Intramuros of Two Augusts



The ruined convent on Calle Real
appear as a skeleton of beams (where life escapes,
without echoes), the blood mixed
in the concrete, histories under the dust,
dreams under the rubble.

It was last August
when my body last knew yours,
the first time we met
as bodies, just bodies, as knots
Before that we were steel and muscles,
Muscles and steel. Now we bond with the dust
Of what we were, the dust to which we were,
Hundred of years we embraced our deaths,

Woven now to what we weave,
Our threads and the clothes in which
We become, now that our love
Is called death, now that our
World has become smaller, just us,
Our dust, becomes a knot between us and our past.


Noynoy Aquino’s “good faith” and the death of 44 soldiers

Noynoy during the funeral for SAF 44. Source: GMA NEWS TV, no copyright infringement intended.
President Noynoy during the funeral for SAF 44. Source: GMA NEWS TV, no copyright infringement intended.

In a statement, the Liberal Party said the former president’s actions relating to the incident were “imperatives in good faith to advance the cause of justice and peace” in the restive south.

Even if PNP Director General Alan Purisima was in suspension during the time of the operation, anyone in Noynoy’s shoes would’ve taken heed of his advise given that he was on the case for longer than any General. Anyone would’ve done so just to cover all the bases. That being said, it is still wrong and in fact potentially criminal to continue working with a suspended government official but there’s a good alibi there for Aquino. Contrary to arguments of ignorance over military movements, it seems that the former President was actually well-informed and even offered substantial inputs into the operation. It will be important to know why Roxas and Espina were kept out of the loop while they are in the chain-of-command, because if we follow this alibi, then wouldn’t the opinion of the DILG and the OIC also matter? Wouldn’t it be part of “good faith” or are we missing something here? The nation hasn’t quite healed from the death of its 44 elite soldiers and this is evident the way our fellow citizens now take more notice of the death count in every battle and tragedy. We all want the truth to come out before any understanding and forgiveness can ensue. I believe though, that the President never wished his own soldiers to die in battle, after all he called well-trained SAF, not boy scouts. The Ombudsman is undoubtedly right in dismissing the homicide case while endorsing the criminal negligence case. The court trial is the best venue to explain and finally put a closure on this case.


The case of usurpation of authority was filed against Aquino for allowing then suspend Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima to participate in the planning of the operation against Marwan.

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On Monico Atienza

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He was my professor. I was not close to him but I remember his class dearly for initiating me to the hardships of discourse making and critical thinking. Out of frustration, I was inspired to compose a marching song about him called “Mabuhay si Monico Atienza”. He gave the most challenging term paper assignments. He told me once that I was lucky he didn’t give me a “5” (the failing grade in UP). He told me to come up with my own data when I tried to refute the findings of a leftist research agency. In an era before Snowden, he told the class he didn’t use Windows on his computer because he is afraid it might get hacked. How satisfied he must be to know he was right all along. I heard somewhere that he corresponds regularly with Joma Sison. The last time I saw him was when he walked out early from a stage play with a smirk on his face. He once told the story of meeting Chairman Mao in person, and it was from him I heard the quotation “Women hold up half the sky”. When he fell into a long coma, his comrades took care of him. I saw them on TV singing revolutionary songs while he was bed-ridden breathing heavily on an oxygen mask, his already wiry frame became more emaciated.  Then he passed away on my birthday in 2007.

I remember him now when his photo came up on my facebook feed. A friend told me that whenever he hears the words Martial Law, he recalls the bullet wound on Professor Monico Atienza’s bald head. He told everyone that he got it from being tortured and ambushed by the military during his time in the underground.


Astronomy has somehow helped me to give another dimension to the pain, to the absence, to the loss. Sometimes, when one is alone with that pain, and these moments are necessary, the pain becomes oppressive. I tell myself it’s all part of a cycle which didn’t begin and won’t end with me nor with my parents, or with my children. I tell myself we are all part of a current, of energy, a recyclable matter. Like the stars, which must die so that other stars, can be born, other planets, a new life. In this context, what happened to my parents and their absence take on another dimension. It takes on another meaning and frees me a little from this great suffering, as I feel that nothing really comes to an end. My grandparents are the happiness in my life. Thanks to them, I’ve been able to write my own story.

Not merely from a painful perspective but also a joyful one, optimistic, driven by this strength and the desire to progress. My grandparents were wise realizing they had a double responsibility. They found a way to make my parents important reference points for me. They passed on my parents’ values and their strength. What is more, my grandparents were able to overcome their pain so that I could have a happy and healthy childhood. – Excerpt from an interview in ‘Nostalgia for the light’, by Patricio Guzman