As old as dem dar hills



IT’S a woman’s world? Eight of the Top Ten alums of the Philippine Military Academy this year are women, beginning with the Top Gun, Cadet First Class Rovi Mairel Martinez.

My late wife would always remind her Star Boarder (me): “The Best Man for the Job is a Woman,” plastered on her vehicle (a company Lexus) and at home. It was not my place to disagree.

In 1991, as a bicam member on what was to become RA No. 7192, Raul S. Roco’s Women in Nation Building Act, I helped make sure the ban on women in the PMA was gone, in a bicameral conference, given the anachronistic sex qualification. Cong. Rod Gutang and Cong. Antonio Bacaltos had measures in the Bigger House for the purpose and I had a counterpart in the Better House.

Up to the last time we met, West Pointer Gen. Florencio Magsino (of the Old Guard all-male West Point and PMA), former PMA Superintendent, still had to forgive me for allowing women to enter the last bastion of machismo.

In my time, I made semestral reports to my constituents. In my August 1, 1990 Report (Sixth Semestral Report – January 1 to July 1, 1990, I said: “Last July 26, the Senate approved, on third reading, My S. No. 1438, to admit women into the Philippine Military Academy (complimenting Rep. Gutang’s H. No. 22769 and Rep. Bacaltos’ H. No. 31000). Let anyone be all that he or she can be.”

The new gender situation, I see in my law classes. More pretty girls (my type) than pretty boys (puh-leeze!). Easier on the eye.

March 8 is Women’s Day, for the Real Bosses.

Here we are guys, 2017, still struggling for equality, an ancient plaint. The drug situation may also be as old as dem dar hills, as it were:

Ambeth Ocampo wrote “Rizal, the user,” in the Inquirer last August 19, thusly: “If Jose Rizal were alive today, he could conceivably be found dead on a Manila street with a crude cardboard sign identifying him as a drug user. Rizal, after all, admitted taking hashish when he was 18 years old. [Admission hazardous today?] But someone should explain to the bloodthirsty trigger-happy police or vigilantes that in Rizal’s time, hashish, which we know today as marijuana, Mary Jane, or jutes, was not what it is now: a prohibited drug. It was considered medicine and was dispensed freely from a drugstore.”

Indeed, medical marijuana use is legal, in many places, elsewhere; here, Cong. Rudito Albano’s wet dream remains so.

Ambeth, who spent time in our Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat, continued: “The thought that Rizal could be executed without trial today, . . . made me rethink a position I have long held regarding his chance of being elected President…I am of the opinion that he will not even be elected barangay captain in Calamba or Dapitan: He will be too serious for voters who elect people who can dance and sing at the drop of a hat. Since he will be too principled to buy votes or pay poll watchers, this significantly trims his chances of election victory. [I won, as a 1963 law senior in Pasig, as a Sta. Cruz barangay councilman, without spending a single centavo of my own, and I repeated, in 1897, as senator. Kahit po isang singkong duling, wala din akong ginastos.]

“Now [Rizal] may be killed for simply admitting to experimenting with marijuana. I will not speculate on why the 18-year-old Rizal was experimenting with [it],” [like Clinton, Bush and Obama did]. Americans took over, and it has been banned ever since.

“If you take the trouble to read the Epilogue to Noli Me Tangere, you will see a reference to opium use…If at any time, when afternoon comes, and you pass the first street of Santo Cristo, [to]enter a filthy hut at the entrance of which there is a sign in big red letters: Fumadero Publico de Anfion (Public Smoking Den for Opium). One other relic of the opium days is Fumadero street in San Nicolas near Binondo.

“There was a recent high-profile rally in Luneta to protest the planned burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. But there has been no such turnout for the victims of the extra-judicial killings, or even the innocent people killed in the Maguindanao massacre, the trial of which is still ongoing, and will probably linger on until people forget or become jaded.”

Yes, the problem is old as dem dar hills.

“VeepP [Macapagal] urges narcotics drive,” Manila Times, March 5, 1961. Prez “Garcia acts on dope menace,” id. March 4, 1961. This paper reproduces here the front pages of this paper’s issues 67 years ago, when Rod Reyes exposed drug abuse, doing daring undercover work, and was acclaimed. (The gentleman. a TOYM Awardee, I met at Crossing, Mandaluyong, on February 23, 1986, and he casually conceded that Macoy was finished, at a time that it looked to this tyro as still touch-and-go.)

Tibo Mijares wrote in The Conjugal Dictatorship, recently reissued by the Mijareses and Ateneo:

“Y.S. Kwong, a Filipino millionaire…told an audience…at the San Francisco Press Club that contrary to Ferdinand’s claims as the most decorated Filipino soldier of World War II, Marcos, in fact, spent the four years of the Japanese occupation as a buy-and-sell agent.

“Kwong made the stunning revelation that Josefa Edralin was arrested in a public high school in Manila [Arellano] for having opium and heroin in her possession. Kwong even mentioned the name of the arresting officer as Telesforo Tenorio, then a detective but later became a Chief of Police of Manila.

“The suspicion was that Josefa was selling drugs to the students of the school where she was the teacher and librarian. According to Kwong, the Marcos family was so poor that it was living from day to day and from hand to mouth. Ferdinand, Kwong said, sold anything he could lay his hands on—including scrap metal which may have found its way to Japanese factories and used in the manufacture of bombs and armaments.” – pp. 256-257 (orig) and 391-412 (reissue)

Digong and Bato de la Rosa will have to go back to the drawing boards. Incidentally, Davao City Mayor Sara may be a Bato fan. Stonefish is the nickname of Digong’s new apo. I think it honors Bato or “Stone” de la Rosa. Susmariano! What portmanteau! Fish could mean the small fry being EJKed.

Anyway, congrats, Sara.

“Drug lords funding destabilization.” Then, go after them, not just users, the serfs, vassals, drudges in our new fiefdom, with its ever weakening peso linked to Digong’s mouth. Madaldal as I.

Among the thousands killed, any drug lord? If the Pulis Patolas, the AFP and the PDEA cannot prevent EJKs, if it may not be too much to ask, then solve them naman, please.

Senate resource person SPO3 Arturo Lascañas has “no proof,” senators say. If I say I was robbed, that is proof. Credible is something else. What the senators may mean: he is not credible for lack of corroboration, the situation of countless victims of rape and sexual harassment, when only the violator and violated are present.

Even if only one killing as Lascañas narrated in detail is true, Houston, we have a problem, given Digong’s braggadocio. In character, arguably, as he and Senator Manny Pacquiao sniff at some people as sub-humans. Such unfair unkind conceit.

The new Supreme Court Justice, Sammy Martires, was my law stude at San Beda. Kudos. Fair warning: he has his own mind and can be a maverick. If I am the complainant in being stalked and sexually harassed, he may believe me, even if I was taken advantage of, by my lonesome. No witness.

Were I the one accused of sexual harassment, and I deny, deny, deny, he may agree with La Rochefoucauld, that a woman may at times forgive a man who forces the opportunity, but never he who misses one. Go figure.

The even newer SC Justice, Noel Tijam, also attended San Beda, when I was away. I did get to know him when he was a widely respected QC RTC Judge.

Anyway, two more I need to avoid as friendships are suspended in the interim. Of course, one cannot avoid trial justices and judges but Mt. Olympus, the Supreme Court (as well as the Court of Appeals), is a distant promise of integrity, untouched by the world.

There may be grousing: Bedan na naman. But, hey, they more than qualify.

I assume San Beda taught them never to surrender their conscience to the state, what we learned from the Benedictine Order, Dean Feliciano Jover Ledesma and our teachers. Particularly Florenz Regalado, who said San Beda Law was the Home of Quality Products, the popular come-on of San Miguel at the time.


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  1. diego solises on

    (a company Lexus)
    Do you really have to mention that its Lexus!
    What if she was driving a Kia or other less luxurious vehicle?
    Thats the problem with some of our kababayans/
    Kayabangan and kahambugan!

  2. Amnata Pundit on

    Why don’t you take a pause from your vomiting forth of your usual “the Marcoses are evil, Pacquiao is unfit, the Aquinos and the martial law victims were saints and heroes” rant and quote for a change the witnesses who testified against Ninoy Aquino in his military trial, many of whom were subsequently assassinated by the NPA, or are those inconvenient facts that must never be mentioned, like the Plaza Miranda bombing?

  3. Provided the Rules of St. Benedict remain as basic guide (of conscience) among Bedan Law alumni, I’m inclined to take side with you, Sir. Especially, St. Benedict’s “ora et labora” (work and pray). Justices truly to do their homework assiduously and accompany work with prayer, lots of it. Then, hopefully, combine St. Benedict’s with the Thomasian motto, “contemplate aliis trader” (to hand to others what have been contemplated on. Kudos, Mr. Saguisag!