Inquirer can’t make up it’s mind.

August 22, 2006

Dear PDI,

Please do not choose to hide behind a weak editorial (PDI August 22, 2006). Isagani Cruz has to apologize. If he won’t, fire him. But don’t try to hoodwink your readership.
And kindly cancel my subscription to your paper.
P.S. G. Lirio’s story about Jim Paredes was bogus. Ask Jim.

Gerry Kaimo
San Juan

Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Pero hindi lahat.



By John L. Silva

There goes Isagani Cruz again, spewing his homophobic sputum all over the printed page. (Philippine Daily Inquirer August 20, 2006, his full text below). He’s having a bad hair day because fellow columnist Manuel Quezon III called him a bigot. If he’s read the enormous amount of e- mail the newspaper has received and the blogs on the internet, he’ll come to his silly senses and realize Manuel was actually quite diplomatic in fencing with him.

I sense though a slight sobriety in Isagani’s writing today. He’s cut out the epithets (I think he’s been warned), and he no longer boasts about the virtues of macho-hood. He must have gotten so much ribbing about having declared and certifying all his five sons to be macho.

Despite his feebled bombast, he’s decided to take the legalese route and cloak himself in the Freedom of Speech mantle. He pleads his right to say what he wants even an  “unorthodox view hostile to or scorned by others.” Enough with the cheap rhetoric Isagani, and read your employer’s Philippine Inquirer Manual of Editorial Policies particularly Section VIII of the Journalist Code of Ethics. The section cautions its columnists about the dangers of bigotry and “In no case should they criticize or ridicule another person on the basis of his or her religious beliefs, race, sexual preferences etc.

The same manual also conforms to Section VII of the same Code of Ethics which states that journalists “shall not in any manner ridicule, cast aspersions on or degrade any person by reason of sex, creed, religious belief, political conviction, (or) cultural or ethnic origin.”

Translation: Isagani Cruz is a bigot and broke company rules.

Alas, it’s been a week and two bigoted editorials later, yet we haven’t heard a peep from the Inquirer publisher and editors. Their ombudsman and readers advocate, Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, has cited the above sections and agreed on national television that Isagani broke the rules. Does the ombudsman really get listened to or is the title just a wall plaque and nothing more?

What were some of Isagani’s repulsive remarks in today’s editorial? He says he wouldn’t have written the first one if he knew Manuel was gay.

How sensitive of him. And hypocritical.

Isagani wrote his anti-gay tracts despite the common knowledge that other columnists are gay and that many in the Inquirer are of the same persuasion. Manuel counters in his column that he could not “embrace him (Isagani) much less shake his hand ” because of his remarks. Isagani, the paranoid, scoffs Manuel’s gentlemanly remarks. Instead, Isagani calls on God, thanking him that he won’t be embraced by the likes of Manuel. His manhood unblemished, his attraction to the opposite sex secured.

Today’s appearance of yet another offensive piece by Isagani Cruz without editorial disavowal causes many to believe the newspaper does not uphold its own standards and rules and therefore is a party to spreading hate and homophobia in this country.

I ask everyone to write to the Inquirer ( and tell them what they should do with Isagani Cruz and how the newspaper should portray gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and transgenders. Lorna Kalaw-Tirol has conceded on television that the complaints they received about Isagani was the largest recorded ever. The Inquirer has in the past suspended errant writers for violating the PDI manual. They should do no less for the likes of Isagani.

The Inquirer is a corporation and adheres to corporate social responsibility practices. That means being cognizant of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders who work for and supply the newspaper. They don’t want a columnist that fans editorial hatred against them which reaches out to hundreds of thousands of readers. Will the Inquirer ever hire, tolerate, and abet a fundamentalist who will attack religious beliefs? Will they hire a columnist espousing the oppression of women due to free speech? It’s a no-brainer.

The majesty of Free Speech shines best when it is used to push the cause of the unheard, the dis-inherited, the pained, the novel, the yearnings for peace. Free Speech as articulated by Isagani is the right to bully, to hurt, to maim, divide and provoke violence.

The homophobic rant that comes out of the Inquirer’s Isagani Cruz must stop immediately. Isagani Cruz must apologize. The Inquirer publisher must go on public record disavowing homophobic journalism and must take action on Isagani based on their own editorial manual.

The newspaper’s failure to do this means complicity to homophobia. We will not take inaction lightly. We are everywhere.

Neither here nor there

By Isagani Cruz
Last updated 08:41am (Mla time) 08/20/2006
Published on page A10 of the August 20, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
IF I had known that Manuel Quezon III was gay, I would have desisted from writing that column last week on homosexuals out of respect for a fellow columnist. But now that he has retorted angrily and called me a bigot among other names, I have no choice but to reply.
I started that column with the caution that it was not intended as an attack against homosexuals in general and did not include “those who have behaved in a reserved and discreet manner unlike the vulgar members of the gay community who have degraded and scandalized it. I offer abject apologies to those blameless people I may unintentionally include in my not inclusive criticisms. They have my admiration and respect.”
As Mr. Quezon himself does not consider himself among the exceptions, he would be what we lawyers call a “proper party,” or one who is directly injured. In fact, he appears to be severely wounded by my remarks and is hemorrhaging profusely. He, therefore, has a right to react to my “insults” in the waspish manner he saw fit.
He calls me a hate-monger for deriding the vulgar practices of his kind and says I have no right to say what is tasteless and intolerable. Who has—he? Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that freedom of speech includes not only the right to express the thought that agrees with us but also the thought that we abhor. Voltaire was grandiloquent: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Criticism is normal in the free society and is available to everyone right or wrong. The ideas that may be expressed under this freedom are not confined only to those that are sympathetic or acceptable, for that would make the freedom more shadow than substance. To be really meaningful, it should permit the articulation of even the unorthodox view, though it is hostile to or scorned by others. One of the purposes of this freedom, in fact, is to invite dispute.
If I do not appreciate the paintings of Picasso, any one who disagrees with me may say so and explain his reasons. But he cannot attack me personally for criticizing his idol. Mr. Quezon compares me to the tyrants in the police states where unacceptable identity or thought is systematically exterminated. In the free society, ideas are countered with ideas, not pejorative names. For criticizing his kind, Mr. Quezon likens me to the Nazis and the Reds and brands me a hate-monger.
Hate is not per se objectionable as Mr. Quezon may imply. Jesus Christ hated sinners and angrily drove the merchants and money changers from the holy temple they were desecrating. Was he a hate-monger for doing so? When Winston Churchill called on his countrymen to resist the enemy with all their blood, sweat, toil and tears, was he a hate-monger in the despicable sense of the phrase? That is what Mr. Quezon would call me for criticizing his kind.
I am a hate-monger against grafters, murderers, rapists and other criminals, but I only dislike the coarse homosexuals he defends, as is his right. Also disagreeable to me are straight persons who wear loud clothes, flunkies, hypocrites, humbugs and other unpleasant figures, male and female, in our imperfect society. I have the right to criticize them even as they have the right to reply in the common exercise of our freedom of expression.
It all depends on what and whom you hate. If I criticize homosexuals who disgrace their sex with their tasteless practices and appearance, any one among them can rise in defense and say why they should not be called obnoxious. But not in an obnoxious manner.
Mr. Quezon faults me for disagreeing with some practices of his kind that I find intolerable and insists that they have the fundamental right “to those we choose to love, to have relationships with and with whom we aspire to share a life marked by a measure of domestic bliss and emotional contentment.”
Who’s interfering with your romances? As long as you are not violating the law, you are free with your liaisons, and I for one do not pry into your amorous affairs. Nor do I want to.
The important thing is that you have no right to demand that I agree with your pleasures or to forbid me from criticizing your “emotional contentment” if they offend the public interest. You cannot claim a preferred treatment because you are what you are even as you say you should be treated like the rest of the people despite what you are.
Finally, rejecting my reservation that my criticisms are only for the distasteful among you, you piously declare: “I will not embrace him, not for that, much less shake his hand or offer him the opportunity for civilized disagreement.” That opportunity is not yours to give, Mr. Quezon, and as for not embracing me—thank God.


By John L. Silva

Weekend newspaper reading should be elevating, forward thinking and inspiring. But Isagani Cruz’s gay-bashing editorial (PDI August 12, 2006) today only makes you understand why old geezer columnists, if they don’t keel over, need to be put to pasture for their own good.

Cruz can actually write and when he reminisces about old Manila he’s fine. But his nostalgia also pines for behavior and mores that just doesn’t cut it these days. He makes a point about excluding gays “who have conducted themselves decorously” from his bombast. He can’t stand “timorous” and “audacious gays” and is frightened by the growing numbers. He yearns for elementary school days when there was only one, (Really?) one, queer person in his entire school. Must have been about the same time he needed glasses. And, most certainly, before Gay Pride.

Recently he freaked out overhearing one queer student telling another he’s off to get his nipple sucked. Cruz pines (wishes?) for these queers to be beaten up if they were overheard in a school his “five macho sons” went to. This is where Cruz goes over the line.

There are newspapers, including the Inquirer, who take on opinion writers with a bent different from the company’s own views. It makes for variety and a certain level of maturity. But when the writer gets past dissenting and starts to recklessly, and without basis, charge that there is a homosexual agenda to convert this nation into “..sexless persons
” it may seem silly and innocuous, but it is classic hatemongering. And the Inquirer with its socially committed journalism should be the first to distinguish between freedom of expression and fascist talk.

Every day, gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and transgenders face discrimination and oftentimes, outright violence from a society that still holds the most ignorant and baseless notions about our population. Isagani Cruz’s crude portrayal of gays coupled with homophobic nostalgia continues these notions thereby validating the oppression inflicted on us.

The Inquirer, like many other newspapers, have expanded their Lifestyle and Entertainment sections to gain more revenue. In doing so, many gay oriented, gay friendly, and gay written pieces appear in these sections. Some of it can be silly and gossipy but otherwise, they make for interesting reading and they seem to satisfy the advertisers.

Add to that the regular columnists in the Inquirer stable who are gay identified and pro-gay and take up the cudgels for gay rights. (Many gays and lesbians have honored Rina David as an Honorary Lesbian). With gay Filipinos buying the Inquirer, Cruz needs to be reminded that his salary comes partially from gay pesos.

On behalf of many outraged gays, I demand that Isagani Cruz write a public apology over this editorial. The Inquirer Editor and Publisher should go on record to censure Cruz and this sort of writing and not allow anymore hateful articles about gays to appear in its newspaper.

Why should gays and people of good will patronize a paper with a columnist that demonizes us, telling us we reject “propriety and morality” and, absurdly states that we are a “compromise between the strong and the weak?” It’s not only hogwash, it’s pretty loony stuff unbecoming of a supposed world-class newspaper.

To the pasture Isagani Cruz. Write your antiquated dribble there where you hurt no one. A word about your macho sons. Eyebrows do get raised when one boasts needlessly about macho sons. Remember, we are everywhere.

‘Don we now our gay apparel’
By Isagani Cruz
Last updated 02:14am (Mla time) 08/12/2006
Published on Page A10 of the August 12, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily

HOMOSEXUALS before were mocked and derided, but now they are regarded with new-found respect and, in many cases, even treated as celebrities. Only recently, the more impressionable among our people wildly welcomed a group of entertainers whose main proud advertisement was that they were “queer.”
It seems that the present society has developed a new sense of values that
have rejected our religious people’s traditional ideas of propriety and
morality on the pretext of being “modern” and “broad-minded.”

The observations I will here make against homosexuals in general do not
include the members of their group who have conducted themselves decorously, with proper regard not only for their own persons but also for the gay population in general. A number of our local couturiers, to take but one example, are less than manly but they have behaved in a reserved and discreet manner unlike the vulgar members of the gay community who have degraded and scandalized it. I offer abject apologies to those blameless people I may unintentionally include in my not inclusive criticisms. They have my admiration and respect.

The change in the popular attitude toward homosexuals is not particular to
the Philippines. It has become an international trend even in the so-called
sophisticated regions with more liberal concepts than in our comparatively
conservative society. Gay marriages have been legally recognized in a number of European countries and in some parts of the United States. Queer people — that’s the sarcastic term for them — have come out of the closet where before they carefully concealed their condition. The permissive belief now is that homosexuals belong to a separate third sex with equal rights as male and female persons instead of just an illicit in-between gender that is neither here nor there.

When I was studying in the Legarda Elementary School in Manila during the last 1930s, the big student population had only one, just one, homosexual. His name was Jose but we all called him Josefa. He was a quiet and friendly boy whom everybody liked to josh but not offensively. In the whole district of Sampaloc where I lived, there was only one homosexual who roamed the streets peddling “kalamay” and “puto” and other treats for snacks. He provided diversion to his genial customers and did not mind their familiar amiable teasing. I think he actually enjoyed being a “binabae” [effeminate].

The change came, I think, when an association of homos dirtied the beautiful tradition of the Santa Cruz de Mayo by parading their kind as the “sagalas” instead of the comely young maidens who should have been chosen to grace the procession. Instead of being outraged by the blasphemy, the watchers were amused and, I suppose, indirectly encouraged the fairies to project themselves. It must have been then that they realized that they were what they were, whether they liked it or not, and that the time for hiding their condition was over.

Now homosexuals are everywhere, coming at first in timorous and eventually alarming and audacious number. Beauty salons now are served mostly by gay attendants including effeminate bearded hairdressers to whom male barbers have lost many of their macho customers. Local shows have their share of “siyoke” [gay men], including actors like the one rejected by a beautiful wife in favor of a more masculine if less handsome partner. And, of course, there are lady-like directors who are probably the reason why every movie and TV drama must have the off-color “bading” [gay] or two to cheapen the proceedings.

And the schools are now fertile ground for the gay invasion. Walking along
the University belt one day, I passed by a group of boys chattering among
themselves, with one of them exclaiming seriously, “Aalis na ako.
Magpapasuso pa ako!” [“I’m leaving. I still have to breastfeed!”] That pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s when all the students were certifiably masculine. Now many of its pupils are gay, and I don’t mean happy. I suppose they have been influenced by such shows as “Brokeback Mountain,” our own “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (both of which won awards), “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and that talk program of Ellen Degeneres, an admitted lesbian.

Is our population getting to be predominantly pansy? Must we allow
homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are converted into a nation of sexless persons without the virility of males and the grace of females but only an insipid mix of these diluted virtues? Let us be warned against the gay population, which is per se a compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore only somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities. Be alert lest the Philippine flag be made of delicate lace and adorned with embroidered frills.


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