False anniversary

Today is September 21, and the usual unthinking people will be falling over themselves to commemorate Martial Law today. But the anniversary isn’t today, it’s two days from now, Saturday, September 23.

Pete Lacaba takes a cue from his book, Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage, his coverage of the First Quarter Storm, and pens a reflection, Days of paranoia, nights of unease.

Conrado de Quiros compares two presidents: Marcos and Arroyo. My column for today looks at the views of the post-Marcos youth.

Some sober and sobering news and views on the Thailand coup. Let’s dismiss the obvious -the Philippine government is simply protesting too much (as Ellen Tordesillas puts it). The armed forces made its choice, on February of this year; and it sealed the pact with its activities against dissidents in the provinces.

The Inquirer editorial condemns the coup, but suggests the reasons it took place and why it does offer up a cautionary tale for Filipinos. The Arab News editorial focuses on human rights questions and the dangers inherent in a resumption, by the military, of its political role. Juan Mercado says the coup provides an “enduring lesson” -and that is, the king. An Associated Press story looks into the involvement of the Thai king in the coup (I heard the Philippine ambassador to Thailand vehemently deny this possibility on Dong Puno’s show last night). There’s an interesting commentary that Irish Pennants points to (from The Australian), saying any coup is bad but this one may be for the better:

Under his Government, corruption was widespread. More particularly, Thaksin had deeply affronted the citizens of Bangkok by the way he sold his family firm, Shin Corp, to a Singapore Government-controlled company in a multibillion-dollar transaction. There is no suggestion that the Singapore Government, or the Singapore corporation involved, have done anything wrong. Nor has any illegality been proved about the transaction itself. The transaction was, however, highly irregular and highly advantageous to Thaksin.

Whatever the technicalities of the transaction prove to be, it looked like a massive conflict of interest for a prime minister to be acting this way.

There is a fundamental split in Thai society between Bangkok, which is a sophisticated city, and the countryside, where policy matters less in determining election results than regional affiliation and, at times, even vote-buying practices.

There is an old saying that Thai governments are made in the countryside and unmade in Bangkok. This is what happened to Thaksin. In the end, he totally lost the respect of the citizens of Bangkok, even though he maintained the support of the countryside. As a result, in April this year there were huge anti-Thaksin demonstrations. Finally, even the King, the revered and much-loved Bhumibol Adulyadej, intervened to bring the earlier crisis to a close.

In the countryside, especially the north, the citizens are undoubtedly more fond of their King than their Prime Minister. But the King tries to be as neutral as possible in Thai politics, only intervening when absolutely necessary. The signals of disapproval that he sent out about Thaksin therefore were subtle and restrained. They were clear enough in Bangkok, but less clear in the countryside.

In any event, it became impossible for Thaksin to continue. Yet, analysts say, he may not have wanted to formally step down from the position of Prime Minister because of what a future Thai government might decide to do about – and with – the proceeds of the sale of Shin Corp. Other Thaksin family assets may also be under threat.

Thaksin had also fatally fallen out with the military. This was over two issues. One was his determination to appoint his own loyalists to senior positions within the military in this year’s round of promotions.

This, of course, is the right of a democratic government. But, given how much corruption flourished under Thaksin’s Government, there was good reason to fear what the consequences of these appointments might be.

Although the promotions round was the main cause of the alienation of the military, there was another issue of much greater importance. Thaksin has made a spectacular mess of handling the Islamist insurgency gripping the southern provinces of Thailand. This insurgency is exceptionally shadowy and difficult to understand but informed sources suggest that since the beginning of 2004 about 1700 people have died in the conflict…

Notwithstanding last weekend’s bombings, it is still believed that the Muslim terrorists of southern Thailand are not targeting Westerners, are not integrating their struggle into global jihadism and are not moving to targets elsewhere in Thailand – such as Bangkok or Phuket – that could severely damage the Thai economy.

The Thai military had a good handle on all this until a few years ago when Thaksin, in an act of wilful stupidity, abolished the mechanisms of local consultation that had built up over many years, when the conflict had subsided to much lower levels of violence.

The Thai army, led by General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin- coincidentally a Muslim – wants to try to re-create a political dialogue with the insurgents and try to address the legitimate grievances that the insurgents have exploited. Thaksin, in contrast, was determined to pursue a gung-ho, force and only force approach that was ineffective and was making things worse.

This may have been just arrogance on the part of Thaksin and his advisers, although some analysts speculate that it was a way of distracting attention from his own problems. In any event, it was exceptionally dangerous.

The Thai military has promised it will soon have new elections and a return to full democracy. Presumably Thaksin will not be allowed to contest these elections. The military has some support and advice from the King’s advisers on the Privy Council. Most important, the King has said nothing against the army.

The Bangkok public is likely to be ambivalent about this: glad to be rid of Thaksin, unhappy at military rule, probably willing to allow the interim government enough legitimacy to oversee a transition to a new democratic dispensation.

No democrat can support a military coup but Thai coups are the gentlest in the world, and this one may conceivably provide a path to something better.

Rep. Teddy Locsin made a devastating privilege speech titled One Night in Bangkok:

Not so long ago, and repeatedly, Mr. Speaker, you held up Thaksin Shinawatra as a model of the ideal parliamentary leader who best exemplifies the superior advantages of the parliamentary over the presidential system of government. This, in spite of the fact that Thaksin became a multibillionaire, with a media and manufacturing empire, on his income as a military officer and later as a member of parliament. Indeed, on the strength of those incomes he was able to purchase the prime ministership of Thailand along with the rest of the government. His sister treated the Thai air force like her own private jet service. Thaksin only forgot to buy the Thai Supreme Court and, of course, he could not buy the King, though he did suggest marginalizing the sovereign. Those were his mistakes.

Not so long ago, and repeatedly, Mr. Speaker, you held up the parliamentary system as the most conducive to political stability.

And you know what, Mr. Speaker, you are still right. It is the most conducive to political stability, to stasis, to paralysis and to despair — and violence.

That is why, this morning, in the witching hours after midnight, patriotic elements of the Thai armed forces swept into the capital, shut down all media and communications facilities, seized key government buildings, took over the government and abolished the Constitution.

You see, Mr. Speaker, the advantage of a parliamentary system is also its curse. It is indeed stable — too stable.

Once a person and his party take over a parliamentary government, and its vast resources, it is well nigh impossible to dislodge them and for another group to take their place.

Forget about reforming from within the government in place — you are either coopted or sidelined.

And that is why patriotic elements are compelled to step in from outside the Constitution and effect the necessary change from outside its legal parameters.

You see, Mr. Speaker, stability is a greater curse than instability because stability entrenches power, while power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely — and absolute power, where institutional checks and balance have been abolished, corrupts permanently.

Indeed, parliamentary corruption once entrenched is impossible to correct or remove except by military or revolutionary surgery.

And the summa total of all this is to marginalize the sovereign. In Thailand, that means the good King. In the Philippines, that means the Filipino people.

The key to political stability, paradoxically, is not stability, Mr. Speaker, but, on the contrary, a sense of perpetual motion and perennial wide-open possibility, so that no one despairs of being permanently left out, every pig is able to hope for its moment at the trough, and every dog shall have his day. And the people can indeed repeat with hope the words of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, when Rhett Butler left her: “Tomorrow is another day.”

As we stand on the threshold of Charter change, and a shift to the parliamentary system, let us, in the bowels of Christ, pause to consider what happened one night in Bangkok, as the song goes, and commit ourselves to drafting a Constitution that will foster not stability but changeability, not stasis but energy, not the assurance of the same old crooked faces but of fresh and new ones chosen by the people, well or ill, at every turn — all this to avoid despair and violence and generate hope and patience.

To tell the people that with a parliamentary system our politics will be so stable, that they will have to live with our faces in perpetuity, is to provoke them to the last extremity.

Locsin is not a presidentialist; he’s intellectually convinced of the virtues of a multi-party parliamentary system. He objects to a parliamentary system that will foster a one-party state and whose acceptance is premised on bribing officials to support it. So I suppose his speech is a last-ditch effort as the congressional steamroller heaves into action.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

95 thoughts on “False anniversary

  1. mlq3,
    The Presidential system is still preferable for the following reasons:
    1. we change our president every six years(the removal of ERAP and the additional 3 year stint of GMA is an accident) insulate us from the unlimited stint under the parliament. In fact if we do not have a VP in our system and we have to elect a new president in case of a removal we will have no problem like this one. The intent of a 6 year limitation is really to prevent a long serving president that is prone to corruption.The presidential system is not primarily designed for efficiency. It is designed to prevent tyranny and promote transparency and accountability. The US developed this system because they are inherently rich and what they want is to prevent oppression by a tyrant king. Hence their system is replete with, checks and balances, good governance, etc.
    2. Let us be patient with our system and wait until 2010 because any abrupt change will punish us more. Nakuryente na tayo kay ERAP. Our system would have worked if we allowed Erap’s impeachment to continue. But we learned our lessons. Erap’s perceieved sins are very much less than what we now reaped from GMA.
    For me, the presidential system is still the most suitable to us, although we can still improve on the following:
    1.Retain the senate but elect one senator per province to save on cost of electing senators on nationwide basis.
    2.Promote and develop a 2 party system since this will narrow down the issues and candidates. A multi party system ipso facto always result into a contest between 2 coalition come election time.
    3.Let us amend or revise only those portion of our constitution that needs change but not all.

  2. On “the explanee”: A presentation from someone’s view from UPD in addition to that of Lagman,s would have been a lot more interesting.

  3. If the explainee represents the youth of this country, I no longer wonder Jim Paredes shipped out. I would have, too, if I had the money.

    The thinking of the explainee only shows that we now live in a culture of materialism, the reign of greed. Hence, moralists have no place in the world, Austero would say; it’s all about bread and butter at the end of the day.

    It also shows what an impact a teacher has on the future. That professor is either a lazy tyrant or he selectively presented facts or presented physical facts only.

    Imagine, it’s better for the country if the president builds this and that and never mind if he gets rich in the process and those who oppose him are killed!

    That kid says those things because he has not experienced what had happened 20 years ago. Will he wait till he himself is jailed? Till anyone of his family, his friends are killed or jailed?

    I love history. It’s just a Filipino character defect that he forgets easily, that he never learns from the past.

  4. on the contrary arbet, filipinos love their history. that’s why they keep perfecting the mistakes of the past. we see marcos repossessing gma–corruption, obsession to power, and all.

  5. Teddy Locsin’s calling the Thai putschists ‘patriots’ is an open call to the Philippine military to seize power. His calling them ‘patriots’ is an editorial embellishment that makes me uneasy. We already have an armed forces basking in its own self-importance. A self-importance that started 24 years ago when Marcos signed Proclamation 1081 on September 21, ’72.

  6. That DLSU student leader/explainee was taken in by the false dichotomy between ‘fact and value’. In the physical sciences, there are unadorned facts, but in the social sciences, facts seldom come ‘value-free’. By teaching in a style that assumes that the facts speak for themselves, that DLSU teacher is being disingenuous. Of course, ‘infrastructure built’ is a legitimate input to evaluating Marcos’ legacy as are human rights violations and cronyism, but a proper evaluation can only be done if the normative frames within which such evaluation will be made are exposed. Aside from teaching ‘just the facts’, the alternative value systems should also have been presented.

    Jeg, if you take into account his prior ‘appeal to the Armed Forces’ a week or two back, yes it does seem that Teddy Boy is signaling the military. Maybe he is trying to follow the footsteps of Arturo Tolentino in more senses than i thought.

  7. A self-importance that started 24 years ago when Marcos signed Proclamation 1081 on September 21, ‘72.
    34 years ago. Not 24. Naknantokwa.

    (The proclamation was signed on the 21st, in secret so his opponents dont know what’s coming, and announced on the 23rd, after Ninoy et al. were rounded up.)

  8. Pity the students of today whose mind has been taught NOT the basic truth, but what they think is the epitome of success these days: material evidence like those bridges and infrastructures. Funny, but those were our parents’ taxes!
    Not marcos’ money.

    Pity the Pinoy family of today: parents out abroad working to send their kids to school. Lahat ng edukasyon, bals-wals na…..as in walang kwenta: bale-wala lahat.

    no virtues, no sense of what is right and what is wrong…..
    no whatsoever!

    It doesn’t matter whether they go to La Salle or to public schools. Students aren’t ‘THAT’ sharp as they used to be.

    Quo Vadis?

  9. taipan88,

    “It doesn’t matter whether they go to La Salle or to public schools. Students aren’t ‘THAT’ sharp as they used to be.”

    Pray tell us what qualifications you have or from what credible source you base this claim on.

  10. TEDDY BOY deserves a hearty round of applause for a brilliant rhetorical thumping of the Palace mantra that all who oppose it are destabilizers. He makes a virtue of the ability to change:

    The key to political stability, paradoxically, is not stability, Mr. Speaker, but, on the contrary, a sense of perpetual motion and perennial wide-open possibility, so that no one despairs of being permanently left out, every pig is able to hope for its moment at the trough, and every dog shall have his day.

    I must say, a shade cynical, even misanthropic, and after that appeal to “the bowels of Christ”–quintessentially and deliciously Teddy Boy!

    But I love the intellectual jiu-jitsu move he makes on destabilizaiton. CORRIGIBILITY is the ideal we are searching for in a government, not STABILITY as such, nor any other definite virtue — save the opportunity and the freedom to attain it.

    It’s so…Jeffersonian!

  11. I don’t see anything wrong with the explanee, his conclusions and how he arrived at his conclusions. The problem is we Filipinos grew up in a society where everything we do should be validated by someone else before we do it. Have we ever ate in a restaurant without consulting a dozen people? Why did you watch all the Matrix movies? Because you like the first one or because you don’t wanna be branded as TANGA because you don’t get it? Ever wonder why most Pinays now wear thongs? Because it’s fashionable? DUH! HERD MENTALITY. We should have more independent thinking Filipinos like the explanee. Filipinos who can discern base on the facts and not be afraid to be different.

  12. Human rights violations in Marcos time– I wonder why nobody ever put FVR to task for such. By principle of command responsibilty, Ramos was “nearer” the “act of crime”.

    I also remember that one of the most prominent human rights violations claimants is one named Joma Sison. Other prominent members of the left who only belatedly admit to being leaders of the then-underground communist movement are also on the list. I do not begrudge their being paid if charity is all there is being considered. The families of Rizal and Bonifacio should also demand compensation from Spain, by the way. How’s that?

    We wonder about this changing attitude on Marcos. But why, indeed, when books on Philippine history never missed a beat painting him as the most rapacious leader this country ever had? In fact, from 1986, show us an article or anything that could pass for a press release in his favor that ever saw print or broadcast because I have seen none. Try the Internet and it’s all mostly Marcos-is-evil stuff. Indeed, why?

    I guess it is time providing opportunity for comparison. If only we could do a survey now among those who were old enough to have experienced Martial Law up to now. We’ll ask why majority find Marcos the better man.

  13. heard from a friend working in an embassy in U.K. that LARGE AMOUNT of MONEY (Dollars/Euro) we’re spent for GMA (who wears PRADA) and her LAPDOGS … (Senators and a congressmen are in tow) … EXPENSES for NOTHING !!!

  14. heard from a friend working in an embassy in U.K. that LARGE AMOUNT of MONEY (Dollars/Euro) we’re spent for GMA (who wears PRADA) and her LAPDOGS … (Senators and a congressmen are in tow) … TRIP EXPENSES for NOTHING !!!

  15. Whether empirically true or not, denigrating the younger generation has always been the vice of elders. Even in my high school (LSGH) back in the mid-eighties , a teacher used to comment that the higher batch was more remarkable than the batch i was in. Years later, I heard that same sentiment coming from someone who was almost ten batches younger than me, i.e. that the lower batches were just not as good as the previous ones.

    I don’t think that the DLSU student leader is any less ‘sharp’ than those who came before him. It’s just that he cares more about the bridges that he can someday drive through than all those people who were killed. In a sense, he exhibits the same values as Bong Austero – things are fine as long as you don’t hold up the traffic. Maybe from his rational cost-benefit standpoint, bridges have more value than people who by this time, would have eventually died of old age anyway. By the same token, maybe his sons and daughters may have the same sentiments towards the UP Coeds who have been abducted allegedly by the military.

  16. “… commit ourselves to drafting a Constitution that will foster not stability but changeability, not stasis but energy, not the assurance of the same old crooked faces but of fresh and new ones chosen by the people, well or ill, at every turn—all this to avoid despair and violence and generate hope and patience.”–Rep.Locsin

    But the only way to “constitutionally” get rid of “the same old crooked faces … at every turn” is a provision on “no reelection of incumbents to any elective position ever” and, of course, “no dynasty” (call it nobility).

  17. “if the DLSU student is the kind of students we have today, RP’s future is doom!”

    I think today’s students are more discerning that what some give them credit for. They may not fall for romantic idealism so easily, but they are far better at gauging the hard realities on the ground. In the case of Ninoy Aquino, for example, I cannot blame today’s students for being unconvinced about a meaningful legacy he could have contributed. Ninoy Aquino never really proved his capabilities as a leader. He was only an accidental figure who somehow got himself killed at the right time, kindling the frustration and anger of an economically ravaged middle class. Before death, Ninoy was only a glib, amoral politician who went through some soul-searching only after he was outflanked and defeated at his own political game by a more cunning and Machiavellian adversary. Even Ninoy himself admitted as much on at least one ocassion. It is relatively easy to die for one’s country. It is far more heroic to live for one’s country and make significant day-to-day contributions. What makes Ninoy Aquino’s legacy even more murky is that his death and subsequent overthrow of Marcos, didn’t usher in better times. It only brought in his relatives and his politician-friends who only helped themselves and forgot about the rest. It only brought back the wild and wooly and unlamented pre-Marstial law politics-as-usual.

  18. ” He was only an accidental figure who somehow got himself killed at the right time,”

    Whoa, hold on Carl. The guy was incarcerated for years, and you call him “only an accidental figure”? And what would have been the wrong time?

    Making significant day-to-day contributions does not make one a hero, that is your duty.

    Precisely he became a hero because he did something beyond his duty: to rally the Filipinos against a dictator, risking his life upon his return. “Somehow got himself killed?” Nah. The killing was premeditated.

    You could be right about his legacy being tarnished by his kamag-anak inc. though.

  19. so i guess it is true, the thai king endorsed the coup and appointed the coup leader to head a new governing council.


  20. I am reminded of the great wall/s of China or even the pyramids. We marvel at the spectacular feat etc etc…. yet somehow fail to reconcile the idea that more than a million died to build them. Many of those before their time and some not even willing to do the work in the first place.

    Several years ago, a special documentary was done to commemorate Martial Law. I remember a portion where a lady remarked that it was simple to choose a side on Martial law. She said more or less that ” Simple lang yan, kung nakinabang ka sa Martial law, maganda alaala ng MArtial LAw sa iyo! Kung nabiktima ka ng Martial Law, Masama memorya mo dyan. Kami, nabiktima kami!”

    Anybody’s guess is as good as anyone’s on which side the student’s family belongs too.

    BTW, the Wall and the Pyramids failed the intentions for why they were built in the first place.

    How long will the infrastructures last?

  21. In one of his columns, Teddy Benigno recalled a conversation he has with Ninoy in Boston before he came back. Teddy Man said Ninoy mused about Marcos’s revolution from Malacanang–suspending Congress, cutting the legs off the oligarchs, and redistributing land from the hacienderos to the farmers–and said if he had been president, he would probably have done the same thing. CVJ suggested the same thing in the comments section of another MLQ3 post. Im wondering whether this is an idea whose time has come, and yet we dont have a ‘moral giant’ another commenter wrote about who would have the balls to try this. Whoever he or she is would surely be pilloried by the powers-that-be, the unelected movers and shakers–the oligarchs who control our economy and our information–as an ‘enemy of democracy’.

  22. There are many who are immensely impressed with the late Ex-President Marcos. He did good in this, he did good in that, they say.

    But we all are certain now of one thing.


    He like everyone else was destined to die. So to whom did he plan to relinquish power eventually? Would that person have been able to do good in this, do good in that?

    Maybe someone from the impressed side can give the answer. But please don’t insult our inteligence by telling us it would have been Arturo Tolentino.

  23. Justice League, Marcos was famous for saying that he ‘did not intend to die’ so perhaps he did not have any succession plan. You’re right about Arturo Tolentino. My Dad was extremely impressed with him, and as i looked up to my dad, so was i. Only when the Manila Hotel episode happened did it dawn on me that he was not much more than a sad joke, something that nascent-Tolentino’s like Teddy Boy should be mindful of.

  24. “It is relatively easy to die for one’s country.” – Carl

    Only a person who believes in reincarnation or a cat with nine lives can say that. We who fight with our keyboards should not trivialize the ultimate real-world sacrifices made by others.

  25. “We who fight with our keyboards should not trivialize the ultimate real-world sacrifices made by others.”

    As one of the keyboard activists here, I say, right you are, cvj!

  26. Marcos had done a lot — some land reforms, infrastructures, perhaps more hospitals and schools than any of his predecessors combined, etc.,etc.,etc. –what he fondly called the “politics of achievements”. But at what cost? human rights abuses, embezzlement, nepotism, cronyism, the trampling of our democratic institutions, etc.etc.etc. It didnt matter if he had built a million schools, hospitals, or miles and miles of roads, or made the country the richest in the world. THE END DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS, IT NEVER HAS, NEVER WILL.

  27. don’t be so quick to make judgments about the explainee, don’t be so enamored with your own beliefs that you can’t tolerate the possibility that somebody else may have a different opinion than yours, and don’t be so arrogant as to dismiss the possibility (no mmatter how slight) that he could be correct.

    “Even today, long after his [Ninoy Aquino’s] canonization as a national martyr, he can still arouse strong feelings among those who knew and worked with him. (Among various reactions are: ‘He was an arrogant s.ob..’ ‘He was a dedicated womanizer.’ ‘Every bit as ambitious as Marcos – hell, they knew each other like brothers and had got each other’s measures.’ ‘Couldn’t string two decent English sentences together.’ ‘Played both ends against the middle …’). These are the judgements of journalists, ex-ministers and senators.” (America’s Boy, James Hamilton-Patterson, p.293)

  28. As a person, Ninoy may have been all those things which makes his decision to take that plane trip all the more remarkable. I don’t think the explainee would want to be treated with kid gloves. No one is entitled to an opinion that cannot be defended. Anyway, being flamed in a weblog does not compare to being abducted by the military.

  29. ” It is the belief system that you articulate that is at question here, nothing else.”

    But after all these time that nothing much is happening, whose belief system is not is not being questioned…???Those who claimed that their belief system is beyond question should be showing results by now… The trouble is this, when the belief system of one sector is not working and producing results that they expected, Rather than just going over their very own belief system, reexamine it, overhaul it, to make it work,,,, they would rather they turn to the other belief system and do all these horrible thing just to defeat it. And then claimed that the other belief system is self defeating….
    Oh well,…..

  30. “If the explainee represents the youth of this country, I no longer wonder Jim Paredes shipped out.”

    Jim Paredes and people like him worked to have Cory Aquino into power. Jim Paredes and people like him also worked to have Gloria Arroyo into power. That alone shows you that things may not be as they seem.

    Nobody is saying to treat explainee with kid gloves. But to attack an 18 year old personally, his school, and his generation, rather than calmly demonstrating why he could be wrong, questioning particularly what he actually said and not what you interpret or thought him to have said, is no way to mold the intellectual development of our young. And no way for his so-called elders to behave. In a way, explainee perhaps had just demonstrated to all why our young could be this country’s real hope and why this country is in a mess right now.

  31. rego, you’re welcome to question my belief systems in the same way that i question yours. Questioning each other is part of the process of ‘overhauling’, ‘reexamining’ and ‘making it work’. In the search for better ideas, holding back is a mark of irresponsibility. As i said, no one is entitled to an opinion that cannot be defended and the sooner we find out who is holding on to BS, the sooner we can move on to better ideas. We just have to learn to separate the person whom we should always treat with respect, from his/her opinions, which must be spared no mercy. That’s one of the advantages of this medium.

  32. But when some is using the word like the world “false”, “self defeating” towards other belief system. Is that still a question?. I believe its being judgemental and and forcing your percieved mightier belief on the other. I can’t really convince myself that your in the right posistion to judge the effectiveness of other belief system. And even nobody is. So what believe should be done is to let all the belief system flourish! All these belief system are just going to the same noble goals anyway. You just cannot impose your route going to certain territory to anyone, especially when that route that you are taking is higly questionable!

  33. hey manolo,

    I just finished reading the memoirs of James Mc Greevey. You want to read it?. I can send it to your through a freind who going to Manila on Sat. Then he can mail it to you from there.

  34. Roque Ablan on FM and Ninoy:

    “Ninoy and Marcos were very close in private. All three of us were frat brothers. When Ferdinand was campaigning in 1969 Ninoy gave a speech condemning Imelda for the wastefulness of her new CCP project. The joke is, it was Marcos who edited the speech for him, writing his comments on Ninoy’s draft like ‘More!’, ‘Nothing like strong enough!’ and ‘Sock it to her!’ Imelda was furious enough after Ninoy gave the speech even without knowing her own husband had made it still worse. All innocence, Marcos pacified her by saying ‘Don’t worry, sweetheart, we’ll get even.’ But it was all a joke. In return, Ninoy supplied Ferdinand during the same campaign with ammunition to score off Osmena.” (America’s Boy, p.293, citing an interview Ablan gave in 1997)

    Anyway, thank you Manolo. Thank you Rego.

  35. I don’t know much about Teodoro Locsin, Sr. But if his heir and namesake is any gauge, it’s all about a way with words – – nothing less – – and nothing more. Teddy Locsin is a great speechwriter. He really has a way with words. He can appeal to our most idealistic, the most principled emotions. Yet, he himself is the most cynical, amoral person. He is the typical “do as I say, don’t do as I do” person. One who can live a life full of contradictions and yet put on a straight face and urge others to “do the right thing”.

    Ninoy Aquino didn’t suffer for any principles. He only suffered because he happened to be a thorn to Marcos at the only game they were both adept at – politics. So Marcos had to take care of him just so he wouldn’t make any mischief. But Ninoy was a trapo through and through, at least until he started to get some . And, being married to the Cojuangco clan, an active member of the bourgeois comprador class. That is why, until he was killed on the tarmac, Ninoy was largely a forgotten figure in the Philippines. That murder may have been premeditated by some wackos in Marcos’ camp, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that it was a historical accident that made the person more than what he actually was. That is why it has always been asserted that it was only a lucky break that Marcos was critically ill on that day, otherwise the cunning old fox wouldn’t have handed a washed-up politician like Ninoy a golden opportunity at immortality by making him a martyr. At best, Ninoy was only an accidental martyr. And if one were to be judged by the company he keeps, who were Ninoy’s best friends before he died? Ernie Maceda, Monching Mitra, Sonny Osmeña and a host of traditional politicians who have since been discredited for their shallow, opportunistic brand of populism. Add to this his Kamag-Anak, Inc. and it is clear that Ninoy Aquino really had feet of clay.

    What is even more amazing is that, to this day, Marcos still seems to be the best that we could do. In almost all surveys of who was the best Philippine President, Marcos still tops most of the lists.

  36. Teddy Locsin has really a good way around with words, but words are words and only good if you’re an aspiring poet, or a novel price is your ultimate goal in Literature. What we need from politician is performance. Actions and constructive deeds, that can be seen to have done an improvement to the lives of its subjects. To all the politicians and aspiring poets and novelists, knew which one you want to be, and be good at it.

  37. Carl, I can tell you what Teodoro M. Locsin did. He became heir to, and head of, the Free Press, leading news magazine of its day; crusaded against corrupted; was confronted by his staff led by nick joaquin which led to a bitter management vs. union fight and the resignation of the union.

    when martial law was imposed, he was one of those immediately arrested, after having warned for over two years martial law was coming. the free press was shut down, its assets occupied by the armed forces. upon his release, locsin was made to accept a token sale of the free press’s assets to hans menzi.

    in 1985 he decided to republish the free press, borrowed money to do it, faithfully paid back the money after each issue. after edsa, he was given the chance to get back the assets taken from him, he refused any assistance from the government and said he’d fight it out in court. he died with the cases unresolved.

    so he definitely did not use his support for cory to get back what he’d lost, or his son’s being in the cabinet at the time.

    carl, from your views it seems you consider it impossible for any politician to do anything good, much less anyone from the upper class to contribute anything to society; and you do not seem to attach any importance to opposition whether out of principle or cirumstance, or both.

    which leaves no room or reason it seems to me, for virtue, intentional or accidental, and everything seems reserved to the naked worship of power?

  38. blur, i partially agree with you in the sense that it is the explainee’s ideas and opinions that should be attacked, and that his generation should not be indicted along with him. That would not be fair to a generation which has not yet been given a chance to prove itself.

    rego, “false” and “self-defeating” are value judgments which you can defend against if you choose to. Of course i consider the beliefs i hold superior to yours. If not, i would not hold on to them in the first place. However, i also know that i have been wrong before, so being judgmental is my own look-out. “Letting all the belief system” to flourish is often used as an excuse to tolerate nonsense. Saying “I’m entitled to my opinion” is a conversation stopper that does nothing to resolve the issue under contention.

    mlq3, re: Locsin Sr’s “If” – i think what Ninoy tried unsuccessfully to pull off with Marcos prefigured a similar but more successful reconciliation by Mandela and de Klerk a decade later. If Marcos was really that brilliant, he would have foreseen that.

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