The papers continue to have updates on the killing of Julie Campbell (see the obituary in her alma mater’s website), ranging from the upcoming autopsy. to suspects being sought, to the possible murder weapon‘s being found. Our godforsaken Secretary of Justice made international news by blaming the victim and has sparked exasperated comments but the evolving case mercifully (for our country) quickly shoved aside his crass comments. In New York, local media has played up the case: something that has The Nomadic Pinoy reflecting on what the murder’s impact will be, on a hitherto tranquil and peaceful part of the country (and the country as a whole: see similar concerns expressed locally by Mike in Manila; see ialman‘s LiveJournal, too). As for international media, there’s this profile of Campbell from the Associated Press, as reproduced in The Huffington Post,.
Two other stories bringing the Philippines to international attention: Abu Sayaff conduct seven beheadings; and the assassination attempt on two media men and the murder of a reporter with the government radio network. Foreign media groups have reiterated their calls for action. See Journ Classroom for a sobering reflection on what all these murders mean.
A debate was provoked by opposition, particularly from some victim’s families, to NBC’s decision to air portions of videos sent the network by Cho Seung-hui. In Slate, there’s very interesting roundup of how the debate extended into whether NBC should have withheld the videos, or not.
In other news, the President signs an Executive Order (No. 608) establishing a National Security Clearance system. It will be interesting to compare it to one of the tightest regulations on official information, Britain’s Official Secrets Act. Naturally, the EO’s full text is nowhere to be found on line.
Allegations that officials asked the President to fund campaigns against unfriendly party-list parties. Whether true or not, another campaign’s going to be a sure thing: Sigaw ng Bayan says it will revive the campaign to amend the constitution after the elections. Meanwhile, the Comelec is being petitioned by Oliver Lozano to forbid election-related surveys.
The grilling of the American attorney-general makes for instructive reading on the importance of congressional hearings. Slate Magazine has a digest of the Q&A Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales experienced in the US Senate.
In the punditocracy, Rasheed Abou-Alsamh takes a look at Filipino voters in Saudi Arabia, and says the real sympathies of the voters won’t be known until the end of the actual voting period. Amando Doronila says the administration’s campaigning on the economy is a flop.
Miriam Coronel-Ferrer writes on International Humanitarian Law, and in the case of the Red Cross, asks if pulling out volunteers in dangerous situations isn’t a dereliction of duty.
Alexander Chancellor in the The Guardian recalls the attempted assassination of Pope Paul VI when he visited Manila in 1970, and provides this interesting vignette of a presidency not yet quite divorced from the people (today the walls have been raised, crowds aren’t permitted in the streets, and it would be pretty impossible to wave something at a president and have that president intervene with the security):
I arrived late and panted up the road to the gate of the palace between lines of armed police holding back the crowds. Immediately behind the gate stood Ferdinand and Imelda awaiting the Pope and surrounded by guards, some of whom pointed their guns at me. I waved my invitation pleadingly at the president, who signalled to his guards to lower their guns, open the gate and let me in – which was how I ended up alone in such exalted company.
Chancellor then recounts how President Marcos gave him a highly embroidered account of the assassination attempt:
…I asked President Marcos to describe to me exactly what had happened at the airport. “I’m afraid I did a bad thing,” he said. “I laid hands on the Holy Father. With my right hand I felled the assassin, and with my left I pushed the Holy Father backwards. I hope he will forgive me, for I felt I had to do it for his safety.”
“Where did the Holy Father fall?” I asked. “Into my arms,” interjected Imelda, the famous beauty. I turned to her and, with genuine curiosity, inquired how the Pope had reacted to this unusual experience. “He let out a kind of soft sigh,” she replied. “He went ‘aaaaheeeeh’.” This was all jolly interesting, but unfortunately it was also completely untrue.
The Philippine blogosphere, of course, is abuzz over Julie Cambell’s blog, which from the boondocKs, who focuses on the Cordilleras, quite early on pointed out (and has done a yoeman’s job of putting together information and updates) and there have been some pretty touching tributes left in the comments section of her last entry: one remarkable entry is by wait, who said that?! from Legazpi City, Albay, who recounts seeing Julie Campbell around town, but not knowing who she was.
Others have posted tributes that include poetry, and other, I presume younger bloggers, were posted to make their first serious blog post., while knowread/knowrite in General Santos City reflects on Peace Corps volunteers in general. Filipina, Cebuana, muses on so many deaths in April. Philippine Commentary asks what happens to blogs when the blogger dies (my sense, if it’s a free blog, it becomes a kind of shrine; otherwise, remorseless Capitalism being what it is, the registration expires and the blog goes kaputt).
the thoughts that wander shares her angst over being a first-time taxpayer.