KIAN de los Santos was, well, just 17, if you know what I mean, and the way he looked, was way beyond compare. Very very dead he was.
No, we are not reprising the Beatles.
It is not in the national interest, in my view, to pressure Prez Digong to quit, given his overwhelming mandate last year. He must succeed. He must not fail. Else, we all lose.
It is, however, in the national interest to pressure him to abandon his failed, bloody, messy anti-poor drug policy which has not succeeded anywhere.
The short and simple annals of the poor matter.
No matter Kian’s background, his seeming rub-out looks indefensible. As was the case of Ka Lando Olalia and his driver, Leonor Alay-Ay, in 1986, apparently done in by RAM (Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa) leaders we met in 1985, when we were much younger and fresher; it was not about money but a better nation we furtively broke bread for.
Amnesty with back pay for RAM?
In our old age, RAM now reportedly seeks amnesty with back pay from Digong, with his well-known soft spot for the police and the military. Fine, but what about Ka Lando and his driver, murdered so cruelly? Ka Lando’s mouth was wide open when found, grimacing in pain.
RAM met with Digong and may get what it wants—amnesty and back pay—in a Kill-Pa-More administration. Another hedge against coups?
RAM never staged a single successful coup. In February 1986, the People rescued the trapped group from being barbecued in their failed coup attempt. Cardinal Sin and Butz Aquino asked the people to support and rescue RAM, helpless, retreating, not attacking. Entire families were at EDSA, asking what they could do for the country.
A bright shining moment.
Now, RAM asks what the country could do for them.
Just turned 78, I know how it is to be ageing and ailing. Hospitalization and medicine and professional charges are costly so I try to be understanding. But, what about Ka Lando and his driver? (Not to mention the civilians arrogant RAM killed just for showing support for duly constituted authority?)
Olalia murder cries for justice
It was on November 13, 1986, when Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) leader Lando and his driver were found in Antipolo. Their bodies had been mutilated beyond recognition. A scar on Ka Lando’s leg was the only mark that confirmed his identity.
The NBI, in its report to Prez Cory in 1986, said the killings were a prelude to “God Save the Queen,” a supposed coup plot by RAM to rid the Aquino Cabinet of left-leaning members.
In January 1998, the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a case as a new witness, former T/Sgt. Medardo Dumlao Barreto came forward, implicating several RAM leaders in the surveillance and abduction of the victims. Barreto said he surfaced out of fear as several military men who had known about the murders were ordered killed or mysteriously died. Dead men tell no tales. (But, for Kian there is CCTV today, as well as brave live eyewitnesses.)
In May 1998, a five-man DOJ panel filed two separate cases of murder against 13 RAM members in the Antipolo Regional Trial Court. Among those charged were retired Colonels Eduardo “Red” Kapunan and Oscar “Tirso” Legaspi, a fellow Bedan. (Another fellow Bedan, Labor Secretary Bobbit Sanchez, the original MABINI chair, had left the country on a tip, and survived, unlike Ka Lando.)
Red and Tirso sought immunity from prosecution, arguing that Proclamation 347 granted by FVR to rebel soldiers “extinguished their criminal liability.” They said political assassinations, such as the Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case, could have been part of simulated events intended to create an unstable situation favorable for a coup. In 2009, the Supreme Court dismissed their petition and ordered the filing of murder charges.
In February 2012, the Antipolo City Regional Trial Court issued arrest warrants against 13 defendants. On July 24, accused ex-Sgt. Desiderio Perez surrendered and later pled “not guilty” to the murder charges. The two cases are now pending in Taytay.
I have no objection to amnestying RAM, which did its invaluable part in ousting Macoy, but a measure of justice is also owed Ka Lando, et al.
A cussing Kill-Pa-More President and a sadistic RAM aren’t, and do not represent, what we are as a people.
Digong’s courageous mom
Last August 21, there was another gathering of millennials (and “perennials,” added one who looked like Reli German). Our hairline and ranks are thinning and many have gone to a better place, with no shoddy and bloody police operations.
Last Tuesday, for instance, I heard from Philip Suzara of the April 6 Liberation Movement that Ed Olaguer, of the Light-A-Fire Movement, aided by courageous heroes Al Yuchengco and Mon Diaz, is gone. Condolences. Philip is a first cousin of Jinky Suzara, who married Gary Lewis, a son of iconic Jerry Lewis, a fave in our youth, also gone. Jerry made us laugh while Digong makes us cry, in the human rights sector, and now, elsewhere.
Digong should stop scaring human rights advocates—we aren’t his enemies—even if long ago, we mastered the art of pretending not to be afraid.
That is one lesson he should have learned by now. We leave everything to the Lord and can pretend to be unafraid.
I am not now for ousting him but he must change and show some respect for the human rights to life and dignity.
Ninoy belonged to the elite, scared and angered by what happened on August 21, 1983. When we in the opposition met in the home of Esto and Maur Lichauco on August 7, 1983, we all looked forward to August 21.
All save a Rand expert who said Ninoy would be killed at the airport, instead of being taken back to a prison cell. Naaah, Macoy wasn’t that stupid. I would openly concede then that he was a criminal genius. Back to Fort Bonifacio, we said.
We asked Tita or Doña Aurora what she thought and she said she agreed with the think tank expert, her son would be killed at the airport. Huh, why Tita? She said, “kutob ng ina.”
Anyway, because of the salvaging, I got to meet courageous Mrs. Soledad Duterte, Digong’s Mom, who was among those who led the Yellow Friday movement in Davao City, for Justice for Aquino Justice for All (JAJA).
Where is the elite today? Just another day in the office, absent the economic crisis of 1983-1986? Where is Makati Business? The Integrated/Inutil(?) Bar of the Philippines? The Philconsa?
Meantime, the Senate in a bipartisan move quickly caucused on EJKs. The House? Silent. BTW, has some senator asked if Mark Taguba, a San Beda Alabang grade school alum, is related to famed Fil-Am US Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba who reported on military abuse in the Al Ghraib prison? Whistleblowing is in the blood? I have asked my studes to trace the connection, if any, the surname not being common. (I had a law stude nicknamed Taguba, Class ‘66, who migrated to the US, where we met decades ago.)
Anyway, far-from-elitist Kian, yagit. has done us the favor of stopping Kill-Pa-More, for now at least. Seemingly.
And of making Digong stop saying “I have your back.” But, he has no business talking of the guilt of anyone, not of the cops, not of Sen. Leila’s, given the powerful effect of presidential rhetoric on human conduct. Just say “follow the evidence and let the system work.”
One Caloocan prosecutor fell all over himself making sipsip, lawyered for the cops, saying what he thought the unpredictable Digong had wanted to hear. Nabuking. Belat.
When Prez Nixon condemned Charles Manson, et al., for the grisly slaying of Sharon Tate, et al., Tricky Dick got hammered all over. The White House quickly apologized and said Nixon had not meant to prejudge anyone. See Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter.
Here the cops and Leila cannot expect a fair hearing. Mistrial, I fear, which could lead to dismissal, assuming fear and ambition would not get in the way. The load is heavy enough without a madaldal Prez interloping, encroaching and intruding.