“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
*From Macbeth by William Shakespeare
I cannot help but quote Macbeth again because the developing events in this country seem to fit the thoughts expressed in these quoted lines. Many people who have something between their ears say, and I agree with them, the best way to read an essay which has something to do with country is to read between the lines. In the Philippines, especially if traditional politicians, media and creatures of privilege are involved, their statements, speeches and essays, if any, must be read between the lies, if you are to correctly divine their true and intended meaning. This has been going on unabated from generation to generation. The reason for this is that in this country, these people are eternally involved in the game of pretense because without it life loses its meaning for them.
“Drama” as object of presidential complaint
In the first SONA of PDU30, he complained about the front page picture in a Manila daily (the Philippine Daily Inquirer) of a wife cradling her dead husband who was killed by the police of PDU30, allegedly because of illegal drugs. He said it is a lot of “drama” since the picture suggests the idea of the famous sculpture of Michelangelo Buonarroti named Pieta with Mother Mary holding Jesus Christ on her lap immediately after the crucifixion.
“Drama?” It is a picture that tells a thousand words – impunity, irrationality, violation of due process and equal protection of the law, emphasizing the total disregard of the rule of law and substituting it with the rule of men, and making the Constitution a scrap of paper.
Nobody contests the proposition that illegal drugs have captured the country in the same manner that the mouth of DD captured the people of this country leading to his election.
But PDU30 started “drama” as a mode of capturing national attention and entrancing the people that it got him elected President. Was it not “drama” when he entertained media and the people with his continuing soliloquy – now I’ll run and now I won’t; now my decision not to run is final and now I have not yet made up my mind; now my decision is final I won’t run. Finally, he decided to run and filed his certificate of candidacy.
This was the highest form of “drama.”
While he was still Davao mayor running for the presidency, he was asked by a reporter whether it was true that the Davao Death Squads (DDS) killed about 700 drug pushers and users. His immediate reply was, ‘it’s not true’ because the DDS killed about 1,700 of them. He hastened to add that he even killed some of them himself. Is this not “drama?”
When he was running for President, he said the moment he got elected he would ride a jet ski carrying a Philippine flag and plant it on the Scarborough Shoal. He got elected President but PDU30 is nowhere in sight riding a jet ski carrying a Philippine flag and planting it on the Scarborough Shoal. He was serious when he said this during a debate. This was a lot of “drama” as he did not say that he was joking.
During the campaign, DD also said he would eliminate illegal drugs and graft and corruption in six months after assuming the presidency. At that time only fools would believe that he could eliminate illegal drugs and graft and corruption in six months’ time. But there are a lot of fools in this country. Is this not a lot of “drama?” I ask because he is now retreating from his original position and saying that he would minimize illegal drugs and graft and corruption within the timeframe he had specified.
Why should PDU30 complain about “drama” when he has the genius for “drama,” showing such dexterity as if he invented the word “drama” himself?
Frankly, his words and action demonstrate bipolarity, which has no room in the presidency. But we elected someone who had Asperger Syndrome. Why not someone who is bipolar? We have elected several kleptomaniacs to the presidency, why not DD? We have elected several sex maniacs to the presidency, why not PDU30? We have elected several traitors to the presidency, why not DD? We have also elected election law violators to the presidency, why not PDU30?
The intelligent perception among the knowledgeable is that all Presidents who appeared recently in a Manila daily labeled as signifying a united country are a lot of perfect nonsense. They signified the highest style of “drama” because they did not symbolize national unity; they represented the continuing rule of the oligarchy and the elite criminals in this country perpetuating the rule of the rich for the rich as against the poor and downtrodden.
So it is all “drama,” “drama” and more “drama” until the revolution for all the people comes. But it is not PDU30’s revolution because contrary to his rhetoric that he is for the poor, he kills the poor and the powerless. This is the continuing story of the poor and the powerless in this country – all hopes and no gain.
All problems are systemic
You don’t have to go to the best university in this country to know that our problems are systemic – they are the products of the system. Name it and the system is the culprit.
Graft and corruption, which is one of the roots of all systemic problems, stem from two levels of greed. The rich is greedy to be richer because by getting richer, they become more powerful. By getting more powerful, they become either the kingmakers in their communities or the kings themselves in the community or the country. When you are a kingmaker or a king yourself, you are untouchable. When you are untouchable you behave like a god – beyond the pale of the law or any harm, man made or otherwise, and worshipped by lesser mortals. It is a grand feeling being worshipped or adored. For a few, they think they are God themselves – representing the Holy Trinity.
The gods do not commit any crime; they are above the law – human or otherwise.
For the poor who dally in graft and corruption, it is because they want to live the same life style as the rich or they want to escape the squalor, injustice and pain of the life of the poor in this country.
But it is not just that. There is graft and corruption in this country because of the failure of our public and private institutions. The family has failed to educate their children, not so much in words but by example, by the correct human values – honesty and truth; love of God, country and neighbors; inviolability of the human person; discipline and integrity; sense of honor.
These are the same set of values that have not been effectively taught and promoted by the schools – public or private; the Churches; the corporate world; the government – civilian and military; and the people in private business – high and low. Why? The reason is simple – words do not match actions. Actions undo words. Actions are just like pictures, they tell a thousand words.
So the cure is not piece meal solutions. It is a change of system. It is a revolution – not a protracted kind but an action mounted in a blitz. How? I leave it to your imagination.
For my readers, admirers and detractors
A friend from way back, when lawyer Pepe Oliveros of that fabled province of Batangas, during the days when men and women had brains in their balls and balls in their brains, kept on complaining and reminding me that I had failed to answer his perennial question: “When is the revolution coming, which you, Bono, have been predicting for 30 years?” Pepe and my other friends, I could not reply to your comments in Manila Times online because the editors of the paper do not allow the columnists to answer the comments to our columns. That is the simple reason why I could not answer you for so long.
The answer Pepe is simple: Predictions are dependent on many factors. If the factors don’t happen, then as a consequence the prediction falls through. My prediction almost happened with the coup of 1989. It was a coup within a revolution. The revolution was the move of the coup planners – Brigadier General Edgardo “Abe” Abenina, Major General Jose Maria “Jimmy” Zumel, Colonel Gregorio “Greg or Gringo” Honasan and this writer. The prediction would have been fulfilled in 1989 had not Greg Honasan departed from the date to pull off the coup and his and Juan Ponce Enrile’s move to change the structure of leadership.
The coup was scheduled to be launched on December 7, 1989; Greg pulled it on December 1 in violation of the agreement. The reason for changing the plan was to adopt a new structure of leadership where Johnny Ponce Enrile would be President, instead of the agreed National Governing Council (NGC), a ruling committee of seven with Abe Abenina as Chairman and Jimmy Zumel and Greg Honasan as the three military members. The four civilian members were chosen by each of the three military men, without any power of veto – Honasan chose Enrile as his civilian counterpart; Zumel chose Danding Cojuangco; and as Abenina had nobody else to choose, he decided to have me, his lawyer and friend, as his civilian component. VP Doy Laurel was chosen as the seventh member on my recommendation and argument that six would not be a good number as the chairman would have two votes in the event of a tie and it is best to have Doy as member as he was the Vice President, the first in the line of succession, and it would be easy to have the international community to recognize the new government.
Again, on my recommendation, Doy was chosen as the ceremonial President and he agreed to be so.
Doy and I went to London on November 24 or 26 as Doy had a reunion with his family there to watch Cocoy Laurel perform as one of the key players with Lea Salonga in Miss Saigon at the Drury Lane Theatre. From there, I would have proceeded to Washington, D.C., USA to sign an agreement with the representative of the government of the USA to extend the bases agreement for another 10 years. Though I had my reservation to sign the agreement, Chairman Abenina gave me the telling argument why I should sign the intended agreement, saying: “Pare, one problem at a time. Without the support of the American government, the coup will surely fail. Let’s solve the other problem the moment we win.” I found the argument valid.
We decided to fly to Hong Kong from London on my argument that President Cory might have already been deposed and by constitutional succession, Vice-President Laurel was already President. When we reached Hong Kong, I called General Abe by overseas phone call asking him about the national situation. He told that we were in control of several airports, among which, were Manila, Puerto Princesa, Sangle, Basa and Mactan. He told me that if we could get a plane we could land in any of these airports. We could not get any plane, so I asked him whether I could declare a revolutionary government from Hong Kong. He told me that the decision was up to me.
I was decided on declaring a revolutionary government for the NGC were it not for the advice of Congressman Macario Laurel, who was with me and Doy, who advised me to wait for the situation to clear up and be certain that we would win. I hesitated and in my hesitation the coup lost the momentum and I failed the coup leadership and the country.
In the words of William Shakespeare, in one of his plays, he said: “In the plains of hesitation bleached the bones of countless millions.” I hesitated and my bones bleached with the bones of countless millions of Filipinos who could have lived better lives had I decided to organize a revolutionary government for the NGC and the revolutionary forces.
Well, Pepe, the revolution came just a few years after my prediction but it failed because I committed a mistake of judgment. It is my firm belief that had I declared a revolutionary government for the coup forces, the Americans would not have decided to have a persuasion flight for the Cory government, it would have been for the coup forces. Besides, if the coup forces learned that a revolutionary government was established, it would have not surrendered to the outnumbered Cory forces.
But that it is the law of life. You fight battles – win some, lose some, because the only person who has not lost a battle is he who has never fought one. But part of that law of life that is also important is not really the battle, it is the war. You may have lost most battles but you could still win the war. In this game, winning or losing is decided at the edge of the graveyard. If you are still far away from the grave, the prediction still holds because like Leon Trotsky in the permanent revolution, the game goes on and on. Borrowing the words of William Faulkner, when he accepted the Nobel Prize for literature, “we will not only overcome, we will prevail.”
So Pepe, as I told Ka Luis Taruc once, I said: “You know Ka Luis, it is a crime for a revolutionary to grow old.” I am a revolutionary and, with God’s blessing, I refuse to grow old.
Pepe and my friends on the internet, among them, Mariano Patalinhug from Yonkers, New York and Max Fabella in Florida, and many others, including my detractors, if you wish answers to questions, write me through my email address; email@example.com or on my face book account – Homobono A. Adaza. Your questions will be answered.