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National Artist Bien Lumbera And Life In A Police State; The Military Retreats, Sort Of

September 18, 2009

Bienvenido “Bien” Lumbera SURVEILLANCE MONTAGEBienvenido “Bien” Lumbera MONTAGE

We have turned into a police state.

No conclusion other than this can be reached with the admission by the Philippine Navy that National Artist and Magsaysay Award laureate Bienvenido ‘Bien’ Lumbera was indeed the target of an actual surveillance operation.

The lame excuse:  “it was just a training mission.”

navy on lumbera surveillance (Image credit: ANS-CBN)

The lie just does not wash as Lumbera’s ‘targeting’ is apparently linked to his active participation in protests against Malacanang’s ‘dagdag-bawas’ moves in the recent National Artists’ Awards.

The message is all too obvious as it is chilling: we will not be secure in our homes if we dare get on the radar screen of the military for holding views opposed to the regime.

This case lands on the very doorstep of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, the newly anointed presidential standard bearer of PaLaKa!!!

1st Update:

Candidate Teodoro has now reacted, in his outgoing capacity as defense chief, while the military, with the erring branch talking, has beaten a retreat of sorts.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr.:

It’s not acceptable.

Definitely not. I’m also questioning that. I’m ordering an investigation, and heads will roll if somebody’s found guilty.

Civilians should not be “the subject of training exercises.

I really don’t know [why they spied on Lumbera’s house].

I’m wondering what else the nikitary has noit told their civilian boss.

Navy spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo:

A reevaluation of the whole Naval Enlisted Personnel Intelligence Course has also been ordered by Navy chief Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez . to fine-tune loose ends in the academic exercise assigned to students.

The reevaluation will find out whether the module must be dropped or the entire course altogether.

We are happy that the good Professor Lumbera accepted our apology. We have already said that he was not subject of a surveillance. We are committed to striking a good balance between realism in training and privacy concerns of persons and properties that may be affected in similar academic exercise.

Recognizing the apprehension of our countrymen, the Navy has stopped the conduct of the practical exercises.

If the Navy decides to push through with the module, among the adjustments it could undertake was to give prior notice to owners of houses included in the “academic exercise.”

The Navy will make sure that the tweaks in the field exercises, described as the “heart and soul” of intelligence training, will not sacrifice the purpose of the module as well as the privacy of the people,

Poor ordinary citizen (as we are) that National Artist Lumbera is, all he can do is accept tht apology. This even as the militasty had no explanation how and why they chose him as ‘training target’.


Bienvenido Lumbera:

Apology accepted. But I don’t necessarily believe all the details they say,

It is incredible that a trained soldier would make a mistake,

That was what created the inconvenience they apologized for.

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