[November 22, 2007]

Why was the NPC mural with the theme of ‘Press Freedom’ censored? Who stands to benefit from its defiling? I’m going to take time to analyze the edited parts of the mural.
 
1. The erasure of a big portion of the newspaper held by the central figure, containing the statement of the International Federation of Journalists regarding the perceived effects of the anti-terror law on press freedom, and replaced by a hideous bird-monster in a cage. 
 
If you’re wondering why anti-terror laws can have adverse effect of press freedom, take these as an example: it criminalizes the sowing and creation of “widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to the unlawful demand;” and it allows punishment for “conspiracy to commit terrorism.” In a country like ours where trumped-up drug charges are abundant as hooligans in the PNP, those two points in quotes can easily be used to curb dissenting speech. Even the editorial or an opinion article in a daily can warrant surveillance. Simply put, an idealistic journalist is branded a terrorist by powers-that-be.
 
They thought the bird in a cage replacement in the censored version may suffice as it may well imply “ibon man may layang lumipad.” It is their own wishful thinking that they can fly away with such a despicable edit. Since Erap’s downfall, most of those who think already know the caged truth of our existence. In this case, it is just as disgusting as it should be very disgusting to see a caged bird instead of the statement of the IFJ.
 
2. The alteration of the headline of the newspaper Jose Rizal is holding from “Press Freedom Fighter’s Son Abducted” to “Press Freedom Fight is on” and the defacement of Jonas and Edith Burgos’s pictures as well as the erasure of Jonas’s name.
 
Who is Jonas Burgos? Who the hell are the Burgos’ anyway? Jonas is the son of the late newspaper publisher, Joe Burgos. Jonas by the way is an agriculturist who provided technical training to leftwing farmers and made the famous quote “I am just an activist” when he was being whisked away by suspected military personnel.

If this abduction isn’t reminiscent of the extra-judicial kidnappings and killings of the Marcos-era then I insist that you have no idea of the Marcos-era. An activist being kidnapped by activists doesn’t make any sense at all, however, an activist being whisked away by the military makes some sense. Press freedom fight pales in comparison when you read abduction in bold letters imprinted on the front page of a newspaper.
 
3.   The change of the tattoo on Andres Bonifacio’s left arm from the alibata “K” to a sappy red heart pierced by an arrow. 
Why would a symbol of the Katipunan be censored? Andres Bonifacio is a hero. Many would protest that I would nominate him to be the national one for the reason that he took to arms and fought oppression head on. The conspiracy-sense in me tingles at the thought that Jose Rizal was installed as the national hero for the very purpose of aligning the psyche of Filipinos to how Jose Rizal fought oppression. But that’s just me. The alibata on Bonifacio’s arm, how leftist it maybe to the narrow-headed paranoid mind is a symbol of him and the Katipunan and defiling it with a sappy heart found on most arms of inmates is an abomination of the extreme kind.
 
4.     The erasure of the name of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines from the banners of the rallyists.
Is it because the NUJP is the one in reality at the forefront of press freedom or the NPC is afraid of being dethroned? Whatever is the case, the NPC swallowed their very own hook, line and sinker. Not only did they prove beyond reasonable doubt if there was really any doubt anyway, with how they censored their very own mural on press freedom.
 
5. The lengthening of the hair and beard of the figure identified as academician-columnist Prof. Randy David beside columnist Conrad de Quiros. The addition of beard and mustache and the change of hair color from white to black of the pugo and balut vendor identified as columnist and Martial Law detainee Juan Mercado.
 
Juan Mercado and Randy David both freedom fighters, I need not elaborate their contributions to our society. So why in whoever’s name would censor their appearance in the mural. A cheap shot in my guess like when you see someone in a magazine or a comic book who dispute your good-looks or someone you know you could not kill but very much detest, a cowardly act by my book. 
 
All those graffiti, alterations and abominations were done not because some frat-worshipper wacko got
hold of a can of spray paint. And I am positive that the one responsible could not possibly ask Isaac Mendez in his elevated state to alter the state of the mural. So the big question is… for who and why?
 
It was alleged that the Presidential Security Group coerced the NPC to have the mural altered. If that is the case then it wouldn’t take a wise man clutching incense and myrrh to discern who is responsible. Frankly, you need not watch the news or read the papers to know. The word of mouth that is very mouthful at that, points to the one, not the One of The Matrix kind but the one who most people in the street blurt out to why we are in this wretched state. Moreover, given the fact that the PSG did not coerce the NPC, you would just have to inquire who the present heads of the NPC are, who are they aligned with or who appointed whom.
 
So who? It can never be more precise. It is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability—The Yamashita or Medina standard.
Who? COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY.
 
[To be concluded]