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Archive for October, 2007

And The Cover Up Begins…

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

 

So. Remember Katherine? Apparently, the culprit, Manuel Hernandez Jr., wasn’t the child of a SB justice - it was the nephew of one. Instead, the one who shot her is a Pasig City legal department lawyer - or something to that effect.

 

The facts of the matter, as stated by five people who have watched the ‘official news report’ (unfortunately, I was unable to see it myself) are these:

1) It took the press an entire day to relay the facts - and it happened in the form of a press release by Pasig City.

2) With the whole “Guy with Katherine, Edgardo Canizares, kicked culprit’s car”, there is now an accusation that said guy broke the glass of the window.

3) Katherine was described as “household help.”

 

For one, Katherine is not household help. The saddest thing about her death is that she came home to the Philippines from her job abroad, which, I reiterate, is not being “household help”. The fact that the ‘official report’ couldn’t even get this one little fact straight makes the integrity of the thing very questionable. The news report on the day itself never stated anything about broken glass (and hey, if I’m a witness, I’d sure as hell remember a guy breaking the glass way before remembering he kicked the car… and I would be very, very, afraid to find that car windows are so easily broken from a man’s punch that no one seems to notice it first). Oh, and all the new witnesses were residents of Pasig City. Now, The accident, as far as I have heard, did occur in Pasig City. So most witnesses should be residents from there. But usually, when accidents happen, a lot of motorists stop to see what all the fuss and hubub’s about - and usually, said motorists are from different residences; and a couple of them are bound to get interviewed. Although there is a chance of the witnesses being all from Pasig, and even if it is more convenient to ask the residents - you can’t really say that there’s a very good possibility that every single person the police interviewed on the spot, right after the shooting, was a Pasig resident. And by exprience, residents watch from distant vantage points - second floor windows and half behind their doorframes - and the motorists and sidewalk vendors are the ones who go close to the accident.

Now, I understand that I may be a bit biased regarding this, but… it does sound a bit fishy, doesn’t it? #3 is very important, and brings to light another point in our society that seems so very wrong. I’ve heard a couple of people say: “Ah, so it was just household help.”, upon hearing the “victim’s occupation”. So… let us say that it was true. What if the victim was household help? Does that make her any less of a human being? Just because we perceive her job to be “not noble”, we lessen the value of her life and work? Well, listen here, some “household help” earn more than teachers - some of these give more to our country than we do. Also, 90% of middle class and higher households can’t survive without the local help. What right have we to say “Ah, so it was just the help.” like it’s a justification for her death? It really is such a sad thing, for social stratification to encompass our thoughts and ideals so much that we no longer seem to think of those we perceive as “below” us to be human beings. #3 is important because it has, sadly, successfully made the deaths of two human beings a lot lighter than what people first considered it to be.

Because, in our world, “innocent domestic helper” is worth a hell of a lot less than “innocent person”.

 

Tsk. 2 serious posts in one week. Oh my.

Petition

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

 

To be honest, I haven’t seen the episode myself, but… Petition Re: 30/09/07 “Desperate Housewives” Episode

 

To:  ABC

To the producers of “Desperate Housewives” and ABC:
We are writing to express concern and hurt about a racially-discriminatory comment made in an episode of Desperate Housewives on 9/30/07. In a scene in which Susan was told by her gynecologist that she might be hitting menopause, she replied, “Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines.”

As members and allies of the Filipino American community, we are writing to inform know that this type of derogatory remark was discriminatory and hurtful, and such a comment was not necessary to maintain any humor in the show. Additionally, a statement that devalues Filipinos in healthcare is extremely unfounded, considering the overwhelming presence of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the medical field. Filipinos are the second largest immigrant population in the United States, with many entering the U.S. (and successfully passing their U.S. licensing boards!) as doctors, nurses, and medical technicians. In fact, the Philippines produces more U.S. nurses than any other country in the world. So, to belittle the education, experience, or value of Filipino Americans in health care is extremely disrespectful and plain and simply ignorant. Many of the hospitals in major metropolitan areas of the U.S. (and the world) would not be able to operate without its Filipino and Filipino American staff members.

As Filipino Americans and allies, we band together to ensure that this type of hateful message should not be allowed to continue on our television and radio airwaves. Given the recent amounts of media attention that has been given to Michael Richards (against African Americans), Isaiah Washington (against gays), and Rosie O’Donnell (against Asian/ Chinese Americans), it is ridiculous that this type of hateful speech made it through various screenwriters, the show’s producers, the show’s actors, and ABC itself.

We demand a public apology to the Filipino American community, and we demand the episode be edited to remove the ignorant and racist remark. We will not allow hateful messages against our community (or any other oppressed community) to continue.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Does anyone remember that dictionary that said:

“Filipina (n) Domestic Helper”

Sigh. Bigotry abound.

Wasted Lives…

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

I’ve neglected this blog, haven’t I? Nearly two months without an update…  O_o Sorry for that, by the way. But sadly, between family stuff and job hunting, life’s taken a turn for the “Extremely Boring”. *sigh* In any case… on to the real content.

 

General Glossary:

Achi - eldest sister

Dichi - second older sister

Sachi - third older sister

Ahia - first older brother (Dihia for second, Sahia for third)

Shobe - little sister

Shoti - little brother

 

As you may have noticed or not, I prefer writing happy blogs. And on the rare occasion that I do write about something serious, I make an effort to do it in a light way. I’ve found that people set aside more time and effort to read light and happy things, so writing that way is best way to make them understand. 

But even I believe that there are some things that are just impossible to write about without an air of sadness.

 

A bit of background - I came from a high school (all girls) where nearly everyone knew each other one way or other. Sure, there were roughly a thousand students… but the community’s still pretty inter-connected (well, by a lot of people’s standards). Perhaps because we were all basically from the same Filipino-Chinese community. Usually, all the girls of a family’d go to our school, and so it isn’t surprising to find out that your Mom was best friends with your worst enemy’s aunt, or that your Achi used to be chums with your best friend’s Dichi and stuff like that.

 

Well, just a little over an hour ago, Achi called me. She was extremely distraught. “Katherine died.” she said. “Katherine got shot.”

As you can very well imagine, I got pretty confused. “What?” I asked. I actually thought she may have drunk a little. I mean, she just called out of the blue and told me someone had died. And Katherine… well. I knew a bloody lot of Katherines.

“Katherine Palmero. She got shot.” My sister, for all her lawyer-ly long windedness, couldn’t say much else.

“Who?” I asked. The surname was familiar. And the trend of chinese parents giving their kids uniform initials didn’t help the pit forming in my gut.

“Katherine Palmero. We were friends. She was one of the high school friends I kept in touch with. Klar’s sister. Patty’s cousin…”

And that was it. The pit just sort of grew. I knew Klar, I knew Patty. We weren’t quite friends, but we were closer than mere acquaintances. And I’ve met this person, once or twice. “Bloody…”

“She got shot. Just earlier today. Traffic altercation. She got shot.” And no matter how much she tried to hide it, I could hear my sister want to cry.

“We’re trying to find out who exactly did it. He’s going to get away, I can feel it. Son of a Sandigang Bayan Justice. He’s going to get away because of his parent’s connections. Hell, he doesn’t deserve to. Katherine… she wasn’t even sick… and now… I mean, because of a stupid traffic altercation?”

And there it was. Shock was giving way to tears. “Sorry. I just needed to let it out, you know?”

“Yeah. You going to the wake?”

“Yeah. But no details yet.”

And then the line died.

 

Now, most of you may think that I’ve dramatised things too much. But the truth is I’m calling that conversation as we had it. To be honest, I’ve never cared much for deaths. Everyone dies, after all. And so when people tell me this and that died, I feel a brief pang of guilt - because I should care more, shouldn’t I? My friend’s aneurism at 16, random accidents here and there claiming friends of friends’ lives… Distant relatives kicking the bucket and family friends sending news of a loss… All sudden losses… but they never really affected me much. Everyone dies, after all.

But this is different. This one didn’t die of an accident. Didn’t die of a sickness. She was shot by a man who will probably get away with it. Katherine was 28. Older than my dead friend, older than the string of deaths from the neighbouring boy’s school. But it was a conscious decision on the part of another human being to kill her.

Accidents happen. Sicknesses happen. There are a lot of what-ifs involved in them, but in the end, you still can’t be sure if they could have been avoided. But killing… you know it could’ve been prevented.

And the worst thing about it? The culprit will probably get away. There are no perfect justice systems, after all. Sandigang Bayan is basically second to the Supreme Court. I’ve tried searching for news online about the death (it was reported in the ABS-CBN 6:40pm news, I’ve heard), but to no avail.

I also heard the culrit’s name wasn’t mentioned, even if the authorities know who it is. Why? Sad to say, it’s probably to cover things up. It happened last year too. A rich tycoon’s son shot himself and the girl he was on a date with - everyone knew who it was, but the official archives erased his name.

It wasn’t even a good reason. The guy killed her because of a traffic altercation. They didn’t even bump each other. They almost hit each other, but they managed to avoid it. But it appears it was the SB child’s stupidity that nearly caused it, so Katherine’s companion got off and started yelling at the guy. “We could’ve all died! We could’ve all killed a couple of people!”. And as the guy rudely started moving forward, the companion kicked the car, and then — that was it. They were both shot.

I have no idea who the companion is, otherwise I’d mention him/her too.

I admit that it’s annoying to almost bump into a car and then get yelled at by the other car’s passenger… but why kill them? Are their lives really that useless? And even if they were, what right does one have to judge them as such? Or maybe it was done in the guy’s perverse confidence that he could and would get away with it. Perhaps he gets a thrill from the display of power killing without repercussion can give.

… Either way, it really shows how strange we are. Loving our cars more than the lives of others, losing our sense because of a few heated words.

I hope he doesn’t get away. He doesn’t deserve to. But then, a lot of people get what they don’t deserve.

 

In the end, all we can do is hope.

 

R.I.P. Katherine Palmero. And whoever her comanion may have been. I promise to update the name as soon as I find out.