• EDSA ’86, Cha-cha and the Nazi salute



    FRONT-PAGE stuff here last Monday was a sad story about the Ortigases quarrelling over inheritance. The late widely admired Don Paquito Ortigas must be rolling in his grave. He supported me generously in my successful 1987 Senate run, in which I did not spend a single centavo of my own. Still very much present then was the spirit of EDSA ‘86, when we asked what we could do for the country and not what the country could do for us. Don Paquito was an inspiring upstanding upright citizen, a perfect stranger who introduced himself to me only in some post-victory thanksgiving celebration at San Beda.

    As we again mark EDSA ‘86, please note that the Aquinos, Tanny Tañada, Pepe Diokno, Soc Rodrigo, Jovy Salonga, Joker Arroyo, Nene Pimentel, Tito Guingona, et al. and I were at EDSA from September 23, 1972, until those on the wrong side of EDSA crossed over, and formed part of the millions comprising People Power.

    Pardon the excursus
    The story here last Monday was headlined, “Ortigas sisters claim uncle `stole’ their father’s body.” In John Grisham’s Partner, there was also some question of sorts over a cadaver. All issues were resolved happily and then Patrick Lanigan waited for Eva Miranda, a fellow lawyer, in Italy; “he had dreamed of finding her in the [hotel]room, adorned in soft lingerie ready for intimacy,” to live happily ever after in her native Brazil. Instead, she became a desaparecida for an unhappy mysterious quizzical (?) poignant ending.

    Patrick had been listed as the father of Ashley Nicole, but Trudy, the mother, was sleeping around and DNA proved the true paternity (it was Lance).

    Reed-thin Pilipo suspected that burly brawny neighbor Bruno may have fathered his wife’s latest baby. Bruno indeed openly named and called the baby, Brunito, in their barangay. Eventually, a paternity suit was lodged. On the witness stand, the mother was asked who the father was, and she answered, pointing to cuckolded Pendejo Filipo, “Your Honor, the baby is mostly his.”

    Naming rights should belong to parents or owners. It matters to England and Argentina whether Falkland Island or Islas Malvinas should be the proper appellation. Rather strained? But, that is one way to read or misread presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s minimizing irredentist China’s militarizing the subject reefs and islets and naming them. Of course, he’s only a mouthpiece. In my own time as spokesman of candidate and eventually Prez Cory, I would, having said my piece, still be compelled to say something more, and I’d tell the persnickety (makulit) press, “I’m merely a spokesman. I am not allowed to think here.”

    China saves by having our own Prez and his spokesman speak for it, from where I sit. It seems one can tell when they commit a terminological inexactitude or a lie (or a joke?); their lips move. They are for the Rule of Law, but not in implementing the arbitral decision in our favor, by at least loudly protesting, for moral suasion or compulsion. Now, Digong jests that we might as well be China’s 24th province. However, a plebiscite might show am overwhelming preference to aspire to be America’s 51st state. I would be for the status quo, an independent state.

    Digong says the weapons being installed by China are not directed against us, but at the US.He seems not have any idea how many Pinoys (five million?) there are in the US. How many of us dream of migrating to China?

    Digong’s nearly all-male constitutional consultants may want a Pinoy Constitution, which is open to the reading that we may abandon our Anglo-Saxon-American heritage, beginning with the Magna Carta of 1215. It might be a borloloy Constitution then. WW2 left us the jeep. We still have the dyipni with its borloloys. Japan has its Lexus. We can become too autonomous and independent if we tinker for instance with the Bill of Rights. Autonomy of course is a desideratum, to spread one’s wings. But, let us go north, not south.

    Last Saturday, I went south after asking San Beda Alabang Law Dean Ulan Sarmiento in Mendiola if his school was now part of the brandnew San Beda University. I was perplexed by his Cheshire Cat expression. Smiling, beguiling. Again, I may have read or misread it to mean that in Alabang there is a Bangsa Ulan Autonomous Nation of Guapos/pas (BUANG). Say it ain’t so, Ulan. I had to cut short my lecture on human rights because it turned out, so I was told, that Alabang had had a weeklong celebration of Valentine’s Day (also Ash Wednesday this year, suggesting self-denial and penitence).

    In this land B of party animals, we don’t worry, we don’t hurry, but in our short visit here, we stop and smell the flowers (Walter Hagen). How much time do we spend/waste on texting and kodakan (pix-taking)? We are world-class in what does not much matter in productive progressive countries with a marked work ethic. Here, text or kodakan obsession or monomania is endemic.

    Can problems, particularly economic, wait?

    Rising debt and cronies
    A Bedan friend emailed that our new debt of $167 billion would soon probably balloon to $452 billion. The “dismal science” of economics, as lawyer Thomas Carlyle called it, may not be my strong point, and might well be beyond my intellectual reach. But, it is with a sense of common-sense deja vu that I dare compare the rise of debt and cronies with what happened under a previous dictatorship. Debt ballooning and new cronies rising. The administration may ignore Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle but not Ka Eduardo Manalo and Pastor Quiboloy with their voting power or state-of-the art vehicles on land and air lent to Mayor Duterte in violation of Presidential Decree 46 and RA 6713.

    This week, I saw pictures of perennial undiscourageable bangon-ng-bangon Cha-cha leader Raul Lambino leading a group executing the Nazi salute, including Quezon City Vice Mayor Belmonte—Susmariano, et tu, Joy?!—which got Australia’s spymaster (Nick Warner) in trouble. The gesture is seen as fascistic and is considered a hate crime in certain countries, punishable by imprisonment or fines, even if liberally interpreted if the defense is ignorance of history.

    Was I relieved that no picture showing President Duterte and Poland’s Lech Walesa, visiting, doing the Nazi salute together, was insensitively inflicted on the world. The negative reaction outside would have been far worse than what Aussie spymaster Nick Warner got. The salute is banned in Poland and other countries. Our new dictator uses it often and the ignorant or the scared follow suit, like lemmings with brains in suspended animation.

    Sad. Again, today marks the second day of the 32nd anniversary of EDSA ‘86, when Power Without Arms prevailed, as the world watched on cable TV, at a time when CNN was called the Chicken Noodle Network. But it did its job well and shocked and awed the admiring world. It was not the guns of RAM, which holed out in military camps waiting to be barbecued, but People Power that carried the day. The People protected and rescued the trapped putschists manqué, who deserved an A for effort.

    Hence, People Power, ousting a dictator with minimal bloodshed. We now have a Sgt. Esguerra St., in Quezon City, in honor of a true martyr from the police ranks. A genuine EDSA 1 hero, not unwept, unhonored and unsung.

    Signs of decay in values
    I don’t know how to take SAP (Special Assistant to the President) Bong Go’s appearance in the allegedly independent Senate where all I could hear was let-me-call-you-sweetheart. Wept, honored and sung, Bong was. The Senate does not seem to be an independent republic anymore and is beginning to look like a suzerainty that the House is. Two vassal states, the Bigger House and the Better House?

    Say it ain’t so, Koko, Bebot. This presidency may yet be seen decades from now as the age when our core values went down; the leaders won’t go down in history, but just go down. Imagine popularizing the Nazi salute?! Hitler may be credited for the VW but he is not remembered for that today, nor that Mussolini made the trains run on time.

    Digong wants his people respected by the Senate intimidated by the presence of all Cabinet members. What about the rest of us?

    Of decay in values, signs I seem to see.

    Home for Kuwait OFWs. But, vacationing workers here may return.(?) I am confused and dizzy, aren’t I?


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