Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Nation falling short of Ninoy's principles
Rights abuses rife under the rule of slain former leader's son
- Joe Torres, Manila
- August 21, 2012
The â€śPeople Powerâ€ť uprising swept Aquinoâ€™s widow, Corazon Aquino, into power and into a position to deliver the justice inspired by her husband to a country beaten down by years of authoritarian rule.
Now 29 year later, Benigno â€śNoynoyâ€ť Aquino, holds the reins of power, and many in the country wonder what if anything he has done to live up to the ideals of his martyred father.
â€śWith the current human rights situation in the country â€“ the bombings of communities, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention â€“ we canâ€™t help but wonder,â€ť said Cristina Palabay of the rights group Karapatan.
The elder Aquino was a prominent figure in the nationâ€™s struggle for justice and democratic rule and a high-profile political prisoner.
Rights activists are quick to note that the country, under leadership of the younger Aquino, continues to detain political prisoners, and that some 385 detainees are languishing in prison under the same trumped up charges â€“ murder, illegal possession of firearms and other offenses â€“ that the presidentâ€™s father was accused of three decades ago.
â€śDespite the opportunity to correct this practice and stop human rights violations, [having] witnessed the suffering of his own father, Noynoy has refused to release all the political prisoners,â€ť Palabay has said.
President Aquino, like his predecessors, denies the existence of political prisoners. Karapatan, however, says it has documented 170 political prisoners arrested and detained in the two years of Aquinoâ€™s presidency.
Palabay said the same human rights violations and culture of impunity that was a trademark of martial law under Marcos did not end with the death of the elder Aquino and the downfall of Marcos but continue up to the present day.
Indeed, paramilitary units continue to operate in the countryside; checkpoints and military detachments in communities are still in existence, and forced evacuation of people in the countryside, torture, killings and disappearances are realities that are reported in the media almost daily.
As of June 30, Karapatan has recorded 30,000 individuals who have become victims of forced evacuation since Aquino came to power.
Today, the president offered flowers and prayers during a Mass to commemorate the heroism of his father and to commemorate the anniversary of his assassination.
While Vice President Jejomar Binay said the country had no better way to mark Ninoyâ€™s death than to continue to live by the principles for which he gave his life, activists and others continue to wonder whether the country has not already betrayed those principles.
Aquino 'failing on human rights promises'