IN 1950, a Spanish jurist came to visit and was told that we had our Civil Code approved in six months. “I admire your courage,” said the awed visitor. I admire the courage of those who would come out with Mamasapano reports this week or next.
Famed trial lawyer Doy Quisumbing would advise us in a meeting of collaborating lawyers: “Huwag magmadali, diyan nagkakamali.”
Harrison Ford figured in an aircraft incident in a golf course last week. The probe may take a year. The Boston Marathon bombing two years ago? The surviving Karnaev’s trial just started. It took the grand jury that long to end its probe. The FBI cannot be rushed into making a final report on whether Marwan is dead. Yet, the story-telling must not wait too long. If it took 25 years for the fate of the 26 accused in the Lenny Villa frat killing of February 11, 1991 to be settled, all the accused in Ampatuan massacre case may have died of old age before the final verdict.
Here, the PNoy bashers demand instant gratification from probers of the complex tragedy in that faraway place with a strange-sounding name.
PNoy took responsibility early last month as the buck stops with him but the acknowledgement would get in the way of a nice story or column and is ignored. It happens.
RAM — Reform the AFP Movement — has become a Circular Firing Squad, with Gen. Joe Almonte exchanging fire with Sen. Gringo, Col. Boy Turingan, and Navy Captain Rex Robles, personalities I met on August 1, 1985. They indicated they were plotting a coup.
On the PDI editorial (Who Owns Edsa?) last Monday, I say Edsa’86 was about People, not RAM, power. Its plot to attack Malacañang failed and RAM retreated to Camp Aguinaldo. The People rescued the doomed putchists from being butchered and barbecued. Yet, RAM acted as the savior in Edsa’86, instead of the saved.
The military had wanted the oathtaking of Cory and Doy in a military camp. She said NO and insisted on Club Filipino. Civilian superiority over the military but RAM wanted power-sharing with Cory, who was at Edsa from Sept. 23, 1972 onwards.
Club Filipino was where right after Edsa’86, Uncle Jovy Salonga, JPE, FVR and I discussed our long-time commitment PALAYAIN AND LAHAT NA BILANGGONG PULITIKAL! (Free all Political Detainees!).
FVR was cool. JPE was effervescent in his objection. Uncle, Joker Arroyo and I advised Prez Cory not to harm our credibility early on. We three formed the five-member Committee on the Immediate Release of Detainees, with JPE and FVR.
The Commies had fought Marcos for more than a decade but sat out Edsa’86 while RAM was at EDSA only for four days, it may be said. OK, longer, but RAM never forgave us and launched almost ten failed coups.
The book of Nick Joaquin on Jimmy Ongpin hardly mentions Elders JoeAl and Eugene, who, before his chopper crashed in Mauban, told me that he could no longer understand RAM. He was one RAM orig/elder who consistently supported the flag, the Constitution and the chain of command – along with FVR. JPE was seen as supportive of the coups while I am not aware that JoeAl ever spoke out against them. In “Jaime Ongpin the Enigma, A Profile of the Filipino as Manager,” of Nick Joaquin, we see:
“This second conference occurred on August 1, 1985. Practically the same group of RAM officers [Lt. Gregorio Pio Catapang – incumbent Chief of Staff – Gringo, Lt. Rafael Tadeo, Lt. Col. Eduardo Kapunan, Colonel Eugene Ocampo, Lt., Col. Hector Tarrazona and Capt. Rex Robles] present at the July  confab attended this next encounter.
“Their interlocutors included: Cesar Buenaventura, Dante Santos, Father Joaquin Bernas, Brother Rolando Dizon, Dr. Alfredo Bengzon and Rene Saguisag, besides Jimmy Ongpin, as well as three representatives of the media: Eugenia Apostol of Mr. & Ms., Felix Bautista of Veritas, and columnist Ninez Cacho Olivares.
“It was again a merienda-cena at the Camp Aguinaldo clubhouse, starting at half-past six and lasting beyond ten p.m., the scheduled hour for adjournment. Captain Tansingco says that while the first meeting was tactful, the second was `confrontational,’ with the military being called names.
“At the first meeting we met with businessmen like Ting Paterno and Ting Jayme, people who were polite and broadminded. But the second group was composed of [confrontational, impolite and narrow-minded and just maybe, insane?] anti-Marcos fighters who generalized about the armed forces being so rotten that every single person there was rotten to the core. I remember several bitter exchanges that had RAM being confronted by Niñez Cacho Olivares and Rene Saguisag, who could not believe that any segment of the armed forces could be against Marcos. Rene Saguisag was even taunting Honasan and Kapunan with such mocking question as: `Do you really mean what you’re saying?’ I think his assumption was the RAM was a fake. Anyway, with Jimmy helping me, I [Capt. Tansingco] was able to steer the meeting to a more cordial note and we were dialoguing until half-past ten.” Pp. 253-57
When reading any memoir or recollection, it is prudent to remember the Durants’ caveat: “all autobiography is vanity.?” We all look at a mirror and say “not bad.” Human nature.
Gringo, Boy T and Rex, RAM stalwarts, deny that JoeAl was a key RAM figure, which Hector “Tarzan” Tarrazona corroborates.
We are told about the defect of instant gratification. But, as usual, we get instant judgments by Mamasapano non-probers who really have no idea of what happened. I have none or little. I trust but verify; doveryai non proveryai.
Shall we wait for the reports, including the FBI’s? Marwan may yet suddenly bolt upright in some grave but the longer he does not surface, the more likely that we can only rattle the bones of a skeleton from which all semblance of life has long departed. The widows and orphans of the Gallant 44 may finally start to accept that their beloved heroes are lost and gone forever and that other intrepid warriors get killed every day, who understood “ang mamatay ng dahil sa ‘yo.”
One widow said “they received pledges but not one was given, except P250,000 from the President’s fund.” They are still waiting for promised houses and lots, scholarships, etc., in a country where we pay the Commander-in-Chief P100T a month (with deductions factored in). He draws the same amount of flak as Obama, who is consoled with $400,000 a month, for starters.