LAST Monday, I wrote to the Senate Committee on Local Government:
“Thank you for the kind invitation. I had to leave early because of a pressing deadline on a case. I am sorry for not being able to observe certain formalities in my departure. I did not want to interrupt the smooth flow (of the proceedings), from which I gained.
“On the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) we xamined recently in a symposium in the graduate school of law at San Beda, various opinions swirled. To me, the BBL is an experiment, as all of life is an experiment, according to Holmes (also partly credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson). It is another attempt at solving a seemingly permanent problem. In grade school, I learned about the Madjapahit empire, which supposedly then included Sulu and Manila. Indeed, Tondo, we are told, used to be run by the ‘Moros,’ — thus, the Rajah Soliman, or Sulayman, and Lakan Dula (districts). Malacanang is supposed to have come from ‘May Lakan Diyan.’
“In the last few centuries, the Moros have defied Imperial Manila, fighting the Spaniards, the British, the Americans, the Japanese, again the Americans, and Imperial Manila.”John Pershing supposedly had the .45 invented to deal with juramentados. Mark Twain in 1906 described the Massacre of Mt. Dajo, where 600 Moro fighters were all slain by 600 Christian soldiers from America, the land of WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestants). McKinley had said, while kneeling in the White House, that God told him to Christianize our forebears. Meaning to “Protestantize” the Catholics who were baptized when they were too young to understand and object.
“So, I agree with the surviving members of the star-studded Constitutional Commission who endorse the experiment, collectively and individually. The egg may be rotten, but who can lay a better one? We want to look for faults in any human undertaking? We’ll find it. Others may see the dark clouds, I see the silver lining; the dough, not the hole.
“The Irish solution seems to be working and holding, ending bloody skirmishes that went as far back as the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Let us hope for a similar workable solution among our brothers and sisters. The bloodletting, banner-headlined this week, must stop.
“I support the proposed law without being insensitive to the sentiment, say of Zamboanga (in 1899, it was for establishing its own Republic).
“But, for me, it is united we stand, divided we fall. Amina Rasul says not to forget Sabah, which may or will present its own set of problems (Sabahan sentiment and self-determination matter). How I wish Amina and Adel Tamano were in the Senate, cross-fertilizing ideas the way their folks, Nina and Mike, did in our time, even without a formal committee hearing. I like it that the Catholic bishops, without `meddling,’ will publish a paper from the ‘ethical and moral perspectives.’
“Opinions vary on the effects of the bloody rebel attacks and slayings in Mindanao. I don’t think the effort to pass the law should be derailed, while we work to prevent a repetition.
“I should also be in the Senate this week for Mayor JunJun Binay, given the human rights and constitutional dimensions of his case. I have been asked for the limited purpose of assisting him in this context [I wish we would adopt the US Senate praxis]. Beyond this, and that Joker Arroyo and I are flabbergasted, my lips are sealed. But, not as to the Mass last Sunday in Manila Memorial on the 82nd birth anniversary of the iconic Cory Aquino.”
‘Cory-Doy’ was on our lips during the 1985-1986 snap polls. Jan 27, 2004 was when Doy Laurel passed away. He deserves the highest praise for giving way to Cory in December 1985. Had he not slid down to Vice Prez, he would have split the votes for the Opposition, and Macoy might have credibly won handily. But, Doy sacrificed for the motherland, a game changer, for which we cannot thank him enough. That ended the dictatorship. Some still questioned whether Cory had really won. The Comelec had proclaimed the Macoy-Turing duo to have won.
When Turing Tolentino and I debated the matter on TV, I concluded that “Ka Turing, kahit po sinong sabungero ang tanongin ninyo sa saan mang tupada, pag natiope at tumakbo ang manok ni Juan, panalo ang naiwang manok ni Pedro.” Macoy, claiming that he had thought he’d be sent to Paoay, not Hawaii, had been flown away, to Hawaii. If the hooting throng caught the Marcoses in Malacanang, given the passions running high during those moments, the situation might not have been resolved the peaceful Filipino Way, for which the world admired us. Virtually bloodless, only four were killed.
We hope a similar approach will succeed in Mindanao in regard to the current controversy that is, in fact, centuries old. When Justice Afin Cuevas administered to oath Ka Turing as Acting Prez on July 7, 1986, a General wanted to level the Manila Hotel to the ground. Cory refused. Instead, we sent word that the last to leave would pay for all the bills. The soldiers, led by Ilocano Roly Abadilla, all fled.
Urban legend. Or myth.