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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Thursday, October 27, 2005

St. Jude & Malacañang

I studied in St. Jude Catholic School, a school which is probably the most militarized academic institution in the whole Philippines, notwithstanding the fact that with the exception of the mandatory Citizen’s Army Training, not one single subject is devoted to military science.

On the other hand, St. Jude Catholic Church is the most visited church on a Thursday, next to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran on a Wednesady and the Quiapo Church on a Friday. It is named after and host to the novenas of St. Jude Thaddeus, a disciple of Jesus and reputedly the patron saint of hopeless cases. It is also the nearest church to Malacañang Palace.

St. Jude Catholic School or St. Jude was established by the Chinese priests of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) to escape persecution from Communist China. Primarily to cater to children of Chinese descent, it has expanded its reach and is reputedly one of the best secondary schools in the country today. It was here where I learned to understand and speak Mandarin and Hokkien, the dialect of most Tsinoys. The Chinese priests are gone but their progressive Filipino brother-priests continue to maintain the high academic standards.

Over the years, both the St. Jude school and church were silent participants to the power struggle of its neighbor, Malacañang Palace.

During the height of the pre-martial law rallies, St. Jude Catholic Church was an unwilling recipient of molotov cocktails, tear gas and other storm trooper paraphernalia. Its stained glass windows and jalousies were repeatedly destroyed. One thing nice though for an uncaring grade school student like me then was the announcement of no classes.

When martial law was declared, J. P. Laurel St. where both the church and the palace were neighborly situated became a ghost town. The first few days when school normalized, a constant sight to behold in the Malacañang grounds were tanks although I am not sure if there were Armored Personnel Carriers then.

Also, for the first time, jeepneys were no longer allowed to ply all the way to Gate 7 or to J. P. Laurel St. Wooden barricades were set up by President Marcos on several points, J. P. Laurel St. coming from Nagtahan, J. P. Laurel St. coming from Gen. Solana St., another one in San Rafael St. and the last one in Mendiola. To get to school, one either had to alight from these checkpoints if one was taking public transport or one had to secure a vehicle gate pass from the Presidential Security Group. My calf muscles grew strong through all those years of walking from the San Rafael checkpoint to school.

Inside our school, sentries were set up on the 6th floor of our school building. The sight of soldiers walking in two’s with their M-16s was a common sight for us. In fact, they were quite nice and there was never any instance of conduct unbecoming from these soldiers. They were part of the everyday fabric of a student in St. Jude. That is why it was the most militarized school in the country.

For that reason, when I stepped into college, I could not initially comprehend why my classmates were mad at the sight of soldiers until they started narrating all those horror stories of human rights abuses committed by soldiers and the Philippine Constabulary. I never saw one abusive soldier in high school. It was really a rude awakening.

When Cory took over, I was already in law school then but not much changed with respect to the perimeter defenses of Malacañang. Until this month.

My high school classmates informed me that in the Mendiola checkpoint, there are now double layered containers permanently placed. The containers have been previously placed there because of EDSA Tres but they have been doubled after the implementation of the Calibrated Preemptive Response of the present administration. There are more metal barbed wire barricades than the wooden ones I grew up with. More fatigued-uniformed soldiers ring the palace than during the Marcos' heydays.

Whereas before, one can walk the length and breadth of J. P. Laurel and see the inside of the Malacañang compound, flat galvanized sheets have covered up the entire fence within the compound. Barbed wires were likewise placed and the worst of all, pink structures like those in EDSA have likewise invaded J. P. Laurel St. The beauty and grandeur of the Malacañang compound gave way and is now Fortress Malacañang, a fortress of solitude. All the Spanish governor-generals who lived in the Palace and all the previous presidents and their women would have shuddered at the sight of an armory, pretending to be a palace. For a pictorial appreciation of Fortress Malacanang, Jove's blog is illustrative.

Marcos may have been an evil dictator but at the very least, he did not convert the Palace grounds into a dreadful garrison. The entire nation may be operating at a business-as-usual environment but all pretenses to normalcy stop at the steps leading to Malacañang Palace.

And now, they are desecrating a house of worship. They have infiltrated the novena goers to St. Jude Catholic Church on Thursdays making sure that no member of the opposition or civil society can attend the church in silent worship lest they turn a church service into a political assembly. But since St. Jude Thaddeus is the patron saint of hopeless cases, is it not valid to ask for his intercession considering that we live in hopeless times?

Times have really changed. Marcos or the PSG then never defiled St. Jude Catholic Church. Now, GMA, her minions and the PSG demand that SVD priests observe the wall of separation. I hope the SVD order, the recipient of the Peypoch Award, presently known as the Bukas Palad Award, will stand its ground and hold high the dazzling might of the Cross over the dull blade of the Sword.

18 Comments:

Blogger NJbabe said...

I am hoping that history does not repeat itself. We should all learn from our mistakes and the mistakes done by our elders....In retrospect this should all be done in the goodness and advancement of our country. Perhaps one should define what the government stands for....there might be a higher meaning but for a layman's prospective....just one word..."People" and it seems that it is always taken for granted. I for one dread martial law since I could not even remember any form of government when we were growing up....I am hoping that people do not forget the past and learn from it...I might be mistaken... but from what I see...just a dog running after it's own tail...always in a circular motion...ends where it started....

3:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a totally exaggerated picture of the security being enforced at the malacanang compound. and if there is any desecration done in st jude or san miguel church, it's done by the oppositionists, traitors, militants.

where did your impartialness go? i used to enjoy reading your blog.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous dawin said...

While I do not normally respond to anonymous comments, you can look at the pictures posted at Jove Francisco's blog or read his blog. Plus, drop by J P Laurel St., you can see the difference for yourself.

A church is a haven for sinners and saints alike, for administration and opposition people.

The reliance on churches is not a new phenomenon. Churches have always been sanctuaries where the poor, the oppressed, the fugitives can find refuge. They have been used in the Middle Ages.

If they are being used now, it is because the traditional avenues for dissent have been stifled.

I am sorry to have lost you as a reader. But feel free to drop by now and then.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Arbet said...

Attorney, the second commenter was being biased himself. Tsk tsk.

Blogs are not newspapers. They are fora where people express their OPINION, and when you express your opinion, you are showing your BIAS. It bugs me that a lot of people still don't get that.

What the PSG should do is to expropriate all the landowners within 2KM radius of the palace, and turn it into a military camp. That way, GMA will be very secure.

It's either the opposition is too insistent in its power grab, or GMA is really paranoid and insecure about her legitimacy.

Unfortunately, the Church as a whole is as confused as the majority of the people. It is being trounced by the gummint, and yet it does nothing. Maybe it is practicing the Christian value of turning the other cheek. Just the same, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom and democracy.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous jove francisco said...

dawin,

somebody went to my site and branded me as a reporter who exaggerates. yup, despite the pictures.

tulad mo, i don't usually reply to anonymous posters...but i really just felt the need to point him/her "the obvious"... (naka post na nga pics eh, naka sulat na nga sa blog eh....exaggeration pa?)

but hey, such is the realities here sa blogosphere.

more power to this medium.

more power to your site.

JOVE

(and the good thing about this medium "we can compare IPs" hahahaha)

12:20 PM  
Blogger acidboy said...

#2,
though i do not share most of dawin's view on the current issue, the need to respect it is imperative. this IS his blog, he can pretty much say anything he wants here. he can talk about the sex lives of guppies for all you know. and remaining anonymous is crap.

btw, i do feel that the psg are being o.a. with this, and that is what the professional politicians in the other side wants- and the psg is playing right in the opposition's hands. and funny lang how bishop ted vehemently denies they are being used by politicians but after the mass the laity bring out political streamers.

and another thing, wala bang plano ang st. jude to transfer their school somewhere else? isn't this a form of masochism on the part of the priests to have their own students experience this? noong marcos era, ok lang, but then these young people's studies are affected by things that should not during the cory years and even up until now. buti kung college studes ito, pero mga bubwit lang mga ito eh.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous dawin said...

Jove,

Oo nga, so as not to say I was exaggerating, I made it a point to refer to your site. Still...

More power to your site too. Ikaw ang eyes and ears ng blogosphere sa loob ng palasyo, kaya dapat hwag madalang ang blogs mo!

Acidboy,

Thanks. Years back in grade school, there was a plan by the SVD priests to transfer the school to the present SVD seminary compound in E.Rodriguez but I guess it did not pan out.

It's true that medyo kawawa ang mga bata kapag may rallies. but I dont know what the priests plan to do about it. Nasanay na rin siguro.

And also, actually, with the heightened preparations, safe naman sila, hassle lang nga sa mga checkpoints ngayon especially if the car before you does not carry a car gate pass, maraming tanong.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous dawin said...

NJbabe,

Keep on commenting. By the way, pagdating mo, dalhin kita sa Malacanang at makita mo ang sinasabi ko. So, unlike 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. At least doon, tago ang armory.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous dawin said...

Arbet,

Thanks for clarifying the role of an opinionated blog, as this blog actually is.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi dawin,

well i go thru jp laurel daily and don't see any galvanized iron covering the fence. i can still see thru the fence the entire malacanang compound. and those containers have been there for several months already so it's nothing new. i wouldn't comment that you and jove are exaggerating if i didn't see with my own eyes how things are at the malacanang perimeter.

metro manila's dotted with churches all over, why insist on going to st jude and san miguel? manila has around 28, quezon city has around 24. clickthecity lists about 96 churches all over metro manila. and why the stickers on their clothes? pray if they have to but make no fanfare about it.

thanks for your response. i didn't exactly say i wouldn't read your blog anymore. just disappointed you're now with the extreme.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous dawin said...

First of all, I am not with the trapos. Second, gee, I didn't realize that I was already part of the extreme. Well, if fighting for what I believe in is considered extreme, then I guess I'm guilty of it.

Let me say that my tipping point is when I saw how GMA ensured that the impeachment proceeding be dismissed. I wanted her to face the impeachment fair and square. I was one of the few who held out for the GMA to undergo the impeachment. But she merely paid lip service to it. I honestly believe that GMA has not resolved the moral dilemma she is faced with. Hence, she is just as tentative despite her victory. And so is the rest of the population.

But you see, the idea of free speech is the ability to say something disagreeable without restrictions. If the opposition prefers to go to church with stickers on their shirt, that is their constitutional right.

Because if we put restrictions on free speech and at some later period, one is on the other side of the fence, you will find yourself exhorting the same constitutional right. That is the beauty of free speech.

The government has no right to say which church they would prefer to go to. If at all, the party that ought to complain is the church. So, however plenty the churches are in Metro Manila, one cannot force the opposition to go to a church they would not go to. That is free speech at work.

The opposition's expression of free speech may be distasteful for you at this time but it may well be a saving hand in the future.

As Voltaire once said: "I may disagree what you say but I will defend to death your right to say it."

Thank you for continuing to read this blog. Even if you remain anonymous, your remarks speak well of your civility. And I do not resent one bit your opposing view. More power to you, sir or madam, whoever you may be.

6:47 PM  
Blogger acidboy said...

dawin,
i now realize that we share the same view up to the point where we want gma to clear the issue on those tapes and go through impeachment.

gma may not be popular with her decision to do what she did during the impeachment, and it might be bordering on the unethical what she did, but then it is her prerogative to do so. i have worked with lawyers before and it is truly the cunning ones that can get you off the hook at the quickest possible time that are the best. erap's lawyers- gods in the legal fields- joe flame, estelito mendoza, the fortuns know this better.

besides, the impeachment complaint itself is shot full of holes. yan ang problema if you get rookies (e.g. inexperienced congressmen) to do the work- kulang sa detalye, kukuwestiyonin ang substance, puro bells and whistles (can you explain the techno soundtrack to a dull, all headline-no storyline powerpoint presentation in congress?), and these guys are SO FULL OF THEMSELVES with all their press releases not knowing that what they're really doing is weakening their position against the other camp.

besides, like behn cervantes, after going through decades of political mismanagement, i do not see the point in supporting or even rooting for:
a. the marcoses
b. former marcos cronies
c. kamag-anak incorporated
d. the biggest sinners- those inthe cory government that did not strike while the iron was hot but instead looked out for their own.
e. those leftists who have other intentions that run congruent to their ideologues
f. fpj's hangers-on who can't even get a decent job and are still salivating for some government position thrown their way
g. former military generals who left the afp in tatters, living it up in posh villages, whose delusions of grandeur involve them being indispensible 'white knights'
h. clergy members and evangelists with severe cases of messianic complex

9:19 AM  
Blogger NJbabe said...

Promise ha....but do I wear my fatigue uniform and do I have to buy combat outfit????Safe pa bang sumilip kasi gusto ko pang makabalik sa pinangalingan ko? hehehe... but I enjoy reading your blog and others who are brave enough to express their personal views.

3:29 AM  
Blogger Den Salvacion said...

I frequently (actually, almost everyday) go to St. Jude and visit a special friend there in San Miguel, Manila (near Holy Spirit). As long as you have a valid ID or a driving license if you'd be bring your car, entering the vicinity is not that hard. I think its quite understandable, having the country's president living there. Regular visitors there don't have a problem with that.

Being a very nosy person, I took courage asking a bystander eating taho standing in front of the first gate near St. Jude why is there an iron sheet fence put in front of gate 7. I admit, I also thought it was intended to be placed there as shield ro something. Laughing my heart out, I found out it was build there to cover the PLDT people drilling the ground to fix telephone lines.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Den Salvacion said...

Not always do we see PSG in those different uniform (black and white fatigue-style uniform). I heard each color signifies different levels of alert depending on intelligence reports or if there are important guests (US President, Prime Ministers and other foreign delegates). We know how serious the threat of terrorism is. PSGs are just being cautious. It's their duty to protect the president and the country's important visitors.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Den Salvacion said...

Visited there again around 4 pm. I even ate that kikiam tuhog while killing time. It was very peaceful there. No tension at all. Everything seems to be normal there. Again, I didn't have a hard time entering the area.

Maybe those pictures taken by one of our co-blogger was taken the time when there was a tip from military intelligence that there's a threat to the Palace.

Again, I firmly believe people are just aking a big fuss about every tiny acts this administration is doing. They are just sensationalizing everything.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Abigail said...

i went to st. jude. i remember the bus rides and crossing the checkpoint. The bus driver would hand over his id. i would get a glimpses of a soldier their big gun complete with the bayonet.

i remember father yang, father tsao and father tszu.... the monkey that he used to keep. he used to sic that monkey on students.

i tell these stories now.... everyone looks at me with awe.

Is pasig river still as dirty?>>

2:36 AM  
Blogger jaxandzac said...

i love it here especially this is near at the newly opened casa roces. Food is great especially after mass.

9:04 PM  

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