Moment of truth; Georgetown lesson for BBM


Monday is the moment of truth. I have not made up my mind as to the presidency. But, Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, my fellow Bedan, who shot a fellow student in 1972, is definitely out. The victim (Octavio Goco), for whom Digong waited, survived.

A human rights advocate cannot support anyone who plays God and who decides who among the poor, riffraff, yagits, atbp., will live or die. No El Cid, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, he. If Digong has knocked off an abusive high official or billionaire, I may be tempted, in a moment of weakness, to join the memorial park and funeral parlors owners in lauding his private population reduction program, along with grave-diggers, florists, pro mourners, et al. San Beda does not produce the kind of Lady-Killer Digong seems to be, talking of a feudal lord’s jus primae noctis (right of the first night), etc.

For Veep, I will vote for Leni Robredo, my graduate law school stude (she quit due to pressure of work). Sen. Manny Pacquiao plans to go to Rio for the Olympics, in August. 99 percent. 1 percent, if belated, for Sen. Sonny Trillanes, who made Digong say he was a virgin as to a certain BPI account, then that he was a little bit preggy, and then conejos all over. But, seeeeecret. A cruel lie can be told in silence, to paraphrase Robert Louis Stevenson. You want to lead the nation of 105 million conejos, you forfeit your human and constitutional right to privacy.

Digong, it may now turn out, seems to be a part of the new oligarchy or elite receiving grandiose gifts.

A crime, illegal even during Christmas, under tough P.D. No. 46 of Nov. 10, 1972, “[m]aking it punishable for public officials and employees to receive, and for private persons to give, gifts on any occasion, including Christmas.” It is interdicted also by Sec. 7 (d) of R.A. No. 6713. One who gives gifts or bribes and testifies is immune from prosecution under P.D. No. 749. Are we reminded of Digong and his generous friend, Pastor Quiboloy?

Anyway, Digong admits having two kulasisis. Girlfriends can be expensive (or so, I am told). Here, he’s on equal footing with Jojobama Binay. Also Unwed Father Mar, with his faultless love child. Is being Kamandag now a requirement for the presidency?

Being uncouth? I hope my apos, eldest 7, do not understand and take it to mean that one who publicly talks of masturbation, molesting a maid, droit de seigneur, qualifies for the presidency. Coño, a woman’s genitalia, I would not even use publicly.

I marched with Digong’s tough mother, post-Ninoy’s salvaging, on the streets of Davao. His daughter Sara was the one who punched a Sheriff wanting to serve process after she had had a long hard day in another part of the City. Lahi ng Matatapang. All kin of Ombudsman Chit Carpio-Morales, who may have to recuse or inhibit herself personally but her Office cannot just ignore the raging tempest.

Digong has no record of resisting martial law and is therefore at home in going to bed with Bongbong Marcos (BBM), who disclaims responsibility for kleptocracy and gross human rights violations. Raissa Robles has an account of BB’s complicity in secreting the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth, part of which the Supreme Court ordered returned on July 15, 2003 (but sadly and inexplicably, without directing their prosecution).

BBM should learn a lesson from the current Georgetown U leadership. In 1838, the Jesuits sold 272 slaves to fund the school. There is now soul-searching and a formal program will be held late this year on the “legacy.” The Jesuits now make an effort to do the right thing, after dealing in slavery to save the cash-strapped institution in. A conference is set in Gaston Hall later this year. (In 1968-69, after work, we—Bedan Vic Reyes, gone, Atenean Menguing Ordoveza, and a UP doctorate grad scholar—would play pick-up basketball in Georgetown.)

Georgetown’s legacy of slavery it now seeks to come to terms with. In 1838, it sold the slaves to plantations in the Deep South. Families and communities were shattered as men, women and children as young as two months old were sent on ships to be sold on the docks in New Orleans. The Jesuits who arranged the sale to get money to keep the school alive knew the evil of what they were doing.

Now, Georgetown is in the midst of an extraordinary effort to come to a reckoning with those events. The aim is not only to bear witness and make amends, but also to address the racism that still infects American life and institutions. The school established a working group in August; in the fall, its work acquired greater urgency in the wake of student protests across the country about racial injustice. The names of two college officials involved in the sale were removed from buildings being renovated (renamed Remembrance and Freedom Halls).

The work of the Georgetown Memory Project is guided by the Jesuit philosophy of magis (doing more). The hardest task for the university lies in deciding what to do about its past sins. Does it issue an apology, create a memorial to those enslaved, provide scholarships for the descendants of the slaves? No amends can ever be adequate, but it has already done something valuable by illuminating a dark part of its history—as well as the lives of those 272 human beings.

Digong and BBM should learn from Georgetown and slavery if thru the internet. If they win next week, to me, it will signal our formal rotting start, arguably. The cycle is savagery, civilization, decay. If they win credibly, let us not underrate their capacity for change and subjective growth. We don’t want a Romanian Ceauceascu or Italian Mussolini ending next time. Nor Hitlerian. The Fuhrer apparently took his own life, in Japan, the sincerest form of apology.

Georgetown may show the way, for BBM (1) to admit that indeed there were gross human rights violation, which he regrets, (2) to donate to the human rights fund and not oppose the victims by suggesting they are “mukhang pera” lang, and (3) to sponsor scholarships in UP for the children and apos of the victims. BBM testified in the Sandiganbayan on Feb. 14, 2008 that the Marcoses own 60 percent of Lucio Tan’s assets. Earlier, Imelda told me “’yang magbobote ‘yan, ayaw ibalik ang amin,” and named other cronies.

The Marcoses should also be considerate and now bury Macoy in the north. Then we move on, and up.

* * *
K, for Prez?—I am choosing among Mar, Jojobama and Grace. All have issues, we all do and only Justice Perfecto I would characterize as Perfect. Along with my wife, who had signs in her car and at home, the Best Man for the Job is a Woman. Mar-Leni, Jojobama-Leni or Grace-Leni? Secret? Or hahahalata?


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  1. Edwin Barcia on

    Sir, I have always enjoyed your articles. And it is good to know that you seem to be doing well. May your ilk multiply. And those of Raissa’s too. Should darkness return though, I rest my heart in the thought that it can NEVER defeat the human spirit’s desire for freedom. So many have shown the way.

  2. Hector David on

    Why can’t you wake up and admit the people’s rejection and judgement of the yellow failure. Duterte tayo

  3. After May 9, the human rights lawyer tribe would increase, and amidst the incessant global warming, a few quarter storms would brew….
    Rene, ang sagisag ng alab ng pusong Pilipino, should not retire yet.

  4. Teddy S. Pereña on

    Alam ko na. Halata po! Pareho tayo kasi mahal natin ang ating bayan. Inuuna natin ang bansa bago ang sarili.

  5. Amnata Pundit on

    The Coristas object to Duterte because he mirrors the EDSA regime’s hypocrisy. He is ascendant because the regime is on an endless dive in terms of its moral credibility, and that must hurt, right?