Sep 13

Bud Dajo: Americans, Filipinos, and Moros

Bud Dajo: Americans, Filipinos, and Moros

The Explainer: Manuel L. Quezon III

Posted at Sep 13 2016 11:17 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2016 03:05 AM

 

LAST Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte showed a set of photos, including this picture, to the audience attending a mass oath-taking before the chief executive in Malacañan Palace. It is the story of this battle, the Battle of Bud Dajo,–a massacre, in blunt terms—that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has brought up time and again, locally and internationally, as the foundation of his argument that the Philippines ought to chart a different course with regards to Philippine-American relations.


Above photo of the aftermath of the Battle of Bud Dajo is from morolandhistory.com, which says, “On January 25, 1907, almost eleven months after the battle, a cropped, black and white copy of the above photograph accompanied an editorial that appeared in the Johnstown (Pennsylvania) Weekly Democrat. 3,000 copies of the article were immediately reprinted by the Anti Imperialist League and mailed out to the press. The above print is from the National Archives and was taken from the original glass plates. The photograph was taken at one of the infamous two trenches at the top of the East Trail. The grim-faced soldiers are from Company B (khaki shirts) of the 6th Infantry and Company D of the 19th Infantry (dark blue shirts). Their leader, Captain Wetherill, stands on the far left (however cropped out of the photo in the newspaper). However by then media interest and public anger had dissipated and attempts to revive the outrage failed.”

The battle took place on March 5-8, 1906, and soon after on March 12,Mark Twain penned a fiercely sarcastic denunciation of what took place:

“The battle began—it is officially called by that name—our forces firing down into the crater with their artillery and their deadly small arms of precision; the savages furiously returning the fire, probably with brickbats—though this is merely a surmise of mine, as the weapons used by the savages are not nominated in the cablegram. Heretofore the Moros have used knives and clubs mainly; also ineffectual trade-muskets when they had any.

“The official report stated that the battle was fought with prodigious energy on both sides during a day and a half, and that it ended with a complete victory for the American arms. The completeness of the victory is established by this fact: that of the six hundred Moros not one was left alive. The brilliancy of the victory is established by this other fact, to wit: that of our six hundred heroes only fifteen lost their lives.

“General Wood was present and looking on. His order had been, ‘Kill or capture those savages.’ Apparently our little army considered that the “or” left them authorized to kill or capture according to taste, and that their taste had remained what it has been for eight years, in our army out there—the taste of Christian butchers.”

The thing is, Mark Twain decided not to publish this essay (it was published in 1924, almost a decade and a half after Twain died). Still, I suggest you read the essay in full, or watch it being read in the clip above; if any American deserves to be held in the affection of Filipinos, Mark Twain is one of them.

Some additional information to flesh out Twain’s synopsis of events. Bud Dajo is actually a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1897. Gen. Leonard Wood in January, 1906 had decided to take a personal interest in “a considerable number of discontented people” hiding in the dormant volcano; accepting American upon advice of his subordinates in February, he decided to mount a campaign but undertook his preparations in defiance of standing orders from Washington requiring prior clearance for any military campaigns. Arriving in Zamboanga in March, Gen. Wood then ordered an attack on Bud Dajo, with the assault columns leaving Jolo on March 5, 1906. The result was the siege and massacre described by Twain based on official dispatches and press reports. (For a more detailed account of the battle, see Battle of Bud Dajo March 5-8, 1906 in the site morolandhistory.com, in particular the timeline: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, as well as photographs).

The Americans called it the Battle of the Clouds, and the site observes that “notoriety in American military history ranks it beside that of Sand Creek (1864), Wounded Knee (1890), and My Lai (1968)” (all were infamous massacres). The site goes on to note that, “Unlike the other three incidents, the match up at Bud Dajo was not as overwhelmingly lopsided at its inception, nor did lax discipline and control unleash an orgy of sadistic violence, as marked the other three. The resultant massacre at Bud Dajo was a as much as anything the product of moral indifference at the top command level and in part the indiscriminate employment of newer technology, specifically the machinegun. But the result was still the same.” From 700 t 850 Tausugs –men, women, children—were killed; only seven persons (three women and four children) were captured. According to the same site, the Battle of Bud Dajo ignited a fierce controversy in American society, seen in “the news and editorial pages, periodicals, letters from readers, public discussion forums, sermons from the pulpits, parlor room conversations, and even poetry.” The issue only died when the Great San Francisco Earthquake of April 18, 1906 wiped all other stories off the front pages.

Another battle at Bud Dajo took place between the Americans and the Tausugs in 1911. As late as 1913, there would be another battle, at Bud Bagsak.

And yet, by 1945, the same Tausugs who had been defeated twice in Bud Dajo were fighting with the Americans –against the Japanese—in what would be a victory for the Moro guerrillas and American troops.

How did this come to be?

The Mindanawon historian Patricio Abinales –co-author of State and Society in the Philippines, the best single-volume introduction to our history and development of our nation—argued in an essay titled “Re-constructing Colonial Philippines: 1900-1910,” that the “territorial reality” of what we now know as the Philippines was the result of American rule. Abinales pointed out that by the first decade of American rule, Filipino leaders had “proved within a short period of time that they had the ability to be equally adept at governing the colony. In its first year at work, the Philippine Assembly had already shown a marked adeptness in introducing additional provisions or new amendments to existing colonial laws, and in negotiating with the Philippine Commission and the Governor General over matters of policy formulation, funding and government personnel changes.” But, he also pointed out,

“This type of political and administrative consolidation however was only happening in one part of the colony—the ‘Christian’ Filipino dominated ‘lowlands’ in Luzon, the Visayas and northern Mindanao. In the other half of the colony, the U.S. army administered the ‘special provinces’ on the grounds that their population—the so-called ‘non-Christian tribes’—were more backward than the Filipinos and were prone to more ‘warfare.’ The Americans saw their ‘civilizing mission’ as special given that the underdeveloped character of the Cordillerans and Muslims required a longer time for them to become familiar with self-government. They also had to be thoroughly ‘pacified.’

“Surprisingly, the pacification process was fast and relatively easy. There was hardly any resistance from the various indigenous communities in the Cordilleras, while Muslim resistance was scattered and unsustained. At the middle of the first decade, the Cordilleras and ‘Moro Mindanao’ had become very stable and peaceful areas.

“A major reason for the American success was the cooperation extended by Muslim and Cordilleran leaders to the Americans. They regarded colonial rule as a means of protecting themselves against Christians and ‘lowlanders.’ American military officials reciprocated this cooperation by resisting the efforts of Filipinos to extend their power to the ‘special provinces.’ A working relationship eventually developed between these community leaders and the Americans whereby the former were given minor posts in the provincial government (‘tribal wards’ in the case of the Muslims) in exchange for agreeing to recognize American sovereignty. U.S. army officers who administered these areas also became their protectors against Filipino leaders, doing everything they can to limit the presence of Manila and the Nacionalista party in the Cordilleras and ‘Moro Mindanao.’

“The only major resistance came from the Muslims at the hills of Bud Dajo and Bud Bagsak, when the army declared a ban on weapons and raised head taxes. American military superiority prevailed and over a hundred Muslim men, women and children were killed. Politically, however, these actions eroded the army’s standing and opened up an opportunity for Quezon to attack military rule in Mindanao. After the massacres, the army was forced slowly to concede authority to Manila and the Filipinos. The army’s powers were also clipped once the U.S. Congress authorized its partial demobilization, and once the American president ordered its withdrawal from the special provinces and its replacement by Philippine Constabulary units. Many American officers also preferred to continue their military careers in the U.S. mainland, seeing very little prospects in just limiting themselves to the Philippines. All these problems emboldened the Filipinos to assert their political presence in these special provinces. This was something that a weakened military government could not repulse anymore. In 1913, the army conceded its power to the Department of Mindanao and Sulu, a body controlled from Manila and by Filipinos. The Cordilleras’ status as a special province was also terminated and the Nacionalista Party began recruiting its first ‘Cordillerans’ to join the organization.”

In other words, the flipside of American conquest was American attraction of, leading to cooperation with, their former foes. This put the Moros in a ticklish spot, to put it mildly. A very illuminating quote I’ve referred to time and again comes from Teodoro M. Kalaw, circa the 1920s:

“The Wood-Forbes Mission arrived in Manila in May [1921], and was received with some apprehension…

“Many anecdotes were told about this trip…

“In Mindanao, an officer with the Mission approached a Moro and asked him his opinion of the political situation. The Moro answered him: ‘No, no, I do not want to say a word. If I say I like independence, the Americans get sore. And if I say I do not like independence, the Filipinos get sore. I say nothing.’

This was the period when a proposal was made in the U.S. Congress to separate Mindanao from the rest of the Philippines (in 1916, American policy had committed to eventual independence for the Philippines, but at an indefinite time in the future).

To cut a long story short, with separation from the rest of the Philippines under the auspices of the Americans closed off, the alternative proposed by Christian Filipino leaders was for traditional, hereditary Moro nobility to become local and then national, leaders, thus integrating them into the broader national political class.

This arrangement held sway from the time of the Commonwealth to the era of Student Radicalism when a new generation of young Moros, influenced by the influx of Christian settlers and their land-grabbing in Mindanao, and inspired by the secular nationalism of leaders such as Gamaliel Nasser of Egypt, decided the old Moro datus and sultans turned senators, congressmen, governors and mayors, were out of touch and that a secular, national Bangsamoro identity should replace that of being Muslim Filipinos.

Still, there seems to have been friendly ties with the Americans: as shown by their placing great faith in Moros as guerrillas fighting with Americans against the Japanese. Faith borne out, as mentioned above, in the 1945 Battle of Bud Dajo against the Japanese.

An echo of this old relationship, and the old divisions of colonial days, can be found in an interesting letter of fairly recent vintage. On January 20, 2003, the late Hashim Salamat wrote a letter to then-President George W. Bush:

“Your policy to consider the Philippine archipelago as an unincorporated territory of the United States paved the way for the US Government to administer affairs in the Moro territories under a separate political form of governance under the Moro Province from the rest of the Philippine Islands.

“Your project to grant Philippine independence obliged the leaders of the Moro Nation to petition the US Congress to give us an option through a referendum either by remaining as a territory to be administered by the US Government or granted separate independence 50 years from the grant of Philippine independence. Were it not for the outbreak of the Pacific War, the Moro Nation would have been granted trust territory status like any of the Pacific islands states who are now independent or in free association with the United States of America.

“On account of such circumstances, the Moro Nation was deprived of their inalienable right to self-determination, without waiving their plebiscitary consent. Prior to the grant of Philippine independence on July 4, 1946, American Congressional leaders foresaw that the inclusion of the Moro Nation within the Philippine Commonwealth would result in serious conflicts in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan, arising from the inability of the Filipino leaders to govern the Moro people. This condition or states of affairs have continued to prevail to the present day.

“In view of the current global developments and regional security concerns in Southeast Asia, it is our desire to accelerate the just and peaceful negotiated political settlement of the Mindanao conflict, particularly the present colonial situation in which the Bangsamoro people find themselves.

“We are therefore appealing to the basic principle of American fairness and sense of justice to use your good offices in rectifying the error that continuous to negate and derogate the Bangsamoro People’s fundamental right to seek decolonization under the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 1960. For this purpose, we are amenable to inviting and giving you the opportunity to assist in resolving this predicament of the Bangsamoro People.”

It would be wrong to confuse this appeal for American intervention for actual affection or even warmth; whether Moro or Christian, Filipinos can be over-the-top (or as Americans might put it, we can lay it on thick) when it comes to buttering-up potential allies. Nor should we ignore that being aggressive towards allies is one of the (more blunt) instruments of statecraft: after all, June 12 as independence day instead of July 4, was selected in anger over American foot-dragging over benefits due our World War II veterans (supporting arguments from historians followed, of course). President Macapagal was angry and decided to change our independence day, and to this day it is counted as one of his administration’s enduring legacies.

They say all politics is local; and that includes foreign policy. The distant past can become an instrument on the basis of the more recent past, becoming a complicated mashup in the present.

And so, while bringing up the turn of the 20th Century, the President’s motivations as far as wanting to put the Americans in their place (generally a crowd-pleaser in certain circles) seems to have a far more recent, and not particularly Moro, origin. In his September 13 column, Rafael Alunan III wrote,

“I’ve been trying to figure out why President Rodrigo Duterte has a seeming dislike for the American government, and I think I’ve stumbled onto something.

“To refresh our memory, President Duterte took US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg to task for his comments, tantamount to interference in domestic affairs. Ambassador Goldberg spoke during the campaign in relation to President Duterte’s remarks about an Australian missionary he tried to rescue when he was Davao City’s mayor from hardened convicts attempting a prison break. The President said Ambassador Goldberg had no business giving those remarks to which he has not apologized.

“Most recently, just before flying to Laos, he cussed in anger when a Reuters reporter asked him what his reaction would be if President Barack Obama would bring up to him the issue of human rights. The press twisted that cuss to say that he called President Barack Obama a “son of a whore.” It disrupted diplomatic relations and led to the cancellation of a meeting between the two heads of state…

“At one of the meetings in Laos, he [i.e. the President] presented American human rights violations during the Philippine-American war. He was just getting started but had to stop because he only had six minutes to speak. In a subsequent press conference, the President pointed out the Philippines’ independent foreign policy. That policy is stated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

“In the course of my search, I stumbled onto a blog that might shed light. It dates back to 2002 involving a certain Michael Meiring, a suspected CIA agent, who had ties with Muslim militants. He was reportedly assigned to the NBI’s Interpol section and resided mostly in Davao. He developed close ties with MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari; MILF Chief Hashim Salamat; NPA leader Father Frank Navarro; MNLF Commander Tony Nasa and others in Cotabato who fronted for him before the Abu Sayyaf.

“In May 2002, Meiring injured himself and blew up part of his legs while making a bomb in his room at the Evergreen Hotel in Davao. He was charged for illegal possession of explosives. NBI found a fax in his room from London, England, warning him that he should be careful handling the explosive material. He was flown to Manila for additional medical treatment. The FBI took custody of Meiring and flew him out of the country.

“Two months before the explosion that cost him both legs, there were several other explosions in the same region, killing 37 people and injuring 170 more. Duterte was Davao City Mayor at the time, a year after 9-11. America, allegedly, wanted the Philippines to be part of the coalition on the war on terror by pushing it closer to the US after losing its bases in 1991. It covertly assisted insurgent groups to perform terroristic acts to attain the desired results. Black ops allow for deniability. It was also possible that Meiring had gone dark — rogue — playing a double, even triple, game to also earn big bucks for himself.

“The blog further said that Duterte is still angry about the whole Meiring episode and how the FBI rescued the CIA operative from the Philippine criminal justice system to avoid exposing the plot. He said that his “hatred” for the US was a “personal” sentiment that he could set aside in the national interest.” Duterte was quoted to have said:

“When a bomb exploded at the airport and followed by another explosion at the wharf several months after the hotel explosion that injured Meiring, that was when I started suspecting that the US could have had a hand in the said explosions. My suspicion was fueled when a military officer declared in public that the CIA have connections with known terror groups here.”

In recent days, of course, the President (and the Presidential Spokesperson) have expounded on Bud Dajo as an example of American hypocrisy, how “American forces must go,” (but that’s just a warning, clarified the Presidential Spokesperson) while the President most recently (Tuesday) clarified, in turn, that even as he wants a more independent foreign policy, “we are not going to cut our umbilical cord with the countries we are allied now.” Absent, up to this point, are Moro voices and opinion on the matter.

Additional readings:

This entry is based in part on my Storify presentation, Writings on Mindanao and Peace, which contains most of my writings on Mindanao.

. See in particular, Repulsion and Colonization, from 1996; and my timeline, North Borneo (Sabah): An annotated timeline 1640s-present(2013).

Visit and explore morolandhistory.com. Read the speech of the Sultan sa Ramain (Alauya Alonto) in the 1934 Constitutional Convention. Contrast this with this article by Abhoud Syed M. Lingga written in 2002. See alsoThe State-Moro Armed Con?ict in the Philippines: Unresolved national question or question of governance? By Rizal G. Buendia in 2005.

A sampling of Patricio Abinales’ writings on Muslim and Christian Mindanao: “Mohagher Iqbal, the author,” Part 1 and Part 2; The American disconnect in Moro Mindanao (connected to this is Maria Ressa’s overview of The US in PH anti-terror campaigns, 2015); “Distorting Moro Mindanao,”Part 1 and Part 2, and It’s borders with long(er) histories, stupid.

(Editor’s note: Manolo Quezon III returns to ABS-CBN News Channel as “The Explainer.” He will be writing a weekly blog for news.abs-cbn.com on history, politics, and other topics. “The Explainer” was a weekly show he hosted before joining the Aquino administration in 2010. He served as Undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Development Strategic Planning Office until June 2016.)

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.

Sep 08

Unintended consequences of Napoleonic solutions

ON December 14, 1840, Napoleon Bonaparte’s body was brought in a glittering funeral procession through Paris. See The death of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Retour des Cendres: French and British perspectives for a synopsis of the circumstances surrounding the return:
The procession and parade organised by the authorities presented a level of splendour never before seen. However, the return of Napoleon was not a simple matter of patriotism. The political intent is one that has to be examined closely in order to understand how the French population celebrated their emperor’s return.
Louis Philippe, the Orléans king, was in power at the time of the Retour des Cendres. This was not the first time attempts had been made to return his mortal remains to France. When Napoleon died, an appeal was immediately made for the return of his body. Contrary to popular belief at the time, it was not the English who were preventing the return of his remains. Indeed the English government had made it clear to their French equivalents that « le gouvernement anglais ne se regardait que comme le dépositaire des cendres de l’Empereur et qu’il le rendrait à la France dès que le gouvernement français lui en témoignerait le désir ». But in 1821, the government of Louis XVIII was little disposed to bringing the Emperor’s mortal remains back. Louis did not want Bonapartist sentiments to return to the surface, especially with the royalists in power and the potential for a coup d’état. When Louis-Philippe ascended to the throne a petition was presented to the Chambre des députés in an appeal for the return of Napoleon. Although Heulard de Montigny “considered the reign of Napoleon to be the most brilliant time for France”, he failed to convince any of his colleagues. Throughout the 1820s and 1830s other attempts failed. So why did Napoleon make it back after twenty years?
The reasoning behind Louis Philippe’s decision to bring Napoleon’s body back to France, instead of leaving it in poetic isolation on St Helena, is complex. The king was heavily influenced in his decision by his prime minister at the time: Adolphe Thiers. Thiers, along with Guizot, used the return of Napoleon’s remains as part of a deliberate political design, a decidedly risky strategy to take. Certainly many French people felt very passionate about Napoleon and wanted his return, but there were also many who were politically and ideologically opposed to the emperor. However, the government felt that the July monarchy was strong enough to recognise the glories of its ideological adversaries and to place them in their ‘juste milieu’, in doing so synthesising all aspects of the past and the social divisions it had witnessed. Unity could be achieved by remembering rather than forgetting the past, and Napoleon was a major part of France’s heritage.

Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily, Queen of the French, bust by Baron François Joseph Bosio (The Met Museum)
Queen Marie Amelie of the French, according to Philip Mansel in his book Paris Between Empires 1814 -1852, had her own opinion: “whatever people said in Napoleon’s favour, no man had caused more tears to be shed.” The idea was the plan of Theirs; the Queen’s husband, King Louis-Philippe, “hoped to appropriate the glory of the Napoleonic Empire.” This required what I would call a Great Erasing of (according to Mansel) “the horrors of the Napoleonic wars, the contempt and ‘general malediction’ felt for Napoleon in April 1814 and on his return from Waterloo in June 1815 –when he had been labeled Nero, Attila, and Genghis Khan…”
A Parisian newspaper asked its readers, “but what madness drives men to make heroes in this world of those who seem rather to have been sent by God to punish them?” Mansel answers the question, observing that the paper underestimated “the force of masochism in mass politics.” He warned that the cult of Napoleon carried with it the seeds of the destruction of the monarchy.
The Bonapartes were not allowed to participate in Napoleon’s funeral but they ended up the political beneficiaries of the act.

Albumin photograph of Alphonse de Lamartine by Nadar, 1856
At the time of Napoleon I’s funeral, the man considered the greatest orator in the French national assembly at the time, Alphonse de Lamartine, had denounced the burial in these words:

I am not of this Napoleonic religion, of this cult of force, which one has noticed for some time substituting itself in the spirit of the nation for the serious religion of liberty. I do not think it right thus unceasingly to deify war… as if peace which is the happiness and glory of the world could be the disgrace of nations… let us not seduce to such an extent the opinion of a people which understands far better what dazzles it than what serves it.

Louis Philippe, King of the French, portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
In the end, the King who tried to bask in Napoleon I’s glory, Louis-Philippe, put down a revolt in 1832, commemorated in the musical, Les Miserables, and was finally deposed by a revolution in 1848 which re-established the French Republic –led by a commission headed by Lamartine.
But the dynasty that ultimately benefitted, as that observer had warned back in 1840, was not the House of Orleans, or the Republic that deposed it, but rather, the dynasty of Bonaparte. For Louis-Philippe was replaced by a President: Louis Napoleon, who defeated Lamartine. When the monarchy was strong, Louis-Napoleon had been viewed as a pathetic adventurer whose plots constantly failed; but with the collapse of the monarchy and the feeble new republic, the nostalgia got the better of the French.

Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, portrait by Alexandre Cabanel
Limited by the constitution to one term, in 1851 he mounted a coup, abolished the Republic, and proclaimed himself Emperor Napoleon III. He would rule until his defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
It was Napoleon III who once remarked,

The nation is a slave who must be convinced he is seated on the throne.

Aug 30

My answers to questions on the War on Drugs

(August 30 Questions from Rasheed Abou-Alsamh, and my answers to the questions. A portion was quoted in his article.)

Q1. What are your general thoughts on this campaign? Do you support it, or think that it has gone too far with nearly 2,000 already dead?

The number of dead is an indication of what is problematic. An official distinction has been made between “legitimate” killings and those attributed to either preemptive internal purges within drug syndicates, or by vigilantes. The problem is that the mechanisms and manpower of the government seem hard-pressed (and sometimes simply disinclined) to clearly determine by means of inquests which fatality can be attributed to which of the supposed simultaneous trends going on. Responsibility, either by negligence or design, is also diffused; the entire police apparatus has been mobilized, and like any big organization the level of competence of various detachments varies widely. The result is all the public has to go on is confidence in both the president and his principal lieutenants in the police and other organs of the government.

The campaign itself seems to be modeled after that of Thaksin in Thailand –again problematic, because it was generally deemed a failure. Its domestic characteristics date to the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (former president and one of the big players in the Duterte coalition) and some of her former people who had attempted saturation drives during her term, and whose political allies first tried to raise narco-politics as an issue in the 2010 campaign (narco-politics as an issue of public concern had emerged in 2001, the period of transition from the Estrada administration which was ousted from office and replaced with Arroyo). Both Thaksin and Arroyo (or their officials) in the face of their anti-drug efforts also found it convenient to use narco-politics as a political issue; this is risky because, as the present administration is also doing, any carelessness in accusations diminishes the long-term effectivity of the argument.

This much is clear. It is a campaign that is very specific –not a war on drugs per se, but a war on crystal meth. It is a war focused on the liquidation of pushers and the principal lieutenants of the drug kingpins, who have been officially announced to be generally overseas and thus beyond the reach of the government. It is one of indeterminate duration, which raises the problem of how –or by what measure– victory can be achieved.

Most worrying of all is that the state has a monopoly on the use of force grounded on the expectation that it is used sparingly, responsibly, and with accountability. A very human factor is thus being ignored in the ongoing debate on the war on drugs. We have a police –and possibly, in the future– a military that has been institutionally-expected to be responsible and judicious in its use of force. Individual policemen, long circumscribed in their actions by strict rules on the acquisition, and legal scrutiny, of evidence, and who had clearly defined rules of engagement in terms of the use of force on suspects and the public at large, are discovering that the institutions that used to limit their actions are now neutralized. This feeling of power, this sense of immunity and impunity, this thrill from obtaining instant results, can be a kind of narcotic, too. Once experienced, it can become increasingly difficult to limit it to just the war on drugs, particularly when that war takes on the attributes of a larger war, whether to “reform,” or “rebuild,” or “reengineer” or “defend” the state against its “enemies” –as defined by the commanders.

Every society that has experienced political instability knows these are developments that can have an effect on institutions and society lasting generations –it took the Philippines a generation to wean its military and police from a similar experience during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos (1972-1986).

Q2. Why do you think that President Duterte has so much popular support? Do you think this support will diminish in a few years? If so, why?

Every president who wins an election –even as a plurality victor– obtains a subsequent overwhelming level of public support in their initial months in office. The public, which previously supported different candidates, rallies around the victor and gives the winner a chance to fulfill the mandate given at the polls.

This is an observable trend in public opinion surveys. In June 2010, Benigno S. Aquino III who won with 42% of the votes, obtained an 88% trust rating. In June 2016, Rodrigo Roa Duterte who won with 39% of the votes, obtained a 91% trust rating. Both surveys (By Social Weather Stations) having a plus or minus 3% margin of error, the results can be said to be quite similar, if not identical.

The question is what the next survey in October and every quarter thereafter, will reveal. No one knows. If public trust remains high, it will further embolden the administration; if it plunges, it can embolden the administration to even more vigorously pursue current policies, knowing time is running out in terms of public support. However, whatever the results, it also suggests the administration knows it can count on a committed constituency of 39% to sustain itself –even now, despite every indication of public support being high, efforts to mobilize this constituency to mount demonstrations against the Senate (which conducted an inquiry into the drug war) are being made, which suggests some in the ruling coalition may have noticed a dip in public enthusiasm.

Q3. Many people, among them officials, judges, journalists and politicians, seem reluctant to publically criticize this anti-drug push. Why do you think this is so?

The answer is simple: fear. Fear of public opinion and more importantly, fear of the president. The president’s supporters are vocal, aggressive, plentiful and in some instances, organized. They swarm social media, and media sites both local and foreign. The President himself has a gift for targeting specific personalities who to his mind, represent challenges to his authority. This combination is formidable and considering the enthusiasm for the use of force, requires every individual venturing on expressing an opinion to consider the consequences.

Q4. Vice President Leni Robredo has called for the rule of law to be applied in the hunt for drug pushers, but has not really come out to criticize the president’s anti-drug campaign. Do you think she could do more in terms of speaking out, or is that too politically risky?

In the Philippines we elect our presidents and vice presidents separately, a practice that dates from the foundation of our modern institutions in 1935. It was felt important at the time that the potential successor of a president should have a clear, personal, mandate, too. However, this means every vice-president is viewed with suspicion by the sitting president, especially if they do not come from the same party. This suspicion is particularly intense not only because Vice-President Robredo defeated one of the paramount allies of the president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., but also, she was the candidate of the very administration the president’s ruling coalition (composed of the factions of former presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the united front parties of the Communists, and the political apparatus of the Marcos family) was meant to not only defeat, but permanently discredit as an ex-post-facto rehabilitation of themselves (the whole 1986-2016 era, with its periodic outbreaks of People Power, its anti-dictatorship constitution, and relative media independence and civil society participation, was a perpetual thorn in the side of those wanting a Marcos restoration, an Arroyo political rehabilitation, and a Ramos-proposed parliamentary system modeled on the one-party dominance of UMNO in Malaysia).

The other factor is that so long as the Vice-President is in office, an alternative leadership is available, and could potentially provide a rallying figure for those disaffected for whatever reason, with the present administration. However, the Vice-President herself seems to sense a long-standing rule in Philippine politics. No Vice-President has ever benefited from challenging the sitting president: the public expects the Vice-President, of whatever party, to cooperate with and serve, the sitting president, of whatever party. At the same time the civil society background of the Vice-President suggests she probably views it as a matter of civic conscience to have a seat at the table, in order to give voice to the constituency that elected her. A very delicate balancing act is therefore required, meaning she cannot be as vocal or critical as some of her supporters might want, but also, however cooperative she is, supporters of the president will always view her with suspicion. The wider public, on the other hand, will probably be more understanding in this regard.

She has from time to time issued gentle reminders about human rights, against the dictatorship of Marcos, and this includes the drug war. It would be fair to say however she is still finding her own voice in the midst of fast-moving events.

Aug 24

Congressmen are on dangerous ground in wanting to investigate a sitting senator

Congressmen are on dangerous ground in wanting to investigate a sitting senator

There’s more than one way to skin a cat.


(SPOT.ph) There is a three-cornered fight going on, and it involves the president, the House of Representatives, and Sen. Leila De Lima. Everyone knows that the president and the senator are at loggerheads. He says she is a coddler of drug lords; she says he has taken local death squads and gone national. The president has raised the senator’s personal life, and promises to unveil a matrix to prove his accusations. She has conducted an investigation in aid of legislation, on alleged extra-judicial killings.

But why is the House of Representatives getting into the act?

In late July, when he was still waiting to be formally elected Speaker of the House, Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez said he would file a motion in the House to investigate Sen. Leila De Lima over her handling of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa during her stint as Secretary of Justice. Back then, she caught drug lords living in luxury in prison. This, Alvarez said, was all for show, and he wanted to get to the bottom of things (at the same time he rejected proposals for the House to investigate alleged extra-judicial killings, saying Congress has no prosecutorial powers and no changes to legislation could possibly arise from an investigation). In the end, the Speaker and Reps. Karlo Nograles of Davao City and Raneo Abu of Batangas became co-authors of the resolution. For Nograles, what he wants to know is how drugs were manufactured in Bilibid and which personalities are connected. Abu, for his part, wants to dig deeper into raids conducted in Bilibid in which a shabu laboratory, high-powered firearms, improvised weapons and luxury items were discovered.

Last Tuesday, the remaining eight oppositionists in the House (grandly called—by itself—the “legitimate” minority bloc while the rival minority bloc seems to be more the company union of the supermajority) held a press conference saying, as Rep. Edcel Lagman put it, an “invitation” to Sen. De Lima to attend the hearing was a violation of the principle of inter-parliamentary courtesy between the two chambers of Congress. Rep. Raul Daza added that the rules of the House declare it unparliamentary to make “derogatory remarks against the Senate” and to “refer to senators by name by way of personal criticisms.”

Earlier, Reps. Abu and Nograles had said that all they could do was issue an invitation—but that De Lima, based on parliamentary courtesy, could not be compelled to attend. For her part, in a privilege speech in the Senate on August 2, De Lima said she would not attend the House hearing—not on the principle of inter-parliamentary courtesy, which she said was properly Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III’s defense to make on behalf of a colleague and the institution of the Senate, in the face of “this blatant break of tradition”—rather, she said, her defense was her record, “before this demolition job was launched against me both in social media and by the Solicitor-General.”

So is De Lima being (a not-so) Little Miss Manners? Are opponents of the “invitation” by the House who are House members themselves, fussing over frou-frou matters like politeness, which is getting in the way of a vital, urgent inquiry in the public interest? What is the point of all this etiquette?

Based the American model, we divide our government into doers, talkers, and thinkers: the President is the Action Man (or Woman), but too much action can be dangerous, so you need people who pass laws, without which you cannot have a basis for action—and who will talk things through in Congress, not just once, but twice (House and Senate) before any law is passed; and you need thinkers—the Courts—to ponder on whether Doers and Talkers are subscribing to the ultimate law, the Constitution, which is the contract between we, the people, and everyone earning a public salary, whether they be doers, talkers, or thinkers or their subordinates. It is a tedious and confrontational process by design.

From the English we have the principle that the Doer—in their history, the King—has something that the Talkers—in their history, the House of Commons—does not: an army. That is why, to this day, at the State Opening of Parliament, the official tasked with summoning the House of Commons has the door ceremoniously slammed in his face: Parliament attends of its own free will and not by force. This is why, when the President goes to deliver his SONA, the armed forces stays outside the premises of Congress, and officers attend only as invited guests, because the first thing Doers do, when they decide they don’t like impertinent questions or debate, is to padlock parliament or congress.

What applies between independent institutions—and theoretically, though the practice may be different, Congress is independent of the Palace—also applies within an institution if, as our Congress is, it’s composed of two institutions, namely the House of Representatives and the Senate. They form one institution but represent different constituencies. The House represents specific local districts, and because of this, more basic, representation, things like proposals for new taxes can only come from the House, for example. The Senate, on the other hand, is unique in the world because it represents the nation as a whole: like presidents, senators are elected by the entire electorate, which is why it is often the place from which future presidents emerge.

The Constitution as the operations manual for our government, specifies that the House and the Senate adopt their own rules; that they, and only they, can discipline their own members—which means the House cannot interfere in the rules and membership of the Senate, and vice versa. There is a pragmatic logic to this. There are far more members of the House, who could be whipped up into a mob, to lynch either the Senate as a whole, or individual senators. There are very few Senators and they could easily conspire as a cabal to persecute the House or its members. Fundamental to this principle is respect for the electorate that chooses representatives and senators; it would be improper for a nationally elected senator to meddle in the affairs of a specific district of a city or province, as it would be for a specific city or province to try to meddle in the internal affairs of a body whose members have been elected by the entire nation. Not to mention another basic reality: the House has always, without exception, been under Palace control; the Senate, on the other hand, by design is meant to have the stature to deal, on a more equal level, with the presidency.

This is the meaning, then, of inter-parliamentary courtesy. Congressmen and senators are nothing without the constituencies they represent; to engage in meddling—for whatever lofty reason (and no politician has ever been short of lofty reasons to excuse breaking the rules)—strikes at the relationship between those who elected that legislator and the institution they belong to.

This does not mean that if anyone harbors suspicions against a legislator, that person ought to be let off without scrutiny. Far from it. It only means that there are proper ways and means to do this. Whether congressman or senator, for example, if you want to ask a member of the cabinet questions, the president must give his consent, because the president (including his alter egos, the cabinet members), is the co-equal of Congress. Even when a president is put on trial, the House acts as prosecutor but it is the senate, nationally elected and thus representing the same constituency as the president, who can sit in judgment to decide whether or not to cut short a president’s term. There is nothing to stop a concerned citizen to ask the Senate to convene its Committee on Ethics, or to form a Committee of he Whole or what have you, to look into the questions it wants asked concerning Sen. De Lima. Then she would have no choice but to answer. The House can hold all the hearings it wants and if enough witnesses make convincing revelations the House can submit these to the Senate which would be hard-pressed not to make an inquiry according to its own rules and processes.

Otherwise the House risks establishing precedents that are, in the long-term, harmful to its own independence. All legislative bodies function only because rules exist, with those rules clarified and made practical, by precedents—how the rules have been applied in the past, as a guide for the present and future. To throw this all away for short-term political satisfaction is a guarantee than when a challenge to the entire institution comes from outside, as legislatures always experience sooner or later, then the Talkers will have their last armor stripped away by themselves—the precedents and rules and practices that gained themselves the independence to be able to talk, in the first place, without being fearful of losing life or limb to the caprices of kings, presidents, or generals.

Aug 12

The law says Marcos is a hero—and it also doesn’t

The law says Marcos is a hero—and it also doesn’t

Manuel L. Quezon III looks into why Marcos is still considered a hero, officially, by some.




(SPOT.ph)
The simple truth is, our institutions are divided on whether Marcos was hero or heel—no wonder the public’s confused, too.

 

The reason President Rodrigo R. Duterte can weigh in on whether or not the Great Dictator should be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is because our government itself is of two minds on the matter. Like any politico, given two sides of the coin, he knows the presidency is powerful enough to dictate whether it’s heads or tails on the matter.

From an official point of view, it’s a simple question, really. As Arsenio Andolong, Public Affairs Service Director of the Department of National Defense said on August 8, “I believe based on these regulations, he [Marcos] is qualified.” You’ve probably heard about AFP Regulations G 161-373 (“Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the LNMB”), issued on April 9, 1986 by GHQ under then AFP Chief of Staff General Fidel V. Ramos and then-President Corazon C. Aquino, amended by AFP Regulations G 161-375 on September 11, 2000, which states that among other things, former presidents, former secretaries of National Defense, veterans of World War II and the guerrillas, are all authorized to be buried in the Libingan. A bureaucrat in the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, going through a checklist, could easily say: Instruction from the commander in chief? Check, see the memo of National Defense Secretary Lorenzana on August 7. Veteran? Check. Medal of Valor awardee? Check. Former commander-in-chief? Check. So what’s the problem?

Which goes to my point, which is, what we all overlook in this debate is that it has been framed, and approached, by officialdom as a primarily a military matter. And as far as the military is concerned, the Great Dictator remains in the ranks of its hallowed dead. The only person to my mind who zeroed in on this was veteran reporter Alan Robles, who was outraged to discover the official history of the Department of National Defense glossed over military abuses during martial law.

And if there is one thing the military, like all well-developed bureaucracies knows how to do well, it’s to protect one’s turf. The history of the Libingan itself points to it having been conceived, and administered, as a National Shrine primarily of a military nature. If you follow the trail of official documents, from the time President Ramon Magsaysay to 1986, it was first and foremost a military cemetery with the status of a National Shrine (see the annexes below if you want to follow the paper trail). Even the first former president buried in the Libingan, Carlos P. Garcia (who died in 1971) had been a guerrilla leader during World War II. It was by means of the military’s own regulations that the criteria for being buried in the cemetery was expanded. When former presidents Diosdado Macapagal in 1997 and most recently, Elpidio Quirino who was transferred from the Manila South Cemetery just this year, were buried there, these were after the 1986 regulations which made the Libingan a place where even non-soldiers could be buried.

It must bother the armed forces that civilians are getting into the act.

Opponents of the decision pursue several arguments. The first was that former President Fidel V. Ramos gave permission for Marcos to be buried provided they proceeded directly to Ilocos from Hawaii, that he would given only the military honors due a Major in the Armed Forces, and that he buried immediately in Batac—the first two were fulfilled by the Marcoses and the government, the last condition was never met by the Marcoses who, officially, at least, have had him on display but not buried since 1998. So, the Marcoses broke a solemn covenant between themselves and former president Ramos representing the Republic. The second argument is that the Libingan regulations themselves state that if a person has been guilty of “moral turpitude,” they cannot be buried in the Libingan—though as UST Law Dean Nilo Divina pointed out, the convictions of Marcos for ill-gotten wealth are civil, and not criminal, cases so the prohibition does not apply—although opponents could always go to court since the definition of what constitutes “moral turpitude” is, he says, “broad.”

Ever-helpful Speaker Alvarez weighed in, dusting off an old law—Republic Act No. 248 enacted in 1948—which he said established a National Pantheon for presidents.

Atty. Mel Sta. Maria wrote an impassioned rejoinder on the basis of the law providing that the National Pantheon would exist “for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.” But there’s one big problem, to my mind, with following the Speaker down this particular rabbit hole. And that is: the National Pantheon was never built.

Here, a memory comes to mind. When I was a kid, I remember my father telling me that the proposed National Pantheon (which was supposed to be built where the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas Mint is now located along East Avenue, Quezon City) was finally ready to push through, but Victoria Quirino Gonzales (daughter of President Quirino) mentioned it to Pitoy Moreno who in turn mentioned it to Madame Imelda Romualdez Marcos—whereupon the project died (Ruby Gonzales Meyer, daughter of Vicky Quirino, alas doesn’t recall the incident when I checked). The story is significant only in that it suggests critics of the Marcoses believed they weren’t keen on their predecessors—we forget that during the dictatorship, the portraits of past presidents were all reframed, to make them smaller than the Great Dictator’s; after EDSA they were reframed again, to bring them back to their original sizes (you can still see the marks where they’d been folded to make them smaller)—and that the pantheon plan never took off.

To be fair to the Great Dictator, one has to take into account we are a nation that has long been wonderful at enacting laws and deplorable when it comes to executing them. We know for a fact that in his last week in office, President Quirino set aside a parcel of land along East Avenue, Quezon City, for the National Pantheon on December 23, 1953 but that seems to be the last time any president issued an order on the matter.

The proposed National Pantheon may have never gotten off the ground simply because the Manila North Cemetery was already fulfilling the function. Quezon (1946), Roxas (1948), Magsaysay (1957), and Osmeña (1961) were all originally buried in the Manila North Cemetery because it was the most prominent government-owned cemetery and thus our civilian leaders were logically buried there. The Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Philippine Revolution, the Boy Scouts Memorial (the ones killed in a plane crash in 1963 were buried there) and statesmen such as Claro M. Recto, Quintin Paredes, and others interred there, too. Other presidents were buried in the Manila South Cemetery (Quirino in 1956) or in their home provinces (Laurel in Batangas in 1959, Aguinaldo in Kawit in 1964).

And we know for a fact that less than a year later, President Magsaysay renamed the Republic Memorial Cemetery as the Libingan ng mga Bayani—for soldiers. It may well be, that by the time Garcia died in 1971, the decision had been made to turn the Libingan essentially into a national pantheon—but it is crystal-clear that the Libingan ng mga Bayani was a different place entirely from the pantheon envisioned by Congress in 1948.

This brings us back to the heart of the problem. The criteria for burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, over time, has become elastic: your CV as a high official is all that is required; and yet, while it can accommodate civilians, by tradition and administrative regulation, it is primarily a military preserve and the military maintains Marcos in its roster of greats.

Never mind if the nation itself, at least according to our laws, has publicly acknowledged Ninoy Aquino is a hero (which can only be taken as an indictment of Marcos); has acknowledged and indemnified the human rights violations undertaken during his rule (over 76,000 claims are being processed); not to mention the date of his fleeing into exile, February 25, is a holiday for school children. It does not matter if the Supreme Court has upheld the forfeiture in favor of the Republic, of shares of stock and funds owned by the Marcoses, on the grounds that they represent ill-gotten wealth. Both by statute and tradition, the military is paramount in the Libingan and institutionally-speaking, the armed forces never disowned the dictator.

The Marcoses have been persistent and their persistence has paid off. They were close to achieving their dream of a vindication of their patriarch during the time of President Joseph Estrada, who was, and is, a Marcos loyalist. But Edsa Dos got in the way. Now, it is Springtime for Marcos again. True, there are those who have decided to act in defiance of the plan. Chuck Syjuco and others took to leaving stones inscribed with the names of martial law victims in the intended site of Marcos’ Libingan grave (until they were banned by the military). The family of National Artist Cesar Legaspi asked for his remains to be disinterred and had him reburied elsewhere. Others say they will follow suit. A citizens’ assembly will be held in in the shadow of the Lapu-Lapu monument in Rizal Park on August 14, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Things may even end up in court. Even some of the President’s devoted allies, such as (former and current) Senate Presidents Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and III, are urging President Duterte to reconsider. But he says he will stick to his guns.

Whatever happens, the issue has come to a head, because of our schizophrenic institutions. On one hand the Republic has disowned Marcos; on another, it holds him up as a heroic veteran.

***

FOR those interested, here is the paper trail and some readings.

My blog entry on the Marcos medals: he used his mastery of affidavits and his rising up the ladder, to get himself awarded heaps of awards. The NHCP position paper on the Marcos burial is linked to in the entry, too. For decisions of the Supreme Court on ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses being forfeited to the state, see G.R. No. 149802, January, 2006; G.R. No. 152154, July 15, 2003; G.R. No. 152154, November 18, 2003; and G.R. No. 189434, April, 2012. See also The World Bank: Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative: summary on Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos (Switzerland).

See also:

Republic Act No. 289, June 18, 1948: providing for the construction of a National Pantheon for presidents of the Philippines, national heroes, and patriots of the country, and establishing a board for planning purposes.

Proclamation No. 431, December 23, 1953: setting aside a parcel of land in Quezon City for the National Pantheon.

Proclamation No. 86, October 27, 1954: renaming the Republic Memorial Cemetery in Fort McKinley, Rizal Province, the Libingan ng mga Bayani because the old name was “not symbolic of the cause for which our soldiers have died, and does not truly express the nation’s esteem and reverence for her war dead.”

Executive Order No. 58, August 16, 1954: declaring Bataan and Corregidor as National Shrines, and creating a Corregidor-Bataan National Shrines Commission to develop and maintain the shrines.

Executive Order No. 87, January 5, 1955: amending the composition of the Bataan-Corregidor National Shrines Commission.

Executive Order No. 204, October 9, 1956: renaming the Corregidor-Bataan National Shrines Commission as the National Shrines Commission and putting it in charge of determining other battlefields that should be declared National Shrines and take charge of them.

Executive Order No. 49, September 16, 1963, amending the composition of the National Shrines Commission.

National Fund Campaigns for the National Shrines Commission: Proclamation No. 331, s. 1964; Proclamation No. 310, s. 1967; Proclamation No. 507, s. 1968; Proclamation No. 880, s. 1971.

Proclamation No. 208, May 28, 1967: separating the Libingan ng mga Bayani from the Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation, and declaring the cemetery a National Shrine under the administration of the National Shrine Commission.

Presidential Decree No. 1, September 24, 1972: reorganized the entire Executive Branch of government; it abolished the National Shrines Commission and transferred its powers and duties to the National Historical Commission.

Presidential Decree No. 105, January 24, 1973: declaring National Shrines as hallowed and sacred places, and providing for the punishment of persons who desecrate or disturb the peace and serenity of the places by digging, excavating, defacing, causing unnecessary noise and committing unbecoming acts within their premises.

Presidential Decree No. 1076, January 26, 1977: transferring the functions of the defunct National Shrines Commission to the Department of National Defense.

G.R. No. 88211, October 27, 1989: Supreme Court decision dismissing motion for reconsideration on its upholding government’s refusal to allow the return of Ferdinand Marcos’ remains.

Republic Act No. 9256, February 25, 2004: declaring August 21 as Ninoy Aquino Day, a nationwide nonworking holiday.

Republic At No. 10368, January 25, 2013: providing for reparation and recognition of victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime: “it is hereby declared the policy of the State to recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos covering the period from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986 and restore the victims’ honor and dignity. The State hereby acknowledges its moral and legal obligation to recognize and/or provide reparation to said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations and damages they suffered under the Marcos regime.”

Aug 10

Notes on the Marcos Medals

(updated August 11, 2016–see postscript)

 

Background

In 1983, the Washington Post printed an article by John Sharkey, questioning the claims of wartime heroism of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. This led to Minister of Information Gregorio Cendaña writing a rebuttal in a book Documents on the Marcos War Medals published by the Office of Media Affairs, Malacañan. Through 1985 to 1986, the issue once again made headlines when the New York Times published an article byJeff Gerth and Joel Brinkley, unveiling the research of American Historian Alfred McCoy and Richard J. Kessler.

The image of Ferdinand Marcos as not just a bemedaled veteran, but the most bemedaled veteran of World War II was integral to his presidential image.

Marcos medal1

The famous portrait of President Marcos by the Indonesian painter Abdullah portrays the President with the Medal of Valor and two rows of military and civilian awards, together with the Grand Collar of the Order of Sikatuna and the sash and Star of the Philippine Legion of Honor, with the rank of Chief Commander.

What follows is the story of President Marcos’ military awards and the controversies surrounding them. The question that comes out of this is how did Marcos garner so many accolades during the postwar era? Were there any ulterior motives in awarding Marcos with different distinctions as he rose in the ranks of the political arena?

Ferdinand Marcos was undoubtedly a veteran of the Second World War. He claimed membership in the resistance efforts against the Japanese. In honor of his alleged meritorious service, the Philippine Army and Philippine officials awarded Marcos 27 medals. A review of the circumstances under which these awards were made show they were based on affidavits secured by Marcos, and awarded, first, on the basis of requests to be awarded the medals filed by Marcos himself, and second, during a period that coincided with Marcos being Chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations and serious contender for the Philippine Presidency.

 

Controversies Surrounding the Marcos Medals

The least controversial medals that then-Major Ferdinand E. Marcos had garnered were those given to him by the United States Army. Although these medals were awarded for his action in the defense of Bataan, Marcos obtained them through self- serving requests.

In February 1945, Major Marcos wrote a letter addressed to the Commanding General of the United States Army and claimed that in 1942 he was awarded the Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross in February and March, respectively, which he never officially received. These awards are the second and third highest in the U.S. Army, to which the Philippine Army was joined with the creation of USAFFE. Along with the letter, Marcos attached several affidavits of fellow soldiers attesting to the awarding of the medals and a request for him to finally be furnished these.

Marcos medal2

The portrait made at the apex of the career of President Marcos, is a far cry from the respectable but far more modest awards displayed by then Major Marcos in 1946: Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Purple Heart.

In December that year, in ceremonies held in Camp Murphy (now Camp Aguinaldo), Quezon City, Marcos was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star he requested and in addition, the Purple Heart.

This was followed by a second request in 1947, this time for the Gold Cross, the fourth highest military award of the Philippines. Affidavits also accompanied this request and sought to establish Marcos’s valor and gallantry in the field, albeit retroactively. He was awarded the Gold Gross in the same year and the Distinguished Conduct Star (the second-highest Philippine military award) the year after.

In 1949, Marcos at the age of 32, ran for and won the seat his father once held in the lower House of Congress. Representing his home province of llocos Norte, he promised his constituents an llocano president in 20 years. Marcos’s meteoric rise in Philippine politics can be tracked with the equally stellar haul of medals, awards, and decorations conferred on him by the Philippines.

Two medals were conferred on him in the 1950s while he served as Chairman of the Defense Committee in the House of Representatives. This crucial position allowed him a great deal of influence in the Armed Forces due to his control over the AFP budget. The two medals were the Philippine Legion of Honor, rank of Legionnaire (specifically awarded for his lobbying efforts for veterans in Washington), and the country’s highest military honor, the Medal of Valor.

After serving three terms in the House of Representatives, Marcos was elected to a six-year term in the Senate with the most number of votes in the 1959 elections. Already a considerably bemedaled veteran while serving in the House, Marcos’s biggest haul of medals was actually as a Senator while sitting as Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee that effectively controlled the national budget.

Halfway through his Senate term, Marcos’s political star was decidedly on a collision course with fellow Liberal Party stalwart and incumbent President Diosdado Macapagal who was inclined to seek re-election in 1965. In an attempt to appease the ambitious Marcos and avoid a possible challenge for their party’s nomination for the Presidency, Alfred McCoy in his book “Closer than Brothers,” suggests that Macapagal awarded Senate President Marcos an astonishing 10 medals in 1963. Nine of these on a single day, December 20, 1963: two Distinguished Conduct Stars, two Distinguished Service Stars, three Gold Cross Medals, three Wounded Soldier’s Medals. Earlier, on October 31 of the same year, Marcos received his First Bronze Anahaw Leaf to the Distinguished Conduct Star.

Several other decorations were also conferred on Marcos, which were not for his personal achievements, but rather, the grant of campaign medals to all servicemen. The decorations for his service during the war were The World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal, Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Defense Service Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Badge, Philippine Independence Medal and the Distinguished Unit Badge from the US army. These medals and citations were bestowed upon soldiers who served during the war and lived through it. At this point, Marcos’s medals totaled 25 and this purportedly well-documented, stellar military career would eventually serve as the cornerstone for Marcos’s successful presidential campaign in 1965 against his erstwhile ally Macapagal. In his own re-election bid in 1969, Marcos again paraded his war medals and his carefully crafted war hero image carried him to victory against Sergio Osmeña, Jr., against whom he successfully raised the issue of Collaboration with the Japanese (as he had similarly done versus Macapagal in 1961, further contrasting his fighting veteran image with that of his opponents).

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 2.23.56 PMThe final and most controversial medal conferred prior to Martial Law on then-President Marcos is the Philippine Legion of Honor, rank of Chief Commander received in September 1972 – a few weeks before the proclamation of Martial Law. The General Orders state that Marcos was awarded this distinction because of his “invaluable service to the AFP as its Commander-in-Chief.” However, at this time, Marcos was already serving his second term as President and would be sole authority in conferring awards. Essentially, Marcos awarded himself his second Philippine Legion of Honor.

Marcos medal3

In Marcos’s campaign biography, “For Every Tear, a Victory,” his medals occupied a full spread.

The first person to question the Marcos war medals was former confidential press man Primitivo Mijares who, in his 1976 book, The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos I, alleged that Marcos perfected the craft of collecting and amassing affidavits and controlled their official filing.

“It is easy to see how useful the experience and expertise that Marcos obtained from this business of benefiting from the war became to him. When he decided, twenty years after the war, to claim and collect the medals which were to make him, in his words, ‘The most decorated Filipino soldier of World War II mastery of the production of affidavits and documents came in handy,” Mijares wrote.

Following Mijares, Alfred McCoy and Bonifacio Gillego conducted their own pioneering research on the Marcos war medals especially on those he allegedly received from the United States. McCoy subsequently described his findings in his book. Closer than Brothers, while Gillego’s articles, according to Raymond Bonner’s 1987 book, Waltzing with a Dictator: The Marcoses and the making of American Policy, were printed throughout 1982 in the We Forum, a small opposition newspaper that dared oppose Marcos. Its publisher- editor, Joe Burgos, along with its entire editorial staff, was jailed.

In response to the articles on his medals, President Marcos caused the conferment of another military award: a second Bronze Anahaw Leaf to the Distinguished Conduct Star, on December 20, 1983. This followed the precedent established in 1972 when he was awarded, ostensibly by the Minister of National Defense, but who could only do so by authority of the President of the Philippines.

While the actual awarding of medals was at most, put in limbo, it was the research of McCoy and Kesler, published in the New York Times, shattering the claims of Marcos that he commanded a guerrilla unit called “Maharlika” during the resistance movement against the Japanese, that hurt him the most politically. Maharlika, according U.S. military records unearthed by McCoy, was a dubious organization.

Later on, John Sharkey a reporter for the Washington Post, also exposed controversies regarding Marcos’s claims of guerrilla valor in 1983. He said that despite Marcos’s numerous affidavits attesting to his valor and gallantry in the field, Marcos’s name never appeared in US Government lists and General Douglas MacArthur never mentioned him in any of his biographies. These findings were explosive because of Marcos’s claims that his Medal of Valor was based on a recommendation for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military award, issued from Corregidor by Gen. Jonathan Wainwright. McCoy’s research not only found no record of this but also revealed highly negative reports on Marcos as a soldier, filed away in Washington. Marcos had even claimed a second Distinguished Service Cross medal personally pinned on him by Douglas MacArthur during a visit on the ageing General in New York, but the only evidence was a photograph of Marcos with the General, in which he was wearing a lapel pin: proof only of his 1946 award.

Marcos penned this entry in his diary on January 1, 1983,

I had sought to protect the sacredness and preciousness of my memories of the war with the sanctity of silence. So I had refused to talk or write about them except in an indirect way when forced to as when I offered my medals to the dead for I believed all such medals belonged to them.

But the sanctity of silence has been broken by the pettiness and cynicism that overwhelms the contemporary world. And the small souls whose vicarious achievement is to insult and offend the mighty and the achievers have succeeded in trivializing the most solemn and honorable of deeds and intentions. Their pettiness has besmirched with the foul attention the honorable service of all who have received medals and citations in the last World War. They have not excluded me. But instead have made me their special target as the most visible of those who offered blood, honor and life to our people.

So I must fight the battles of Bataan all over again. We must walk our Death March in the hot April sun once again. The Calvary of the USAFFE must again be told.

For we bleed and die again. This time in the hands of men who claim to be our countrymen.

Another author who wrote about the war medals of Marcos and the experience of Filipinos under the dictatorship was Raymond Bonner in his 1987 book, Waltzing with a Dictator: The Marcoses and the making of American Policy.

These exposés show the unraveling of Marcos’s military myth that fueled and propelled his political ambitions. But as Marcos started losing his grip on power in the mid-1980s, even George Will, a conservative columnist who had echoed the support of US President Ronald Reagan for Marcos, wrote about the war medals issue. According to Bonner, Marcos alleged Japanese Emperor Hirohito had written about his military exploits in his memoirs to which Will quickly rebutted by pointing out the Emperor had yet to publish his memoirs.

21019051644_2df61b9a00_kMarcos’ faith in medals continued almost up to the final moments of his stay in power. He conferred on himself the decoration Hero of the New Republic, a civilian award patterned after the USSR’s Hero of the Soviet Union, in 1985.

In summary, we can see that Marcos never received any war medal in the field: his awards were received postwar. We can also conclude that his claims to these medals were based solely on requests supported by affidavits filed after the war, detailing exploits that were questioned and not accepted by American military authorities. The United States refused to comment on the validity of the awards they allegedly conferred on Marcos.

What we do have complete records of are Marcos’s Philippine awards the vast bulk of which were awarded in increasing volume the further, in time and space, Marcos was from the actual battlefield, all this culminating in Marcos awarding himself the Philippine Legion of Honor in 1972 and a second Distinguished Conduct Star in 1983.

FM

The most recent look at FM and his medals and military record comes from the Position Paper of the National Historical Commission on the Philippines: NHCP Position Paper on Marcos Burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani.  Here is the executive summary:

FM2

Here lies the ultimate problem, and it is one that falls solely into the lap of the Armed Forces of the Philippines: whatever historians say, the Armed Forces continues to recognize Ferdinand E. Marcos for his military service. None of the awards conferred on Marcos, whether military or civilian, have been withdrawn. He continues to be commemorated as a recipient of the Medal of Valor and numerous other armed forces awards. While it it was a military rebellion that helped turned the tide against the dictator in 1986, institutionally-speaking, the AFP continues to honor the dictator it helped kick out.

(Note: This is to gratefully acknowledge the help of Kristoffer Pasion, Coline Cardeño,Sarah Wong and Jad Arcinas in putting this together!)

POSTSCRIPT, August 11, 2016

Upon reading this entry, Francis Xavier Manglapus said he would send me the copy of an affidavit that was signed in the Shoreham Hotel on September 9, 1982 by Bonifacio Gillego, based on information provided by Romulo Manriquez, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, and “the only Filipino regimental commander among Col. Volckmann’s senior commanders,” and Vicente L. Rivera, “who served the 14th Infantry both as a staff anda  line officer at various times.”  The affidavit aimed to achieve was to “subject to inquiry, therefore… not the authenticity of [Marcos’] awards but the basis of these awards and the production of the records and citations.”

According to Gillego, “Col. Manriquez left the service in 1947 and came to the United States in 1954. He finished law at the GW University… ” He ended up working in the U.S. Veterans Administration and at first refrained from speaking out as in-laws and relatives had been beneficiaries of Marcos (including his brother-in-law, Gen. Zosimo Paredes). Angered by an officially-sanctioned account of Marcos’ exploits, and his having been cited as a member of Marcos’ “Ang mga Maharlika” unit, he decided to speak out. He asserts that during the time he knew him, Marcos’ guerrilla activities were in Civil Affairs and that Marcos “was never involved in any patrol or combat operations.”

Gillego says that Capt. Vicente L. Rivera was “a lawyer who also has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan,” and a “respected leader of the Fil-American community in Detroit” who became chairman of the Awards and Decorations Committee of the USAFIP NL, Inc., a veteran’s organization. According to him, Marcos discharged his weapon on two instances –once at rustling leaves, in the direction of his own men, and on another occasion, when he was issued a gun –to test it. He also provided details on the organization of the Maharlika unit. Rivera asserted Marcos “at no time was he ever given any patrol or combat assignment all during his service with the 14th Infantry.”

Here is the affidavit, signed by Bonifacio Gillego, “concurred” in by Manriquez and Rivera, and witnessed by Benjamin Maynigo and Benigno S. Aquino, Jr.

MARCOS1 MARCOS2 MARCOS3 MARCOS4 MARCOS5 MARCOS6 MARCOS7 MARCOS8 MARCOS9 MARCOS10 MARCOS11

 

Jul 29

Duterte’s Treason to the Political Class

(SPOT.ph) When President Duterte mounted the rostrum in the session hall of the Batasang Pambansa, he did so as the tenth president who was an alumnus of the House—an institution he has bluntly been contemptuous of in the past. As he once put it, “I’ve been in the Congress and after the flag ceremony punta na ako sa canteen, then out…I’d go to the mall, naglalakad-lakad ako, tapos magdadaldal, wala namang kakwenta-kwenta…kayo na diyan, uwi na ako.” A lifetime as a prosecutor (only the third president we’ve had who was once a prosecutor) and a local government chief executive (only the third mayor-president, only the fifth, if you include presidents who’d been governor); does this to you. You develop zero tolerance for talk, talk, talk and fraternity horse-trading (as a mayor, you facilitate horse-trading; you are not one of the traders, that is, if you’re an old-fashioned bossman which the President is).

But I am getting ahead of myself. Before he put the Congress in its place, he departed from his prepared text and said some truly interesting things about the kind of government setup we should have. As the first president who is a lawyer since 1986, and as a local executive who has had to deal with two power bases—the presidency and the cabinet, and Congress, both of which are not only fickle but addicted to reinventing the wheel every six years—you can be sure he has some pretty fixed ideas about what needs fixing—and how. My hunch is, presidents and local chief executives are more likely to see eye-to-eye than local chief executives and the year-round gabfest known as Congress.

What he wants is a demarcation of authority—presidents can and should do lots of things, primarily foreign affairs and national security and broader economic policy, but leave to the locals what the locals do best—attend to the specific needs of their constituents instead of forcing cookie-cutter solutions on everything from Manila. He has been around the block long enough, however, to know that the three-year gabfest that is each Congress is a wasted resource, if only because as presidents periodically raiding Congress for cabinet appointments shows, legislators with their political standing can be useful in filling the bureaucracy. Legislators want to be ministers, and this ambition frankly motivated a chunk of the coalition that put him in power.

And so he opened the portion on political change in the SONA with a recognition of these facts. But to the sweeteners he added a shocker—the retention of the presidency. “You know my advice to you,” he said, “is maintain a federal system, a parliament,” (so far, so good) “but be sure to have a president. Huwag…Hindi na ako niyan. I’m disqualified and by that time I would longer be here. But, I can commit today to the Republic of the Philippines and its people: If you hurry up the federal system of government and you can submit it to the Filipino people by the fourth, fifth year, proseso ‘yan e. You call for a referendum and after that call for a presidential election, I will go. Sibat na ako. But you just have a president.” Shocker!

After all if people are generally in awe over both the assumption to power, and enormous political capital, of President Duterte—how do you justify that precisely the possibilities his office represents, should be extinguished through if not the abolition, then the neutering, of the office he now holds? If he is, as his supporters (and quite a few of his critics) point out, the fulfillment of the hitherto-untapped potential of the presidency, then he would be the last person to propose turning the chief executive into a decorative capon. One can rightly argue we need more presidents cast in the traditional mode of the strongman.

Which is why, to me, next came the killer punch: “You copy the France system,” he said. “Huwag mo hayaan ‘yong puro na parliament. Delikado iyon. It takes time even for the…Iyong kagaya ng England noon. There was this bomb, double deck. It took them time really. There’s no one apparatus for a commander-in-chief down.” The President’s desire (for the French Model) and warning (pure parliamentary government is “delikado”) was a stab directly into the heart of parliamentarists like Fidel V. Ramos who have a specific model in mind: Malaysia. The dream has burned bright since FVR and Lakas-UNCD proposed a shift to the parliamentary system to create an enduring, monolithic party on the model of UNMO, free of national, direct elections for the presidency (regardless of whether the Malaysian model has been increasingly challenged over the past decade).

But then, lest anyone forget he has been an accomplished politician, he tempered his remarks. This is a significant insight into his style, which is to say it is one part straight-from-the-shoulder tempered by humorous concessions to his audience. He said, “You can have a president you can elect. Maybe Tito Sotto would be the lucky guy at that time.” An acknowledgement that vox populi, like the Dei, moves in mysterious ways. Which led him to quip, well, if you elect someone like him “O, ‘di, limitahan mo lang. Ceremonial powers. Power to dissolve, power to accept the resolution or whatever, mandating you this, do that, or ceremonial powers except ‘yong in times of need, if there’s a demand for action. You must have a president.” And the last sweetener, “Wala na ako niyan. I said if you can give me that document, I will urge you to conduct a…to order, call for an election the following day, following week.”

What followed next was interesting. After the National Security Council meeting, the Speaker had a huddle in the Palace with other grand political pooh-bas and then gleefully announced that he’d convinced the president not to go through with a Constitutional Convention, because it would be expensive. According to him, the president agreed. But the presidential spokesperson was less categorical about it, merely saying it “was discussed as a possibility considering the prohibitive cost should they begin the process soon.”

What the Speaker perhaps did not point out was that a Constitutional Convention would also be uncontrollable. Which means not only might the final product not be what congressmen want; it might take longer than they want. Consider Alvarez’s timetable, for example: ratification of the new charter in the 2019 midterms, after which government would shift to being a transitional one, pending election of a parliament in 2021.

What would this accomplish? It would nip the prospects of 12 senatorial candidates in the bud (why go through competing in a national election, when a future senate might be regional or even cease to exist?), and throw the traditional process for vetting the prospects of possible presidential candidates out the window (whoever is No. 1 in the senate mid-terms is often a leading contender for the presidency three years later; no senatorial buzz, no brewing excitement for a nationally-elected president to come). Shooting potential national candidates in the kneecaps is just the sort of thing aspiring prime ministers need, since they can set aside public opinion and concentrate on the votes that will matter—their fellow lawmakers.

A convention, on the other hand, might suffer from that great political inconvenience, an independent mind. The result might be not what the House of Representatives wants, but what the President has in mind. Then where would the parliamentarists be?

President Duterte has often pointed out his father was governor of the undivided province of Davao, a vast area. We forget Marcos had attempted the first step in a federal project, reversing the gerrymandering of the previous three decades by establishing regions as the basis of representation and a political unit in the Republic. His effort failed, and he himself began to make it meaningless: for example, confronted with a war in Mindanao, he gerrymandered the island to create pocket fiefdoms for the warlords he needed as allies. Knowing full well that a major motive for parliamentary government is to liberate elected politicians from the iron curtain that divided the executive with its control from departments, from legislators who had precious little to do except engage in petty extortion either in the budget or the Commission on Appointments—seasonal activities, at best—one can see that the President arguably sees the forest from the trees. That what he, as an executive, sees as a national solution is far from what many of his own allies want.

Jul 25

The last blush of the afterglow of victory



(SPOT.ph)
It will not, of course, be the first time a noted director has taken charge of a president’s State of the Nation Address. That distinction belongs to the late Zeneida Amador, who handled the optics for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s first SONA in 2001. But whatever Brilliante Mendoza manages on this, the fourth Monday of July, when the Constitution commands Congress to convene for its regular session, and for the president of the Philippines to address it in joint session to report on the state of the nation.

Even if commanded to do so by the Constitution, the president makes his or her appearance strictly upon the invitation of the legislature. Since the time of kings—and nearly all modern legislatures owe their practices and traditions to those days, hence the medieval mace carried around as part of the Congressional regalia—parliaments and congresses have been jealous of their independence which is why, in our case, military honors are rendered on the front steps of the Batasan: the premises of a legislature are strictly off-limits to the army and police, controlled by the executive. This principle is still (somewhat hazily) insisted upon by Congress, which is why during the last Congress, you had those portly honor guards dressed in Comic Opera uniforms lining the center aisle in the House Session Hall—they’re security guards, really, but dressed like extras in Cinderella.

For any new incumbent, the first SONA is the last blush in the afterglow of victory. Energy is still high; public opinion, in a land where more Filipinos always remember having voted for the winner than actually did so on election day, is still riding high. If the Inaugural Address is a statement of aspirations, then the first SONA is the action plan catalog. And here, every president has free rein to make his or her mark on one of the oldest traditions (begun in November, 1935) of our government.

But before one innovates, the tedious work of actually crafting the SONA has to take place.

Written by committee, vetted by advisors, styled by wordsmiths, a SONA eventually ends up on the lap of the president, who has absolute freedom in terms of organization and style, to say what he or she pleases, in the manner he or she wants, using whatever props he (or she) and their advisors deem fit. This includes what the Americans call a skutnik—after Lenny Skutnik, a congressional employee who’d jumped into the Potomac River to save a passenger after a plane crash. Ronald Reagan invited him to be a member of the audience in his 1982 State of the Union Address, and the use of audience members to praise or pander to, has been a feature of official rhetoric ever since. It allows a picture to paint a thousand words: The Courageous Mother, the Honest Public Servant, the Nut-brown Toiling Farmer, the Valorous Cop, the Happy Indigenous Person, etc.

A president will toss out drafts, and, depending on temperament, attention span, and speaking style, order the redrafting, dictate, or pencil-in, changes, all the while being bombarded with helpful “suggestions” (lobbying, really) to put this in, take that out, mention this, highlight that, downplay something else. This can be a mind-numbing or explosive process; it then leads to marrying words with visuals—the skutniks, or Power Points, even videos—that are required by having a short attention-span public and media all dominated by TV. More than the Inaugural Address, the SONA is where presidents must confront that many-tentacled monster, government officialese, the endless parade of acronyms and catchy code words that are the private language of those in power.

Code-switching—from serious, lofty purple English prose, to folksy, intimate, winding Filipino sentences—has been part and parcel of officialese, too, including the token use of other Philippine languages for effect. This is because in a SONA, there are multiple audiences. I count four of them: legislators and local leaders, who preen at being mentioned and who are in ecstasy over promises of public works; the bureaucracy, which takes its cue as to the appropriate level of devotion and the right buzz words to adorn its memoranda, from the SONA; diplomats, who justify their jobs by pointing out what nations were mentioned (and which ones ignored) and which of their efforts to cultivate or frustrate policies failed or succeeded; and the public, which really doesn’t watch or listen to the whole thing, since it is held mid- to late-afternoon when everybody is at work, but relies on the media to filter the messages, and other onlookers who weigh in, from professional protesters to civil society anxious to see if it successfully managed to lobby for mention in the SONA (this is why the weeks preceeding the SONA have various organized groups, from OFWs to teachers to taxi drivers demanding to be mentioned and have their five seconds of fame).

The historian Mina Roces once proposed that to understand our politics requires understanding palakasan—who is malakas, who is mahina; and the SONA puts on full-throated display, who matters to a president.

Will it be the provincial barons? Which ones? Because every president, bar none, soon develops a hatred for the National Capitol Region. Will it be specific members of the cabinet? Again, who? It dictates who needs to be approached, and who can be comfortably ignored (regardless of portfolio) within the official family. Will it be the public? Which suggests Congress and officialdom are on notice to be on their best behavior—or else. More often than not, presidents carefully juggle all these, in the hope of leaving every sector and political group feeling hopeful of favors to come.

But there is one thing all SONAs suffer from, and that is, most of the speech will be about things the public doesn’t quite care about, or understand. The result? Counting applause and commenting on ternos becomes an addiction. Counting applause seems to date to the Garcia administration which gave primacy to the party machine, and has been a feature of SONA reckoning ever since. Gown-spotting seems to have had its first glimmerings in the First Quarter Storm era when women hardly wore ternos anymore and hippies considered such dresses a sign of decadence; with the first post-EDSA SONA in 1987, a Congress still unaccustomed to being more than a canned applause factory for presidents (such was the effect of Marcos) preferred to strut and preen, having forgotten the meeting-of-equals traditions of the Third Republic, and our celebrity culture has itself created a couture political culture as a result.

There is another thing born during the SONA process, but it always remains the unloved spawn of the exercise—the SONA Technical Report. This is the fine print, the assortment of facts meant to buttress the speech. Produced with great effort, hardly anyone—even within government—makes much use of it, which is a pity. It usually comes out on, or soon after, SONA day, and, like the other government product, the proposed budget, which comes out a month after the SONA, its importance is matched by the utter indifference of those outside official circles.

This SONA of beginnings—for Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s first SONA, like that of all his predecessors, will define the actual manner in which he governs—also marks the resumption of a stalled evolution. Consider that 1961 was the last year we had a non-Luzon resident as president (namely Carlos P. Garcia, who stepped down on December 30 of that year)—and incidentally, that year was the time a Mindanawon achieved the highest position in government—namely Vice-President Emmanuel Pelaez who took office on that date. And it has been 70 years–when Sergio Osmeña stepped down in May, 1946—since we have had a Cebuano president. So President Duterte, in his first SONA, does so as the representative of a trend that has long been delayed, on one part, and as the vanguard of a movement larger than himself—as we will see when mounts the rostrum today, and fleshes out the details of some of the promises and ideas that brought him to the presidency.

Brilliante Mendoza promises a mesmerizing show. The new president himself has proven himself a Master Showman. Here, however, is the truly innovative thing about what we will witness today: it is just one speech, for one audience, and will have to be matched with other speeches to other audiences. Just a few weeks ago, the new president made a perfectly fine inaugural address, which soothed anxious businessmen and diplomats and pleased the middle and upper classes with its 1950s style rhetoric; that evening, the new president made a rip-roarin’ speech in Tondo that those audiences simply didn’t watch. The speeches were polar opposites of each other, in style and content. This is something new, and we have still to find out what it says about the new executive and we, the people.

***

For more on what SONAs are, and other information, see my Facebook Note: Sources on, and Accounts of, Past SONAs.

Jul 24

Sources on, and Accounts of, Past SONAs

I. What a SONA is

 

In February, 1972, the Philippines Free Press observed in an editorial (back when terms began on Rizal Day and thus Congress convened in January) that,
Every new year the President of the Republic addresses Congress and the people with what is known as his State-of-the-Nation message. An envisioned by the legislators who thought of this rite, the President is expected to give an accurate description of the situation in his country during the preceding year and his suggestions to improve that situation in the coming year. Congress is expected to learn from the contents of his message and frame laws that are relevant to the conditions he has described. That, at any rate, is how it should go in a responsible democracy.
If the President’s message does not reflect reality, especially if this is done purposely then the whole purpose of the rite is frustrated. The President is supposed to describe accurately the state of the nation, speaking plainly and holding nothing back that could contribute to his auditors’ understanding of the matters he had discussed. Congress, then, takes it up from there. That is the general idea of this rite where the President delivers a message before both Houses of Congress, addressed to the nation. The reality is something else.
Our Presidents, on these occasions, have inflated their achievements—or claimed imaginary ones—and glossed over their mistakes. They paint a bright picture of the previous year and a still brighter one of the coming one. How they have the cheek to do this before the people who have suffered so much from their mistakes is one of the intriguing mysteries of politics.
Here is the list of all SONAs, from the first in November, 1935 to the most recent one in July, 2015. You can also see a Flickr photo album of pretty much nearly all the past SONAs. You can also visualize SONAs according to content or word clouds:
Here is an Album of Pie Charts that Visualize the Content of past SONAs, proportionally-speaking, according to topics. Examples:
Here is an Album of World Clouds the visualizes emphasis of past SONAs on various ideas, concepts, and the frequency of certain words used. Examples:

II. SONA Day

 

Here is a comprehensive briefer on what a SONA is, and the traditions and rituals surrounding them. Here is an infographic on SONA procedures:

III. Assorted Facts and Figures

For trivia hounds, here is a collection of SONA Trivia: the ten longest, ten shorters, the seven places at which they’ve been held, and so on.

IV. Location, location, location

 

Here is a briefer on Locations where SONAs have been delivered. The briefer has interesting photos of the locations over time, too.

V. Eyewitness and official accounts

 

Nov. 25.—The National Assembly opens its inaugural session with Quintin Paredes, Speaker of the former House of Representatives in the chair. Assemblyman Gil Montilla is duly elected Speaker, Francisco Enage (Leyte) floor leader, Narciso Pimentel, secretary, and Narciso Diokno sergeant-at-arms. A stormy discussion follows a resolution offered by Enage providing for the immediate organization of the Commission on Appointments—to which he recommended Assemblymen Ruperto Montinola, Eusebio Orense, Miguel Cueneo, Juan S. Alano, and Agaton Yaranon—and the motion is voted down. Some of the rules governing the former Legislature are temporarily adopted. As President Quezon mounts the rostrom, before his address, he hands Speaker Montilla a gavel which he states was a gift from Vice-President John N. Garner which he has been asked to deliver to the Speaker of the new Assembly. Addressing the Assembly, he speaks almost exclusively of his plans for national defense and asks that full powers he conferred on him to carry them out, closing his address with the statement: “What would be the use of seeing our country free one day, with its own flag standing alone and flying against the sky, only to see ourselves the subjects of another power the following day, with its flag sovereign in our country? What would be the purpose of educating our young men and women concerning their rights and privileges as free citizens, if tomorrow they are to be subjects of a foreign foe? Why build up the wealth of the nation only to swell the coffers of another? If that is to be our preordained fate, why seek a new master when the Stars and Stripes has given us not only justice and fair treatment, welfare and prosperity, but also ever-increasing liberties, including independence? National freedom now stands before us as a shining light—the freedom that for many years gleamed only as a fitful candle in the distant dark. We shall make ourselves ready to grasp the torch, so that no predatory force may ever strike it from our hands.”
Quezon –the second SONA (and the first in a regular session). See Francis Burton Harrison in his diary, June 16, 1936:
Went to the Legislative Building to hear the message of the President to the Assembly. Gratings were locked on the doors. I pushed through the crowd, got a policeman to open the door and was met by Chief of Police Antonio Torres who said the city had been “under arms” since the night before; the only people in the galleries were his secret service men. Communists were supposed to have threatened a bomb. Sat with the Alcalde and the Chief of Police. Quezon read a forty minute message of “progressive conservatism”–really an excellent program for the development and relief of the country. Acoustics of the hall are so bad, I could hardly catch his words. Torres says this building was designed for the National Library and 3000 pesos have just been spent to improve the acoustics of the hall, but with no success;–he said it must be air-conditioned and hung with tapestries. Quezon’s voice is too strong and oratorical for the loud speaker. If he proposes to broadcast, I have advised him to study the matter of his voice.
Osmeña’s lone SONA –From the President’s Month in Review, June 1945:
Meeting for the first time since its election in November, 1941, the Philippine Congress held a joint special session on the afternoon of last June 9, at its provisional quarters on Lepanto Street. Highlights of the session were a message personally delivered by President Sergio Osmeña and the election of the heads of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Reviewing past events in the Philippine struggle for liberty, the President in his message pointed out that the Filipinos have no other duty and no other choice than to accept the independence which the United States is offering now with protection.
Expressing the desire of the Filipino people to help the United States win the war against Japan, the President reiterated the offer made by President Manuel L. Quezon in 1941 to the people of America, to the effect that the men and resources of the Philippines are unconditionally at the service of the United States. He announced, in this connection, that he had offered to General of the Army Douglas MacArthur one division of Filipino troops, under Filipino officers, for the final assault on Japan, “Words alone,” the President said, “cannot express our gratitude to the United States for all it has done for us.”
Speaking of the great problems of reconstruction and rehabilitation lying ahead of the nation, the President stated that he was aware that the means necessary for their solution at the moment are inadequate but that “we shall not falter in the line of duty. “Let us get together in one mighty effort,” he declared. “Let us set aside selfish considerations and forget petty differences. Only in unity can there be strength.”
Besides a brief but comprehensive report on the work carried out by the Commonwealth Government during its three-year stay in Washington, D. C., the presidential message contained a description of conditions prevailing in the Philippines during the period of enemy occupation and an acknowledgment of the invaluable assistance rendered by the guerrillas to the American forces in the liberation of the Philippines. In praising the guerrillas, the President took occasion to mention the loyal civilian population who were left behind and who, at the risk of their lives, supported the resistance movement.” Included among them, according to him, were the civil service employees and holders of subordinate positions in the government. “They should, as a general principle,” the President emphasized, “be recalled as soon as their services should be needed; only for strong reasons should they be deprived of their privilege to serve.” He added that the same policy should be followed in the case of provincial and municipal officials who were elected in 1940, “thus giving due consideration to the will of the people as expressed at the polls.”
Roxas’ first SONA –From the President’s Month in Review June 1946:
In his message on the state of the nation, the President, after briefly describing the aspect of the intricate problems which the Philippines faces today, particularly the lack of financial means both to support the government’s functions and to carry out the projects in rehabilitation and economic development, discussed some of the subjects taken up by him in Washington D.C., last May, including the government loan of approximately 800 million pesos to be lent to the Philippines in five yearly installments. Then he made his recommendations for the prompt and efficient solution of the major problems confronting the nation. Concluding the President said: “I know that in the tasks I have outlined, this congress, this representative body of the Filipino people, will be equal to its responsibilities. I am sure that you will discharge your duties in the best and highest traditions of the long line of great Philippine representative bodies.”
Roxas’ second SONA –From the President’s Month in Review January 1947:
Manuel Roxas on the afternoon of January 27 appeared before a joint session of the first Congress of the Republic of the Philippines and delivered a message on the state of the nation. Asserting that within the past eight months the basis of independent government in the Philippines has been firmly established, the President in his message said that the nation had ceased to retreat in disorder and confusion and that it was moving courageously and confidently forward on the road to national health. “We are well,” he declared, “into a period of progress. The clouds of gloom which hovered over us eight months ago have dissipated. Hope and resolution have replaced despair and doubt; plan and program have come forward in place of distraction and aimlessness; our economy is taking shape; peace and order have returned; employment is gradually increasing; business prospers; our exports are mounting daily; assistance of many kinds from the United States has come, and more is on the way.”
The Chief Executive warned, however, that the crisis was not past. He spoke in detail of the country’s still critical condition, and of the heroic efforts which are yet required for national success. He outlined in this connection an industrialization plan for the immediate future of the Philippines. This plan integrates with the government’s power development projects. The vocational training program, the establishment of credit facilities, the promotion of geological researches and surveys, the invitation of American capital to invest here, and the proposed constitutional provision for special rights for American citizens. “We will insure,” the President said, “the fullest participation by Filipinos in this program.”
Concluding his message the President said:
“We will be resolute in our march toward our lofty goals . . . carrying lightly the heavy burdens which we now assume, in addition to those thrust upon us by Fate. We will not abandon the contest. The greatness of our nation is at issue. The happiness and enduring welfare of our people are at stake. With the help of Almighty God, we will reach the summits we seek.”
The joint session of Congress was held at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives on Lepanto Street. It was attended by the First Lady, the President’s mother and daughter, ranking government officials and their ladies, and the diplomatic and consular corps headed by United States Ambassador Paul V. McNutt.
Roxas’ third SONA –From the Official Month in Review, February 1948:
PRESIDENT Roxas, addressing the members of the Council of State on January 20, declared that the administration had committed itself to the task of gradually attaining a reasonable economic security for the Filipino people, and that with this goal in mind, he would propose before Congress the enactment of important measures designed to round out the economic development of the country.
The Council of State for about four hours discussed all problems which the President intended to take up with the Congress in his “State of the Nation” address.
EXCLAIMING that the period of appeasement had ended, President Roxas announced in clear-cut fashion his administration policy in an extemporaneous speech before the convention of provincial governors and city mayors held in the session hall of the House of Representatives during its opening session on January 22, 1948.
The President struck by the fact that while the Huks claimed to be the champions of the masses and the down-troden, the government records of murders, kidnappings and rapine show that the farmers and the poor were the victims.
APPEARING before a joint session of the Congress at four o’clock on January 26, President Roxas issued an appeal against wasting energies in partisan conflict or in an attempt to gain personal advantage while the country is engaged in the all-consuming task of lifting the Republic from the ashes of war.
“We are still far away,” said the President, “from our chosen goals. But we are decidedly on our way. I assure you we are treading on firm ground and marching in the right direction. We are following paths which the experience of nations has proven to be safe and reliable. We are attempting no short-cuts.”
Quirino’s first SONA –From The Official Month in Review January 1949:
THE Philippine budget is balanced, the Government has further strengthened the people’s confidence in its sincerity and integrity, the Huk movement has degenerated into sheer banditry, and the country is well geared to meet the menace of Communism. These were among the major accomplishments of the present administration which President Quirino mentioned in his state-of-the-nation message to the Congress of the Philippines the afternoon of January 24 in the old Legislative Building. Among the “tasks ahead,” the President stressed the need for production and social amelioration and urged Congress to approve adequate social security legislation. Indicating that the administration will continue its “unequivocal policy” of eliminating evils to prove “the primacy of public interest over party, group or personal claims,” the President said: “This is the age of the common man . . . We want to follow up the program of social amelioration with greater intensity and give the masses a Straight Deal.” Outlining the basic foreign policy, he pledged adherence to the United Nations, expressing confidence in its capacity to “adjust international conflicts for the permanent peace of the world.”
Quirino’s second SONA (the only not delivered in person to Congress by a president) –The Official Month in Review January 1950:
WELL on his way to recovery at the Johns Hopkins hospital, President Quirino delivered his state-of-the-nation address to the joint session of Congress on January 23. His speech was beamed through RCS in the United States and picked up by the local radio network at 10 o’clock in the morning just in time for the opening of the regular congressional session. The President centered his address on his national economic program and other problems confronting the country with an appeal to the nation to “exert every effort and employ every ounce of our energy to implement these high objectives.”
Magsaysay’s first SONA —Official Month in Review January 1957:
January 26: The President wired his greetings to General Douglas MacArthur on the occasion of the General’s birthday. The text of the President’s telegrams was as follows: “My people and I salute you today with prayerful wishes for a most happy birthday. May God Almighty continue to keep and bless you and all your own for a life that has found full dedication in active service to freedom and peace-loving men everywhere.”
At noon, the President received on board the yacht Apo a joint committee of the Senate and the House, which notified him that the Second Congress of the Republic had opened its fourth and final session, and that Congress had passed a resolution to hear his message.
In his state-of-the-nation message delivered before a joint session of Congress at 5:40 p.m., the President told Congress that the Philippines was making tremendous strides toward economic and political stability but warned that the “painful” advance in this direction was “a continuing process” which “should leave us no time and excuse for complacency.” The President stressed these two points in his message to Congress on the state-of-the-nation which painted the country’s achievements during the past three years against the backdrop of the perils that beset the country.
“We have established during our time,” the President said, “a government stable in its finances and political institutions, notwithstanding other observations at home and abroad, rich in promise of yet greater deeds.” He warned, however, that “all this would be set at naught, will have no meaning, and our efforts will be in vain, if we do not employ care and vigilance in the preservation of what we hold dear in our heart and soul as a people.”
After addressing Congress, the President returned to the yacht Apo to entertain Norman Thomas Cardinal Gilroy at a cocktail party. The Cardinal called on the President to say goodbye as he is leaving the next day for his native land, Australia.
January 26.—THIS morning, the President received members of the joint committee from the Senate and the House of Representatives, who called on him at Malacañang to inform him that this year’s session of Congress had been formally opened.
Composing the joint legislative committee were Sens. Lorenzo M. Tañada, Emmanuel Pelaez, and Pacita M. Gonzalez, and Reps. Ramon Bagatsing, Justiniano S. Montano, and Valeriano Yancha.
The legislators were ushered to the music room of Malacañang by Legislative Secretary Vicente Logarta, Assistant Executive Secretary, Enrique C. Quema, and Lt. Col. Emilio Borromeo, senior presidential aide.
President Garcia reviewed with his callers his pet administration bills which he wanted enacted during this session, particularly those on the synchronization of elections, habeas corpus, multiple currency reserve system, and revenue measures.
The President’s first caller was Ambassador Carlos P. Romulo, who reported briefly to the Chief Executive. No details were released by Malacañang on the subjects taken up by Romulo with the President.
PRESIDENT Garcia this afternoon delivered his state-of-the-nation message before a joint session of Congress, formally marking the opening of the regular session of the Congress.
The President was warmly applauded 12 times by the senators and congressmen, who listened intently to his recommendations for legislative implementation.
The First Lady accompanied the President to the session hall of the House of Representatives.
The President started reading his message promptly at 5 o’clock this afternoon and finished with it after an hour and thirty two minutes. As the President and the First Lady entered the session hall, the senators and the congressmen and the people who packed the galleries gave the First Couple a standing ovation.
From Congress, the President and the First Lady returned to Malacañang.
January 22.PRESIDENT Macapagal this afternoon proposed a bipartisan executive-legislative approach to the new administration’s socio-economic program designed to provide every Filipino a decent living.
Speaking before a joint session of the precariously balanced Senate and an NP-controlled House of Representatives, which had only a few hours before re-elected Speaker Daniel Z. Romualdez, the President drew applauses and tears as he pleaded the cause of the common man and pledged to carry out this sworn duty of serving the nation.
The President also drew praises and remarks from solons, both Liberals and Nacionalistas, for a well-grounded and thoroughly laid out socio-economic program which he was able to prepare and present to Congress in the brief space of 24 days after he had assumed the presidency.
In his 70-minute speech the President pinpointed two tasks and made 13 basic recommendations for legislation to Congress.
The President said the two prime goals of the Administration are the moral regeneration and the solution of the economic problems of the nation.
To achieve these goals, the Chief Executive appealed for legislative support in:
(1) The establishment and financing of a Moral Commission to study and recommend ways and means to mobilize all elements and institutions of the country for a national moral regeneration;
(2) Adoption of a comprehensive rice-and-corn program of self-sufficiency at prices within the reach of the masses;
(3) Legislation to assist private enterprise in the creation of job opportunities, for which specific measures will be presented to Congress;
(4) Appropriation of funds for construction of apartment houses for displaced squatters and low-income groups at nominal rentals;
(5) Appropriation for improvement and expansion of essential public services, designed to raise the general living standards of people; such as, education, public health, and low-cost housing;
(6) Further revision of tariff rates, to protect domestic industries and discourage luxurious living;
(7) Passage of foreign investments law to delineate clearly economic fields open to foreign capital, attract new foreign investments into the country, define treatment of foreign capital, particularly on repatriation of capital and profits remittances;
(8) Enactment of law imposing selective export tax on protected exports and raw materials locally processed, in order to prevent inflationary pressures and expand government revenues;
(9) Repeal of the margin levy on foreign exchange;
(10) Repeal of barter law to eliminate virtual multiple rates of exchange for barterable products and to simplify system and prevent loopholes which drain foreign exchange earnings;
(11) Re-examination and revision of tax structure to make them more equitable, and to support the government’s industrialization program.
(12) Creation of an anti-smuggling office to eradicate smuggling which deprives national treasury of large sums in the form of customs dues and internal revenue receipts; and
(13) Adoption of the five-year integrated socio-economic program.
The President arrived at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives at 5 p.m., accompanied by members of his Cabinet.
Upon alighting in front of the Philippine. Congress building, he was practically mobbed by a large crowd that had gathered to greet him, and was ushered into the Hall of Congress with a rolling applause that continued for over ten minutes when he mounted the rostrum and shook hands with acting Senate President Eulogio Rodriguez and Speaker Daniel Z. Romualdez.
The President again drew a long applause when he extended his hand as a sporting gesture, to congratulate Speaker Romualdez on his re-election. The President, however, in a light vein, added as a rejoinder that he would “congratulate the Senate President at the proper time.” The Senate had postponed election of a new President.
The President received no less than 15 applauses in his entire speech. For a brief moment, the long recitation of facts seemed almost to bore the NP solons, but they were soon jerked back to alertness as the President, in a low, slow, and choking voice made a last appeal, his eyes misty as he tried to fight back tears.
After concluding his speech, the President received a thunderous applause, followed by praises and remarks from the crowds. As he stood up to receive the congratulations of the Senate and House of Representatives presiding officers, the President, again was mobbed by the people, and he had a hard time getting outside of the Congress to board his car.
From Congress, the President returned to Malacañang.
The President occupied himself the whole day putting the finishing touches : on his state-of-the-nation message to Congress.
At 10:40 a.m. the Chief Executive received the Senate committee, which informed him that the Upper House had already convened. The Senate committee was “composed of Sens. Lorenzo Tañada, Oscar Ledesma, Jose J. Roy, Rogelio de la Rosa, and Maria Kalaw-Katigbak.
The Lower House committee, which informed the President that the House was already in session, saw the Chief Executive at 3:50 p.m. It was composed of Reps. Wenceslao R. Lagumbay of Laguna, Rodolfo Ganzon of Iloilo, Reynaldo Honrado of Surigao, Floro Crisologo of Ilocos Sur, and Vivencio Sagun of Zamboanga del Sur.
Kerima Polotan covered the last pre-martial law SONA, in The Long Week (February 7, 1970), with a mordant eye, a biting, observant, wit, and her pro-Marcos sympathies on her sleeves:
The country had seen how many Congresses open before and except for a mugginess in the afternoon, rare in January, the Seventh held no special portents. The young had, of course, taken over the streets and were on Ayala Street, thrusting leaflets at passerby:An Appeal for a Non-Partisan Constitutional Convention. All week the week before, they’d been pretty busy, demonstrating in front of Malacañang. A particularly “militant” group had roughed up an army sergeant moonlighting as a photographer; they had peppered the air with elegant language, the accepted idiom of student activism, amplified many decibels with the aid of loudspeakers…
…Inside Congress, however, the familiar peremptoriness of security guards greeted guests—even the most inoffensive looking specimen got thoroughly sniffed at from head to foot and if you didn’t smell at all as if you had legitimate business on the premises, you were quickly waved off to a side door where khaki’d arms blocked the way. You thrust a press card and the guard’s sangfroid remained undented—one prepared, therefore, to offer a fistful of identification papers: credit card, driver’s license, insurance bill, plumber’s reminder, grocery list, beauty parlor receipt, but remembering from somewhere that occasionally a double whammy worked, one fixed the fellow with a look: left eye shut, right eye open, and then a whisper: Tsip, puede ba?
It worked, and one was suddenly inside, to one’s utter disappointment. One had not fought one’s way through to stand guard over a half empty hall, along with half a hundred TV cameras, and the minor functionaries of this Republic, the second officials, the junior assistants, who strutted and poked and pointed—“Mahina ang audio!”—but there were compensations. Eduardo Cojuangco, the husband of Gretchen Oppen, was there, in expensive barong; and so was Joe Aspiras, the ex-press secretary, in barong; and also Joe de Venecia, whom the papers called a Marcos Liberal, who had just shed (again according to the papers) an old love and acquired a new one, in coat and tie; a dear friend from Dumaguete: Herminio (Minion) Teves, the younger twin of Lorence, in coat and tie; Rafael Aquino, the Sorsogueño from Butuan City, in coat and tie. All brand new diputados, eager to be of service to the country, but already practised in the art (and craft) of winning people and influencing friends. You could tell—they strode as though they belonged (and did they not?), crossed their legs, scratched their colleagues’ back, held languid cigarettes, laughed their rich solid laugh. But no Rufino Antonio, poor man, with all his troubles—he should have stuck to selling motorcycles. However, with Antonio not there, was Roquito far behind? One glimpsed through a clump of faces, the Northern congressman, short, dark, chubby, smiling a genuine Ilocano smile, winning, irresistible, the kind where the charm comes straight from the solar plexus. You could see where Special Forces was written all over him.
The old-timers were drifting in—Pablo Roman, who owns Bataan; Fermin Caram, who owns Filipinas; Ramon Mitra, who doesn’t own Palawan (yet), but does have a pair of sideburns reaching down to his knees and the start of a gross look; Carmelo Barbero, Carlos Imperial, Floring Crisologo, Constantino Navarro. On this side, the Supreme Court Justices, in black robes; across the floor from them, the cabinet: Carlos P. Romulo, Juan Ponce Enrile, Franciso Tatad, Gregorio Feliciano, Leonides Virata, and Manang Pacita, wearing her hair shoulder-length, dressed in a bright Bonnie frock. Beside the cabinet, the lady justices of the court of Appeals; Cecilia Muñoz Palma, in a green terno, and that stalwart of the legal profession, Lourdes San Diego, who is said to know her law like some women know their beauty ritual, in a wine colored terno.
Where one sat, craning behind the backs of security, one was hemmed in, on the right, by TV announcers—“our very own Henry Halasan” in an off-white suit, demure and dimpled—and, on the left, by the military (the navy, the army, the air force) all in white duck. An attractive woman in a brief checkered dress desired to hurdle the railing that separated her from the military and one gallant junior aide extended a strong arm. She stood on a chair and lifted a leg and one could hear the military gasp in delight; my, my! If only all the subversives in the country had thighs like those—but after a while, the lady began to prove a nuisance, because she desired once more to return to the floor, and so executed that Open Sesame exercise and then once more, back with the military; and so on, three or four times, like a see-saw, and by then, the TV announcers’ Adam’s apples were bobbing up and down, and the junior aides were beginning to weary of her dance.
Then the Senators—Roy, Sumulong, Pelaez, Aytona, Tañada, Laurel, Padilla, Puyat, Eva Kalaw, feminine every inch of her, who walked in like Isadora Duncan, in a blue terno, but instead of wearing the panuelo across her shoulders, she’d wrapped it around her neck, and, voila! it was a scarf. However, the most beautiful neck on the floor that afternoon belonged to the Senadora from Laguna, Mme. Helena Benitez, the great and good friend of the Filipinescas dance troupe, who works very hard to get them their dollars and their accreditation; such a good sport, every chance she gets, she puts in a good word for them, they ought to make her muse or something.
One neck that looked different was Father Ortiz’s, buttoned high like a proper cleric’s, and if one hadn’t known him from previous invocations, you’d mistake him for chairman of the board of some multi-million peso mining corporation. All that eloquent talk of revolution has not affected the good and comfortable lives that many priests live. One remembered Father Ortiz from the NP convention of ‘67—he wasn’t Rector then—when he had also read a stirring invocation. He was to repeat his warning here, this afternoon, but in stronger words: “Our unsafe streets,” he said, prompting a Church non-lover to ask: if our streets are unsafe, how’d he get here? A people awaited redress, the young wanted change, the Rector said, an entire country trembled on the edge of revolution, the priest went on..
THE HOUR WAS late, Father Ortiz said, and how right he was, for here came now the ladies of the congressmen and their senators. Most favored was the terno, no one was in pantsuit, and muted colors predominated. Was that a diamond that sparkled on a breast? Impossible to tell from the distance, but by their chins and their humps your could identify them: Mesdames Lopez, Puyat, Aldeguer, Roy—and Virginia Veloso who sat in the last seat, front row, two arm’s lengths away from Imelda Marcos, exactly as they had sat together in class 20 years ago in Tacloban, when Mrs. Veloso had been the darling of the social swirl and Mrs. Marcos had partly paid her way through school working in the library.
Flanked by Senator Puyat and Speaker Laurel, both suited, Mr. Marcos stood on the rostrum, in a barong. He looked rested. He bowed to the Supreme Court, he looked up at the klieg lights, he glanced at his watch. He’d worked his way from the front door to the rostrum, shaking hands, murmuring greetings—the amenities. One after the other, the two gavels banged: “For my part, I declare the House open for the session,” said Speaker Laurel, an old sad man with long white hair who must now live with the memory of a Bicol hill and a dead son. “For my part,” rasped Senate President Puyat, “I declare the Senate open for the session,” then the invocation that would have the editorial writers the next day tripping over each other, praising it, but meaningless to this one citizen until the Church gives up its pawnshops. And finally, Mr. Marcos’s quick descent to the microphones three steps below and the State-of-the-Nation address that would all but be forgotten in the terror with which that long week ended…
Thirty-five minutes he spoke, forty, if you counted the applause before and after, to a hall that had been fuller in previous years. But the persistent talk of assassination had finally worked its poison, and the overzealous guards had kept out more people than they should have. Some nuns there were in the mezzanine, their arms folded, looking quietly at Mr. Marcos; a row of impassive-faced diplomats sat below, among them the Honorable Mr. Addis whose garage the students had burned down a couple of years ago; and no more than half a hundred citizens—non-military, non-political, non-official—brown, sober, thoughtful, scattered through the hall.
While Mr. Marcos and his retinue walked out of the hall, to their fateful encounter with the papier mache crocodile and the cardboard coffin, the reporters on the floor swarmed all over the Opposition, cornering Senators Salonga, Aquino, and Roxas, who dutifully cleared their throats and gave their verdicts.
Ah, the papier-mache crocodile. A classic of reportage is Pete Lacaba’s The January 26 Confrontation: A Highly Personal Account (February 7, 1970). It deserves to be read in full, but here’s an extended passage that tells us what was happening as Polotan reported on what was going-on in the Legislative Building:
The President was already delivering his State of the Nation message: loudspeakers on both sides of the legislative building relayed the familiar voice and the equally familiar rhetoric to anyone in the streets who cared to listen. In front of the building, massed from end to end of Burgos Drive, spilling over to the parking lot and the grassy sidewalk that forms an embankment above the Muni golf course, were the demonstrators. Few of them cared to listen to the President. They had brought with them microphones and loudspeakers of their own and they lent their ears to people they could see, standing before them, on the raised ground that leads to the steps of the legislative building, around the flagpole, beneath a flag that was at half-mast. There were, according to conservative estimates, at least 20,000 of them, perhaps even 50,000. Beyond the fringes of this huge convocation stood the uniformed policemen, their long rattan sticks swinging like clocks pendulums at their sides; with them were the members of the riot squad, wearing crash helmets and carrying wicker shields.
I came on foot from the Luneta, which was as far as my taxi could go, and made straight for the Congress driveway. A cop at the foot of the driveway took one look at my hair and waved me away, pointing to the demonstrators beyond a row of white hurdles. When I pointed to the special press badge pinned to the breast pocket of my leather jacket, he eyed me suspiciously, but finally let me through the cordon sanitaire. The guard at the door of Congress was no less suspicious, on guard against intruders and infiltrators, and along the corridors it seemed that every man in uniform tightened his grip on his carbine as I passed by, and strained his eyes to read the fine print on my press badge.
The doors of the session hall were locked, presumably to prevent late entrances from disturbing the assembly listening to the Presidents message. A clutch of photographers who had arrived late milled outside the session hall, talking with some men in barong Tagalog, pleading and demanding to be let in. The men in barong Tagalog shook their heads, smiled ruefully, and shrugged; they had their orders. I decided to go out and have a look at the demonstration.
Among the demonstrators it was possible to feel at ease. None of them carried guns, they didnt stand on ceremony, and there was no need for the aura of privilege that a press badge automatically confers on its wearer. I took off the badge, pocketed it, and reflected on the pleasurable sensation that comes from being inconspicuous. It seemed awkward, absurd, to strut around with a label on a lapel proclaiming ones identity, a feeling doubtless shared by cops who were even then surreptitiously removing their name plates. Also, I was curious. No joiner of demonstrations in my antisocial student days, I now wanted to know how it felt like to be in one, not as journalistic observer but as participant, and I wanted to find out what treatment I could expect from authority in this guise.
I found out soon enough, and the knowledge hurt.
At about half past five, the demo that had been going on for more than four hours was only beginning to warm up. The colegialas in their well-pressed uniforms were wandering off toward the Luneta, munching on pinipig crunches and dying of boredom. Priests and seminarians lingered at one edge of the crowd, probably discussing the epistemology of dissent. Behind the traffic island in the middle of Burgos Drive, in the negligible shade of the pine trees, ice cream and popsicle carts vied for attention with small tables each laden with paper and envelopes, an improvised cardboard mailbox and a sign that urged: Write Your Congressman. In this outer circle of the demo, things were relatively quiet; but in the inner circle, nearer Congress, right below the mikes, the militants were restless, clamorous, chanting their slogans, carrying the streamers that bore the names of their organizations, waving placards (made out of those controversial Japanese-made calendars the administration gave away during the campaign) that pictured the President as Hitler, the First Couple as Bonnie and Clyde.
There were two mikes, taped together; and this may sound frivolous, but I think the mikes were the immediate cause of the trouble that ensued. They were in the hands of Edgar Jopson of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, the group that had organized the rally and secured the permit for it. The NUSP dubbed its demonstration the January 26 Movement; its chief objective was to demand a nonpartisan Constitutional Convention in 1971. Demonstrations, however, are never restricted to members of the organization to which a permit has been issued. They are, according to standard practice, open to all sympathizers who care to join; and to the January 26 Movement the veterans of countless demos sent their representatives. Swelling the numbers of the dissenters were youth organizations like the Kabataang Makabayan, the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan, the Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino, the Kilusan ng Kabataang Makati; labor groups like the National Association of Trade Unions; peasant associations like the Malayang Samahang Magsasaka.
Now, at about half past five, Jopson, who was in polo barong and sported a red armband with the inscription J26M, announced that the next speaker would be Gary Olivar of the SDK and of the University of the Philippines student council. Scads of demonstration leaders stood with Jopson on that raised ground with the Congress flagpole, but Olivar was at this point not to be seen among them. The mikes passed instead to Roger Arienda, the radio commentator and publisher of Bomba. Arienda may sound impressive to his radio listeners, but in person he acts like a parody of a high-school freshman delivering Mark Anthonys funeral oration. His bombast, complete with expansive gestures, drew laughter and Bronx cheers from the militants up front, who now started chanting: We want Gary! We want Gary!
Arienda retreated, the chant grew louder, and someone with glasses who looked like a priest took the mikes and in a fruity, flute-thin voice pleaded for sobriety and silence. We are all in this together, he fluted. We are with you. There is no need for shouting. Let us respect each other. Or words to that effect. By this time, Olivar was visible, standing next to Jopson. It was about a quarter to six.
When Jopson got the mikes back, however, he did not pass them on to Olivar. Once more he announced: Ang susunod na magsasalita ay si Gary Olivar. Olivar stretched out his hand, waiting for the mikes, and the crowd resumed its chant; but Jopson after some hesitation now said: Aawitin natin ang Bayang Magiliw. Those seated, squatting, or sprawled on the road rose as one man. Jopson sang the first verse of the national anthem, then paused, as if to let the crowd go on from there: instead he went right on singing into the mikes, drowning out the voices of everybody else, pausing every now and then for breath or to change his pitch.
Olivar stood there with a funny expression on his face, his mouth assuming a shape that was not quite a smile, not quite a scowl. Other demonstration leaders started remonstrating with Jopson, gesturing toward the mikes, but he pointedly ignored them. He repeated his instructions to NUSP members, then started acting busy and looking preoccupied, all the while clutching the mikes to his breast. Manifestoes that had earlier been passed from hand to hand now started flying, in crumpled balls or as paper planes, toward the demonstration leaders perch. It was at this point that one of the militants grabbed the mikes from Jopson.
Certainly there can be no justification for the action of the militants. The NUSP leaders had every right to pack up and leave, since their permit gave them only up to six oclock to demonstrate and they had declared their demonstration formally closed; and since it was their organization that had paid for the use of the microphones and loudspeakers, they had every right to keep these instruments ot themselves. Yet, by refusing to at least lend their mikes to the radicals, the NUSP leaders gave the impression of being too finicky; they acted like an old maid aunt determined not to surrender her Edwardian finery to a hippie niece, knowing that it would be used for more audacious purposes than she had ever intended for it. The radicals would surely demand more than a nonpartisan Constitutional Convention; they would speak of more fundamental, doubtless violent, changes; and it was precisely the prospect of violence that the NUSP feared. The quarrel over the mikes revealed the class distinctions in the demonstration: on the one hand the exclusive-school kids of the NUSP, bred in comfort, decent, respectful, and timorous; and on the other hand the public-school firebrands of groups like the KM and the SDK, familiar with privation, rowdy, irreverent, troublesome. Naturally, the nice dissenters wanted to dissociate themselves from anything that smelled disreputable, and besides the mikes belonged to them.
Now the mikes had passed to a young man, a labor union leader I had seen before, at another demonstration, whose name I do not know.
It had happened so fast Jopson was caught by surprise; the next thing he knew the mikes were no longer in his possession. This young labor union leader was a terrific speaker. He was obviously some kind of hero to the militants, for they cheered him on as he attacked the counter-revolutionaries who want to end this demonstration, going on from there to attack fascists and imperialists in general. By the time he was through, his audience had a new, a more insistent chant: Rebolusyon! Rebolusyon! Rebolusyon!
Passions were high, exacerbated by the quarrel over the mikes; and the President had the back luck of coming out of Congress at this particular instant.
Here is Ferdinand Marcos, writing in his diary, with his own take on what happened next, in his diary entry for January 26, 1970:
The invocation of Father Pacifico Ortiz, Ateneo head, was in poor taste. It castigated the government referring to goons, high prices, streets not being safe, the threat of revolution and how the citizens were ready to fight for their rights even in the barricades.
It was an attempt at the state of the nation. I hope he is happy with what he has helped to bring about.
Raul Manglapus engineered this with the help of the Jesuits apparently for all the Catholic schools had delegations. But apparently they were infiltrated by the Kabataan Makabayan who with some students started the violence.
After the State of the Nation address, which was perhaps my best so far, and we were going down the front stairs, the bottles, placard handles, stones and other missiles started dropping all around us on the driveway to the tune of a “Marcos, Puppet” chant.
As the intelligence reports it, the demonstrators had brought a coffin which they carried from the street below to the site of the flagpole, when they pushed it into the faces of the policemen. The policemen then threw the coffin to the street below and may have hit two demonstrators. The latter then took out a stuffed alligator from inside the coffin and threw it at the policemen who threw it back. Then the wood, bottle and stone throwing which caught us at the front stairs. I could not go into the car as Imelda kept standing on the stairs. Col. Ver tried to push me inside but I ordered the First Lady to be fetched and put inside first. Since she could not be pulled by anyone, I had to do it myself. I am afraid I pushed her into the car floor much too hard. Anyway I bumped my head behind the right ear against the car’s door side and twisted my weak right ankle again. We moved out under a hail of stones. But the PSA agent covering me, Agent Suson, was hit in the forehead and left eyelid and took four stitches. I thought it was Col. Ver as his barong was splashed with splotches of blood but Suson’s blood had spilled on him as he was on my right.
A year later, he would write, on January 25, 1971, in his diary,
This is the turning point. The congressional opening and State of the Nation address ceremonies were peaceful.
And the whole nation heaved a sigh of relief. For many had left for the provinces and for abroad to avoid the imagined dangers of a revolution.
Chino Roces, Manglapus, the radicals who have been predicting the start of a revolution today must be disappointed.
It’s interesting that even when he padlocked Congress, Marcos found it necessary to retain the SONA, whether delivering it to the public or some sort of temporary –and later, quasi-permanent, then, permanent– legislature.
I think it was during those years that the whole thing became less a function of the state and its co-equal branches coming together, and more a presidential bravura performance; something we have not quite gotten out our system. By this I mean that the SONA is meant to be a report to the legislature as a co-equal branch, and that whoever is president makes the report as a guest of the legislature. Over the years, the public has taken an increasingly prominent role in terms of being the broader audience –but the Marcos-era hangover remains, so that I suspect even the legislature remains only dimly aware that the speech and the rituals surrounding it, still retains an air of the Marcos era.

Jun 21

Messages of the President

The Messages of the President, started in 1936 by Jorge B. Vargas, Executive Secretary to President Manuel L. Quezon, is one of the flagship projects of PCDSPO. The series was started as a wide collection of executive issuances, speeches, messages, and other official papers of the President. The volumes were thus intended to serve as the definitive compilation of presidential documents. The series was continued until the Quirino administration, although the series for the Presidential administrations of Presidents Quezon, Roxas, and Quirino were never completed.

In 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III ordered the revival of the series and the constitution of a complete set, covering all fifteen presidential administrations to date. With pride, we continue what Vargas began. It is our mandate and mission to continue this moving forward.

We would like to extend our gratitude to our partners without whose gracious cooperation this project would have not been possible. Among these institutions are the Presidential Museum and Library, the Malacañang Records Office, the Supreme Court of the Philippines Library, the Senate of the Philippines Library, the House of Representatives Library, the National Library of the Philippines, the University of the Philippines Law Center, and the Jorge B. Vargas Museum.

As the President’s chief message-crafting body, we, the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, are mandated to provide strategic communication leadership and support to the Executive Branch, its composite agencies, and instrumentalities of government. The PCDSPO is also mandated to act as custodian of the institutional memory of the Office of the President.

A note on organization: Each presidential administration’s messages are in book form, compiled and subdivided into volumes.

The books are as follows:

Book 1: Emilio Aguinaldo
First Republic, 1899-1901. Includes the documents of the Dictatorial Government of the Philippines and Revolutionary Government of the Philippines.
Book 2: Jose P. Laurel
Second Republic, 1943-1945. Includes the documents of the Philippine Executive Commission established under the auspices of the Japanese Military Administration, 1942-1943
Book 3: Manuel L. Quezon
Commonwealth of the Philippines, 1935-1944. Includes the first term, 1935-1941 of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth government in unoccupied areas (December 1941-March 1942), and the Commonwealth government-in-exile, 1942-1944
Book 4: Sergio Osmeña
Commonwealth of the Philippines, 1944-1946. Both for the Commonwealth government-in-exile and the restored Commonwealth of the Philippines
Book 5: Manuel Roxas
Commonwealth of the Philippines and Third Republic of the Philippines, 1946-1948
Book 6: Elpidio Quirino
Third Republic of the Philippines, 1948-1953
Book 7: Ramon Magsaysay
Third Republic of the Philippines, 1953-1957
Book 8: Carlos P. Garcia
Third Republic of the Philippines, 1957-1961
Book 9: Diosdado Macapagal
Third Republic of the Philippines, 1961-1965
Book 10: Ferdinand E. Marcos
Third Republic of the Philippines (1965-1972), The New Society (1972-1981), and Fourth Republic of the Philippines (1981-1986), 1965-1986
Book 11: Corazon C. Aquino
Fourth (1986-1987) and Fifth (1987-1992) Republics of the Philippines, 1986-1992
Book 12: Fidel V. Ramos
Fifth Republic of the Philippines, 1992-1998
Book 13: Joseph Ejercito Estrada
Fifth Republic of the Philippines, 1998-2001
Book 14: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Fifth Republic of the Philippines, 2001-2010
Book 15: Benigno S. Aquino III
Fifth Republic of the Philippines, 2010-2016
(Forthcoming series: Book 16: Rodrigo R. Duterte, 2016-2022)

Each book is subdivided into the following volumes:

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review
    • In the Commonwealth period, there were attempts to maintain a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings. The first instance can be found in Philippine Magazine, which chronicled President Manuel L. Quezon’s activities from November 1935 to June 1941 under its News Summary section. This was so because A. V. H. Hartendorp, the editor of Philippine Magazine, became President Quezon’s media adviser during the Commonwealth.
    • The Official Gazette began recording the President’s activities with Vol. 40, No. 1 (July 1941) until Vol. 40, No. 26 (December 1941). With the outbreak of the War and the government going into exile, the Official Gazette ceased publication, with the exception of the May 1943 issue published in the United States. The activities of President Quezon, and later President Sergio Osmeña, were thus published in Philippine Magazine from June 1942 to early 1945. The Official Gazette resumed the official account of the President’s affairs with Vol. 41, No. 1 (April 1945). President Osmeña’s activities were recorded in this volume, first as the “Three Years in Review” (published in April 1945), then monthly as the Official Month in Review.
    • The monthly format was continued by the administration of President Manuel Roxas up until the early part of Garcia’s second term. The Official Month in Review ended on June 30, 1958 with Vol. 54, No. 12 of the Official Gazette and shifted to a weekly chronicle known as the Official Week in Review starting Vol. 54. No. 13 July 7, 1958. This format continued until the Marcos administration, when the Official Week started becoming more sporadic in its publication.
    • During the administration of President Corazon Aquino, the Official Week in Review was not published in the the Official Gazette; instead President Aquino’s activities were chronicled in the Malacañang Journal. The press releases containing the daily activities of Presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Estrada were lost during Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, but they have been recorded online by Newsflash.org, an organization we have partnered with. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s activities were recorded daily and published on the website of the Office of the Press Secretary.
    • Continuing the tradition of recording the President’s activities, the official chronicle began to record President Benigno S. Aquino III’s activities more frequently; these were released as press releases. These were then incorporated into the Official Gazette as the President’s Day and are now published daily on the Official Gazette website.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations
    • Appointments and Designations record individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines. These include the date which an individual is officially expected to fulfill their duties.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents
    • These are documents that, in the judgment of the President, are deserving of publication and preservation for the historical record of the country and the administration. In some cases when there were none selected at the time, we have provided the documents, based on official publications, the personal and public papers of the presidents or members of their staff, or other archival sources.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders
    • An Executive Order provides for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders
    • An Administrative Order relates to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations
    • A Proclamation fixes a date or declares a status or condition of public interest or importance, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to depend.
  • Volume 7: Other issuances
    • This volume collects all the other issuances of the different Presidents such as the Memorandum Orders, Memorandum Circulars, Memorandum Orders, General Orders, Letters of Implementation, Letters of Instruction, Presidential Decrees, and National Emergency Memorandum Orders.
  • Volume 8: Cabinet minutes
    • This volume collects all the minutes of all the meetings of the Presidents with their cabinet members.

We hope that this collection will be a useful and vital reference for generations to come.


Book 1: Emilio Aguinaldo

  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is a list that serves as the basis for the future second volume of President Emilio Aguinaldo’s official papers, which would constitute the first book of the Messages of the President series. This list is a guide for the future volume that collects President Aguinaldo’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is a list that serves as the basis for the future third volume of President Emilio Aguinaldo’s official papers, which would constitute the first book of the Messages of the President series. This list is a guide for the future volume that collects President Aguinaldo’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is a list that serves as the basis for the future sixth volume of President Emilio Aguinaldo’s official papers, which would constitute the first book of the Messages of the President series. This list is a guide for the future volume that collects President Aguinaldo’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.
  • Volume 7: Acts

  • Volume 7: Circulars

  • Volume 7: Decrees

  • Volume 7: Laws

  • Volume 7: Manifestos

  • Volume 7: Orders

    • These are lists that serve as the basis for the future seventh volume of President Emilio Aguinaldo’s official papers, which would constitute the first book of the Messages of the President series. These lists are a guide for the future volume that collects President Aguinaldo’s Acts, Circulars, Decrees, Laws, Manifestos, and Orders.

Book 2: Jose P. Laurel

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Jose P. Laurel’s official papers, which constitutes the second book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Laurel’s Official Month in Review, from the Official Gazette of the Second Republic, and serves as a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the second volume of President Jose P. Laurel’s official papers, from the Official Gazette of the Second Republic, which constitutes the second book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Laurel’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines. These include the date which an individual is officially expected to fulfill their duties.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

  • Volume 3: Miscellaneous Papers

    • This is the third volume of President Jose P. Laurel’s official papers, which constitutes the second book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Laurel’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance. This volume also collects President Laurel’s Miscellaneous Papers.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders

    • This is the fourth volume of President Jose P. Laurel’s official papers, which constitutes the second book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Laurel’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders and Administrative Ordinance

    • This is the fifth volume of President Jose P. Laurel’s official papers, which constitutes the second book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Laurel’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department. This volume also collects President Laurel’s Administrative Ordinance.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

  • Volume 6: Proclamation Seirei

    • This is the sixth volume of President Jose P. Laurel’s official papers, which constitutes the second book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Laurel’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance. This volume also collects President Laurel’s Proclamation Seirei.
  • Volume 7: Instruction Numbers

  • Volume 7: Military Ordinances

  • Volume 7: Notices to the Public

  • Volume 7: Notification Numbers

  • Volume 7: Order Numbers

  • Volume 7: Ordinance Numbers

    • This is the seventh volume of President Jose P. Laurel’s official papers, which constitutes the second book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Laurel’s Instruction Numbers, Military Ordinances, Notices to the Public, Notification Numbers, Order Numbers, and Ordinance Numbers.

Book 3: Manuel L. Quezon

President Manuel L. Quezon was the first President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. He assumed office on November 15, 1935. Elected to a second term in November, 1941, he was proclaimed by the National Assembly in December of 1941; Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña took their oath of office in Corregidor, on December 30, 1941. By virtue of the 1940 amendments to the Constitution, Manuel L. Quezon was only supposed to have served for an additional two years. Sergio Osmeña was scheduled to assume the presidency of the Commonwealth of the Philippines after President Manuel L. Quezon’s term and would have assumed office on November 15, 1943.

However, the Philippines was occupied by the Japanese, and was at war. On November 12, 1943, Joint Resolution No. 95 was passed by the U.S. Congress and was approved by the President of the United States, continuing President Manuel L. Quezon’s term for the duration of the war and postponing Sergio Osmeña’s right to succeed the presidency until constitutional processes had been restored in the country. Manuel L. Quezon was President until his death on August 1, 1944.

Executive Issuances of President Manuel L. Quezon began with Executive Order No. 1 and 2, signed on November 15, 1935; this series lasted until January 2, 1942. A new series consisting of only one issuance started in 1942. Upon the establishment of the Commonwealth Government-in-Exile in Washington, D.C., issuances were designed ‘W’ started on June 1, 1942 and ended with Executive Order Nos. 13-W and 14-W signed on June 20, 1944.

President Manuel L. Quezon’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines, including an issue of the Official Gazette dated May 1943 volume 41 number 1 published in Washington by the Government-in-Exile; the Malacañang Records Office which has the published compilations of Wartime Issuances or the ‘W’ series; Messages of the President which is composed of five volumes and sub-divided into two parts; Philippine Magazine, and Philippines published by the Office of the Resident Commissioner to the United States. Other sources used are the book bound and loose leaf compilation of different collections from the Jorge B. Vargas, Arturo B. Rotor Papers, Quezon Family Collection, the Basilio J. Valdes Papers, and the National Library of the Philippines.

There are two unnumbered Executive Orders that were signed by President Manuel L. Quezon in 1942. These documents are considered as either pre-war documents or as a part of the new series of Executive Issuances of President Manuel L. Quezon in 1942.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Manuel L. Quezon’s official papers, which constitutes the third book of the Messages of the President series. The series was started in 1936 by Executive Secretary Jorge B. Vargas, during the first year in office of Quezon, the first President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. This volume collects President Quezon’s Official Month in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the second volume of President Manuel L. Quezon’s official papers, which constitutes the third book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quezon’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines. These include the date which an individual is officially expected to fulfill their duties.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the second volume of President Manuel L. Quezon’s official papers, which constitutes the third book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quezon’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Manuel L. Quezon’s official papers, which constitutes the third book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quezon’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Manuel L. Quezon’s official papers, which constitutes the third book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quezon’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department. This volume also collects President Quezon’s General Orders, executed in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Philippine Army.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Manuel L. Quezon’s official papers, which constitutes the third book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quezon’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.

Book 4: Sergio Osmeña

President Sergio Osmeña is the second President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. He assumed office after the death of Manuel L. Quezon on August 1, 1944. President Osmeña was scheduled to assume the presidency of the Commonwealth of the Philippines after Manuel L. Quezon’s term and would have assumed office on November 15, 1943. However, the Philippines was occupied by the Japanese, and was at war. On November 12, 1943, Joint Resolution No. 95 was passed by the United States Congress and was approved by the President of the United States, continuing President Quezon’s term for the duration of the war and postponing Osmeña’s right to succeed the presidency until constitutional processes had been restored in the country. Osmeña relinquished his right to the presidency to Quezon because under the circumstances, the principal concern and primary consideration of the government was to win the war, liberate its people, and establish independence. Osmeña mentioned this in his speech as Vice President, formally relinquishing his right to the presidency. Sergio Osmeña was President until May 28, 1946.

The executive issuances of President Osmeña began with Proclamation No. 1-W, signed on August 1, 1944, in Washington, D.C. On September 27, 1944, the ‘W’ series was dropped and the numbering was changed starting with Executive Order No. 20. His executive issuances ended with Proclamation No. 38, signed on May 27, 1948.

President Osmeña’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; Philippines Magazine; Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; various ephemera, including government booklets; and the MacArthur Archive Collections.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, the book title should be transcribed in italics.

  • Volumes 1 and 2: Official Month in Review and Appointments and Designations

    • This is the first and second volume of President Sergio Osmeña’s official papers, which constitutes the fourth book of the Messages of the President series. President Osmeña—the second President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines—assumed office on August 1, 1944, and was President until May 28, 1946. This volume collects the Official Gazette’s chronicling of the President’s principal activities and undertakings. This was called The Official Month in Review, which began in May 1945. This volume also contains the records of President Osmeña’s presidential appointees.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Sergio Osmeña’s official papers, which constitutes the fourth book of the Messages of the President series. President Osmeña—the second President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines but for the current generation and the ongoing task of nation building—assumed office on August 1, 1944, and was President until May 28, 1946. This volume collects President Osmeña’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volumes 4, 5, and 6: Executive Orders, Administrative Orders, and Proclamations

    • This is the fourth, fifth, and sixth volume of President Sergio Osmeña’s official papers, which constitutes the fourth book of the Messages of the President series. The fourth volume contains President Osmeña’s executive orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers. The fifth volume collects President Osmeña’s administrative orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head. The sixth volume collects President Osmeña’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.

Book 5: Manuel Roxas

President Manuel Roxas was the last President and of the Commonwealth of the Philippines and the first President of the Third Republic of the Philippines after the United States of America recognized the sovereignty of the Philippines. He assumed office on May 28, 1946 after he won the presidential elections over Sergio Osmeña. Manuel Roxas was President until his death due to a heart attack after delivering a speech at Clark Air Base in Angeles, Pampanga on April 15, 1948.

The Executive Issuances of President Manuel Roxas began with Proclamation No. 39, signed on May 28, 1946. He continued the numbering of his predecessor, Sergio Osmeña, for his first few issuances. He started with his own numbering with Executive Order No. 1 and Proclamation No. 1 which were both signed on Independence Day, July 4, 1946, and ended with Executive Order No. 128, signed on April 21, 1948.

President Manuel Roxas’ documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; the Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; the MacArthur Archives Collections; and Speeches, Addresses and Messages as the President of the Philippines, Volume 1 and Papers, Addresses and Other Writings of Manuel Roxas, Volume 2, which were both published in 1954.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Manuel Roxas’ official papers, which constitutes the fifth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Roxas’ Official Month in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the second volume of President Manuel Roxas’ official papers, which constitutes the fifth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Roxas’ Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines. These include the date which an individual is officially expected to fulfill their duties.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Manuel Roxas’ official papers, which constitutes the fifth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Roxas’ Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Manuel Roxas’ official papers, which constitutes the fifth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Roxas’ Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Manuel Roxas’ official papers, which constitutes the fifth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Roxas’ Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Manuel Roxas’ official papers, which constitutes the fifth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Roxas’ proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.

Book 6: Elpidio Quirino

President Elpidio Quirino was the Second President of the Third Republic of the Philippines. He succeeded to the presidency unexpectedly when Manuel Roxas died in the third year of his four-year term; he assumed office on April 17, 1948, two days after the death of Manuel Roxas. He continued his presidency for a full term after he won the presidential elections on November 8, 1949 on his own. Elpidio Quirino was President until the end of his term on December 30, 1953

The Executive Issuances of President Elpidio Quirino began with Administrative Order No. 51 and Proclamation No. 61, signed on April 17, 1948; he continued the numbering of his predecessor Manuel Roxas and ended with Executive Order Nos. 663 and 664 and Administrative Order Nos. 261 to 266 which were all signed on March 17, 1957.

President Elpidio Quirino’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; the Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; Messages of the President Volume 8; The Quirino Way: Collection of Speeches and Addresses of Elpidio Quirino; and The New Philippine Ideology.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Elpidio Quirino’s official papers, which constitutes the sixth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quirino’s Official Month in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the second volume of President Elpidio Quirino’s official papers, which constitutes the sixth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quirino’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines. These include the date which an individual is officially expected to fulfill their duties.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Elpidio Quirino’s official papers, which constitutes the sixth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quirino’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Elpidio Quirino’s official papers, which constitutes the sixth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quirino’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Elpidio Quirino’s official papers, which constitutes the sixth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quirino’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Elpidio Quirino’s official papers, which constitutes the sixth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Quirino’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.

Book 7: Ramon Magsaysay

President Ramon Magsaysay was the seventh President of the Philippines and the third President of the Republic of the Philippines after World War II. He assumed office on December 30, 1953 after Elpidio Quirino lost his opportunity to get a second full term as President of the Philippines. President Ramon Magsaysay was President until his death in an airplane accident on March 17, 1957. This was the first time that an elected president did not come from the Senate.

The Executive Issuances of President Ramon Magsaysay began with Executive Order No. 1 and Proclamation No. 1, issued on December 30, 1953, and ended with Administrative Order No. 394, which was signed on March 17, 1957.

President Ramon Magsaysay’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines and Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Ramon Magsaysay’s official papers, which constitutes the seventh book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Magsaysay’s Official Month in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the second volume of President Ramon Magsaysay’s official papers, which constitutes the seventh book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Magsaysay’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines. These include the date which an individual is officially expected to fulfill their duties.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Ramon Magsaysay’s official papers, which constitutes the seventh book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Magsaysay’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Ramon Magsaysay’s official papers, which constitutes the seventh book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Magsaysay’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Ramon Magsaysay’s official papers, which constitutes the seventh book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Magsaysay’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Ramon Magsaysay’s official papers, which constitutes the seventh book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Magsaysay’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.

Book 8: Carlos P. Garcia

President Carlos P. Garcia was the fourth President of the Philippines. He became President and assumed office on March 18, 1957, upon the death of Ramon Magsaysay, and was elected to a full four-year term the same year. President Carlos P. Garcia was President until December 30, 1961.

The Executive Issuances of President Carlos P. Garcia began with Administrative Order No. 235 and Proclamation Nos. 395 to 397, signed on March 18, 1957, he continued the numbering of his predecessor Ramon Magsaysay and ended with Executive Order Nos. 455 to 461; Proclamation Nos. 814 and 815; and Administrative Order No. 387 which were all signed on December 29, 1961.

President Carlos P. Garcia’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines and Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Carlos P. Garcia’s official papers, which constitutes the eighth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Garcia’s Official Month in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the second volume of President Carlos P. Garcia’s official papers, which constitutes the eighth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Garcia’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines. These include the date which an individual is officially expected to fulfill their duties.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Carlos P. Garcia’s official papers, which constitutes the eighth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Garcia’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Carlos P. Garcia’s official papers, which constitutes the eighth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Garcia’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Carlos P. Garcia’s official papers, which constitutes the eighth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Garcia’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Carlos P. Garcia’s official papers, which constitutes the eighth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Garcia’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.

Book 9: Diosdado Macapagal

President Diosdado Macapagal was the ninth President of the Philippines and was the fifth President of the Third Republic. He assumed office on December 30, 1961 after defeating Carlos P. Garcia in the 1961 Elections and was President until December 30, 1965.

The Executive Issuances of President Diosdado Macapagal began with Executive Order No. 1, signed on December 30, 1961 and ended with Executive Order No. 299; Administrative Order No. 188; and Proclamation No. 525 which were signed on December 29, 1965.

President Diosdado Macapagal’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; and the Fullness of Freedom: Speeches and Statements of President Diosdado Macapagal.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Diosdado Macapagal’s official papers, which constitutes the ninth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Macapagal’s Official Week in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the Comprehensive List of Cabinet appointments, 1899-2016. In lieu of the second volume of President Diosdado Macapagal’s official papers, which was meant to constitute the ninth book of the Messages of the President series, we are providing this list. This volume serves as an initial basis for collecting President Macapagal’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Diosdado Macapagal’s official papers, which constitutes the ninth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Macapagal’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders

    • This is the fourth volume of President Diosdado Macapagal’s official papers, which constitutes the ninth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Macapagal’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Diosdado Macapagal’s official papers, which constitutes the ninth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Macapagal’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Diosdado Macapagal’s official papers, which constitutes the ninth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Macapagal’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.
  • Volume 7: Memorandum Circulars

    • This is the seventh volume of President Diosdado Macapagal’s official papers, which constitutes the ninth book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Macapagal’s Memorandum Circulars. These are acts of the President on matters relating to internal administration, which the President desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the departments, agencies, bureaus or offices of the Government, for information or compliance.

Book 10: Ferdinand E. Marcos

President Ferdinand E. Marcos was the tenth President of the Philippines and was the sixth and the last President of the Third Republic of the Philippines. He assumed office on December 30, 1965. He was re-elected in 1969 becoming the first President to serve a second term. President Ferdinand E. Marcos was barred from running for a third term as president in 1973 so on September 23, 1972, by virtue of a presidential Proclamation No. 1081 which was signed on September 21, 1972, he declared Martial Law citing the threats of the Communists and Muslim insurgencies as justification which had come into force and would extend his rule beyond the constitutional two-term limit. After the lifting of Martial Law, on June 16, 1981, the First Presidential Elections of the Fourth Republic was held. President Ferdinand E. Marcos ran and won over the other candidates. On November 3, 1985, he announced that a presidential snap election would take place the following year due to escalating discontent from the public and pressure from foreign allies. The snap election was legalized with the passage of Batas Pambansa Blg. 883. The election was held on February 7, 1986. The Commission on Election (COMELEC) declared President Ferdinand E. Marcos as the winner, on the other hand, the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) declared Corazon C. Aquino. The failed election process resulted to the People Power Movement. President Ferdinand E. Marcos was President until February 25, 1986, Corazon C. Aquino was inaugurated as the President of the Philippines at Club Filipino, and afterwards, President Ferdinand E. Marcos held his inauguration at the Malacañan Palace. After the inauguration, the Marcos Family hurriedly fled the palace.

The Executive Issuances of President Ferdinand E. Marcos began with Administrative Order No. 1, signed on December 30, 1965 and ended with Executive Order No. 1093 that was signed on February 22, 1986.

President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; Presidential Speeches Volume Nos. 1 to 10; Encounter with Destiny; and the Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ official papers, which constitutes the 10th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Marcos’ Official Week in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the Comprehensive List of Cabinet appointments, 1899-2016. In lieu of the second volume of President Ferdinand E. Marcos’s official papers, which was meant to constitute the 10th book of the Messages of the President series, we are providing this list. This volume serves as an initial basis for collecting President Marcos’ Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ official papers, which constitutes the 10th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Marcos’ Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 3)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 4)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 5)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ official papers, which constitutes the 10th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Marcos’ Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders (Part 2)

    • This is the fifth volume of President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ official papers, which constitutes the 10th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Marcos’ Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ official papers, which constitutes the 10th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Marcos’ proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.
  • Volume 7: General Orders

  • Volume 7: Letter of Implementations

    • This is the seventh volume of President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ official papers, which constitutes the 10th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Marcos’ General Orders and Letter of Implementations.

Book 11: Corazon C. Aquino

President Corazon C. Aquino was the eleventh President of the Philippines and was the second and last President of the Fourth Republic. She was the first female President of the Philippines succeeding the presidency of Ferdinand E. Marcos. Known for leading the People Power Revolution in 1986, which restored democracy in the country, President Corazon C. Aquino assumed office on February 25, 1986, and was President until June 30, 1992.

The Executive Issuances of President Corazon C. Aquino began with Proclamation No. 1, signed on February 25, 1986 and ended with Proclamation No. 932 that was signed on June 29, 1992.

President Corazon C. Aquino’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; SONA Technical Report; Malacañang Journal; and the Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Corazon C. Aquino’s official papers, which constitutes the 11th book of the Messages of the President series. In lieu of a volume that collects President Aquino’s Official Month in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings, this instead is a collection of the issues of the Malacañang Journal established in the early years of Corazon C. Aquino’s presidency.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the Comprehensive List of Cabinet appointments, 1899-2016. In lieu of the second volume of President Corazon C. Aquino’s official papers, which was meant to constitute the 11th book of the Messages of the President series, we are providing this list. This volume serves as an initial basis for collecting President Aquino’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Corazon C. Aquino’s official papers, which constitutes the 11th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 3)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Corazon C. Aquino’s official papers, which constitutes the 11th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Corazon C. Aquino’s official papers, which constitutes the 11th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Corazon C. Aquino’s official papers, which constitutes the 11th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.
  • Volume 7: Memorandum Circulars

  • Volume 7: National Emergency Memorandum Orders

    • This is the seventh volume of President Corazon C. Aquino’s official papers, which constitutes the 11th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino’s Memorandum Circulars and National Emergency Memorandum Orders.

Book 12: Fidel V. Ramos

President Fidel V. Ramos was the twelfth President of the Philippines and was the second President of the fifth Republic. He assumed office on June 30, 1992 and was President until June 30, 1998.

The Executive Issuances of President Fidel V. Ramos began with Executive Order No. 1 and Memorandum Circular No. 1, signed on June 30, 1992 and ended with Proclamation No. 1266 that was signed on June 27, 1998.

President Fidel V. Ramos’ documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; SONA Technical Report; To Win the Future: People Empowerment for National Development; A Call to Duty; Citizenship and Civic Responsibility in a Third World Democracy; Time for Takeoff: The Philippines is ready for Competitive Performance in the Asia-Pacific; From Growth to Modernization: Raising the Political Capacity and Strengthening the Social Commitments of the Philippine State; Our Time has Come: The Goals we Set Ourselves to Obtain for our People are Now Within our Reach; Leadership for the 21st Century: Our Labors Today will Shape our Country’s Future; The Continuity of Freedom: A Democratic and Reformist Society is our Unique Competitive Advantage; and Developing as a Democracy: Reform and Recovery in the Philippines, 1992-1998.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Fidel V. Ramos’ official papers, which constitutes the 12th book of the Messages of the President series. In lieu of a volume that collects President Ramos’ Official Month in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings, we wish to refer you to the Philippine Headline News Online website as a resource for the official itineraries of President Ramos.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the Comprehensive List of Cabinet appointments, 1899-2016. In lieu of the second volume of President Fidel V. Ramos’s official papers, which was meant to constitute the 12th book of the Messages of the President series, we are providing this list. This volume serves as an initial basis for collecting President Ramos’ Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Fidel V. Ramos’ official papers, which constitutes the 12th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Ramos’ Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 3)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Fidel V. Ramos’ official papers, which constitutes the 12th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Ramos’ Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders (Part 2)

    • This is the fifth volume of President Fidel V. Ramos’ official papers, which constitutes the 12th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Ramos’ Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Fidel V. Ramos’ official papers, which constitutes the 12th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Ramos’ proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.

Book 13: Joseph Ejercito Estrada

President Joseph Ejercito Estrada was the thirteenth President of the Philippines and was the third President of the fifth Republic. He assumed office on June 30, 1998 due to allegations of corruption that resulted to impeachment trial, the administration of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada was peacefully overthrown by People Power II. He was President until January 20, 2001.

The Executive Issuances of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada began with Administrative Order No. 1 and Memorandum Order No. 1, signed on June 30, 1998 and ended with Memorandum Order No. 135 which was signed on January 16, 2001.

President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; SONA Technical Report; and from the website archive.org.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s official papers, which constitutes the 13th book of the Messages of the President series.In lieu of a volume that collects President Estrada’ Official Month in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings, we wish to refer you to the Philippine Headline News Online website as a resource for the official itineraries of President Estrada.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the Comprehensive List of Cabinet appointments, 1899-2016. In lieu of the second volume of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s official papers, which was meant to constitute the 13th book of the Messages of the President series, we are providing this list. This volume serves as an initial basis for collecting President Estrada’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s official papers, which constitutes the 13th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Estrada’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s official papers, which constitutes the 13th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Estrada’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s official papers, which constitutes the 13th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Estrada’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s official papers, which constitutes the 13th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Estrada’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.
  • Volume 7: Memorandum Circulars

    • This is the seventh volume of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s official papers, which constitutes the 13th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Estrada’s Memorandum Circulars. These are acts of the President on matters relating to internal administration, which the President desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the departments, agencies, bureaus or offices of the Government, for information or compliance.

Book 14: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the fourteenth President of the Philippines and was the fourth President of the fifth Republic. She assumed office on January 20, 2001, serving the remainder of the term of her predecessor Joseph Ejercito Estrada. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was reelected to a full second term in May 10, 2004. She was President until June 30, 2010.

The Executive Issuances of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo began with Memorandum Circular No. 1 signed on January 30, 2001 and ended with Proclamation No. 2111 and Executive Order No. 910 which were both signed on June 29, 2010.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; SONA Technical Report; A Compilation of Selected Presidential Speeches of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroryo; Strong Republic: Selected Speeches of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; and from the website archive.org.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s official papers, which constitutes the 14th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Arroyo’s Official Month in Review, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the Comprehensive List of Cabinet appointments, 1899-2016. In lieu of the second volume of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s official papers, which was meant to constitute the 14th book of the Messages of the President series, we are providing this list. This volume serves as an initial basis for collecting President Arroyo’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s official papers, which constitutes the 14th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Arroyo’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 1)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 2)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 3)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 4)

  • Volume 4: Executive Orders (Part 5)

    • This is the fourth volume of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s official papers, which constitutes the 14th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Arroyo’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s official papers, which constitutes the 14th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Arroyo’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head of the Executive Department.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s official papers, which constitutes the 14th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Arroyo’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.
  • Volume 7: General Orders

  • Volume 7: Letters of Instruction

  • Volume 7: Memorandum Circulars

  • Volume 7: Memorandum Orders

    • This is the seventh volume of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s official papers, which constitutes the 14th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Arroyo’s Memorandum Orders. These are acts of the President on matters of administrative detail or of subordinate or temporary interest which only concern a particular officer or office of the Government. This volume also collects President Arroyo’s General Orders, Letters of Instruction, and Memorandum Circulars.

Book 15: Benigno S. Aquino III

President Benigno S. Aquino III is the current and the fifteenth President of the Philippines and is the fifth President of the fifth Republic. He assumed office on June 30, 2010 and is President until June 30, 2016.

The Executive Issuances of President Benigno S. Aquino III began with Memorandum Circular No. 1 which was signed on July 1, 2010. President Benigno S. Aquino III’s documents were gathered from its official sources such as the Official Gazette of the Philippines; Malacañang Records Office’s Book of Executive Issuances; and the SONA Technical Report.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style was used for the citation. The titles that have been provided by the researchers are enclosed in square brackets, considering that the exact wordings and its order were not verbatim from the document being described. Book titles are italicized while the speech titles are not. If in any case that the book title is the same as the title of the speech, it is transcribed in italics because it is the book title.

  • Volume 1: Official Week/Month in Review

    • This is the first volume of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s official papers, which constitutes the 15th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects the President’s day of President Aquino III, a chronicle of the Presidents’ official affairs, i.e., their principal activities and undertakings.
  • Volume 2: Appointments and Designations

    • This is the second volume of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s official papers, which constitutes the 15th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino III’s Appointments and Designations, a record of the individual appointments and designations by the President of the Philippines. These include the date which an individual is officially expected to fulfill their duties.
  • Volume 3: Historical Papers and Documents

    • This is the third volume of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s official papers, which constitutes the 15th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino III’s Historical Papers and Documents, which include letters, statements, and other documents deemed of historical significance.
  • Volume 4: Executive Orders

    • This is the fourth volume of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s official papers, which constitutes the 15th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino III’s Executive Orders, which provide for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers.
  • Volume 5: Administrative Orders

    • This is the fifth volume of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s official papers, which constitutes the 15th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino’s Administrative Orders, which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of the President’s duties as administrative head.
  • Volume 6: Proclamations

    • This is the sixth volume of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s official papers, which constitutes the 15th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino’s proclamations, which fix a date or declare a status or condition of public interest or importance.
  • Volume 7: Memorandum Circulars

    • This is the seventh volume of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s official papers, which constitutes the 15th book of the Messages of the President series. This volume collects President Aquino’s Memorandum Circulars. These are acts of the President on matters relating to internal administration, which the President desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the departments, agencies, bureaus or offices of the Government, for information or compliance.

May 27

Alumni Spotlight

 

Forward Brent School Manila Student Publication  | May 2016

 

clipping- Brent publication

May 07

False Messiahs enfeebling institutions

The burden of history is solely on your shoulders now.

So we are where we are. The man to beat is a demagogue:
dem·a·gogue?dem???ä?/noun
  1. a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.synonyms:rabble-rouser, agitator, political agitator, soapbox orator, firebrand, fomenter, provocateur”he was drawn into a circle of campus demagogues”
    • (in ancient Greece and Rome) a leader or orator who espoused the cause of the common people.
He has, as editorials have pointed out, promoted a Death squad culture and promoted A slide to mob rule. All the while engaging in legal stonewalling.

Any time a demagogic candidate wins a nomination, it suggests a potential failure of political institutions, including (but not limited to) the media. Nate Silver, analyzing the Republican primary victories of Donald Trump.

And yes, as Leon Ma. Guerrero long ago observed, “today began yesterday.”
In February, 2009, I wrote (“The end of social mobility”) that we risked a revival of fascism because the core constituency of liberal democracy, the Old Middle Class, had been gutted, and that the New Middle Class came into being without the institutions of church, club, and school, to foster the civic sense necessary for positive engagement for the citizenry. At the same time, we faced the problem of a permanent underclass of citizens trapped in poverty without prospects of escaping it. In 2010, a great effort began to liberate the very poor –but so intensive was this effort, that, upon reflection, it may be that the New Middle Class –or, to be precise, a significant but not major, chunk of it– has become even more alienated as to provide the legions for a fascist movement.
I don’t agree with Julio Teehankee on many things (we support different candidates after all) but when he observed, that Duterte is the candidate of the elite that has been left out by other elite he makes a good point. And this is where Duterte is cast from the same mold as Ferdinand Marcos. I first discussed the concept of the decline of the institutions that molded –even held together– the social structure, namely churches, clubs, and schools, in 2004; as I mentioned above, it seemed to me in 2009 that unless something happened, things were headed in a direction ripe for fascism.

Friends for now.

A kind of validation of this thesis of mine, for me, is this post by Susan Quimpo, a member of a team campaigning against Marcos revisionism, and her experience talking to students in Baguio, Pangasinan, Cabantuan, Metro Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan City, and Zamboanga.
So we see the result of a generation that has come of age in the absence of the formative, including cultural, socialization by these institutions. A generation who, together with their elders nostalgic for the dictatorship, have formed the constituency for the National Socialism –how else to wed the Left and Right?– of Rodrigo Duterte and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Now we are where we are. While the Middle is not out for the count, still, the alliance of the Left and Right is delighted. Let’s begin with a big vocabulary-building word.

The famous editorial cartoon of Hitler and Stalin exchanging complements over the corpse of Poland

Schadenfreude: schadenfreude |????d(?)n?fr??d?, German ????d?n?fr?yd?| noun [ mass noun ] pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune. a business that thrives on Schadenfreude. a frisson of Schadenfreude. ORIGIN German Schadenfreude, from Schaden ‘harm’ + Freude ‘joy’.
That’s the theme of Heneral Lunacy speaking for the schadenfreude crowd, taking delight in the growing unease –to put it mildly– over the possibility of a Duterte presidency (a more thoughtful variation is here, my only comment, in terms of the historical analogies presented, being the findings of this study).
To both articles, a good rebuttal here, but I would go further and say what these essays reveals is how the Left and the Right are in mouthwatering alliance. This carries its own internal contradictions, but also, the basis for an alliance. Both sides can confidently claim they not only have the candidate’s ear, but that they will be able to prevail once their candidate is in office. An impassioned examination of the base of support of the candidate can be found in this Facebook entry.
As we approach decision day, it is well worth looking deeper into who Duterte is, and what he is not.
The man, the legend:

““Q. What would your government do, if you won? A. I would establish a military dictatorship. Q. What would happen to the politicians of the republic? A. Nothing, except they would have to go to work. Q. Why were you able to collaborate with the government in apparent loyalty for so long? A. I collaborated loyally as long as I thought the Republic represented the national will. Q. What about the February elections? Don’t they represent the national will? A. Elections never do.” —Generalissimo Francisco Franco, interview, during the Spanish Civil War

What Rodrigo Duterte is: firmly a member of the establishment, the kind one would call a provincial baron; or a “Boss”: See Capital, Coercion, and Crime: Bossism in the Philippines by John Thayer Sidel.
  • Vicente G. Duterte: Father of Rodrigo Duterte
    • Cebu Danao Mayor (1946); Davao Governor (1958) [Moved to Davao]; Cabinet Secretary of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. for General Services (1967)
  • Ramon Durano Sr. “Mano Amon”: Cousin of Rodrigo Duterte (Rodrigo’s cousin, Beatriz Duterte married Ramon Durano Sr.)
  • Ramon Duterte: Uncle of Rodrigo Duterte
    • Vice-Mayor of Sergio Osmeña Jr.; became Mayor of Cebu City (Sept. 13, 1957-Dec. 31, 1959) when Serging ran for the House of Representatives. Was also a Judge of the Court of First Instance.
  • Ronald Duterte: Cousin of Rodrigo Duterte
    • Mayor of Cebu City (1983-86)
  • The Dutertes are only one of two families where a “father and son” served as Cebu City Mayor –Ramon Duterte and his son Ronald Duterte. The other family are the Osmeñas- with Sergio Osmeña, Jr. and Tomas Osmeña. Rodrigo Duterte himself maintained quite friendly ties with Senator Sergio Osmeña III.
  • But if the elder Duterte and their Cebu relatives were Marcos Loyalists, what then of Mayor Duterte himself? In the purge of local officials after EDSA, Rodrigo Duterte, together with Jejomar Binay, became a mayor under the auspices of the Minister (later Secretary) of the Interior, Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. While the Binays and Pimentels have parted ways, the Dutertes and Pimentels remain allies —though perhaps not in the true inner circle of Duterte. Here, three factions seem to be more relevant: the GMAFVR Combine (Sonny Dominguez, General Esperon, Nur Misuari, etc.) and the Marcoses (Romualdezes too); the CPP-NPA-NDF; and his own faction of benefactors and allies in business circles (aside from Dominguez, there’s Floirendo, and unnamed others as well as “offers of support”). And when he delivers his speeches, whether before the Makati Business Club or The Lyceum of the Philippines, he has his fair share of upper class support.
His appeal is based on a pre-modern view of our society and our country; the most he is willing to do is reduce the complexity of our evolving society and force it into an obsolete straitjacket, much as Marcos attempted.

“Marcos sees the Philippines as a society of tribes… And he sees himself as the great tribal chief, the ‘datu’ of pre-Spanish times. He destroyed much of the old network of family and regional loyalties to become the one and only patron, the king of Maharlika.” –Adrian Cristobal

The parallelisms with Ferdinand Marcos, while not exact, are striking. Products of the provincial gentry, glorying in the violent political culture of their places of origin, cultivating the Metropolitan elite to whom he has proven useful over the decades, demagogic in his addressing upper- and middle-class resentments and fears –in the case of Marcos, by means of projecting himself as a philosopher-king, and in the case of Duterte, by adopting the language of the streets (a transitional figure between the two would be Joseph Estrada, another inheritor of the Marcos machine and who attracted eager academicians who thought they could write policy and imprint it on his tabula rasa brain). With Fidel Ramos, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the Marcoses on the Right, and the CPP-NPA-NDF of Jose Ma. Sison on the Left, he can count on various ethnic loyalties but what holds everything together is of course fear. Which as its own rewards. Forget efforts to level the playing field.

Editorial cartoon by EZ Izon in The Philippines Free Press. Older readers can identify those surrounding Marcos.

While Marcos cloaked his ruthlessness in what he himself dismissively called “technical legalism,” Duterte’s public personality belongs to a different tradition –one created by Arsenio Lacson of Manila, who belonged to Bacolod gentry, was clever and cultured, but who adopted a rugged persona as a columnist then politician. But he was a rugged reformist through-and-through; for all their limitations, it is striking that two seeming opposites, the old party man Amang Rodriguez and the brash Lacson, both served as the most committed obstacles to the presidential ambitions of Ferdinand Marcos, who however had the good fortune of death claiming both leaders just when he, Marcos, was gunning for the presidency.

Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez, with a beaming Arsenio Lacson (in trademark shades) and a cap-wearing Lorenzo Tañada, at a Plaza Miranda rally. Each represented a different style of leadership; all three bitterly opposed Marcos.

So there is an element of fate, or luck –or misfortune– too. There is already plenty of analysis of this (see the start of this piece); there will be more to come. Back in 1996, I wrote this lengthy recounting of the period between Martial Law and Edsa, and this snippet serves to flesh out the parallels I see: “Here was a grotesque combination of mailed fist, military inexorability, and characteristic disregard for details. A regime capable of displaying unbeatable cunning but prey to a self-destructive contempt for its opponents, and a tendency to botch things up.”
But remaining on topic:
This is what Rodrigo Duterte is not: He is neither a reformer nor a visionary. He is a representative of that portion of the elite for whom the accumulation of power and the enjoyment of its perks takes precedence over anything else, the latest incarnation of might-makes-right, the most prominent exponent of government-as-mafia. Thoughts on the 2016 Election makes for insightful reading on the trends in the election, the possible developments on election day, and the question of the economy (so please read the whole thing!). But let me excerpt this summation of Rodrigo Duterte from that article:

One of the ‘darker’ notes surrounding the Duterte compulsion is what his candidacy really means. Yes, he is running on a ‘platform’ (such that it is) of anti-criminality, but the methods he has utilized and is espousing are terrifying in their implications. This is a man who has no qualms about using extrajudicial means to eliminate ‘petty’ criminals. He has promised to empower the military and the police to do just that, at their whim. With his broad support in the A/B/C categories, this can only be interpreted in one way: A war on the impoverished. This is class warfare at its most brutal and depressing. Rather than seeing the impoverished (those who are forced into a life of crime because of a lack of opportunity) as partners in development, men like Duterte (and those who support him) see these ‘criminals’ as something to be exterminated — sub-human and beyond redemption. Duterte has become the avatar of our collective worst impulses. We are faced with the reality of a blood-thirsty misogynist as our next president. That reflects on us collectively. Funnily enough, his straight shooting tough guy image only goes so far – He’ll insult and antagonize our allies (USA, Australia, India, Singapore), but will roll over and show his belly for countries like China. He’ll demand transaction histories and open accounts from his competitors, but will resort to legal trickery and obfuscation to evade answering questions transparently of his own alleged malfeasance.

For more on Duterte’s style, see Duterte in 1989: “Shoot-to-kill can never be shoot-to-live” in MindaNews.
What he is, then, is merely a product. See: They Created An Environment of Hate and Anger To Win The Presidency. Who are “they”? See Phil Bombita and Annelle Gumihid-Sabanal. An instrument to turn back the clock.
The Battle
We must, as Ed Garcia writes, make a Choice of conscience. Our collective decision, if made uncritically, is Betting the future, as Edilberto de Jesus warns. We can appeal to the moderate supporters of Duterte, and also appeal to the supporters of Grace Poe. But the basis of this must be knowing what is at stake.

In the coming days, the Philippines is set to elect its new leaders….Will the Philippines fall into a Machiavellian cyclical history as it did in the 20th century or, instead, embark on a Hegelian march towards the terminus of genuine democracy? Richard Heyderian, in Philippines at a Crossroads: “Iron Fist” vs. “Straight Path 2.0”?

Peachy Paderna, in a Facebook posts, points out:
The assumption seems to be that Duterte’s defeat can only be possible if other candidates cheat. We presume him to be invincible, due to survey results that consistently put him in the lead.
But election surveys–as helpful as they are–never claim to be predictive. They can help us make educated guesses, but no further. Recall that in the 2010 Vice Presidential race, Mar Roxas was long and far ahead of his opponents. In the run-up to the elections (as of 19 April 2010), 39% of SWS respondents were in favor of him. At far second was Jejomar Binay, who lagged by 14 sorry points at 25%. Sure and certain victory was foreseen for Roxas.
Then Binay stunned us all by winning. In the end, he cornered nearly 42% of the votes, with Roxas second at close to 40%.
Let’s zoom back to the present. In the last few weeks, numerous accounts of electoral fraud–specifically overseas–have surfaced. The story usually goes like this: “I voted for Duterte-Cayetano here in Siberia, but when the receipt came out, it showed that I voted for Mar-Leni. P@#%@ niyo LP, grabe pandaraya niyo!”
Many of these stories have already been discredited, and the COMELEC has vowed to file charges against those who make false claims on polling fraud. Altogether, however, it looks like the electorate–particularly the pro-Duterte bloc–are being conditioned to believe that if Duterte loses, it’s because Mar cheated him of the Presidency.
This is of course a preemptive move, but it’s also a move that eagerly courts civil unrest. Because while many Duterte supporters are possessed of reason, a vast majority of them have shown extreme savagery towards those who criticize or oppose their beloved candidate. Should Duterte lose, it’s not difficult to imagine their displeasure to manifest in discourse–or worse, action–of the same viciousness.
This isn’t a doomsday pronouncement. It’s only a possibility we must be mindful of. After all, the electoral exercise is, among many things, a frank acknowledgment of the breadth of possibility. This is why we troop to the polling booths in hopes that our candidate will pull through, never mind what the surveys say. In exercising our right to vote, we honor the fact of possibility offered to us by our democracy.
Anything can happen on May 9. Virtually anything can.
And there’s the rub.
As my aunt said in a video message, this is the most crucial election since the end of Martial Law. She was a veteran of the Parliament of the Streets. For those who did not live through the dictatorship, who lack a similar frame of reference, this may be hard to believe. But the signs are all there.
It will be a close fight, many say; as many say it won’t. We will only know after the polls close, what the popular verdict will be.
Let me close with this:

To all those backing Duterte, just remember, when the killings start, you should be beside him. All the way. Even after the river of blood overflows. Stand by him and tell yourself, you helped the blood flow. You are very much a part of it. Don’t wash your hands off it. Be proud of what you’ve done.Raissa Robles, journalist

More Readings:
This article is an extended postscript to my entry, What’s at stake: A Modernizing Nation, or a Never-Never Land?.
The splitting of the Reform Constituency: See Tina Cuyugan and Mikael de Lara Co.
On Church, club, and schools as institutions for formation and their decline: see my articles, Circle to Circle (2004); Elections are Like Water (also 2004); An Abnormal Return to Normality (2007); The Perpetual Avoidance of Opportunity (also 2007).

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