• Florin Hilbay’s ‘300’



    HAVING been born in 1939, I am experiencing my third martial law regime, first by the Japanese, then Marcos, now Duterte. The first I could not resist as an infant, and indeed, I have pleasant pastoral memories of our years in the hills of Macasin, Mauban, catching shrimps in crystalline brooks, and frogs in the ricefields, and playing all sorts of games.

    In 1945, the family moved to Makati, where I attended Makati Elem (1946-1951).

    Makati was clean and green, with kapok, katuray and kakawati trees galore Very different from what Metro Manila is today with its concrete jungles, fancy buildings, like Resorts World Manila (RWM), for one.

    I have been to RWM a few times, to dance, but didn’t really routinize it. Bad traffic and overcrowded dance floor, with non-dancers joining in, their right, but leaving not much room for addicts, sugapas and maniakis like us. Ground floor accessible to everyone. I have yet to understand why so many were trapped at RWM. I visualize stand-alone Solaire, where I’d often go before my current hospitalization. I cannot imagine how so many could be trapped at RWM.

    Speaker Bebot Alvarez insisted with Prez Trump that it was an act of terrorism. Digong, with better Intelligence sources, said Jessie Javier Carlos was a lone wolf with no links to terrorists, an “alien” from Batangas.

    I had coffee with fellow freedom fighter Chito de Vera over the last weekend. He lamented that we of our generation have the dubious distinction of having to go through two martial law proclamations. If we add WW2 and GMA’s short-lived proclamation, four.

    Many are going to the Supreme Court, in serial filing. Nothing may happen but Senator Tañada counselled that we go on record for a deposition for history. (BTW, wotta gross oversight last week to have omitted as additional buang Ivy Leaguers Sen. TannyTañada, Sr., Junior and Bobby, who all attended Harvard Law.)

    Manny Pacquiao reportedly left Manila, where there is no martial law, for GenSan, where there is. As he can focus on money, and not Marawi, how indeed can we justify martial law? He is a Mindanaoanon and there is a report that his Sarangani had been infiltrated by terrorists. But, all the news about him had to do with his upcoming fight. Let’s just hope he doesn’t get too many blows in the head; it seems his foe is supposed to be pinabili lang ng suka. But, why ML in his Mindanao? And what about his tax liabilities?

    Can Digong just allocate this much to this project and that much to that police-military project? Has Congress also given up its power of the purse?

    I agreed to be involved in one of the petitions filed in the Supreme Court on martial law, Proclamation 216, and in Congress, which arguably abdicated another sacred trust.

    Our street is named Bigasan, adjoining Araro, Camalig, Calatagan, etc., with a rice motif. If a bill is filed to rename it after the unremembered Joe McMicking (the father of modern Makati, as he himself told me in 1968, in San Francisco, and it ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up), the measure will be subjected to the deliberative process by both chambers, and recorded voting by members present on the third reading or in conference committee report voting. Depositions for history.

    Changing life from the regular to life under martial law, surely can be no less vital than merely changing a street name, and individual voting should require recordation for history. Sarangani has been linked to Marawi but resident Manny Pacquiao is so unimpressed, that he has not said anything from the island about the bloody strife, and is seemingly not in the least bit interested in, or bothered by, Marawi, from where we sit.

    Focused on his next fight.

    What did Digong declare martial law for without checking with the defense secretary, who should have the mic here, facing the public, more often. Di laging si Digong na lang ang bida.

    Does he not have a Cabinet?

    Anyway, his relatively relaxed demeanor suggests that there is no need for martial law in Mindanao. Just “calling out” the military would have sufficed.

    More vocal, again, is Speaker Alvarez, who apodictically insisted, contradicting the Prez, that the RWM incident must be international, even if Jessie Javier Carlos was in fact an “alien” from Batangas. Bebot tries to wiggle out but you don’t do that in a quicksand.

    Talkative Digong said drugs are behind the Marawi incident. This charge continues the vilification of Moros by Christians who have persecuted the minority for centuries. Rebellions can also be ignited and fueled by poverty and injustice. Digong shouldn’t oversimplify the Bangsa-Moro dilemma. and not to forget the law-abiding Lumad.

    And we must take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties, said James Madison, and echoed by Hugo Black.

    Obsta principiis. Resist the first encroachments. Florin Hilbay, our lead counsel, says 300 lawyers are behind us. I am reminded of Leonidas’ 300, who fought and perished in Thermophylae, but are admirably and fondly remembered.

    For doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, for the right reason, and hang the costs and consequences.

    Indeed, one man in the right is a majority.


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    1 Comment

    1. “I had coffee with fellow freedom fighter Chito de Vera over the last weekend.”

      Freedom fighter na naman. baka kasali iyan sa mga nambomba sa Metro Manila during the early 1980’s. katulad nina former senator Heherson Alvarez na former freedom fighter, who admitted that he and the late congressman Boni Gillego trained in an American desert how to detonate bombs.