Tuesday, October 10, 2006
RENEGADOS AND THE AGRARIAN UPRISINGBesides the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in Baguio City, the Philippine College of Criminology (PCCr) in Quiapo, Manila, may be one of the largest schools in the country that churns out candidates for the Philippine National Police (PNP). Great if the true intention is to protect and serve the citizenry; unfortunately, there are those who sign up simply for the sense of power it brings and the lure of illegal money to be made on the side.
The jueteng alone can provide immense revenue streams not only for law enforcement officials, but for politicians as well. This two-number game that can be played with a minimal bet is the country’s most popular illegal game. Many may frown upon it as a poor man’s game, but add up all the bets nationwide and the total can reach to billions of pesos a month. And to keep the game going unhindered, jueteng lords — or the illegal gambling syndicate — allocate enormous “franchise fees” to their respective region’s high-ranking police and various government officials, which can easily run up to several millions. On its very top tier is usually a regional PNP director who may receive P1 million a month and the provincial police chief P500,000. This may very well be the reason why this illegal game could never be eradicated from Philippine society.
Ecclesiastical organizations in the Philippine archipelago, especially during the Spanish era, were not immune from such renegades in their rank and file, either. In fact, their most brazen, insidious act provoked the Agrarian Uprisings of 1745-46, which precipitated the numerous deaths of Filipinos. And although they occurred outside of Manila — Bulacan, Batangas, Laguna and Cavite — the cases were tried in Manila.
The insurrections were basically instigated by the usurpation of Filipino-owned lands by certain religious orders. Their ecclesiastical assertion — God created the world; therefore, those who represent God have first option to claim ownership to its land mass — befuddled the heck out of the Filipinos who refused to willingly hand over their ancestral lands to the church. But the friars relentlessly held on to their illegal claims and cursed the Filipinos with the wrath of God for their recalcitrance.
And so in September 1745, the Filipinos were so agitated by the friars that the first series of uprising occurred in the Jesuit estates of Lian and Nasugbu in Batangas province. It was the Filipinos’ initial attempt to recover the lands which they considered to be their birthright. They were so enraged by the audacity of the friars for treating them like mindless infantile that as revenge, they plundered and burned the Jesuit convents, devastated the ranches, looted their wine cellars, and chased them out of town. The uprising gathered momentum and spread to neighboring provinces, but Spanish troops were sent to quell the massive disturbance by executing their leaders and diehard followers. Those who surrendered were pardoned and sent back to their farming chores. Subsequently, the friars returned to rebuild and restore their profitable farming enterprises.
However, news of these agrarian conflicts reached the court of King Philip VI who immediately appointed Oidor Pedro Calderon Enriquez to investigate the charges brought against these religious orders and to ascertain the validity of their claims to the lands in questions. The friars vehemently refused to show any documentation or titles when demanded upon by a secular judge; they declared ecclesiastical immunity and reminded the court that they were, technically, God personified, and therefore above and beyond the law of man. Naturally, the governor general finally had enough of their foolishness. With his patience exhausted, he dispossessed the friars of the lands which they had grabbed illegally from their rightful owners.
However, much to the dismay of the Filipino land owners, their lands were not returned to them; they were restored to the Crown. The rightful Filipino owners were in no position to question or challenge the court of King Philip VI; hence they perceived this cruel twist of fate as the actual wrath of God as cursed upon them by the friars.
And now without any farmlands and nothing else to do with their free time, the friars launched concerted efforts to reclaim the Filipino-owned lands. They first appealed their case to the Royal Audiencia of Manila, but its tribunal upheld the first decision. Undeterred, the friars shipped off their legal dream team to Spain to appeal their position to the Council of the Indies in Madrid; it was again dismissed with the original decision upheld.
The friars proved adamant and headstrong. Eventually, their sheer tenacity and complete disregard of the law wore out the officials in Spain; they found sympathetic ears and consequently won their case, which gave them ownership to those vast tracts of disputed lands. Furthermore, such ownership remained intact even after the end of the Spanish regime. It was a victory that defied the basic tenets of morality and righteousness.
There is, indeed, a fine line between good and evil, and for the renegades, who crossed it, it can be said then that crime does pay not only for some crooked police officials and syndicate crime bosses, but for the men of the cloth as well.
posted by Señor Enrique at 1:29 PM
- Rey said...
My youngest brother is in his third year in Criminology, and is fully aware of the things some men in uniform are doing alonside dark alleys and empty abandoned buildings.
He has wanted to be a policeman all his life, yearning to be the upholder of law and vanguards of our town citizens like our ageing uncle.
Though I know he is very responsible and is as righteous as what my father always prided his five sons to be, I still say a silent prayer that he will lead an orderly life... Even if others did not,Even if others can not, even if others will not.
Thanks for this history lesson on this 18th century agricultural uprisings. Funny how history is repeating itself all over again now... except that now instead of the Spanish friars, it's Filipinos exploiting fellow Filipinos.
First time I've seen PCCr. An aunt has a degree in Criminology and I think that's where she graduated. She ended up working at City Hall, I'm not sure what position. She's now married to an American and lives in Minneapolis.
I am with toe. History just repeats itself.
I guess this is one the issues that Joe Taruk and the CPP NPA have been exploiting since time immemorial. And likewise, this is what started the trouble in Mindanao - rich, educated and greedy haciendero from Luzon and the visayas and even those in Mindanao are taking vast tract of lands from the natives with the help of Presidential Decree of Marcos.
Thank you for the information.
Sad to say, exploitation happens everywhere even though people are living together in the same country. I guess it happens everywhere.
There are crooked policemen here too. They exist, almost everywhere. It's just that I feel that they should be clear, their conscience of what their duties are.
- Sidney said...
Tsk,tsk,... those friars! ;-)
- Iskoo said...
hope the government will implement true agrarian reform, giving land to industrious farmers capable of producing healthy crops to supply the needs of this country.
- Amadeo said...
Agrarian reform in the Philippine context is one tangled web. Centuries-old challenges litter its landscape as vast and diverse as the archipelago's rugged geography.
And there is enough blame for everybody involved - the government, the entrepreneurs, and the general population.
We can start by going through the history and experiences of CARP.
In my personal analysis, the private entrepreneur, whether big or small, singularly or cooperatively, has been one of the bright spots. Bringing capital and sweat equity to bear on largely idle agri-lands, overgrown with weeds, apathy, and yes, laziness.
Up to now I am still at odds at what a degree in criminology would teach someone . I reckon it would be a broad spectrum of police enforcement, law, pathology and psychology. Doesn't the police academy teach would be police officers these things anyways?
Obviously the Spanish serfdom system took its utmost toll with the plantation workers in the province of Negros Occ. The system flourished until the late 1970's and abated to a certain extent when global sugar prices went belly up and sugar production was no longer as profitable as it was. Corrupt officers of sugar mills also added insult to injury. Their self enrichment schemes almost decimated the entire industry.
Blame can also be levied on government officials during the time of Marcos when Roberto Benedicto, one of marcos' ministers was accused by the sugar planters of economic sabotage. He alledgedly imported sugar which slipped through customs untaxed, flooded the market forcing the price to go down and sugar planters to sell low. Benedicto's company bought them all and sold them higher... He reportedly pocketed billions in the scam.
- Senorito<- Ako said...
Imagine getting 1M php of jueteng money.. tax free ! Life would be SWEET ! Heck I needn't immigrate... kahit 500k oks na ako. :P
One of my grandfathers is a retired policeman. When he got his retirement funds, whoah! I didn't knew the government were giving that much to retired policemen. Now I wish the same the same thing could be said of our teachers. Tsk tsk tsk
From here you could really get a glimpse of government policy and priorities. Education or staying in power?
- Sidney said...
Eric, how is your phone line? Still dead?
- Señor Enrique said...
My phone line is still out of commission and despite repeated visits to PLDT's business center in my area, no service crew has come over to the house to investigate.
Other than uploading pictures and posting entries, the rest of my blogging experience is just not as comfortable and enjoyable to do in an Internet cafe. And since I've never really learned to touch type, it's difficult for me to post comments/responses using keyboards with the letters on the keys rubbed out due to excessive Counter Strike games done on it by other users. I must therefore ask everyone's pardon for what may appear to be my lack of online presence.
I hope my PLDT line will be fixed soon.
Now this might be the main cause or reason of our modern-day agrarian woes, one even two major agrarian reform program could not resolve. In hindsight, there goes the basic root of Philippine economic weakness as it had been my long held opinion that having no lands of their own, our forefathers were not able to generate wealth for themselves but instead merely work for others on slave wages that eventually, even until now, we as a nation is still an economic laggard. This is one ugly facet of Spanish colonialism where the natives didn't thrive at all...not as what it should have been.
- PhilippinesPhil said...
Corruption and greed IS the human condition...
Land reform, agrarian reform if you will, is all well and good, but all it results in is small scale farming which is inefficient. What usually happens is the conglomerates come in when times get hard, buy out the little family farms and we're right back where we started.
The family farm in the US used to be the backbone of the nation, but no more. They are mostly a thing of the past and truthfully, their day has come and gone. Large scale scientific farming produces the most and keeps the costs down to boot.