Famous interviews; a ‘desaparecido’ Prez?



PRO-DIGONG observers say PMAyer Sen. Sonny Trillanes bombed in his interview with the BBC’s Stephen John Sackur. Supposedly. I did not see it but I doubt that he did far worse than the Bedan Prez, for himself and our country, in the latter’s various interviews, in cumulation. Both have gotten mixed reviews, from where I sit (where I prefer watching Stephen Sackurry of the Golden State Warriors).

But, let’s talk of good famous interviews never beyond easy recall. I have in my mind another fellow Bedan, Ninoy Aquino, interviewed by Ronnie Nathanielz, et al., on March 10, 1978. Everyone was glued to his TV set, in the manner Manny Pacquiao lures viewers, or used to. Virtuosic Ninoy razzle-dazzled the nation.

I wish Manny and his Wassisname? foe the best on Sunday in that neither gets hurt too badly. Our electorate may yet elect Manny Prez in 2022 so best not to get too many blows in the head meantime. The way he took off from Mindanao for Brisbane, with an honor guard (!), I associate with Presidents. Foresight (?)

Ali’s gift for gab
Speaking of famous interviews, Muhammad Ali had a good word of sorts for lawyers in his celebrated TV appearance with Dick Cavett as host, prior to Ali’s second fight with Joe Frazier (not the “Thrilla in Manila”). Asked whether he would advise a kid to go into the so-called manly art of modified murder (McGeehan), Ali articulately and spontaneously said something like “listen, man, the chances of making it are a million to one: it’s too dangerous; go to school; be a doctuh, be a lawyuh, be a mechanic, etc.,” and he savored the deserved applause. Which reminds me of another gem of Ali’s.

He was holding court on TV before the Ali-Foreman fight and gave a memorable answer when host David Frost asked how he’d like to be remembered. His answer, which fell trippingly from the tongue: “I’d like for them to say, he took a few cups of love. He took one tablespoon of patience. One teaspoon of generosity. One pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter, one piece of concern, and then he mixed willingness with happiness. He added lots of faith, and he stirred it up well. Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime and he served it to each and every deserving person he met.”

Ali’s gift for gab was unquestioned. Louis Auchincloss comes to mind where he described the style of a fictional author he created in Partners (corporate lawyers) as having the ability to write of “the wonderful, frothy, scintillating talk that splashed and sparkled and finally piled up into waves and breakers that overwhelmed the last chapters in such a riot of fantasy that the end would seem to come in a vapor of bubbles.” Ali was capable of that. Sad that he took so many blows in the head; he called his 1975 Thrilla in Manila ordeal as “near-death.”

I am not Auchincloss-worthy, heavens no, and neither is Sonny T. Nor the Prez, our noted occasional desaparecido (for private kama time?).

Most of our columnists are fond of sabong journalism. Do we have any coolly balanced and fair Amante Bigornia today?

Today, in government, we have offices with impossible or infelicitous acronyms. For instance, having lost my Makati senior citizen card, I was advised to go to the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs. Office for Senior Citizens would have done. For a while I thought I could go to OSCA to arrange an affair, for which I am too ageing and ailing. I had not known that to get a replacement one needed to have an affidavit and my simple letter-request was not honored. Red tape we don’t need. Pabalik-balik.

Has Digong delivered on his vow to cut or reduce red tape? Not on the basis of my personal OSCA experience. Nor on traffic; living in Palanan, Makati, I dread going out. Now we have martial law in Mindanao. We have a super-bully Bigger House and a timid Better House. The Speaker may simply consider arranging for the detained, effective immunity in exchange for candor and not make all sorts of threats.

Now the Bigger House will imprison anyone who sings “Lupang Hinirang” out of tune! For whatever it may be worth, the “Star-Spangled Banner” is sung in so many creative, appreciated ways. But, the US remains a democracy. In a true democracy, anyone has a right to speak, or not to; he should also have a right not to sing, or not to, in my view. Of course there are beerhouse tales that one may risk getting mauled or shot for singing “My Way” off-key.

One of the few remaining thrills in my life is guessing to what tune “Our Father” would be sung in Mass. Variety is the spice of life. It reassures that the Catholic Church does not mandate a single tune.

Prez Digong’s health
The latest reassurance we have on Prez Digong’s health from certain estimables. Andanar and Abella may be necessary, but not sufficient. We need real doctors, not one who plays doctor.

Maybe Digong can have an executive check-up in some reputable hospital. Or. we may ask the Philippine Medical Association to help. What is happening is a reprise of what Digong’s idol, Macoy, did, and hid. If he needs to rest, so be it. It is in the country’s best interest. He cannot go to some “undisclosed destination” in Mindanao, without staff, medical and security staff, which makes that supposed trip doubtful. He may not be entitled to “private time”—to meet who? The Mautes? Some kulasisi, and fearing Honeylet’s wrath, hence, the secrecy? Presidential security would have to be fired en masse if really the Prez was able to make that incredible “secret” visit or trip to Mindanao. Where did he take off? Where did he land?

(One happy alleged desaparecido seems to be terrorist Hapilon, on whose head is a $5 million bounty.)

A desaparecido Prez is not in the country’s best interest. Such happened in the case of Prez Woodrow Wilson, when the Missus (Edith) ran the country. This was the scheme of Macoy that led to the 1987 Constitution’s requirement of transparency and openness found in Sec. 12 of Art. VII: “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.”

Digong should now marry Honeylet or whoever he visited sub rosa in Mindanao, assuming that was not fake news. So a Mrs. Duterte can face the world, not a Ms Avanceña or whoever. Much less a Dr. Andanar or Dr. Abella who may be charged with practicing medicine without a license.

June 29, yesterday, used to be huge in San Pedro Makati when I was a grader. Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul, who were close to St. Luke, after whom a hospital is named. Its doctors may examine the Prez. So can Makati Med’s. Or why not Digong’s Cardinal Santos Doctora del Rosario?

Remember our “sungaw si Manoy” kantyaw? One We Forum accused avoided getting arrested in 1982, per urban legend, cuz he was in a hospital, recuperating from a minor surgical operation usually done in childhood.


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  1. It is true that Ninoy Aquino was very good during interviews. After all he was a media man himself. However it is not interview skills that make a good leader but rather hard work, sincere love for the Filipino people and a vision to improve their lives. Ninoy Aquino was so skillful in his interviews and speeches that he was able to make many Filipinos believe that he was working for their interests. He was so convincing when he said that the Filipino is worth dying for! Hahaha! Unfortunately the reality is that he was working for his own political interests and for his puppeteer Uncle Sam. When he obtained firearms from the Americans to supply to the NPA he was not serving the Filipinos but rather the Americans and himself. He wanted to destabilize the government of Marcos so he could present himself as the alternative. The Americans wanted Marcos out because he was developing relationships with countries other than the US. When he planned the bombing of the Liberal Party rally at Plaza Miranda he was working for his own selfish interests. What a crooked, wicked politician Aquino was!

  2. Do Saguisag really think we will believe him when he said “I did not watch the interview of Trillanes”. Almost all of the people who are into politics including those who are following his column have watch it at least twice and yet Saguisag would tell us he did not?

  3. so where was your liberal idol pnoy aquino while his 44 saf troopers were being massacred and desecrated … and where was your liberal idol pnoy aquino when the remains of the dead saf44 were flown back manila…