12 May 2004

Another Filipino on the Spotlight

Checking out Google News late last evening, I found out more than 3,000 news items about a certain Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba. The name sounded like Filipino to me and clicking on one news item about him confirmed my suspicions that he is indeed Filipino.

US Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba is the author of the 53-page investigative report that detailed a wide range of blatant abuses against Iraqi prisoners committed by soldiers connected with the 372nd Military Police Company and also by members of the American intelligence community (you can download the PDF version of the report here). The said report has proved to be humiliating to the Pentagon and the White House. Taguba's report includes a shocking list of abuses that include sodomy with a broom stick, premeditated beatings, and the use of military dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees. It also depicted a prison out of control, run by soldiers who had little or no training in operating a prison.

You can read the full transcript of his opening statement before the US Senate Armed Services Committee, which is investigating the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel, here.

And I thought it was only the 24-year old reservist, Army Spec. Joseph Darby, who deserves all the accolade for exposing the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal (read my previous post). There are more good guys to my Lord of the Flies theory, after all.

I'm very proud that one of them is Filipino.

He even comes from my neigborhood. Antonio Taguba was born Oct. 31, 1950, in Sampaloc, Manila. He is the son of Army sergeant Tomas B. Taguba, who was captured by the Japanese Imperial Army at Bataan in the Philippines in 1942 during World War II, but managed to escape and fight in the Filipino resistance until the end of the war. He grew up in a God-fearing household with two brothers and five sisters. His family moved from the Philippines to Hawaii when he was 11. He was acting director of the Army staff last year before being promoted as Major General. He was deputy commanding general of the 3rd Army when assigned to investigate reports of wrongdoing among American military jailers in Iraq.

This world might be battered and pelted with wrongdoings and abuses, but there is still reason to hope that things can, and will get better. Especially with people like Taguba and Darby around.

When you analyze it, everything is balanced. It might come late, but the balancing factor arrives nonetheless.

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