THE intriguing appointment of Ka Eduardo Manalo of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) as special envoy raises serious questions about the separation of church and state and whether he should also file his SALN (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth). That was my intent in sponsoring RA 6713, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards, benefiting from the groundwork laid by the UP College of Public Administration, on which principal author Uncle Jovy Salonga had relied (Uncle, again, cuz my lola and his mother were first cousins in a Pasig looban).
Sec. 3 (B) of the code defines “public officials” to include “appointive officials…permanent or temporary, whether in the career or non-career service, …whether or not they receive compensation, regardless of amount.” Arguable? Abangan. The Supreme Court may say my intent in the legislative arena meant nothing.
All of us who have war stories of EDSA ‘86, whose 32nd anniversary we just marked, have validated what the spouses Durants wrote: all autobiography is vanity.
Triumph of EDSA
On February 22, 1986, Juan Ponce Enrile (JPE), a genuine EDSA ‘86 hero, said in what sounded like a deathbed confession or dying declaration that he had cheated for Macoy by 300,000 votes in Cagayan earlier that month and that his supposed September 22, 1972 ambuscade was fake news, making skeptics give him the benefit of a lingering doubt that it was all a zarzuela to nail Cory.
To her and to us who were at EDSA beginning September 23, 1972, EDSA ‘86 validated that while we are grateful to JPE, FVR, Joe Almonte, Eugene Ocampo, Gringo, and the institutional parliament (Batasang Pambansa), it in fact represented the triumph of what we boycotters called the ‘parliament of the streets.” We were MPs (Mambabatas Panglansangan).
MABINI was among the 11 petitioners which had questioned the constitutionality of the snap polls; the Supreme Court said on December 19, 1985 that no, the show must go on, as it were (in a nation crazy about elections, whether for Prez or Binibining Palanggana).
Doy Laurel’s role cannot be minimized but it was a fact that the Laurels were in bed with Macoy from 1972 to 1980, when he joined us and added sterling gravitas to our effort. Earlier businessmen Jimmy Ongpin openly, and Al Yuchengco, furtively, had joined the determined opposition redemocratization efforts.
We copied Portugal’s Carnation Revolution of April 1974, also involving colonels and civvies lasting likewise for four days with women putting carnations in the muzzle of guns, which unfortunately for the Portuguese did not have the benefit of cable television.
Has EDSA ‘86 failed? No overthrow of authoritarianism can be a failure, from where I sit.
Cory would openly admit that Ninoy was not the worst victim of martial law but just happened to be the most prominent. Business, which would make money even if blood was flowing in the streets (Baron Rothschild), realized that no one was safe after August 21, 1983, when Ninoy was salvaged on landing (validating Tita Aurora’s “kutob ng ina,” concurred in only Dr. Guy J. Pauker of a think tank – Rand); we know-it-alls dismissed the possibility in a huge meet in the home of Esto and Maur Lichauco on August 7, 1983.
Makati Business had its confetti canyons, matched in Davao by a Yellow Friday group led by the mother of Digong and therefore he could not just kick all Yellows in the teeth, out of affection and respect for his beloved mom, another genuine EDSA ‘86 hero. Dilawan forever. I will always be a Yellow, and proud of it.
Duterte’s impeachable offense
Anyway, Digong should really watch his language, stop bitching that his pay is not enough for his two wives (and kulasisis?)—unpresidential—and do something about the traffic situation. Not trivial at all; we are said to lose P3.5 billion daily because of the traffic. But, more critical, he has also arguably violated the Constitution in an impeachable way by allowing the erection of military installations by China in the West Philippine Sea. Not enough to be dismissive about it that anyway the missiles would not be directed at us but at America, where millions of Pinoy, not only Loida Nicolas-Lewis, have migrated. How many have, to China?
After we Malevolent/Magnificent 12 ended our status as America’s last plantation in 1991, “foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not [be]allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty concurred in by the Senate and when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.” (1987 Constitution, Art. XVIII, Sec. 25.) But, our Congress, reminiscent of what Mark Twain said—that the only distinct American criminal class is Congress—is too busy to be bothered by what is going on in the West Philippine Sea.
I credit the Star’s Dick Pascual for the above insight on a seemingly impeachable offense far worse than has appeared so far in the allegations to unseat Chief Justice Meilou Sereno (not the one I endorsed in 2012, but she was chosen in a totally constitutional manner; I am appreciative of her writing finis to the case of Lenny Villa, killed on Feb. 11, 1991, which lasted 25 years, a long time for client Zos Mendoza to be anxious; also, for her joining in another well-written separate concurring opinion the ruling acquitting another former client of mine, Hubert Webb, on December 14, 2010). After what’s going on, will we have the same Supreme Court, or stronger, or weaker (given Digong’s transparent interest in removing someone who has crossed him)?
In January 1987, I, 47, turned down a signed Supreme Court appointment. I am a psycho with head not properly and tightly screwed on? Another proof that I was sira was that I wrote for Dick’s opposition paper pre-EDSA ‘86, with his wife picking up my copy Sunday afternoons. Heroes.
Digong has Chinese blood, like many of us, and he might not overly mind our becoming the 24th province of China, as he has suggested (jocosely?), but watch what he does, not what he says (haz lo que hago, no lo que digo). A referendum however may show more votes for our becoming the 51st US state; I cannot imagine though why the US would welcome 107 million poor conejos. We do not, like Maria Clara, throw ourselves at the US.
If a small woman is raped by the brawny burly barangay bully and resistance would seem futile should she not simply yield physically but resist spiritually? For this intriguing idea, the late actor Rod Navarro introed me in Pasig to the books of Donald Hamilton (Rod was a wide reader, and would not use camel when he could employ “dromedary.” We played pinball in Pasig and ballroom-dancercised in Manila’s Alegria and Makati’s Bahia, both gone now. Last Tuesday, ex-Justice Joe Vitug, another longtime and valued friend, was taken by some friends, after dinner, to some casino slot machine and it was obvious that he could not play it solo to save his life, like me who was in Solaire to dancercise after meeting some clients with urgent concerns).
Fellow Bedan Justice Sammy Martires in a remarkable intriguing ponencia says “we simply cannot be stuck to the Maria Clara stereotype of a demure and reserved Filipino woman.” Hmmmmm.
A total failure so far
You be the judge, in general. Each case though must be decided in its factual context. In Club Nautilus on Dewey (now Roxas) Blvd., also gone, it was said that the men were naughty and the girls were loose. Happy hours.
What is definitely sad in the current administration is the continuing use of the Nazi salute, illegal in some countries, topped by argumentum ad hominem, baculum et populum. Judged on language (bastos and unkind), dynasties (Dutertes, Prez, Mayor and Vice Mayor, the latter now ex), traffic, rice shortage or hoarding, and rising prices, it has been a total failure thus far.
We can all learn from Tolstoy and West Point, that good people change others, better people change the system (parliamentary/presidential/federal), but the best ones change themselves. West Point cadets pray for them to prefer the harder right instead of the easier wrong and never to settle for a half truth when the whole can be won.