KURT BACHMANN was living his dream as one of the players of the legendary Yco basketball team when an injury to the knee during a practice for the National Team cut his sports career short. He was only 27 years old when he bid the game goodbye.
But Bachmann, who used to be a star player at De La Salle University, had left college with a commerce degree in hand, and he used this along with his relative fame to get jobs at respected companies. More than 40 years later, Bachmann is the president of Mantrade, which includes a Nissan car dealership.
THERE WERE the usual drums and pep squads, frenetic dancing, and teenagers and grown men bellowing school cheers. For the La Salle community, however, this year’s “Animo Night” had particular poignancy.
Last October, a shadow was cast on the integrity of the prestigious private university when it revealed that two players in its men’s basketball team had faked their high-school equivalency tests to gain admission to the college. The school was still licking its wounds when its alumni gathered for “Animo Night” on Nov. 18, although by the time it ended, there was a sea of fists pumping in the air at the St. Benilde gym as more than 1,000 La Sallians sang “One Voice.”
NAKAR, INFANTA and REAL, Quezon — She is the mother of 10 children, so Jasmine Suplido was used to having her hands full all the time. But since twin typhoons late last year caused muddy waters and felled trees to tumble down the nearby mountains and wreak havoc in Quezon and neighboring provinces, the hours of the day — and night — have been hardly enough for the 46-year-old.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — Rahmi is about 14, but has already lost the world she knew. One can see it in her sad, soulful eyes, and in her inability to smile. And the reason is evident just by surveying what surrounds her here in this northwestern Sumatran city. Nearly a year after the powerful Dec. 26 earthquake struck and triggered tsunamis in several parts of Asia, this once bustling coastal city remains desolate. In many areas, piles of rubble are the only proof that there were once houses and buildings there while in others, muddy boats scattered willy-nilly far from the shore show just how strong the waves that swept into Banda Aceh were. There are also places where the stench of death still hangs in the air, even as a few men sort through the debris.
THEY’RE BIG and bold, but Metro Manila’s billboards aren’t exactly beautiful, at least not to everyone. These days one billboard has caught the city’s attention, and few have had nice words for it just yet. One irate motorist even called up a radio station to ask, “Can I do anything about the fact that when you’re going south on Edsa on the Guadalupe Bridge, there’s a big moving screen, and it’s glaring, even distracting, and might cause traffic accidents?” The radio host’s reply: “Well, I think it’s owned by the city of Makati.”
BATANGAS GOVERNOR Armando Sanchez says journalist Mei Magsino-Lubis is “lying through her teeth when she says she is in hiding.” He also says “the only time there were PNP personnel looking for her” was when she was still the subject of an arrest operation covered by “a valid arrest warrant” regarding the oral defamation case he had filed against the Inquirer correspondent.
MELINDA ‘MEI’ Magsino-Lubis yearns for many things: her flower and herb garden, the sound of her husband’s voice, the kingfisher and maya birds that used to wake her up in the morning. All these she used to enjoy in her five-hectare mahogany farm on top of a hill, in the city of Batangas, around 84 km. south of Manila.
HIS JOB title was impressive enough: aide de camp and executive assistant to the interior and local government secretary. It was, however, a deskbound posting that consisted mostly of shuffling documents needing his boss’s signature. That was a decade ago, and Cesar Binag was then a young police captain fresh from a stint with the elite Special Action Force (SAF) that battled coup plotters and insurgents. To Binag, who was trained in the Philipppine Military Academy (PMA), his new assignment was boring. Or at least that’s how it seemed at first.
THE GHOSTS of the last elections haunt Lanao del Sur and they refuse to rest. They will not go away. They flit about, seeking resolution. So when Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani, the commander of the Marine brigade stationed in the province during the last election, testified in the Senate in September, saying that he had been mysteriously relieved from his post two clays after the voting, the ghosts were roused again. Days after the Senate hearing, Gudani and one of his officers, Marine Lt. Col. Alexander Balutan, were sent to court martial for refusing to heed their superiors’ orders not to testily. The ghosts, having been roused, are now rattling even more noisily than ever before.
IT WAS the perfect formula for another uprising. Factors and forces that conspired to oust a previous president surfaced again to threaten yet another one out of power: a familiar pattern of titillating scandal and media overkill; congressional investigation and official cover-up; street protests and digital demonstrations.
© 1989–2021 All rights reserved. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.