I was having fun reading my dear friend Carlos Celdran’s entry (and accompanying comments) about the Frapp for Freedom activity, and suddenly remembered an entry from last July in which I recounted a story told me by an anti-Marcos oppositionist:
This reminds me of a story someone active in the anti-Marcos opposition told me some years ago. I asked him whether or not Marcos’s repeated allegations that certain opposition individuals had plans to assassinate him (Marcos) had been true. One of the plans, I believe, included using a remote control airplane loaded with explosives, which would dive bomb Marcos while he was playing golf. “Oh, sure,” the oppositionist said, “we stuffed a cow with TNT and a timer. We tried it. Big explosion. Lots of ground round, but you know, we never did figure out how we’d get Marcos to go up and pet a constipated looking cow.”
The nadir of a struggle always leads, at least for Filipinos, to the most amusing stories. There are the ones I recounted the other day, about protests in Rustan’s and the Manila Peninsula; Jojo Abinales in a comment recounts the things he did as a young activist.
And I can’t help but recall other stories I heard as a kid. I only wish I could say I remembered them in all their contemporary detail.
There was a meeting in Washington, DC with Raul Manglapus, Ninoy Aquino, and Lorenzo Tañada. Tañada’s hearing aid went kaputt, and he kept shouting “What!? What!?” at a frustrated Ninoy; and in the middle of the meeting Manglapus lay down and took a nap.
Marcos went on a State Visit to Washington and booked a suite at the Shoreham and proceeded to provide a big feed for the Filipino community. Filipinos drove in from as far as New Jersey for the kilo of bangus and other goodies the New Society was giving away -and then some anti-Marcos people, happily laden with goodies, promptly joined the anti-Marcos protests.
One anti-Marcos youth leader ducked into a bathroom to be made over as a woman to evade arrest. Upon exiting the bathroom, friends looking at him broke into hysterics: “he was the ugliest damned woman we ever saw in our life!”
Nemesio Yabut, Marcos-era kingpin of Makati, got a bag of urine thrown on his head; the look in his face was said to be priceless. Another version has the late Manila Mayor Bagatsing undergoing the same yellow baptism.
I remember Cory Aquino recounting how Ninoy was furious when she spent one of their conjugal visits in prison scrubbing his toilet with what seemed like two gallons of Lysol.
Filipino exiles in Los Angeles taking up a collection in the days of the Light A Fire Movement, very solemnly, for one, solitary, Armalite rifle. Eventually, they coughed up the cash. For one. And then, the plaintive question, “Uh, how about the ammunition?”
The wife of a Marcos opponent in exile, smuggled in disguise, to the Manila International Airport to take a flight to Mindanao, from there to take a kumpit to Malaysia and freedom; the escort hiding behind a potted plant to make sure their charge boarded the plane without incident; the escapee, about to board the plane, turning around dramatically to wave at her friends, Hollywood actress-style, “Yoohoo! I’m leaving!”
The perennial problem of people being assigned code names and forgetting them. “Hello! Julie?” “What do you mean? Your code name is Julie! Mine is Cindy!” “Oh, [instert real name here] I forgot what my code name was!”
We like our resistance and peaceful revolutions laden with smiles. And, to end the series of amusing anecdotes, The official Palace documentary, Paglaban sa Kataksilan: 1017 is online. Watch it. It is your patriotic duty. After all, our taxes paid for it.