Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I've grown up with the idea that Philippine tabloids are dirty, scandalous and male-serving. But since I've learned last weekend that the Inquirer released the maiden issue of Klik Bandera, a tabloid for women, I began to think otherwise.
So this morning, I excitedly went to the news stand to get myself a copy. Here's my review of the tabloid:
Rating: Needs Improvement
Released with a sub-title that says "Balita. Buenas. Chika.," Klik Bandera indeed came out with "entertaining, informative and mostly feel-good show-biz articles." Half of this weekend's 12-page issue was dedicated to showbiz news while the rest were a mix of the typical tabloid news stories and features that include horoscope, beauty tips and some short stories.
There seems to be nothing new.
Klik Bandera is a good development communication medium for women all over the country, with a circulation that spans all over Metro Manila, across Luzon and in major locations in Vis-Min. As part of the Inquirer's corporate social responsibility, Klik Bandera should take this as an opportunity to provide marginalized women with information that will empower them to come up with informed choices and live better lives.
I look forward to seeing that kind of Klik Bandera on the hands of our women. :-)
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
As a working solo parent, I find going through labels of over-the-counter drugs time-consuming. So what I do is to remain faithful to the prescription of doctors who advise the use of synthetic medicines all the time. But lately, ads of herbal cough medicines seem to challenge my loyalty.
Again, as a parent, I want the best remedy for my daughter. What attracts me to herbal cough medicines is the claim that they are the safest cough medicine on the shelf. On the other hand, what encourages me to continue with synthetic cough medicine is its supposed ability to cure cough faster and more effectively than other remedies.
At this point, I ask myself, herbs or synthetics?
If I have to rely on the ads alone, then I guess my dilemma will be reduced to something like, Vic Sotto or ordinary moms? This is mainly because two of the most visible brands on TV claim that they are the best (while also attacking the other). Reading through the comparison of herbal and synthetic cough medicine TV commercials gave me this insight.
That is why I decided to come up with my own little research.
First Source: The LABELS (Drug Information)
Time-consuming as it may be, the labels are still the best source of drug information. I got the info of the first three brands from the boxes/leaflet in my medicine cabinet while for the last, I got the info from MIMS Philippines.
1. Bisolvon (Bromhexine HCl)
a. Indication: cough due to an acute or chronic respiratory disease associated with hard, sticky phlegm (mucolytic)
b. Precautions: Pregnant and lactating women (not recommended)
c. Possible side effects: immune system disorder, skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders and respiratory, mediastinal and thoracic disorders: allergic reaction…, gastrointestinal disorders: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and upper abdominal pain; can be taken by diabetics and people with heart ailments
2. Loviscol (Carbocisteine)
a. Indications: chronic disorders of the respiratory tract associated with excessive or viscous mucus, such as chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and otits media with effusion including glue ear (mucolytic)
b. Precautions: patients with a history of gastric or duodenal ulcer and GI bleeding; carcinogenesis, mutagenesis and impairment of fertility (long-term animal studies not performed; effect on human fertility unknown); safety not established for pregnant and lactating women, and children below age of one
c. Possible side effects: not stated on box; possibly on enclosed leaflet which I no longer have
3. Ascof (Vitex negundo L. Lagundi Leaf)
a. Indications: For relief of mild to moderate cough due to common colds and flu
b. Precautions: Pregnant and lactating women (not studied)
c. Possible side effects: None were reported in the clinical trials for the syrup.
4. Solmux (Carbocisteine)
a. Indications: Relief of cough associated w/ excessive and tenacious sputum or phlegm as in acute and chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, otitis media w/ effusion and glue ear
b. Precautions: History of gastric or duodenal ulcer & GI bleeding. Pregnancy & lactation
Summing it up, Ascof may have all the advantages over Solmux. But, these drugs possess dissimilar modes of action. Solmux is a mucolytic while Ascof is a simple cough formula with an anti-asthma effect. Ascof won’t be effective enough if the cough will be involving too much phlegm in the lungs. On the contrary, Solmux will not be also suitable for a simple cough with asthma involved.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
More than ten years ago, we saw how print and broadcast media had been effective in shaping public views which in turn, played an influential role in yielding the results of the trial. Back then, most people relied on what media fed and on what went around as hearsays.
But times have changed. Documents and other important information are now available on the Internet. It just takes a couple of keywords, links and clicks to access them. Hence, the discerning public can now make better-informed opinions.
Then, let us challenge our frame of mind by applying logic on hard facts. Such that:
1. IF HUBERT WEBB IS GUILTY, then he must be in the scene of the crime when the Vizconde killings happened.
Hubert Webb is Guilty
Hubert Webb is Innocent
Supporting Column [A. B]
1. record of departure including ticket, ticket receipt,(with accompanying testimony from raja tours owner Bibay Nolasco), airline manifest (with accompanying testimony from a northwest airline official), passport with departure stamp from the Bureau of Immigration
2. record of entry which includes an F.B.I. report, a note verbal issued by the U.S. government signed by Secretary of State Madeline Albright stating that Hubert Webb was in the U.S. Testified to by no less than both Foreign Affairs Secretary Domingo Siazon and Consul General Leo Herrera Lim
(certification from US Immigration and naturalization service signed (w seal) by Madelaine Albright, Warren Christopher and Atty. General Janet Reno verified proofs/documents by US state secretary (Albright) and FBI (Bob Heafner)
3. records of his stay which include:
Videos - one in Disneyland (testified to by a complete stranger who saw Freddie Webb and decided to take his video, with Hubert seen on the background). Another at Lake Tahoe where he was seen playing in the snow. And lastly, another video at a cousins wedding ceremony.
Records of employment in the form of several encashed checks in his name Hubert Jeffrrey Webb before and after the crime.
California Drivers License aquired during his stay, certified by the Department of Motor Vehicles California.
4. records of his departure from the U.S. which includes again the certification from the U.S. stating his date of departure, airline manifest testified by an authority from Philippine Airlines and passport showing entry into the Philippines. These only prove he was in the United States four months prior and fifteen months after the massacre occured. Hubert has only one record of going to the U.S. He left Manila on March 1991 and arrived back to the Philippines October 1992.
Statements / Testimonies
Supporting Column [A. B]
1. Jessica Alfaro (eye witness) - positively identified Hubert Webb and others as perpetrators
2. Nerissa Rosales and Mila Gaviola* (former housemaids of the Webbs) - one testified that she washed Hubert Webb's shirt with blood stains on stomach and chest areas
3. Carlos Cristobal - doubted if Hubert Webb was the same person who was his co-passenger
4. Lolita Birrer (former live-in partner of Policeman Gerardo Biong) - claimed that Biong helped Hubert Webb and others clean up the crime scene
5. Normal White and Justo Cabanacan (BF Homes security guards) - Cabanacan testified that he flagged down the vehicle of Hubert Webb because it did not have the local village sticker around the last week of May or the first week of June 1991; did not ask for ID nor logged Hubert Webb as visitor since he was the son of then Cong. Freddie Webb, a well-known man
6. Lauro Vizconde - testified that in one of his phone conversations with Carmela when he was still in the USA, Carmela mentioned to him that she had turned down a suitor whom she called "Bagyo," who is a son of a politician in Paranaque and comes from an affluent family. (Carmela never mentioned the identity of the suitor.)
1. Atty. Artemio Sacaguing (NBI) - testified that Alfaro was supposed to bring someone who witnessed the Vizconde killings (as relayed by NBI agent Cresencio "Jun" Nombres) but instead volunteered herself as eyewitness when she could not produce the witness
2. Judge Antonio Carpio (not yet in SC at time of trial) - testified that he had a phone conversation with Sen. Freddie Webb on June 29, 1991 where the latter mentioned that he and his wife were looking for a job for Hubert Webb
3. Rafael Jose, Paolo Santos and Joselito Escobar (friends) - relate despedida party organized for Hubert Webb on March 8, 1991
4. Miguel Munoz (security personnel of former Senator Freddie Webb) - testified that he accompanied Hubert Webb and parents at the airport on March 9, 1991
5. Cristina Magpusao (secretary of Webbs) - testified that she gave money to Hubert Webb for his terminal fee on March 1991
6. Victoria Ventoso (former housemaid of Webbs) - testified that Hubert Webb left for the US sometime in March 1991 and had not come back at the time she left the household in May 1992
7. Gloria Webb (Hubert Webb's aunt), Christopher Esguerra (Gloria's grandson) and Dorothy Wheelock - testified that Hubert Webb was in the States; accompanied Hubert Webb in Lake Tahoe on April 1991)
8. Gary Valenciano (performing artist) - testified that he was introduced to Hubert Webb at the Rodriguez residence in Orlando, Florida, USA in Novermber 1991
1. Alfaro, along with housemaids and security guard, is said to have emerged as witnesses only 4 years after the crime.
2. Alfaro has 2 affidavits dated April 28 and May 22, 1995, which contradict on the ff. items:
a. knowing Carmela prior to the date of the killings;
b. seeing the dead bodies;
c. seeing the alleged rape of Carmela
d. how Webb, Lejano and Ventura entered the house
e. if Alfaro entered the house
3. Court and DOJ Panel ruled that misdescription and inconsistencies did not erode Alfaro’s credibility.
4. DOJ Panel rules that alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification made by a prosecution witness. … claim of alibi is mainly supported by friends and relatives.
5. As per CA, time and space as requisites of acquittal are not supported by clear and convincing evidence; dates of departure and arrival in passport does not fully entail that Hubert Webb is not in the Philippines on June 30, 1991.
6. US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) certifications, dated August 10 and 31, 1995, respectively, were given little weight by both RTC and CA because of the purported omissions or oversights of certain Phil. or US Officials: (a) Aug 10 cert stated that there was no entry/exit of Hubert Webb on June 29, 1991; (b) Aug 31 cert stated Hubert Webb entered USA on 09 March 1991 and departed only on 26 October 1992. Testimony of Sec. Domingo Siazon, Jr. was deemed to prove the physical receipt and transmittal of docs. but not their content. (See Col B Row 2 #2)
1. Judge Tolentino admitted only 10 out of 142 evidences offered by Hubert Webb.
2. As per Fritz Webb, brother of Hubert Webb, the NBI presented 2 housemaids (and 2 security guards) but only 1 housemaid showed up during the trial. (Addendum as per CA 2005, only White testified.)
3. Defense questioned Alfaro's credibility on the ff. grounds:
a. Contents of Alfaro’s first affidavit;
b. Alfaro’s motive in testifying against Hubert Webb et. Al. – Alfaro allegedly admitted that brother Patrick Alfaro was a drug addict and was arrested once by the NBI for illegal possession of drugs and that he is presently in the United States
c. Educational attainment – cross-examination showed that Alfaro lied in her direct testimony
4. Alfaro was said to be a former NBI asset who was quoted by then NBI Head Agent Artemio Sacaguing saying, “Sir, papapelan ko yan…"
5. Housemaids agency owner’s records show that the maids were no longer with the Webbs when the killings happened on June 30, 1991.
6. Re: INS certifications. Justice Dacudao, in his dissenting opinion, believes that omission was adequately explained by defense; oversight because the rules on protocol and standard procedure were not religiously observed by Phil and US officials.
7. None of the evidences presented by Hubert Webb were proven false or refuted by the Prosecution.
2. IF HUBERT WEBB IS GUILTY, then his DNA should match the semen samples found in the scene of the crime.
• October 1997 - Hubert Webb requested DNA testing of semen specimen
• November 25, 1997 – RTC Judge Tolentino denied Hubert Webb’s motion for DNA Testing
- Reason was “the proposed DNA examination would not serve the ends of justice but only lead to the complication and confusion of the case”
• April 20, 2010 – SC granted Hubert Webb’s request for DNA testing
• NBI claimed that semen specimen is no longer in its custody – claiming that the specimen was handed to trial court
• Trial court denied NBI claim
• October 2010 – Hubert Webb files an urgent motion for acquittal on the ground that he has been denied “the fullest extent of his constitutional right to due process” because the State can no longer produce the semen specimen that was in its custody.
Is Hubert Webb guilty? The decision is left on the discretion of the reader.
Do you think Hubert Webb is innocent? Then “Like” the Justice for Hubert Webb page on Facebook.
Why are we tackling Hubert Webb on Beyond Lipstick and High Heels? Read On Vizconde Massacre, Hubert Webb and the Quest for True Justice (1st in Series of 3).
Need to know more?
Latest Update: 09 Dec 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The Vizconde Massacre is a harrowing story of violence inflicted against women---a proof that it happens even inside one's own home in a gated community of a bustling city. The brutal killings of the Vizconde women stunned the nation and started a serious quest for justice.
But the quest proved to be a long one. The story of the Vizconde Massacre wasn't just a single story; it varied as told by a number of witnesses. It was hard to tell which made up the truth and the lies.
But to Judge Amelita Tolentino of the Paranaque Regional Trial Court, the truth was the account of star witness Jessica Alfaro. She found Hubert Webb and
Justice, then, seemed to have been served.
* * *
It seems that the quest now has become Justice for Hubert Webb.
* * *
I find all those details disturbing. For somebody who literally grew up with the slow development of the Vizconde Massacre case, I had to rack my brains to find out why I was bent on believing certain things at the time the Paranaque RTC trial ran from 1995 to 2000. (Of course, given my age then, my opinions were not as better-founded as now.)
It has been 15 years since the name of Hubert Webb surfaced as a prime suspect in the Vizconde Massacre. If Hubert Webb was innocent, then it means that he lost 15 years of his life by being kept in bars for a crime he did not do. Likewise, it means that justice has never been really served for the Vizcondes.