Free Burma!

Free Burma!

Free Burma 01

Read the Inquirer editorial, Battle for Burma, and Alex Magno’s column, Emergency. Asia Sentinel has Horror in Burma, and asks, Where are Burma’s Monks?

The Irrawaddy News Magazine Burma Protests page has continuous updates. So does More on Burma in the Guardian Unlimited.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

420 thoughts on “Free Burma!

  1. “ramfrod, you don’t make yourself knowledgeable by calling me “ignorant”. prove that you are smart, or well-informed, by what you post here. as far as i can see, there is nothing to show that you are. Being able to quote or copy the full statement of the alumni assoc. of pma, or even its “code of honor”, just doesn’t cut it.” – bencard

    I did not say that I was, I didn’t say you were ignorant also. I don’t have to, I know so, and one of the biggest companies in the world also. Don’t get too riled up for nothing, this is not worth your high blood pressure. Take it easy and stop trying to sound too american using “ain’t” or “cut it” your asian don’t humiliate yourself.

  2. “The challenge to PMAers who are committed to reviving the honor code could be a pledge to resist being political appointees or run in an elections within a specific period after getting out of service. Ret Generals now occupying appointive posts can lead the way by resigning. Without the challenge to sacrifice, the PMA AA statement is plain simple rhetoric.” – pete

    Its been the dilema even 20 years ago, even longer. Cadets graduate, become officers, they start out very idealistic, but then after a while become corrupt and act as if they didn’t learn anything from all those years in the academy. If these officers came from any other institution it would have been understandable but they came from an institution that borders on fanaticism in the inculcation of courage, loyalty, and integrity.
    Maybe its just a few bad eggs, but why is the impact of these bad eggs rocking the very core of this institution?

  3. Bencard,

    Please accept my apologies if I offended you, its nothing personal. Sometimes I’m a jerk, I need help. I’m really sorry for the times I slipped up. No excuses, a jerk’s a jerk…

  4. Bencard,

    sorry for butting in but re “Being able to quote or copy the full statement of the alumni assoc. of pma, or even its “code of honor”, just doesn’t cut it.”, I believe ramrod has already revealed that he IS a PMAer Class 89 and so should know about the PMA code of honour.

    He had to memorize that early on during his cadetship, otherwise he would be punished, i.e., asked to carry the world.

  5. ramrod, no offense taken but apology accepted. sometimes we are taken by the passion of our personal advocacies that we are driven to use stronger words than we mean to. in hindsight, i probably did misconstrue your use of the word ignorant (which you probably intended to refer to my lack of precise knowledge of the exact language of the pma’s code of honor, which i admit).

    mlq3, i meant to post this much earlier but when i tried, i got the familiar “server cannot be found”. if i may hazard a guess, i think the reason why the pma class 1940 turned out the way it was is that the members were mentored by the americans a la west point, with gen. douglas mcarthur the big chief. this illustrates the first half of your grandfather’s famous metaphor “government run like heaven by the americans”. in contrast, class 1971 was (mis)guided by what became the muscles of the marcos’ dictatorship, going on to become the implementors of the martial law, many of whom are still around as politicians, bureaucrats and business executives. this represents the other half of the metaphor “run like hell by the filipinos”.

  6. “in contrast, class 1971 was (mis)guided by what became the muscles of the marcos’ dictatorship, going on to become the implementors of the martial law, many of whom are still around as politicians, bureaucrats and business executives” – bencard

    Yes. I agree, during the Marcos era there were some “strange” changes even in the academy. Meanwhile, they were seeing the emergence of well to do generals and officers, with lifestyles of the rich and famous. Martial Law and the human rights violations that came with it was deplorable, the use of “unorthodox” methods of extracting intel was immoral as the military shifted from being the protector of the people to its “suppresor” and “oppressor.” Nevertheless, there were still those who remained true.

  7. bencard, no, the comparisons mccoy made were based precisely on the point that both classes of pma represented the same tradition: the time pma became entirely filipino-run and trained.

  8. MLQ3,

    Thank you for the new reading material suggestion, I will try to look for it in National Bookstore or Powerbooks. The title itself makes the hair on my nape stand on end, “closer than brothers” can actually be summed up in one word – “MISTAH.”

    The methods of torture were not invented by the Filipinos, these were taught to us by the Americans, we can’t take credit for such sophistication. History has a list of generals who believed that the ends justify the means, McArthur, Patton, Pershing, to name a few.
    “In war there is no substitute for victory…” -McArthur

    I cannot possibly deprive everyone of their opinion about the military especially the “adventurists,” all I ask is for everyone to be more “compassionate” after all these are young men, misguided though they may be, they acted on what they believed in. They knew what they were in for and are paying for it as we speak/blog. These men have families and friends who are also suffering…After all these are not merciless killers or rapists, these are our soldiers.

  9. ramrod, if you can find it, get gen. vicente lim’s “to inspire and to lead: the letters of gen. vicente lim,” republished by his family, i believe you can get t either through aim or the copy i have, i bought in the pma gift shop in baguio.

    mccoy’s book was widely discussed among pma alumni.

  10. MLQ3,

    I bought a copy of “Closer than Brothers.” I can’t believe it, its very insightful, if you read my comments on your blog, they’re just bits and pieces of the whole, its only now that I’m beginning to reconcile certain aspects of my youth and the way I seem to behave and think right now that always seems unrelatable for my peers.

  11. ramrod, that was a ground-breaking book, and writing it has continued to haunt mccoy from what i hear. as a civilian, it helped me get an insight into the military mind.

  12. mlq3, regardless of what victor mccoy says (this is the first time i heard of him), the pma was established by the americans under their colonial regime and administered it through the end of the commonwealth in 1946 when the country “run like hell by the filipinos” officially began. this is the history i know and since you are the historian, correct me if i am wrong.

    pma class 1940, if not directly mentored by the americans, were nurtured under the american military traditions of “honor, duty and country”. the values that were inculcated on its members were the values that saw us through the 2nd world war. they were vastly different from the values they possessed during the martial law and thereafter.

  13. bencard, it’s the historian al mccoy. he first gained notoriety having exposed the marcos medals as fakes (along with the work of boni gillego).

    the americans had set up the constabulary early on to “pacify” the country and while a militia of sorts was organized during ww1, it was disbanded thereafter (one filipino managed to die in ww1 and there are still camps named after him, tomas claudio).

    it was only with the commonwealth that the country could begin training its armed forces, under filipino officers (transferees from the only us army unit which allowed filipinos to become officers, the philippine scouts) with training and supervision by an entirely separate group of american military advisers. the american army retained its own administration and command structure under the philippine department which took a rather skeptical view of their fellow american officers engaging in army-building with the filipinos.

    the first two laws of the commonwealth identified the two primary concerns of the new government. commonwealth act no. established the basis for the philippine army; commonwealth act. no 2 established the national economic council, today’s neda. among the first priorities of the new philippine army was the establishment of an officer’s school.

    if you consult the roster of the office of the philippine army, it was staffed entirely by filipinos:

    central general staff:
    maj. gen. basilio j. valdes, chief of staff
    birg. gen. vicente p. lim, deputy chief of staff
    lieut.col. simeon de jesus, asst. COS G-1
    col. fidel segundo, asst. COS G-2
    col. rafael garcia, asst. COS G-3
    lt. col. ireneo buencusejo, asst. COS G-4
    capt. amadeo magtoto, actng. asst. COS G-5
    maj. elias dioquino, sec. to the COS

    then there was the special general staff, incl. the adjutant general, the corps of engineers, judge advocate servbice, signal officer, medical service, quartermaster service, chaplain service, ordinance service, off-shore patrol (precursor of the navy): only two americans here: major fr. edwin ronan, chief of the chaplain service and maj. charles backes, USA, chief of the air corps of the philippine army.

    then there were the military commanders:

    col. mateo capinpin, division commander, first regular division, camp murphy, rizal (today’s camp aguinaldo, qc)
    col. pastor martelino, superintendent, philippine military academy, baguio
    maj. milton hill (an american) commandant, general services school, baguio
    capt. filomeno b. villaluz, commandant, school for reserve commission, camp james b. ord, san miguel, tarlac (this, i beleive, is where reserve officers like manuel roxas and benito soliven, father of max, and jacobo zobel trained)

    1st. lt. adriano valdez, commandant, school for reserve commission, camp kiethley, lanao

    the authority to lend american officers to foreign armies for advisory/training purposes was granted by american legislation and by our commonwealth act no. 1. the philippine army was placed under the command of macarthur when he was recalled to active duty shortly before ww2 broke out; the PA was integrated into USAFFE.

    so there was close cooperation but it would be wrong to think that from 1935-1941 the philippine army was entirely controlled by the americans, much less the pma, which was established with the principles and methods of west point in mind (macarthur had been commandant of west point prior to being cos of the us army), but if you read the letters of general lim, you will see it was mainly filipinos organizing the new army: in cases, bitterly divided between veteran officers of the constabulary and those, like lim, who’d served in the philippine scouts.

    the logistical, political, strategic and tactical problems of practically building up a national armed forces from scratch are brilliantly covered in

    the philippine army, 1935-1942, by ricardo trota jose.

    perhaps your misconceptions are due to not appreciating the extent and latitude of what commonwealth status was. in fattct we were more advanced in this regard than india and pakistan, who had millions of their citizens serve in the british armed forces. even after independence, for a time, they continued to have british commanders. we already had general officers in bataan.

  14. The book is a brilliant account of how the concept of the “professional soldier” was created. It actually started as Manuel L. Quezon’s brainchild, he’s deliberate design to divorce the military leadership from the oligarch as opposed to the Spanish model showed remarkable foresight for it paved the groundwork for the officer as “manager” in the evolution of our officer corps. It actually answered my questions on the origin of hazing (from West Point) but pointed out the differances in execution. What was really interesting was that he got so much material from the class of ’40 themselves and how they used the bonds of their class to prevent any member from compromising, from being politicised, and from plotting coups while all around them, coups were springing up in southeast asia. In contrast, ’71 used these bonds to recruit their members to plot coups. The class of ’40 retained their nationalism and adhered to the premise of civilian authority whereas ’71 adopted this “heroic” stance saviour of the people. This explains a lot of things, the meetings in ’87 with Honasan and Kapunan, the pervading “messianic” mentality of that time and the use of “unorthodox” or excessive force to achieve desired results. Personally this only made me realize that I’m not psychotic and my current preference for a particular management style that scares most employees and even my bosses (but they like the results). This also explains why there seems to be a split persona in the officer corps, one that upholds the superiority of civilian authority and the other “save the people from themselves.” I didn’t bother reading any material about the academy before because I thought no one will be able to accurately write about it unless they experience cadet life themselves, I’m sure this was widely read and discussed, if not it should be read and discussed. I will as with my mistah who is teaching at the academy if he’s read this and see what he thinks. The details are accurate from the “reception” where plebes meet the “immaculates” for the first time, the “beast barracks,” the “recognition.” Even the harassment that happens before recognition. I only noticed one detail that was not that accurate, the “bridging” its when you bend over backwards and put your head and upper torso midway between the lower and upper bunks, its a painful experience but you get used to it after a while, you’ll learn to maintain this position for hours.
    It precisely explains the reason or causes of the issues brought up by the alumni association in 2006. I haven’t finished reading it yet…

  15. mlq3, don’t go overboard. what misconceptions are you talking about? didn’t you agree with me that the philippine military(including pma) was administered by the americans, albeit staffed by filipinos trained by the americans up until around the end of world war 2, or specifically 7/4/46? all the filipino generals you listed were trained by the americans.

    i fully understand the “extent and latitude” of the philippine commonwealth. sovereignty still resided with the u.s. and all government authority emanated from it, although filipinos were given the “privilege of “self government, subject to u.s. constitution and statutes.

  16. bencard, perhaps our differences are over definitions. the only things the usa administered were foreign affairs and currency and a constitutional veto power. sovereignty, on the other hand, was retained by the usa pending recognition of independence. in all other matters, within philippine territory filipinos did the administering and philippine laws were final and executory (my understanding is that prior to 1935 philippine supreme court decisions were subject to review by the us supreme court; after 1935 the phil. supreme court became 100% filipino, american justices were retired and decisions no longer subject to being overturned by american courts). we had our own constitution, instead of organic acts; this is also why, for example, we passed our own immigration law (still in force) in 1940, i believe.

    administration of the pma by americans? no. not even of the philippine army. even supervision? i’d dispute that. assistance and training is an entirely different thing which continues to this day. for example, the commander in chief of the philippine army was not the president of the united states, it was the president of the philippines. americans took actual command of the philippine army only when they were mustered into the service of the united states by formal proclamation in late 1941. this was also the basis the americans later used to justify denying filipinos veteran’s benefits matching those given to gi’s.

    but there may be legal nuances i’m missing out on here.

  17. p.s., that is why the 1935 philippine constitution had to be approved by the u.s. legislature under the tydings-mcduffie law (which replaced the hare-hawes-cutting act lobbied by then speaker sergio osmena, sr.).

  18. mlq3, prior to july 4, 1946, the americans giveth and could take it away. they could have “sold” us to the japanese if they wanted to, in the same way we were sold to the americans by the spaniards under the treaty of paris (was it 1896?).

  19. “Though once an officer in that army, Quezon instead chose the Western ideal of military professionalism. The United States lent its full support to his decison by sending advisors to Manila and bringing Filipino officers to America for advance training.
    “With the help of these ADVISORS, the president opened the new Philippine Military Academy in 1936 with an entering class of 120 cadets and a four-year curriculum modeled in every detail, upon West Point. Indeed, Quezon made the PMA his “pet project” – selecting its site at Baguio, picking staff, investigating cadet derelictions, and making frequent informal visits.”
    page 24, Closer than Brothers

  20. p.p.s approved not by the us legislature, but by the president of the united states. the us legislature’s purposes were done when it specified in the tydings-mcduffie act certain basics the constitution should contain (a bill of rights and recognition of us sovereignty until 1946, among others).

    pls. refer to



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.