Lincoln, Lee Kwan Yew or Hitler? The Bedan Combo


Ambassador Jun Siazon is gone. A long-time Foreign Affairs Secretary, and envoy to Japan, I first met him in 1965 in Tokyo. I was with Vice Mayor Herminio “Togay” Astorga. Jun spoke Japanese and, indeed, passed away in Japan. He had a Japanese woman for a wife, Kay.

One night, in a Tokyo hotel bar, some Japanese women joined us. (Togay was not with us.) One said to me, “I rob you.” Extraordinary. But, nothing out of the ordinary happened, as we would say in court. Imelda may not know Japanese but the Supreme Court (SC) directed on July 15, 2003 the Marcoses to return billions. Done. They could have said, “We rob you very much.” Why are they where they are???

The one who wrote the ponencia was Justice Rene Corona, also gone, nearly a decade younger than I. But, the SC did not order the “ill-gotteners” to be probed and prosecuted, with due process, of course.

Our prayers and sympathies for the Siazons and Coronas. Rene’s respected father was my Kuya’s wedding Ninong in 1965. Raul Roco and I used to party in the Cristina Roco-Corona (father, Vicente?) home on Lepanto (now Sergio Loyola).

Anyway, due process, or the lack of it, reminds me of Prez-elect Digong Duterte. Bedans rejoice that he has achieved and realized what Ninoy Aquino, Monching Mitra, Raul Roco and Roy Señeres had fantasized about, but I fear that some of Digong’s proposals are not realizable.

Crime cannot be eliminated in any country, certainly not one with more than 100 million rabbits. Last Tuesday night, I saw many denizens sleeping in our barangay Palanan, Makati sidewalks. And on the bridge connecting Pasay and Makati, on Marconi. How will Digong impose curfew on the homeless? Massive poverty one cannot eliminate by inaugurating a war against it, and killing the poor. The Philippines is not Davao, where if Digong flies home every day, he will bankrupt the economy and anarchize skeds. Security concerns alone blow my mind, sikyus, ambulances, doctors and nurses, close-in staff, etc.

Liquor ban? We need to study the Prohibition experience in the US.

I join though all Bedans who rejoice in Digong’s unprecedented triumph but qualify it by my reservations as a human rights advocate. Will Digong be a unifying Lincoln and an achieving Lee Kwan Yew, or a monster like Hitler, who also came to power as No. 1 in a perfectly constitutional manner? But, I have misgivings; at year-end, we may have found a cure worse than the disease. I pray fervently to be proven wrong (as I did in the Lipa Cathedral the other day). Graft, with us for more than 4,000 years, no one can erase. So we do the best we can to minimize same. Digong may start with himself.

His acknowledged receipt of realty and cars from religious leader Apollo Quiboloy (Standard, May 4, 2016, p. A4, col. 1 ), I submit, was illegal and unethical, for both giver and recipient. Else, the rest of government may follow. BIR may again mean Bigay Ikaw Regalo. Digong’s SALNs he should make public, including the history of all his bank accounts and those of his children, which Sen. Trillanes says have had hundreds of millions. He is Prez, and should be transparent. A Prez may not say “Seeecret!”

I see him crying in his parents’ tomb. Palatial.(?) Roofed.(?) I recalled my parents’, in Pasig. Very, very small. Open to the elements.

If something occurs to him or he resigns after he fails to check crime in months, or, on SALNs, is impeached and convicted, I would not at all mind seeing Leni Robredo succeed him. As my late darling wife Dulce would remind me, “The best man for the job is a woman,” in stickers in vehicles and in her home, where I was a star boarder.

Digong and Jojobama both have had several kulasisis. Mar was an unwed father (son, absolutely faultless). Is being a chickboy now an additional requirement to be Prez?

JFK was supposed to have lamented that he found the situation not as bad as he had said during the campaign. It was worse. The next few months we cannot continue being like a circular firing squad, as we were during the campaign, given our problems which started with the Marcoses in the 60s. A citizen-critic I will remain, taking the road less-traveled.

I doubt that Digong could issue an order on Freedom of Information or have political detainees released. The institutional arrangement on respect for the legislature and judiciary has to be followed. Or he could just release complete data on his family’s bank accounts. Sana detainees Pat and Wilma Tiamzon, top honors alums of Rizal High, my alma mater, driven to the CPP-NPA by Macoy, will be released soon by the judiciary, via proper filings by the executive.

Predictably, there is the charge of sore losers that Leni is doing well cuz of cheating. But, no proof. And if PNoy could manipulate, did he have anything to do with the spectacular rise of Senator Joel Villanueva? Did he cheat for Sherwin Gatchalian? Did he cheat against proven performers Serge Osmeña and TG Guingona III? And Cong. Walden Bello? Why not shave for Mar?

My pal, Cong. Jonat de la Cruz, speaking for Bongbong, reportedly suggests that Leni’s rise may be due to cheating. Proof, Jonat, please. Gratis asseritur, gratis negatur, as he surely learned at the Ateneo (where he shone as a vocal Macoy critic in the early 70’s). What is asserted without proof may be denied without proof.

My theory is that Leni is Heaven’s reserve if Digong falters and resigns, in months. He was our San Beda stude who finished law in 1972. Leni was my grad law school stude in 2013. Jojobama reviewed in San Beda in 1967. Roy Señeres was LL.B.’71. Gringo also attended San Beda as a grader. San Beda is but a small school, but, to filch from Daniel Webster, there are those of us who love it. The Prez and the Veep may have a Bedan connection.

How fair was the May 9 exercise?

Last Monday, in Navotas, a client told me his employees had gone on leave from May 2 to 12 to vote in the Visayas. They were even fetched by a bus. On top of everything else, they would be paid P5T each, at least, a minor fortune in their eyes perhaps.

He also told me that Digong had been received very well there.

He has won credibly by a wide margin (if PNoy, the Comelec and whoever cheated, they could have shaved the margin, to repeat the unnecessary, to benefit Mar), and should be assisted in trying to carry out the seemingly impossible promises like ridding us of crime in a few months. Crime is a permanent problem of the human race, which not even the Ten Commandments could eliminate (our free will remained.)

As members of the human rights community, Leila de Lima and I opposed our fellow Bedan Digong. I will continue to do so in this area (particularly if Bongbong wins over Leni – heaven forbid – our law grad stude of three years ago but dropped out to focus on her work in the House; takes a bus to and from Bicol, no Quiboloy and favored businessmen to give her fancy lots and cars and hundreds of millions; a public official may not receive any gift, even during Christmas, under P.D. No. 46, among other laws).

Digong even threatens to have Congress abolished. As Macoy did. Macoy was super-executive, super-legislature, super-court and a one-man continuing constitutional convention. Hitler once said: “the supreme court of the German people . . . consisted of myself,” during the Roehm purge. L. Fuller, Fidelity to Law, 71 Harv. L. Rev. 630, 658 (1958) “Hitler did not come to power by a violent revolution. He was Chancellor [he became so on Jan. 30, 1933, following a series of parliamentary elections and backroom intrigues]before he became the Leader. . . . The first attacks on the established order were on ramparts which, if they were manned by anyone, were manned by lawyers and judges. These ramparts fell almost without a struggle.” Id. at 659.

Exactly what happened in 1972 here. Only a few lawyers opposed martial law.

The vast majority, prudent.

The few asked the foolish questions of the day. Hence, Shakespeare’s “first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” in Henry VI, high praise for our racket, errr, profession. Those who would take over should eliminate the Tañadas, Dioknos, et al., who would march to the beat of a different drummer.

If Digong follows the rule of law, nema problema. Let’s hope he will. Else, disorder, even chaos. So, healing should be a priority, as Digong correctly sees it. He should have more tact in dealing with locals and other nations. He cannot just shoot, as he did to Octavio Goco, a Bedan frat brod, in 1972, over something petty.

Good people change others. Better people, the system. The best, themselves.

I could not have voted for him and did not.

But, to all those among you who did, a choice I respect, please remember us when you (including my Davao-based campus contempo Jess Saplala, Art Tugade, et al., both soft-spoken, role models for my kids) –get to your political paradise.

You too, Vit Aguirre and Bingbong Medialdea.

Let’s have a Lincoln to heal our wounds, not a Hitler.

Remember the chant of Joma’s troops in 1972: “Marcos, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta. . . .”

Digong, good luck! You have our prayers. Behave.

Be presidential, not parochial.

Else, isusumbong kita sa Nanay mo. She I admired more than I could say. We marched together in 1983 in Davao after Ninoy was salvaged. I met your daughter Sara in a hotel coffee shop maybe a couple of years ago. Soft-spoken. Hard to believe that she punched that Sheriff. Talagang lahi kayo ng mapupusok at matatapang.


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  1. Sir, I always read your column but do you not think that Duterte is acting and talking to get our attention. I am sure he was successful in doing so. He won. He knows that he cannot do what he promised . Did the past presidents fulfill their promises? He is toying the minds of the voters. Read the persona behind the true Duterte. He wants to get the lower middle and the poor voters to agree with his high sounding promises. Did Pnoy eradicated corruption… Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap slogan ? Nobody accuses Pnoy for his slogan. By years end , nobody will remember Dutertes slogan.

    • Bong ifurung on

      Kung walang corrupt walang mahirap is erap’ snot noynoy’s. His is “daan matuwid” na nagkawindang-windang.

    • @Bong ifurung

      Wrong. The “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” slogan was PNoy’s campaign slogan for the 2010 elections, not Erap’s. It would’ve been funny and unbelievable for a convicted plunderer to use such slogan.

  2. “Bedans rejoice that Digong has achieved and realized what Ninoy Aquino, Monching Mitra, Raul Roco and Roy Señeres had fantasized about.”

    …And Fernando Poe, Jr.

  3. Presently, I am software engineer of an international company that specialized on software security. I wish to disagree with the losing candidate/s of the past elections and some Filipino programmers with so much “air in their heads” (that they know everything) that a “plan B” exists.
    The people are so sick and tired of the government officials and Roxas should have won the elections if the government acted swiftly on the following:

    1. “laglag bala” at the airport. The government should have shown an iron fist by putting these people behind bars ASAP. It is well known fact that there exist extortion in the airport. But the government never did anything for the victims and should have let NAIA manager let go.

    2. The LRT and MRT status/problem should been fixed by letting Abaya go to prove to the people swift action

    3. Smuggling – this should been controlled by not appointing a new customs chief and let Biazon do whatever is best for the bureau

    4. Drugs – Chines e drug lords and carriersshould have been put to jail ASAP as what China is doing to the Filipino carriers. There was no conviction of whatsoever to the Chinese caught peddling and making and owning shabu factories.

    5. The government should have let Lacson explain the slow rehabilitation of the Yolanda victims in the Visayas.

    • The only reason why your list was not addressed : We have a very very weak president. Let me add in your list,,,, veto on increase SSS pension that affected 2 million seniors. Let me remind Pnoy, SSS pensions come from us workers and not the government. Never was there any subsidy by this government to assist SSS. I am so happy that Pnoy will be out in 45 days or so. This guy is the highest in my list as the stupidest guy in the world. Too bad Mar followed this guy. From the start of the campaign, I know Mar is going to lose.