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).

May 01

What’s at stake: A Modernizing Nation, or a Never-Never Land?

Saturn Devouring His Son ("Saturno devorando a uno de sus niños") by Francisco Goya, painted 1819-1823. WikiArt says, "Between the years of 1819 and 1823, Goya painted a series of paintings on the walls his villa at Quinto del Sordo, all of which portrayed terrible, fantastical, or morbid imagery. These paintings are now called the Black Paintings, referring to the mental state of Goya during this dark time in his life, due to his bout with illness, which made him deaf, as well internal strife in Spain. This painting was completed of the walls of his dining room, and is a rendition of Saturn, the Roman mythological character, who, fearing that his children would one day overthrow him, ate each one of them upon their births. "

Saturn Devouring His Son (“Saturno devorando a uno de sus niños”) by Francisco Goya, painted 1819-1823. WikiArt says, “Between the years of 1819 and 1823, Goya painted a series of paintings on the walls his villa at Quinto del Sordo, all of which portrayed terrible, fantastical, or morbid imagery. These paintings are now called the Black Paintings, referring to the mental state of Goya during this dark time in his life, due to his bout with illness, which made him deaf, as well internal strife in Spain. This painting was completed of the walls of his dining room, and is a rendition of Saturn, the Roman mythological character, who, fearing that his children would one day overthrow him, ate each one of them upon their births. “

Many of you are familiar with Jack Welch’s description of Americans as thinking in days, the Japanese thinking in terms of decades, and the Chinese thinking in centuries, a comparison also used for the oldest surviving institution on earth, the Catholic Church. More modestly, the Peace Advocate Paulynn Paredes Sicam once said it takes ten years for change to become permanent.
Ten years is a long time. Which brings up a quote I keep returning to. It comes from William Shirer, writing about the fall of France, who in turn got it from Titus Livy, the Roman historian:
We reached these last days when we could endure neither our vices nor their remedies.
We are in those last days –of a campaign that will decide if we are a ningas-cogon culture or one ready to embrace modernity– and we are confronted with staying the course, which is tiring, even boring, certainly frustrating –or throwing caution to the winds.
Back in October 2015, I wrote about the coming elections and what’s at stake, in The Great Referendum: The national election of 2016. To me, the battle is Reformism versus Populism (and for more about this, see: Mina Roces on Malakas at Mahina, and two parts of a 2010 series, A more balanced Philippines and The Philippines is OK): or as another shrewd observer describes it, in The Pap of Populism:
A shrewd analyst may point out that, conceptually, there is little difference between pap and populist. Pap, in the sense of pandering insubstantial statements, is the stock in trade of populism politicians; or demagogues. Populist politicians, by their very nature, are more fixated on the duality of oppositional politics and rabble-rousing through inflammatory language. Populism, however, differs in meaning and application depending on the country and context – and, as a result, is difficult to appreciably define.
 
Or perhaps populism is like pornography: You know it when you see it.
For better or worse, the world is currently gripped in a rising tide of populism; from European elections to the brouhaha brewing in the United States elections, to ours. Granted, more often than not, our elections are nothing more populist beauty contests driven by who is the most ‘sincere’ in their pap pronouncements. Rather disconcertingly, populism is not a political ideology; rather, it does not fall within the conservative-liberal spectrum of modern politics. Instead, it is “stance and rhetoric more than an ideology or a set of positions.”[1] How do we fix our country? Kill the criminals. How do we fix infrastructure? By instituting a ‘war room’ or having the will to spend more. These are not solutions by any means; what they do is tap into a going sense of restiveness and disillusionment with complex issues and problems. They offer simple solutions, grounded in a sense that “it’s been done wrong” without every explaining how to address the ‘wrongs’ in any meaningful way. Populism works within binaries: They’re wrong, I’m right. They’re evil. I am good. They’re stupid. I am smart. They’re criminals. I am not. Simple answers are all we need for complex problems.
That sort of rather reductive thinking has been all too apparent during the recent SSS brouhaha. Insurance and pension management, by its very nature, is a complex undertaking requiring careful strategy and execution. Whether appreciated or not, the answer is never something as simple as increasing benefits or raising premiums or enhancing collection efficiency. The SSS pension hike offers us, as well, insight into the difference between a policy statement and a populist statement. A policy statement would be: “We must raise pensions, let’s figure out the best formula to do so.” A populist statement is: “Pensions must be raised, but the rich managers, elites, and hacienderos won’t!” Inflammatory, class-based rabble-rousing. It devolves issues into reductive ‘villains’ and ‘heroes;’ with the heroes, shaking their fist and the sky hurling invectives and decrying ‘elitism.’[2]
Other contentious issues of the day aptly demonstrate the reductive binary formulations, one such is Poe’s citizenship and residency. The issue based approach focuses on text, implied silence and absences, and interpretations based on schools of thought. The other, the populist pap approach, focuses on shrouding a candidate in the cloak of foundling, OFW, and even balikbayan ‘rights.’ There has been a concerted effort, so much so that the Supreme Court issued a sort of ‘gag order’, to use standard legal processes to buoy a political campaign through advertisements: Conditioning public opinion (though standard practice for all politicians) and veiled threats of public unrest if the ‘will of the people’ is stymied by the Supreme Court represented by the continual calls of “let the people decide.” These calls attack the very firmament and structure of representative and constitutional democracies, yet are commonplace precisely because populism allows for this sort of primacy of personality over law and legal processes.
The MRT is another such contentious issue where the language surrounding much of the discourse on the MRT is not necessarily about solving or delineating the issues that stymie the rehabilitation of the MRT, but instead applying ‘blame,’ seeking ‘justice,’ and leveraging and mobilizing the (rather rightful) anger of segments of the population against another group, or person. Obscurancy through fear-mongering rhetoric. Politicking through base populism. Again, this is not to say thatMRT failures and mismanagement are not legitimate issues – They really and truly are. But, themethod in which the issue is approached prohibits not only understanding, but solutions. Populism, by its nature, does not allow for complex solutions to complex problems – it is not solution oriented, nor issue oriented, but emotion-centric.
Notably, one of the key elements of populism in any of its historical or current incarnations is the leveraging of the perception of ‘class warfare;’ the vilification and dismissal a group of people based on their economic standing, whether they be ‘elites’ or the impoverished (or as Duterte likes to call them, criminals). The out-group vs the in-group; the ‘haughty elite’, looking down on everyone else[3]. It is not only class warfare, though, that feeds into this sort of simplistic delineation of in vs out groups. We also see it in dismissals of anyone who holds a contrary opinion as a ‘critic,’ or an ‘anti.’ Politicians are not the only purveyors of this sort of pat pap; witness normally insightful commentators like Tony La Viña calling elites ‘untrustworthy’ and urging his candidate to go to the ‘people,’ who are more trustworthy. This sort of binary populism is de rigueur in any volatile political milieu, especially during election silly season. Cringingly, it also represents the devolution and fall of populism as a powerful force in politics; instead of harnessing the voice and desire of the unrepresented, it has become a tool used by demagogues, politicians, and their supporters to further an agenda.
Following from the axis of the ‘in-group’ vs ‘out-group’ is the requirement to scapegoat. Whether ‘criminals,’ communists, elites, those in power, or even the poor, this is a standard practice in populist rhetoric. Trump has his immigrants, Duterte has his ‘criminals’. In both cases, the solution is to eliminate immigrants, kill the criminals, and all social ills will be solved. This would be laughable, if it wasn’t so resonant. Even the discussions of federalism, primarily because of the sheer superficiality of it, can be structured within the in/out group dichotomy. Federalism, as it is being presented now, reflects nothing more than a cynical attempt to leverage provincial dissatisfaction with ‘Imperial Manila.’[4] Whether there are elements of truth or not (there are), this sort of binary construction does leverage this latent discontents. Recently, Duterte tried to further inflame this disconnect by vilifying Tagalogs while he was in the Visayas. Federalism is a legitimate and compelling issue; but, the manner it is being approached by its primary proponent in the election betrays.
Scapegoating within a polarized political and social milieu like ours is standard practice. An upcoming example is the re-opening of the Mamasapano probe by a master of rhetoric and populism in Juan Ponce Enrile. The complexities surrounding Mamasapano have been discussed and dismissed in the past in favor of grandstanding, emotion inducing rhetoric. Yet at the very point in which various survey results are starting to shift, the probe is re-opened; more than anything, a tacit and dismissal of the previous findings of the Senate committee. Senators such as Serge Osmeña are already on record saying this is an attempt by Enrile to ‘hit’ back at President Aquino for his incarceration. Ignore the damage re-opening this probe may well do to the likely only now recovering families of the victims (on both sides), it is apparent that Enrile is seeking to scapegoat Aquino for the deaths of SAF members (note, not the deaths of the other side). If Enrile has legitimate and actionable intel, then that can be presented in the here and now; instead it is being held for a committee hearing, where a questioning senator has expansive powers for questioning, haranguing, grandstanding, and presenting to a captive audience (the Filipino people). As the Philippine Daily Inquirer rather adroitlypointed out: All we need to know about the aims and goals of the hearing are found in its (original) start date, January 25.
Notably, the MRT and Mamasapano are two issues which have consistently plagued the Aquino administration in terms of popularity and trust ratings; it should not be a surprise that they are being consistently deployed through populist rhetoric at this point in our election cycle. Populism does not hold with exploring the complexity of issues, but only at leveraging them for gain.
All this being said, populism is invigorating precisely because it taps into and inflames latent and apparent biases and prejudices; it revolves on an axis of antagonistic oppositionalism, informed by emotion. Cunningly and correctly used populism is an immense driving force.

 

From Rappler

From Rappler

For his part, another shrewd observer, John Nery, back in March said Three nations would be voting in May:
There is the reform constituency. I think of certain voters who are choosing between Poe and Roxas, or who are comfortable casting their ballot for either candidate. I use the word “reform” because that is how both campaigns perceive themselves, as essentially continuing the initiatives undertaken by the second Aquino administration, and because that is how these voters’ concerns—about continuing the fight against corruption, continuing the macroeconomic gains, continuing the emergence of the Philippines on the world stage—are best classified. I am a lone voice when I say, yet again, that the popularity of Poe’s late father does not explain her own personal popularity… millions of young voters voted for Poe in 2013 who did not even know who FPJ was, or cared.
There is the authoritarian constituency. I borrow the term from Amanda Taub’s “The rise of American authoritarianism,” which explores a “psychological profile of individual voters” that best predicts support for a rogue candidate like Donald Trump. The term refers to the voter who is “characterized by a desire for order and a fear of outsiders,” who “when they feel threatened, look for strong leaders who promise to take whatever action necessary.” I think of voters who support Duterte, but who are also ready to cast their ballot for Binay or even Santiago: They place their hopes on the man or woman on horseback (or, in Duterte’s case, in the taxi or pickup truck) who will make things right.
And there is the pragmatic constituency, the voters who want results, who recognize that the role of today’s politician is like that of the father in a traditional family: a provider. There are voters who will vote for Binay because he is the only candidate who has bothered to visit them in their sitio, and who can be persuaded that Duterte, another local executive, is perhaps cut from the same durable retail-politics cloth.
Back in 1966, Nick Joaquin wrote an essay entitled, “A Heritage of Smallness,” in which he said the Philippines then viewed society as a small boat, the barangay, and geography as a small locality, the barrio. He said that enterprise for the Filipino was strictly the sari-sari stall; industry and production, no more than an immediate day-to-day search; and commerce, the smallest unit possible, the tingi. No wonder, then, that six years after Nick Joaquin published this piece, as our society grappled with the contradictions of modernity, Ferdinand Marcos was able to impose datu-style leadership which promised a return to a Lost Eden but which actually substituted paternalism for democracy, and cronyism for actual competition. As Carlos P. Romulo once wrote in his memoirs, what Filipinos seek in a president is someone who will make decisions for them. In other words, old habits die hard: the tendency to surrender to a supreme leader, in the hope of returning to past that never was. The opposite of what modernity means (read on Max Weber on charismatic leadership versus modern rule). Recently, I wrote about this, in the context of Rodrigo Duterte, in The Presidency and the Crisis of Modernity.
But that attitude in itself is a relict of what Nick Joaquin called the heritage of smallness. We must replace that with a society that has as its hallmark, modernity. Name any society we envy: Japan, Korea, or Singapore, and what they have at heart is this: perseverance. It is that quality that has allowed Singapore, for example, to punch way above its weight as a city-state. It is the quality we find in our countrymen abroad who succeed, and that is so lacking in our institutions here which undergo a memory-wipe and thus a collective state of amnesia, every six years.
A memory-wipe would be very satisfactory not only to those vested interests who cannot tolerate another six years of being on the defensive; it is reassuring, too, to the elements in society who fear modernity.
But we can, and should, stay the course, for as Mar Roxas put it, “the best is yet to come.”
The late Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez, one of the traditional politicians who knew how dangerous Marcos would be and tried to derail his climb to power, once said, “In the long of time, we shall success!” Success is impermissible for those for whom an Aquino victory in 2010 would permanently consign them to the wrong side of history as in 1986. This is an important point, because it explains the sustained barrage over the past six years, the purpose of which is to discount every gain, magnify every error, and promote a brand of crisis.
Back in February, 2010, I wrote in Showdown that,
In the great showdown of 2010, you have Aquino on one side, and arrayed against him are those for whom an Aquino victory in 2010 would represent another repudiation on the scale they had endured in 1986. The ruling coalition has to contend with being in a position similar to what the KBL found itself in in 1986: entrenched locally and despised nationally for many of the same reasons that Marcos’ machinery was hated. The other contenders, in turn, belong to a political line that can be traced back to the showdown in 1986 and opposition to the Aquino administration and Cory herself over the years.
I don’t think the grudge-match aspect of the present presidential race should be discounted. Then, as now, the hallmark of official impunity was what Marcos himself, in his private diaries, dismissed as “technical legalism,” combined with brute force, electoral manipulation, the power of the pork barrel and a dismissive attitude toward public opinion, all the while insisting that national leadership is about credentials and not about integrity. It took a bar topnotcher, after all, to engineer a legal system that put a premium on the appearance of legality while ignoring the court of public opinion, substituting it with the blunt reality that possession is nine-tenths of the law.
They lost that round, regrouped, and learned some lessons. Their strategy: to swarm.
The first imperative was to consolidate the Marcos constituency. See Who is voting for Bongbong Marcos? It’s not the supposedly politically naive millennial voters in Rappler. In addition to this, two presidential candidates are carrying Marcos Jr. (most notably, Mayor Duterte), while a third, Grace Poe, has pandered to the Loyalist vote.
The second imperative was to relentlessly continue the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo talk points. Those talking points already produced a decade of apathy: ”parepareho lang sila,” or “sino ang papalit?” combined with the twin traumas of Edsa Dos (a disappointment) and Edsa Tres (which raised the specter of urban insurrection) allowed the nation to rationalize sitting in place and waiting out the Arroyo administration after 2005. Here, Vice President Binay, Senator Poe, and Mayor Duterte, have pandered to the Arroyo Loyalists, too.
The third imperative, of course, was to seek out vulnerabilities of the administration. Callous and heartless? See my Rogue article, The mourning after. Lacking in competence? See my note on Yolanda. MRT? See this Note. Crime? Here’s a tidbit our short-term memory has led us to fail to see. Since I can remember, every election –or the run up to the election– was marked with spectacular bank robberies and an epidemic of kidnappings “for the funds of it,” as journalists often remarked. There is no news of this not only this time around, but in 2013 –but that’s the point. No news, is not news, and good news is even less newsworthy.
The Coalition of the Unwilling to Change may have its various component parts competing to become the Supreme Faction; but those components –Marcos Loyalists, Arroyo Loyalists, their allied interests who have been on the defensive since 2010, the Communist Party and its fronts who have shifted from one candidate to another– even as they compete, are all part of the same nasty, brutish whole. And they have tried to game the system to return to prevent their exile being permanent.
As The Economist put it (see Fatal distraction):
FOR too long the Philippines was the sick man of Asia—cheerful, democratic but a chronic underperformer. In recent years, though, its fortunes have begun to turn. Much of the credit should go to the outgoing president, Benigno Aquino. The economy is booming and investors are flocking in. The country has gained in geopolitical importance, too, thanks to its resistance to China’s expansionism.
But Mr Aquino’s achievements risk being squandered by an old weakness at the heart of Filipino politics: its love of showmanship and personality over policy and administrative ability. Boxers and film stars project themselves into public jobs while the diligent and competent too often languish.
Or, as the Wall Street Journal bluntly asked, Can the Philippines Stay on Track?
Other observers, at home and abroad, see what’s at stake. See A Scary Moment for the Philippines and The End of Philippine Democracy?.
We can persevere, or take the easy way out. Three easy ways out –three escape hatches that allow the voter to bail out of the tough task of nation-building—have been put before you by the other candidates.
You can surrender to fear, and select someone who will essentially act, not as a chief executive, but as your enforcer and goon. This is Rodrigo Duterte. This, despite there being an inherent contradiction in Duterte and it is one Filipinos of an older generations figured out, belatedly, during the Marcos era: there will always be collateral damage when the iron fist is invoked. As this editorial says,
Over the years Duterte has built a reputation as the tough-talking, get-things-done mayor of Davao City. His detractors claim he cleaned out the city of drug pushers and drug dealers by resorting to extra-judicial means. Pushers, some still in their teens were found dead—the handiwork of vigilante groups operating in Davao that Duterte admitted having ties to.
Since his bid for the presidency, Duterte appears to have distanced himself from any connection with vigilante groups. But “old habits die hard” and those groups may not be ready or willing to break their ties to him. And that becomes a very serious problem for the Philippines if he becomes president.
Like Marcos before him, if Duterte becomes president, his henchmen could start deciding who deserves to be “eliminated” and who deserves to be spared. Duterte’s tongue-in-cheek prediction that if he becomes president, Manila Bay will be filled with thousands of dead bodies, might seriously come to pass—even without his approval. As many a tyrant who went down that same dark path knows, it is almost impossible to “dial back” that kind of behavior. And as with Marcos, it can only lead to grave injustice and a frightened population stripped of their legal rights.
In The neo-authoritarian threat in the Philippines, Julio Teehankee and Mark Thompson observe,
Duterte’s emerging neo-authoritarian constituency was initially concentrated among the elite, and middle class and only recently has moved down the social ladder. Duterte is the candidate of the wealthy, newly rich, well off, and the modestly successful (including taxi drivers, small shopkeepers and overseas Filipino workers abroad).
In the closing days of the campaign, he is now besieged not just by accusations, but by his own responses. His response has been to warn that he would tear up the Constitution if he is elected and impeachment is attempted. But even if he wasn’t confronted by the hollowness of his claim to be excusable in everything because he won’t be corrupt, there is who he is: Take his MBC speech, whether as delivered, or in English translation, you cannot ignore what he himself has revealed about himself.
As an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald put it, “Australia’s traditionally strong defence and diplomatic relationship with the Philippines could be barrelling towards a cliff.” Bloomberg, for its part, reported, Philippine Peso Sinks as Mayor Likened to Trump Leads Election Race. The damage is already being done; and it will require a cohesive team not only to take up the reins of power on June 30, 2016, but to start repairing the damage already being done.
So we cannot gamble on someone who would simply turn municipal larceny into grand larceny on a national scale, but at least be a devil you already know. This is Jejomar Binay. But his candidacy is premised on escaping, so to speak, the hangman’s noose.
We could, possibly, tire of efforts to level the playing field, and succumb to the temptation to try to outfox your competitors by gambling on a malleable president who you think will be beholden and dependent on you. This is Grace Poe; but her hitherto seductive combination of populism and reformism has begun to wear thin.
If you were to choose any one of the options above, you would be opting for the familiar, because our boom-and-bust past would, at least, be comfortingly familiar. No need to be ambitious, because we would be too busy building back what we ourselves dismantled at the polls. Don’t forget you ought to be choosing a package deal. While there is no perfect tandem, no perfect combination, and no perfect coalition, better one that takes being a tandem seriously, and which takes having a platform seriously. But you have to weigh the overall composition to see if you are comfortable with what you will get.
So we have a choice. We, as a nation, can persevere, which requires continuity. Over the past five years, we have seen how following the rules leads to predictability of outcomes, which in turn leads to stability, allowing us to plan towards a vision. What is that vision? It is of a country that is finally comfortable in its own skin, which consigns the heritage of smallness to the past where it belongs, and truly, even madly, and certainly, deeply, embraces modernity.
Violent passions have been unleashed. This is a consequence of demagoguery; of populism exercised with impunity. Those passions will not go away after election day. Which means, all the more, that we must stand up for what the majority truly stands for.
As Gerry Cacanindin put it so well,
That’s it. I’m voting for Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo. I no longer wish to stay silent. I hope I can still sway some of you who are still undecided or are fiercely supporting the current frontrunners. I will not attack your chosen candidates nor exalt mine. But I will tell you why I have made my choice.
I choose gains over faults. This is not a country about to implode nor destroy itself. It is experiencing its best growth in decades. That’s a fact. What this country needs is more stability and fewer risks. More thoughtful decisions and fewer rogue moves.
I choose the carrot over the stick. Crime cannot be solved through violence. It can only be solved through better opportunities. The more opportunities for people to have decent jobs, the lesser the tendency to lead a life of crime.
I choose humanity over brutality. I believe that the end does not justify the means. I want a country that I can be proud of. A country that can somehow show the world that it can solve its problems through means which are humane, just, and good.
I choose patience over instant gratification. I choose small gains made over long periods of time. It’s a proven method. Ask our own Taipans. There are no shortcuts to lasting wealth. There is only sustained hard work.
I choose self-imposed discipline over state-imposed discipline. We already have rules on almost everything. It is unrealistic to pin the responsibility of imposing them to one person. Try to discipline one kid. It’s not easy. Try to discipline 100 million people. It will be a bloody affair.
I choose building brick by brick over the sheen of a silver bullet. The problems we often complain about–traffic, poor infrastructure, crime, corruption, poverty–are moving from being hopeless to solvable. But for a country of 100 million, it will take time. Not in six years, maybe not in 20. These are complex, deeply-rooted problems. If you believe someone can solve all these within a six-year term, I’m sorry but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
I choose selflessness. I have done the math. I have accepted the fact that I will never see this country become the one we all dream about in my lifetime. I’m no longer voting for my own future, but for my child’s. I’d rather see glimmers of hope than dark, uncertain clouds over the horizon.
I choose to suppress my passion and anger. Instead I looked at what is undeniable. I just saw Tacloban. It was obliterated by the most violent typhoon to ever hit a major city. In just three years it has not only recovered. It is thriving and bustling. Good job, government.
I choose what my elders taught me. That we should respect each other. This country is not beyond saving that we should resort to a savior with unrealistic promises. Nor should we begin demanding for heads to literally roll just to get things done. We are not that kind of people.
Lastly, I choose democracy. Whoever wins, I will call him or her my president. I will hope for the best. But when democracy itself becomes threatened I will not stay silent.
Peace out. Vote.
In 54 million of our fellow Filipinos who are voters, lies the future.
Continuity, though, is just the first step. Consistency is what our nation has long lacked. Let us prove that the Filipino is not fickle; that the Filipino cannot be fooled; that the Filipino is not just world class, but rather, the Filipino can become the global benchmark for excellence.
Let us go beyond saying yes, we can, and instead, prove that yes, we are: Peaceful, prosperous, responsible, faithful, decent, cooperative and honorable men and women who can dream big. That we can build prosperity on firm foundations, instead of making a desert and calling it peace.
True that!

True that!

Just recently, I compared the last presidential debate to The Jungle Book. You can find archetypes a-plenty for yourself. But the question before us is, who are best-equipped to bring us to the next stage of development?
On May 9, 2016, they can only be:
For the change that truly makes a difference.

For the change that truly makes a difference.

 

Mar 04

Closing Remarks at “Doing the Right Thing in Time of Need: Open Door Policy of President Manuel L. Quezon on Jewish Refugees”

Closing Remarks at the Lecture and Presentation of Prof. Sharon Delmendo on “Doing the Right Thing in Time of Need: Open Door Policy of President Manuel L. Quezon on Jewish Refugees”

04 March 2016, Ayala Museum

 

MLQ3 giving closing remarks at the talk and presentation of Sharon Delmendo (030416 Ayala Museum)

 

This is absolutely the worst job to have because everyone is hungry  and sleepy and wants to beat the traffic, so I will try to keep it brief. I did want to sort of focus our attention on a thought– but before I reach that thought, I would like to read a quote. This was by Teodoro Locsin Sr., father of my mentor and he wrote it in 1961. Now, Sharon here has talked to you about her unique identity as a Filipino-American or American-Filipino. This institution was established by Spanish-Filipinos. Everyone of us here has a little bit of this, a little bit of that. But what we all have together is this country and our roots in it. And talking about identity, Locsin wrote, and this is about how you talk to any Filipino and every Filipino is full of that good German word angst about who they are and what we’re all about. So, Locsin said:

“Our masks become our nature. When we try to remove them, we find we can’t. If we could, the face underneath would prove to be the same as the masks. The Filipino is all he has tried to be, the masks he has put on. He is more than the primitive darkly present in the background. To be a Filipino is not simply a thing but a great bewilderment, a matter of great complexity, which is only a way of saying what it is to be a man. The native returns, but only to himself. The inescapable one.

To cultivate the virtues of honesty, industry and justice, to learn how to love, is to be human. To be a Filipino, in the best sense of the word. Whether as a Spaniard or American or Japanese, or as Nationalist, the Filipino must reckon with himself at last. He has no excuse for what he does; he should blame nobody but himself for what he is. If he has courage, he is brave; if he is honest, he is true; if he loves justice, he is decent, and if he loves rather than hate, he is at ease. The rest is merely economics, politics and the movies”.

 

And that’s the quote. Today, you got a very brief glimpse and a glimpse made very brief, and Sharon I hope you will forgive me for what I am going to say next, because of this sense of hiya of shame, of modesty of the young professor you saw standing before you today. Everything you saw on the screens, the research, and you have only seen the tip of the iceberg, the videos produced by long hours of research, editing, writing, talking, sifting, understanding- all of this is a labor of love. It is a labor of sacrifice.

Some of you here, particularly those of you in academe, know that some of the loneliest, longest, least paying work is that of the scholar because the scholar must face many, many dragons. The scholar must give up time. The scholar must give up labor. The scholar must confront the truth wherever the documents, the data and the information will bring you. That is not a recipe for currying favor or for even keeping body and soul together.

But I did want you to know, because I have been privileged to see some of what the research has been done and where this research is leading. That the sacrifice so lightly shown because you wouldn’t know that she’s given so much of her life for this, that it is not quite there. If the research you saw is just the tip of the iceberg it is because it would take time, effort, and money to get to the bottom of the matter.

So, I would like to issue a challenge to you, and I hope you will forgive me for this Sharon, because if any of you are here and you have sacrificed time to listen, time to wade through the traffic, time to listen and to understand, then I do hope you will find time to get to know what exactly Sharon and Noel are doing and see whether that road and that labor should be so lonely, so time consuming and so unrewarding for people like her. I leave it to you to go to the world wide web to see her research, to look at her sources, to understand what she is doing and perhaps they might have moved you a little bit and again forgive me for saying this, because she deserves your help.

She’s doing a lot for the country and I think it is time for the country to pony up. I’m not going to be the one to do it because I work for you as a government official and I’m not about to make decisions about your taxes. But I do believe that it is well within your means to give her a helping hand.

That being said, the presence of our friends from Israel and Austria also indicate something very important about what’s happening here. Which is, even as we wrestle with who we are, where our country is going, and where it came it came from, that there are centers of excellence that are taking a stand to fight amnesia and to build a culture of memory.

It actually began not only with the commitment of the McMickings and the Zobels to setting up this institution. It came from the commitment of people like the Quirino family to start depositing their papers here. And, in fact, it was with that example in mind that my Aunt, my cousins, and all of us, made the decision with an understanding with Rod Hall and other members of their family and with the Filipinas Heritage Library to place the papers of Manuel L. Quezon here, the personal papers of the family and his wartime papers in trust with the foundation so that it can be digitized and shared with others.

The same applies to Rod Hall’s efforts to keep memories of the war and our national experience alive. And there is Professor Jose in the background who has been entrusted to make sure that this collection, and again, in trust with the Filipinas Heritage Library, those. So there is a lot more to this place than the beautiful paintings, the glittering gold, the shiny pots and entertaining dioramas.

This is a center for scholarship and that your being here today shows that much as other people might say it, there is hope for our country. It is a hope that transcends borders, it is a hope that crosses through generations, and is one that is going to give us a wonderful appetite for the goodies that we are now going to enjoy.

Thank you very much. 

 

***

Feb 08

The last of the birthday supplements

The last of the birthday supplements

This article appeared in The Philippine Star Features: The President at 56, the special supplement of the Philippine Star to mark the 56th birthday of President Benigno S. Aquino III, February 08, 2016, A-25

By Manuel L. Quezon III

 

[PhilStar] The last of the birthday supplements by MLQ3

 

THIS month is heavy with memory.

In 1986, on Feb. 5, Jaime Cardinal Sin warned that Catholics would employ civil disobedience measures if the election proved fraudulent. On Feb. 7, the snap election was held. The Commission on Elections claimed Ferdinand Marcos was leading while the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections reported that Corazon Aquino was winning.

On Feb. 8, Aquino, who was ahead on the Namfrel count, claimed victory. The next day, on Feb. 9, thirty computer workers at the Comelec tabulation center in the Philippine International Convention Center, protesting the tampering of election results, walked out and sought refuge in Baclaran Church.

On Feb. 13, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral letter condemning election fraud, essentially withdrawing the “mandate of heaven” from Marcos. Two days later, on Feb. 15, the Batasan Pambansa in stormy session proclaimed Marcos the winner, and opposition assemblymen walked out to protest massive cheating during the election.

On Feb. 16, the “Tagumpay ng Bayan” took place, when Cory Aquino led a mammoth rally of more than two million people at the Luneta where she launched a nationwide civil disobedience campaign and the boycott of Marcos-crony firms to force him to concede defeat. People gave up beer and ice cream, and stopped paying their electric bills.

On Feb. 22, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos revolted against Marcos and holed themselves up in Camp Aguinaldo. The reason was Gringo Honasan had (according to the research of historian Al MCCoy) been rather indiscreet about their plans to mount a coup against President Marcos, and so the dictatorship was set not only to foil the Honasan Plan –Ferdinand Marcos Jr. would do a star turn on the river wall of Malacañan Palace and lead troops to to not only foil, but capture, the putschists—but were ready to round up the rebels. So the rebels holed up in Camps Crame and Aguinaldo. Thousands of people formed a human barricade against the expected advance of Marcos’ troops (but they were so tightly jampacked around the Palace that the troops ended up immobilized). Jaime Cardinal Sin appealed over Radio Veritas for people to send food and help guard the barricades.

On Feb. 25, in separate ceremonies, Cory Aquino took her oath of office at Club Filipino as president of the Philippines while Marcos was sworn in at Malacañang. Later that evening, Marcos fled to Clark Air Base en route to Hawaii. The next day, President Aquino formed her Cabinet.

An entire generation has grown up after these events, but memories of those February days must be particularly vivid this time around, as we mark three decades since democracy was restored. I can think of one person for whom this EDSA month will be particularly heavy with memory: President Benigno S. Aquino III, who marks his birthday not only on the 30th anniversary of his mother claiming victory against the Marcos Machine, but also his last birthday in office. He was inaugurated into that office at the age –fifty—that his father had died, felled by the bullets of the dictatorship. He does so, with far too many veterans of those heady People Power days having strayed far from the promise of the era, and in some cases, having reverted to their Marcos loyalist days.

I can think of one thing those pining for a Marcos restoration, a reversal of the past nearly six years, and a return to the boom-and-bust because spendthrift, imprudent, and selfish ways of the past, probably hate about the President’s birthday. The entire government hasn’t been mobilized to sing the praises of the President, and flood the papers with paid protestations of loyalty and how the Commander-in-Chief/Chief Executive is the best thing for the country since the invention of milled rice. To be sure, there will be some who will do so, because old habits die hard. But there remains a stark difference between the clouds of incense that greeted official birthdays in the past and today, which most people will be celebrating not because they need to curry favor with the present tenant of the Palace, but because we now celebrate Chinese New Year as a holiday.

And that is as it should be. The very existence of supplements such as this should, if the public continues on its current path of increasing maturity and prosperity, become a relict so ridiculous it will no longer be deemed worthy of consideration on the birthdays of future presidents.

Which is why, if the President is worth a pause on this day, it should because it leads us to deeper reflection: in the three decades since we sent the dictator, his family, and his lieutenants packing, when have we ever been more united when it comes to an incumbent? The best gift any official can ask for is to be in good standing as far as the public’s opinion is concerned.

So ask yourself why this is so. I think it has something to do with the absence of official impunity and its substitution with a hard-headed, old-fashioned insistence that those privileged to be on the top should do the right things, to the best of one’s ability, knowing the public will understand if you’re not perfect.

Then, as now, the hallmark of official impunity was what Marcos himself, in his private diaries, dismissed as “technical legalism,” that combination of brute force, a dismissive attitude toward public opinion, and insisting that national leadership is about credentials, or pure will, and not about integrity. It took a bar topnotcher, after all, to engineer a legal system that put a premium on the appearance of legality while ignoring the court of public opinion, substituting it with the blunt reality that possession is nine-tenths of the law.

The late Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez, one of the traditional politicians who knew how dangerous Marcos would be and tried to derail his climb to power, once said, in an an Amang-ism the late publisher of this paper, Max Soliven loved to quote, “In the long of time, we shall success!” Success was impermissible for those for whom an Aquino victory in 2010 meant permanently consigning them to the wrong side of history as in 1986. The people denied them that success and the restoration they craved.

Yet, as the RAM putschists once put, their dreams will never die. To those carrying the flame of the Marcos dictatorship have been added those who once fought for freedom but who, “in the long of time,” set aside their old affiliations to embrace the Marcos mantra of guns, goons, and gold.

And so it is, that they, for one, will be cheering today. “His birthday, in Malacañang—his last!”

But as Rizal said –there are no tyrants where there are no slaves. The people proved it in 1986. They will again in 2016.

***

 

 

 

Dec 18

The Presidency and the Crisis of Modernity

SOURCE: Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, Spain

SOURCE: Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, Spain

I. “Today began yesterday”

–As Leon Ma. Guerrero once put it.

From Nick Joaquin’s reportage on the 1963 midterms, “Ayos na ang Buto-Buto,”

The following night, at the NP miting de avance, there was again no doubt that the crowd responded most fraternally to another Southerner, Senator Roseller Lim of Zamboanga—and this on the testimony of a Pampango-Manileño, Senator Puyat. A forecaster could indeed have read in the size and temper of that multitude on Plaza Miranda the great swing of the South to the Opposition that the next day’s polls would reveal. If the politicos want a new rule on Manila, here’s a possible one: As Manila goes, the South goes. Because Manila is now the biggest Southern city in the Philippines.

Puyat says he felt rather scared when the atmosphere became so charged with passion the miting turned into a mighty dialogue between speaker on stage and the crowd below.

SPEAKER: Ano ang gagawin kay Macapagal?
CROWD: Palakolin!
SPEAKER: Ano ang gagawin kay Macapagal?
CROWD: Martilyuhin!

“I felt,” says Puyat, “that if the speaker had shouted On to Malacañang! that mob would have followed—and I fear to think what would have happened there. We politicians carry a big responsibility.”

As one listened to Puyat’s account, one had the creepy feeling, too, that our political campaigns have gotten out of hand and are becoming sick.

The unease of 1963 (in the context above last felt, perhaps, during Edsa Tres) has come back in our Republic of Amnesia, though now seen as new, precisely because of that amnesia (among other things, caused by the lost generation in our national life, just at the point when a handover from one generation to the next was supposed to take place).

So I do think Patricio Abinales has a point in saying it ain’t new –it’s just Imperial Manila that’s shocked, shocked!– at what everyone else knows. See his essay, Digong’s Mouth in Rappler. And so his (Duterte’s) blunt talk is not so much blunt, or the kind of Id-speak that put Miriam Defensor Santiago on the politicial map, as it is the tone and style of the provincial barons. And here it’s important to consider that Duterte is, indeed, a provincial baron: as he himself has pointed out, he was always immersed in politics because his own father was governor. The last time we saw this in a candidate for national office was when Joseph Estrada ran for the presidency.

Duterte’s advantage is novelty —particularly compared to the candidates who kicked off their campaigns for 2016 back in 2010— and for being the lone non-Manila-centric candidate (their Visayan, Ibanag-Batangueño, etc. origins and constituencies notwithstanding, the other candidates are all firmly part of the Manila establishment); and so he can –and is– tweaking the noses of the Metro Manilans. This is no small matter and carries with it many long-standing issues on representation and recognition. See my Notes for a prospective article on the emerging politics of a national identity from 2009.

An interesting article by Richard Javad Heyderian is Philippines’ Black Swan Elections: The New Normal in Democratic Politics: proposing that Trump, Le Pen, and Duterte represent a brewing revolt against the democratic system. Buddy Gomez says as much in more trenchant terms. An online commentary by Nik @ iwriteasiwrite suggests unease, even revulsion, with the tenor of some of his supporters. Though if one recalls the 2010 campaign, the tenor is much the same as the supporters of Dick Gordon (supporters of Miriam Defensor Santiago on the other hand, are closer to the style of the supporters Gibo Teodoro). So, these things should be par for the course.

To be sure, going back to Heyderian, he qualifies the survey numbers he uses with the usual caveats –some question the surveys concerned, etc.– but on the whole he puts forward Duterte as a Black Swan, a political phenomenon no one saw coming, as demonstrated by the upsurge in Duterte’s numbers.

A few things, though, that can explain that uptick. First, there’s being the Flavor of the Month due to–

a) The “teleserye” nature of the will he or won’t he chatter;

b) His coming in, at long last, when he was predicted to enter the fray: by December.

Second, more importantly, to my mind, is that Duterte’s numbers can be explained by a question repeatedly polled: martial law. At the heart of this constituency is something I pointed out when Adrian Cristobal passed away: the idea that you can have a Year Zero, a New Society, a Restored Eden –if only drastic action is undertaken:

Everything that Marcos claimed was the problem: a conceited yet essentially incompetent ruling class, a slavish society devoid of a sense of intrinsic self-worth, a society that required a firm hand to rule it –all continue to be said of ourselves, by ourselves, all the time. Whatever the infinite variation, the central theme continues to be that of the need for a New Society: it was precisely that, but without the Great Dictator, that even Edsa tried to accomplish, and which has been used as an indictment of People Power since.

If one views politics as a contest to gather and expand constituencies, then the martial law constituency is not only actually rather large, but consistent –and except for some senatorial candidates, one only tangentially cultivated by presidential candidates –until now.

Just as in 1992 –where few noticed that the alarming subtext of the election was that the Marcos Loyalist bloc would have won if it hadn’t been fatally divided between Imelda Marcos and Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.– the showdown in 2010 –between the Reformists and Populists (who themselves were heirs and veterans of the Marcos Machine)

Up to the entry of Duterte, the division between Populism and Reformism essentially had a reshuffling of the deck between the Reform Constituency: Liberal Wing (Roxas) and Populist Wing (Poe); the Populist Constituency: Traditionalist Wing (Binay) and Loyalist Wing (Santiago). What Duterte did was give the Marcos-Populist-Leftist side of things a shot in the arm by daring to break the post-EDSA consensus on Martial Law (of all establishment groups, the one left in the most awkward situation is the Left, which, already having dumped Binay and hitched its star to Poe, will be hard-put to justify yet another tactical move to Duterte even though he actually has the “best” record of dealing with them –the modus vivendi he’s reached with armed partisans in the past representing an inconvenient dilemma for some Leftists in the Metro Manila  chattering class upset over his perceived scorn for human rights, for example.

What he has done is awakened a constituency that has always been there (see The Praetorian Temptation) but in past probes of public opinion, it was considered so small as to be a harmless minority: because the pro-martial law segments of the population added up to a slall minority compared to those against martial law. But in a crowded field which has divided the large constituences, cultivating a smaller but cohesive constituency no one else has tapped into, is significant.

Here’s the constituency over time (see Felipe Miranda’s Anyone for having martial law? from 2001 and Mahar Mangahas’ Filipinos rarely approve of martial law from 2009):


SWS - Survey Ratings on Martial Law PULSE ASIA - Survey on Martial Law

The surveys above also slice and dice the public on the basis of class –the ABC, D, and E familiar to us in the surveys. But an interesting point to consider is that there can be other ways to view –and explain– the public and the opinions people hold. Consider the following, which is basically a distillation of the thoughts of some marketing people:

(1) A new way of looking at Filipino voter demographics

(2) (1) A new way of looking at Filipino voter demographics

How would the above come into play in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a campaign? To the extent that it offers up a different approach from the usual class-based one, it can go far in explaining how a candidate can break down barriers between economic classes, or put another way, have cross-class appeal: because there are ways of thinking or approaches that are shared by Filipinos regardless of socioeconomic class. An easy way to understand this would be the cross-class appeal of particular shows and personalities in entertainment, for example.

II. Traditional expectations of the Presidency

I do not think that the public’s expectations of the presidency have changed in three generations. Two comments, a decade apart, summarizes these expectations.

  1. Teodoro M. Kalaw, a follower of Osmeña, quoted Manuel L. Quezon as having said to Osmeña in 1922 that “The problem with you is that you take the game of politics too seriously. You look to far behind you and too far ahead of you. Our people do not understand that. They do not want it. All they want is to have the present problem solved, and solved with the least pain. That is all.”
  2. Writing in his diary on December 23, 1938, former Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison caught his friend Manuel L. Quezon in a moment of reflection. “The people care more for good government than they do for self-government,” adding that, “the fear is that the Head of State may either exceed his powers, or abuse them by improprieties. To keep order is his main purpose.”

In a review he wrote, Arturo Rotor (who, besides being a well-known writer and botanist, served as Executive Secretary in the Commonwealth government-in-exile), pointed out how politicians use off-the-cuff statements to gauge public opinion:

Quezon had his own way of gauging public opinion, of taking a poll survey. He would say something preposterous or do the completely unexpected to find out what the people thought of a political leader, or to measure their opposition to religious instruction in schools. If the act aroused a bigger rumpus than he had calculated, he would institute an appropriate measure.

Thus to the uninformed, Quezon often appeared inconsistent, mercurial, unreliable, a man whose word could not be trusted. No greater mistake can be made. When Quezon had studied a problem and made up his mind, no earthly force could stop him.

So there can be method in what might superficially appear as madness –just as there can be a line easily crossed between being hot copy and becoming a caricature not to be taken seriously.

III. The Crisis of Modernity

So let us see how Randy David defined the Crisis of Modernity:

But, in general, the problems we have gone through and are going through – the multiple crises, the almost unending instability, the cycle of confusion, despair, hope, disenchantment, and cynicism – that have accompanied our evolution as a society are part and parcel of the often wrenching transition to a modern society. A transition is a particularly confusing stage – marked by what Gramsci once called the dying of the old and the inability of the new to be born. The old habits of our culture are quickly vanishing, yet the ways of modern society have not fully taken root. In the interim, our people suffer from a surplus of dependence. They are subservient even when they no longer need to be. They slide into the easy habits of the powerless even when the tools of emancipation may already be at hand. They seek patronage even where it is not necessary.

Our leaders and rulers, on the other hand, suffer from a nobility deficit. A sense of honor, drawn from tradition, no longer deters or restrains them. The poverty and ignorance of the masses brings out the predator rather than the hero in them. They take advantage of the weaknesses of the legal system and the persistence of the old habits of an unequal society, even as the old values like delicadeza no longer compel them.

But all this will pass as our society slowly moves from a hierarchical order to a more democratic one. There are many drivers of modernity in our midst, not the least of which is the migration of millions of our countrymen to various parts of the world. Working abroad, they are no longer just improving their material lives; they are also discovering new values, developing a work ethic appropriate to modern settings, and building a strong sense of self that had been denied them in a traditional society.

In the near future, inherited status will no longer be an asset. Occupations and public office will become more accessible to those born without privilege. Politics will be more accountable to the general public, to the citizens, rather than to a few dominant centers of influence. Kinship will decline in importance as a passport to economic or political mobility. With universal education, which has so far eluded us, citizens should be in a better position to distinguish between roles like entertainment and governance, between public service and profit-seeking, and between the quest for spirituality and the quest for justice.

What I am describing here is the trajectory of the transition to modernity. Our political institutions, modern as they are, came as a legacy of American colonialism. They were grafted onto a feudal social order and culture defined by the values of a patron-client system. The disconnect became apparent to us only after the generation that had been schooled in colonial America’s modern ways had left the stage. We are just starting to grasp the logic of these institutions. Our hope is that the next generation can make them a reality.

Creeping modernity manifests itself in many ways (just as it creates a paradox: “can the aspiration to be modern, remain modern, if it’s built on what is, after all, a very traditional assumption? That political involvement and its goal of control of the government, are not only good, but necessary, and capable of achieving beneficial change?”). One sign is the extinction of the honorific “Don” and “Doña.” It’s gone out of style only in the last decade or so.

The decline of “church, club, and school” –the institutions that defined what I have called the Old Middle Class, in contrast to the New Middle Class– I’ve written about several times in the past, whether concerning fraternities (still strongest in the legal profession, and a core constituency of some candidates such as the Vice President), or the two periods of social transformation, i.e. World War II and Martial Law, or even the gerrymandering of the national territory; the relationship between politics and business; leading, however, to fears over the loss of social mobility.

Here is a bullet point version of the above:

  • Politics has been our biggest failure as a nation.
  • We are faced with a political system increasingly useless, out of synch with the modern world.
  • While our institutions are modern in form and concepts, the underlying concept is different: things are highly unequal, and patronage is built on powerlessness and poverty.
  • No long-term vision; only short-term vested interests.
  • We look for patrons because we do not trust legal systems to be fair. The ordinary Filipino has an ambivalent attitude towards the law, either an hostile or predatory attitude, a legacy of colonialism. Ten percent of Filipinos have participated in rallies; but the overwhelming majority has taken part in civil disobedience.
  • We do not assert our rights, we steal them.
  • Instead of being a burden, politics should be a tool for long-term survival and growth.
  • Leaders have to be competent, qualified, not merely popular.
  • Personal integrity and trustworthiness are important… but not enough… authentic leaders create new ways… superior in achieving collective goals.
  • The paradox of modernizing politicians:to achieve change, it cannot be done from outside; one must secure a foothold within, to effect change; but then, one risks being swallowed up by the system one is trying to change.
  • People are growing in numbers but are also growing more sophisticated as they imbibe new values from abroad; and yet Filipinos abroad do not immerse themselves in the politics of their host countries.
  • There is also a higher percentage of those with education, made possible by new money from relatives working overseas. These people are not hospitable to traditional politics; but have yet to become organized and still feel powerless.
  • In the short term, this changing attitude and frustration feeds crises.
  • The Middle Class in this country does not believe in elections, they believe in coups. They are impatient.
  • And yet, the boldest initiatives in the past 50 years have come from the Middle Class, from whose ranks even the leaders of the Left have sprung.
  • The current Crisis of Modernity is also driven by the bifurcation of the Filipino elite:  ”Moderates” who want to shield the government from capture by vested interests versus “Traditionalists” who want to preserve the existing captivity of the system to vested interests
  • We know what we want but it takes time to figure out why things don’t turn out that way.
  • And yet Filipinos are know throughout the region for Organizing Abilities.

Consider the above, and how these insights correspond to our society’s views and expectations of the presidency.

IV. The Presidency and the Crisis of Modernity

Even in 1953, the Philippines Free Press in an editorial foreshadowed the argument Randy David has been making, see Politics: Means and End:

But politics is the art of government and government is not a game. It is, especially in times such as ours, in a revolutionary age, a matter of life and death. The need to establish a regime above personalities, a government of laws instead of men, cannot be exaggerated. In a rule of law alone lies social stability. Those who are for chaos may welcome a personal regime; those who are for order know the need for an impersonal government.

Today, politics as a game is being played with the same fine recklessness that Quezon played it, but viciously. His heirs have his faults without his virtues; he went far but they would go too far. His private conscience drew the line beyond which it would be dishonorable for a public official to go, a line which only an impersonal law should draw. He did not overstep the line, for he had a conscience. His heirs have none and the law may be too weak to draw it for them.

So the crisis presents itself in the candidates and what they are against, as much as what they are for. Rizal put it, tal pueblo, tal gobierno; he might as well have said, tal pueblo, tal candidato –for however much nation-builders have tried, we are still many sub-nations. As recently posted on Facebook by Alvin Campomanes:

Sa isang lumang jeep, biyaheng Quiapo. Napansin ko ang Duterte sticker ng driver sa tabi ng lalagyan ng barya (yung may nakasulat na “atin ‘to pre” at may kamao).

Manong, Duterte kayo?
Oo, Duterte tayo ser.
Bakit po?
Para bumalik ang disiplina. Kasi ang tao ngayon nasobrahan sa laya, wala nang takot sa batas. Matigas ang ulo. Dapat kamay na bakal uli parang kay Marcos.
Ah, eh bakit ho kayo naninigarilyo sa jeep, alam niyo namang bawal?
Minsan lang naman, ser, tsaka wala namang humuhuli sa akin.

And the gun as absolute veto –well, it has its own inherent dangers, as a Free Press editorial (“If,” August 23, 1986) once pointed out. Referring to Marcos, it argued,

He was able to terrorize and rob the Filipino people as he pleased, to the extent he wanted, and he never ceased wanting. This is intelligence? This is what those who collaborated with his regime called brilliance, turning away from those who opposed his regime. Isn’t the better part of valor prudence in the face of such a master intellect? Al Capone ruled Chicago for years and there was nothing the U.S. government could do all that time except, finally, get him for income tax evasion. Capone ruled – robbing and killing at will – so, he, like Marcos, was brilliant? Anybody could be “brilliant” – with a gun. So, Marcos was brilliant – at the start. He did not have a gun, then: martial law enforced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines with his Number 1 hood, Ver, as chief-of-staff. Then, martial law! Brilliant he was, okay, or just cunning, unprincipled, a thinking son of bitch? All right, brilliant Marcos was. But the intellect deteriorates not meeting real challenge. The gun makes all challenge ineffectual. The mind becomes dull. Absolute power does not only corrupt absolutely, it stupefies. There is no need for intelligence when the guns serves. The blade of the mind rusts. Absolute power brings absolute stupidity. Such is the lesson of all dictatorships.

Of course the given is the inherent self-destructiveness when corruption is allied with brute force. Would tempering the aspect of greed make it more acceptable? This is the proposition being made, or assumed, by those yearning for an iron fist to solve the country’s problems. The underlying message is that not only is life cheap, but that those in the periphery are expendable if they challenge not just life and liberty, but property. Without benefit of law, or even a limit on force being the monopoly of the institutions of the state (instead, local executive discretion operates in an ill-defined and thus, unappealable, area outside the military, police, or the courts).

Again, this is nothing new. For example, during the FQS in Diliman, the counter-story were the residents who formed gangs to hunt down the students. More recently, recall the disagreement between Jesse Robredo and the then-Mayor of Makati over the “clearing” of informal settler colonies.

To close the circle, consider, though, that even as he breaths fire and talks tough, he often qualifies what he says, for legal cover or to secure maximum publicity while assuming a minimum of accountability. From these interviews alone, see: Rappler (here and here), Davao Today, Edge Davao, PDI (here and here) and DZMM, one could chart the tough talk and the wriggle room for one’s self, as follows:

(1) Duterte Contradictions

(2) Duterte Contradictions

(3) Duterte Contradictions

So the takeaway will be tough; the finer points can blur into the backfground but provide useful cover later. Sounds like a recipe for success?

But who is to say that a war on Algebra and Trigonometry, or on smoking and drinking (particularly drinking!) or a nationwide curfew, will be great vote-getters. Or that considering appointing Jose Ma. Sison to a cabinet post can compensate for bragging about liquidating or causing the liquidation of people (without really being pinned down on whether it’s an assertion of fact or merely bluster). There is a fine line between making a splash in the headlines and becoming a parody of one’s self.

But the tiger’s out of the cage –how long can he ride it?

 

 

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