in any certain violation against the law. Additionally, its creation of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) added insult to injury after its members were granted authority to authorize warrantless arrests of alleged suspects and keeping them in custody for at least 14 days. Like salt to an open wound, the Anti-Terrorism Act was seen as an additional burden to the already struggling state of freedom of expression in the country. It was an augmentation of the threats to the press and media that have been present since time immemorial. As Valle would describe it, it was the last nail driven into the coffin of freedom of expression and legitimate dissent. In 2019, Valle was wrongfully detained for several hours by members of a military-police operation at the Laguindingan airport while she was waiting for her flight back home to Davao. “After hours of holding me incommunicado as I was being brought to a place without properly informing me where they intended to bring me, they finally released me with a lame pretext that it was merely ‘mistaken identity,’” she told Atenews. She did not choose to be quiet about it. Instead, she maximized her platforms to inform the public about such harms and traumas caused by “so-called authorities” only because they see people as alleged members of terrorist groups. It was another call for accountability, because she was one of the many victims of “mistaken identity” and other excuses made by officials to cover up for their mistakes, avoiding the blame. Valle’s experience was a horrible encounter, since she had no control over her situation. She was held captive

and helpless, and was denied of her right to counsel and communication. While it could appear to be a case of red-tagging, it cannot be merely deduced to such. However, it doesn’t deny the fact that red-tagging still alarmingly exists. In January 2021, AdDU, along with 37 other schools, was red-tagged as a ‘hotbed’ for communist recruitment. This indicates that no one is exempted from being “allegedly” part of, supporters, or sympathizers of rebel groups, even when the suspects do not have the slightest idea as to how and why they are tied with rebels. Because of red-tagging, those who speak truth to power are being delineated as “enemies of the state” and dangerous to the public. Activists, journalists, advocates, and even students are part of the long list of people who primarily aim to rally change through the parliament of the streets and media outlets. And yet, the harder these people push for progressive advocacies, the more they are silenced and forced to bite their tongue. In the words of Sissay, “Kaming mga aktibista, we advocate change within this system. Pero yung NPA, they want to overthrow the government. Because of redtagging, gustong mawala ng gobyerno ‘yung ganoong distinction. Through redtagging, magiging vulnerable ka sa attacks because of the culture that it entails and brings to our society.” But even when they seem to be in dire states, these progressive individuals and groups continue to push forward. “Kaya ang tawag sa chant namin ay ‘Makibaka, huwag matakot. Makig-bisug, dili mahadlok.’ It is ‘makibaka, huwag matakot’ for a reason.” Sissay told Atenews, after expressing that people like him should face and disprove the accusations head on, because they’re doing their activism for a reason. It may be a shot in the dark for others, but for them, it could be the way to tip the scales back to the balance between truth and power—where power could no longer control the actual truth, and the truth will once more hold its actual power.

Change that comes at a cost Truly, change comes at a cost. Sometimes, the cost is just a perception of what we anticipate; but on many occasions, it is real. We pay with actual things, with real possessions of value—our time, efforts, and sometimes, our life. But these are not the only concepts that matter. What also matters is how we give justice to the prices we paid for the change we are keeping.

13 Temporary costs like money and material things can be regained. However, it would be unfair if we only see it that way without considering those who experience a scarcity of what we see as ‘temporary’ costs and how they paid these prices. Also, it would be a shame if we were to forget how those who paid permanently have suffered at the expense of the change that does not do justice. Permanent costs—time, efforts, and life, are valuable things we possess but cannot retrieve once taken from us. Willingly or not, when we lose some of these, all we can do is hope for the results to be worth the toll we took. However, even that concept sounds wrong. It does not suit well in the stories of those who have sacrificed their time only to have their efforts tarnished by negligence and oppression. It does not sound right when we say “hope for the better” after innocent people have lost their lives in the hands of those who corrupt and abuse their power. It remains true that we cannot undo any of these damages. But, we can pick up where these people who sacrificed a lot have left off. We can persist and carry on with their advocacies and sincere desires as we march onto our tomorrows. They have dedicated themselves to fighting for our equal chances and equal rights, even when the tides were against them. As we look back and discern whether we give our gratitude or dissent to those who have brought us change, we also look at the process—how we got here and how we are going to move forward. As we progress, we must choose the kind of system that offers steadfast, competent leadership on which we can rely without having to fear for ourselves. In turn, we will get to hear voices from anyone who can rightfully speak because no one is unjustly silenced, and we get to stand on a balanced scale of truth and power, which we will utilize not to achieve corrupt ambitions, but rational and collective goals. We decide not only for ourselves, but for everyone else—for our motherland, our dreams, our future. We have been paying the price for a change that we still aim to achieve. Yes, there have been countless changes; some did us good and benefited us, but some caused us pain and struggle. We still have a lot to experience, to fight for, to hope for, and to live for. At the end of the day, change remains constant. But, it will not come unless we strive for it, and only then can we learn to embrace the change that comes at any cost, because we know that it’s the kind that we worked for—the kind that we deserve to keep.

14 ◘ Angelo Mari Cabual Trolls, memes, and fake news—Philippine social media during the upcoming 2022 polls are evidently influenced by the experiences of 2016. It was during this tumultuous period that historical revisionism of the Marcos regime, particularly during the Martial Law period up to the People Power Revolution, began to gain traction. As critics became the criticized, and lies drowned out truths, Marcos apologists, as they would become known, would either flood discussion spaces with misinformation, or be swept along with it. This wave of misinformation is propagated by none other than the camp of presidential candidate and dictator’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Despite his father’s overthrow and his family’s ouster in the wake of the 1986 EDSA Revolution, it is almost unimaginable that another Marcos would be vying for the country’s top position. But the reality is clear: Marcos has consistently topped surveys since the beginning of the campaign period, despite his conviction as a tax evader, his continued refusal to attend presidential debates (save for the SMNI one), and his refusal to acknowledge the atrocities committed during his father’s regime. So why has the Marcos name turned from a reminder of one of the country’s darkest periods in its history to one of a “golden age”? For D, a college student from Ateneo de Davao University, it was a combination of relatives’ stories, online misinformation, and mental gymnastics. D was exposed to the Marcos apologist narrative at a young age, as his relatives would tell him stories about the Martial Law years being the country’s greatest. “Even when I was very young, I’d already heard close relatives say from time to time how the Marcos years were the ‘best years to be a Filipino,’ so the seeds were already sown then,” D said of his younger years. D also adds that his parents, who had lived during the Marcos regime, became the primary criterion for him to indulge in the pro-Marcos view of the era. “My parents literally grew up during the Marcos administration, which was why I took their experience as the sole criterion for accepting the pro-Marcos narrative,” he said.

Highlight conjured up the dictator’s supposed achievements, erstwhile promoting the idea that the succeeding Aquino administration discarded them entirely. Being a teenager, D found himself caught in the storm of misinformation that rocked the online spaces he’d typically frequent.

at all—in retrospect, I could honestly say that, for my situation, I deliberately turned a blind eye— which was why it wasn’t that hard to purge myself from my fanaticism because I’d already seen the red flags, I just chose to ignore them (or find some justification for them),” D explained.

“However, the 2016 elections were the catalyst for me to become a full-fledged Marcos apologist. False media regarding the achievements of the Marcos administration began circulating more prominently in Youtube and in other social media outlets— basically every teenager’s hangout— so I consumed these media, out

D then proceeded to discuss some of the contradictions that he had encountered during his investment in the Marcos apologist narrative, particularly its criticism of Imperial Manila— the idea that programs by postMarcos administrations focused solely on the Philippine capital’s development.

“Fanatics, for another, would also question the validity of protesters’ claims against Martial Law because of the simple fact that they, apparently, had not experienced it. Which is funny, because, with that logic, the same fanatics would also rant about how the People Power Revolution had failed the people and was outright wrong, despite the fact that they themselves had not marched at EDSA.” of curiosity, and became instantly hooked. It was also the most convenient counterpoint to the faults and failures of the Aquino administration, hence, it became so endearing for me to follow the ‘Marcos-Golden Years, Aquino Victim’ narrative,” D explained. D’s embrace of the Marcos apologist narrative had a significant impact on his perception of mainstream media. He described how he began to form opinions over reading headlines without knowing the full context. “My days as a Marcos apologist definitely had an effect on how I processed and perceived ‘mainstream media.’ To put it short—I remember already forming an opinion (usually negative) over a news I’ve yet to read or grasp a full context of,” D stressed. Becoming wary of critical news outlets such as ABS-CBN and Rappler, D turned to alternative media. However, D’s newfound skepticism towards mainstream media wasn’t selective enough to the extent that he solely relied on said sources. Although D admits to noticing the flaws in the Marcos apologist narrative’s logic, he simply chose to ignore or even justify them.

Even when I was very young, I’d already heard close relatives say from time to time how the Marcos years were the ‘best years to be a Filipino,’ so the seeds were already sown then.” But D’s adoption of the Marcos apologist narrative was catalyzed by the 2016 elections, where misinformation on social media

“I was not necessarily ‘blinded’ in the sense that the truth and reality were not within my view

“I can remember people being angry at past successive presidents for being too Manila-centric when it comes to development and for simply stroking the egos of the so-called ‘Imperial Manila.’ But then the same people would also praise Marcos for his ‘outstanding’ infrastructure projects—the LRT, the Cultural Center, the Heart Center, the Lung Center, Manila International Airport, the highways, the bridges—despite almost all of them being located [in] Manila,” he recalled. D then discussed his criticism of the infamous fallacy of questioning Martial Law critics by virtue of having no experiences during the said period. “Fanatics, for another, would also question the validity of protesters’ claims against Martial Law because of the simple fact that they, apparently, had not experienced it. Which is funny, because, with that logic, the same fanatics would also rant about how the People Power Revolution had failed the people and was outright wrong, despite the fact that they themselves had not marched at EDSA.” Ultimately, D could no longer endure the “mental gymnastics” of adhering to the Marcos apologist narrative, and by January 2020, he had abandoned it altogether. D’s story is one of many told by Marcos apologists, both former and current. They would be told by relatives of the “golden age” they lived under the dictator’s rule; they would become skeptical of mainstream media and become susceptible to misinformation, and they would attempt to rationalize their beliefs through fallacies and lies. And while others would eventually open their eyes in disillusionment just as D had, many continue to be blind—either by choice or by circumstance.

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A profile

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rid of the blindfold:

e of an ex-Marcos apologist

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End the Silence of the Gagged.

Shading for a better tomorrow

The youth’s role in the upcoming nati

◘ Asiana July Celestial Young people contribute to democracy by voting, a vital act of civic participation. Youth involvement can take various forms. It is a powerful means for young people to have their voices heard and impact issues that affect them and their communities. It can also serve as a springboard for other forms of participation. The Commission on Elections reported that more than half of the country’s 65.7 million voters are between the ages of 18 and 41, making them a “prime mover” in the election results in May 2022. According to official voter figures, the youth would play a significant role in electing the next Philippine leaders.

A total of 37 million people are in this age group, comprising 56 percent of local votes. The youth will make up the majority of voters, which means that their turnout will determine the election’s outcome.

First-time voters The elections highly prioritized different marginalized groups. It is not an excuse to exclude youth in nation-building plans as they are the most number of voters. In figures, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) reported over 62 million registered voters this year, with 32.7 million of them being young people and five million being first-time voters. To make a difference, young people should be involved

in long-term planning for society. As the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) prepares its constituents for the upcoming local and national elections, most of the students at the University are first-time voters. Irene, a first-year student, shared her sentiments as a firsttime voter, “As someone a firsttime mag vote, I am excited and overwhelmed for some reason.” Another first-time voter, Mae, a first-year Political Science student, shared her belief in why students should vote in the elections. “I believe that as Filipinos, we must be able to choose the right leaders because the future of our country is up to the hands of those leaders. I also believe that every vote matters,” she said. First-time voters who choose

to register to vote speak what an Ateanean voter is. Carrying inside them are the dreams and hopes of every Filipino voter wishing to build a utopia by exercising the right to vote.

outside Metro Manila, 65 percent in Mindanao, and 63 percent in the Visayas.

There is a virus deadlier than COVID-19, a virus that causes people to split, fall, and disengage in proper forums— fake news. As people divulge in the digital world, fake news creeps on Filipinos, and is more prevalent now more than ever.

Irene can attest to fake news being prevalent on her social media feeds. “Since I am now sa province, dito sa lugar namin hindi siya sobrang magulo? Like compared to other places. But on social media? I can say that people play it dirty for the sake of campaigning. Fake news everywhere. The more na papalapit na ang election mas dumarami ang fake news and battles against different stances,” she said.

Since December 2017, the problem of fake news in the media has gotten worse in all areas, with those who consider it significant climbing to 79 percent in December 2021, up from 68 percent in Metro Manila, 71 percent in Luzon

According to the December 2021 Social Weather Stations poll, 51 percent believed that it was tough to tell if news or information on television, radio, or social media is phony or incorrect, while 48 percent said it was easy.

Fake news, a virus deadlier than COVID-19

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Young people choose candidates that are aligned with a political party or parties who are supportive of a government that is gaining popular support from the majority. Candidates with a strong positive preelection polling record were also favored. Because the electorate includes both youth and nonyouth voters, a candidate’s stand or position on critical national issues, as well as their personal past, is crucial.

ional elections

First-time registered voter Andrea said, “A candidate can have my vote if I see that they are passionate, hardworking, and truly interested in running for the benefit of the people, not for their gain. They are taking the position to bring change and a brighter future for the country.” For Espuelas, she said that honesty and transparency must always be public for the candidates.

The youth’s hope for the election Inclusive political involvement is not only a fundamental political and democratic right, but it is also essential for the development of stable and peaceful communities and policies that address the demands of younger generations. Young people must be informed about their rights and given the necessary knowledge and capacity to participate meaningfully in political institutions, processes, and decision-making, particularly in they elections, if they are adequately represented in political institutions, processes, and decision-making. The UNDP, Youth Co: Lab Philippines, and Citi Foundation collaborated on a 2021 project that revealed what young Filipinos want and aspire. “Good governance, post-COVID recovery, and education” are at the top of the list.

GRAPHIC BY Jake Salvaleon

Curing infodemic In 2018, Facebook executive Katie Harbath acknowledged the difficulty of safeguarding election integrity on social media. She announced measures to combat the attack on knowledge, protect citizens’ safety, and ensure voter turnout. Harbath dubbed the Philippines “patient zero” in what many would later consider a fake news pandemic or “infodemic.” Most young people are currently unable to distinguish between online fact and online fabrication. In fact, some students have trouble distinguishing between authentic news pieces and sponsored advertisements. In collaboration with the COMELEC, election watchdogs,

independent fact-checkers, and civil society organizations, META Platforms, Inc., the company that owns and operates Facebook, is preparing for the 2022 Philippine General Elections by developing new products, services, and stronger policies within the platform, with the goal of cleaner elections through a safe and unimpeded flow of correct information. SAMAHAN Vice President Ninalyn Espuelas shared that it is important to stay vigilant amidst the political machinery we see on social media. “All of this is dark propaganda, and it’s perfectly normal. It’s only that, with the rise of social media, it’s taken on a new shape. Always doublecheck facts and never trust TikTok videos or personal

opinions since, first and foremost, opinions should not be the main basis for making sound decisions,” the student leader said.

The youth’s voting preference The challenge for the youth is the lack of voter’s education. Elections cannot be democratic unless people know the differences between the candidates to cast an educated vote. The study of Batala, et al. in 2021 emphasized how party affiliation and pre-election surveys were positively associated with respondents’ voting preferences, but issue orientation and candidate orientation appear to have little bearing on voting preferences.

Andrea said that she wants to see the concept of votebuying eliminated. “Since that is difficult, I want to see those who violate the integrity of the elections being held accountable. Our political system needs to be fair, without bias towards certain people just because of bribery. The system should learn to follow the law and be able to deliver proper sanctions to violators as deemed fit.” In the same manner, Espuelas emphasized that the elections “is for everyone, farmers, workers, skilled labor, professionals, unemployed, the gas prices, typhoon preparedness, etc. Everybody must understand that this election will decide how we will deal with the next six years of our lives. It is important to note that we must always think about the things in the future, and this isn’t just about you—we are talking about every form of life.”

17 The Ateneo’s efforts for student political engagement In academia, simply having political experience can impact election outcomes. As the clock ticks down on electing the country’s next leaders, political discourse weaves its way through the University. The University is well known for its support of strengthening Mindanao. On October 23, 2021, the AdDU Jacinto campus opened its doors as a satellite voter registration. Espuelas shared, “Every election season, we hold or host projects and activities towards voter registration on why it is important to register, who to choose when picking the best candidates, and of course, why it’s important to vote no matter what.” AdDU also has its own electoral management platform, AdDU Bluevote and Samahan ang Pinas, a Mindanao-based student-led election movement. Various seminars were also conducted targeting voter’s education by different student clubs and organizations. Samahang Mag-Aaral ng Sikolohiyang Filipino (SAMASIKOFIL) conducted PsychSpeaks Episode 3 which tackled politics through the lens of psychology. Also, PINILIAY 2022: The Role of Social Media Politics in the 2022 Election is a webinar series by Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Agham Pampulitika ng Ateneo (SAMAPULA). The Candid Dates 2022 series spearheaded by the Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS) in collaboration with AdDU organizations aimed to provide a platform to discourse with national and local candidates with regards to their plans and visions. The clichés “the kids are the future” and “the youth is the hope of our nation” are especially true in the following years. Today’s youth will become the scions of tomorrow’s land. In the face of several current challenges, they’ve gathered together, educated themselves, and pushed to be heard. The youth appears to be more determined than ever to get a say in their direction. While the national elections may not have an immediate impact, they will in six years— for better or worse. As more young people are encouraged to vote, whether through organizational campaigns, familial influence, or social media, they play an active role in promoting a fair and unblemished electoral discourse, benefiting local communities and building the country.

18 ART BY Ethel Marren Guerra

ART BY Raphael Eddmon Tiu


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End the Silence of the Gagged.

Beyond News

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