‘Racist nonsense’—Ka Pepe; ‘La Vie En Rose’


INCOMING Prez Digong Duterte has said that “human rights” is a Western concept that does not apply here (PDI, June 12, 2016, p. A-18, col. 5).

At Harvard Law, last I checked, students got/get to read about a great Filipino lawyer, thusly: “It is pertinent to recall the wise words of Jose Diokno in rejecting what he termed ‘currently fashionable justifications for authoritarianism in Asian developing countries.’ One [justification]is that Asian societies are authoritarian and paternalistic; that Asia’s hungry masses are too concerned with providing their families with food, clothing, and shelter, to concern themselves with civil liberties and political freedoms; that the Asian conception of freedom differs from that of the West; that, in short, Asians are not fit for human rights. [… This] is racist nonsense. … Authoritarianism promotes repression, not development—repression that prevents meaningful change and preserves the structures of power and privilege. … (H. Steiner & D. Vagst, Transnational Legal Transactions, 445-46, 1986). The two co-authors were my team-teachers in 1967-68.

Change is coming? Let’s hope it is positive transformation, not negative transmogrification. Saviors, not barbarians, at the gates.

Digong continues to sound like a sore winner and certain of his subalterns, too, unmindful of what victorious Roman generals were told and reminded of, “You are mortal, you are mortal”—memento mori—while returning and parading in triumph from some campaign.

My good friend, Sonny Dominguez, sounded uncharacteristically biting (nahawa na kay Bossing?) and hectored. “Don’t tie our hands or there’s going to be hell to pay, Dominguez warns [Customs Chief] Lina” (Manila Bulletin, June 10, 2016, p. 1, col. 3). Such seeming arrogance of power I never detected in him during Prez Cory’s watch. Digong does not assume the presidency until June 30.

In the Supreme Court, Justices are supposed to work until 70, when they render their valedictory. Can Sonny not just adopt, amend or revoke an arguably imprudent midnight act? What do they have against a work ethic unless the laws forbid something to be done? We are paying these people for working up to noon of June 30.

Sonny even wonders why Manny Pangilinan “has my number, we are friends, so how come he does not call?” (Manila Times, June 7, 2016, p. B1, col. 3.) The servant should call the boss, it seems to me. Sonny sounds unrecognizably arrogant, which he isn’t, as I recall in our Cory days. Palala na po yata. Not arrogance? But, premature ejac or pre-marital romancing? But, Talleyrand advised: “Above all, no zeal.”

Digong and certain of his people continue to swagger, defy and dominate, maybe in imitation of Pretty Boy Muhammad Ali, who got away with it. Will they? But, insensitive they may not be to certain foolish questions of the day. Digong did not even take part in the Davao City morning Independence Day rites last Sunday. Bedtime hours?

How nice it would have been if we saw PNoy, Jojobama, Erap, FVR and Digong all together at the Luneta last Sunday. But Digong seems to be not a morning person (FVR is a dawn person). Digong was reported to have missed the Davao rites in Rizal Park. The night before he met several unidentified groups, including party animals.

Else, Digong & Co. must have a tremendous work ethic, working as Prez even before he takes his oath. Jess Dureza is in Oslo. Bebot Bello may follow. To talk with Joma Sison. Fine, but who’s spending? Excess political contributions? More funding from Pastor Quiboloy?

The wedding with Power takes place on June 30. Super-majority, errr, intimacy, if too soon, sounds like premarital impropriety.

Digong and company continue with their equivalent of hate speeches. A little getting-to-know-you-date would be nice, as displayed by Martin Andanar and Sonny Coloma. We can have too much sabong.

Another too-much. Digong will fly home every day. Which plane? Pastor Quiboloy’s? The government’s? Or PAL or Cebu Pacific? Whatever, there will be disorder and chaos at the airport in Manila and Davao and the streets leading to and from it. Daily.

Confusion, such as in Digong and Peter Alan Cayetano waiving bank secrecy. When invoked, Spokesman Sal Panelo in effect said, “kayo naman, ‘di na mabiro.” Sal was our MABINI colleague but we parted ways when serious differences arose (MABINI members Tito Guingona, Joey Lina, Nene Pimentel, Bobby Tañada and I were among Cory’s Choices, but it was not as if she just lifted our names from some phonebook. Also running with us was MABINI orig chair, Bobbit Sanchez, my townsman, but a nuisance aspirant also surnamed Sanchez robbed him of countless votes, even in our Pasig hometown; MABINI stalwart Joker Arroyo picked the House ahead of the Senate.)

Sal was arguably an original hunyango (chameleon), as it were, in our alleged party system. KBL was Kilusang Bagong Lipunan; to us, Kasal Binyag Libing. It seems to me that any beheading diminishes all of mankind. So, Sal, I would not blame PNoy—who respects life—for it. Abu Sayyafs—could be worse than Abbu Gados—dedicated the killing to Digong. Taunting.

He will now go after petty gamblers? The poor gamble illegally as petty gambling is interdicted. The rich go to casinos, cockfight or horseracing derby. Another anti-poor measure.

I may yet consider changing my view on the anti-poor death penalty, if within the next three or four years, some high official or plutocrat would be the honoree in some necktie party. No need for 50 poor people to be hanged. Even one lawmaker, justice, Cabinet member, tycoon, et al. might serve the ad terrorem purpose. But, more likely, the victims would again be the poorest of the poor, e.g., a sidewalk vendor or a trike driver. 2019 is the earliest I can see.

So extrajudicial execution may be resorted to meantime. The shifting statements from Digong’s camp discombobulate me. Bragging by Digong, denying, dissembling by his staff. Thus, we have to rely on his close friends—given Digong’s media boycott—like Mon Tulfo, in whom he confided he’s too old to be corrupt: ‘Cuz “I no longer have a hard-on as fast as I used to.” (PDI, June 14, 2016, p. A-8, col. 3). So no more slam-bang-thank-you-ma’am. Oh, yes, somehow I am reminded of Digong’s fellow Bedan lawyer, Billy Cortez, whose mug I see daily promoting this paper’s 4th Business Forum. Listed as a Reactor, the Reactionary will speak on “Does Size Matter?”

Anyway, top cop Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa I associate with humbug and hambog. He claims to have been offered millions for protection money, as reported on TV. He should give more details on who, when, where, etc. Most important—why did he not arrest or entrap anyone? Munti officials scratch their head in wonder at a seemingly wild Bato-Bato sa Langit.

Now, Bato challenges drug lords to duels? (PDI, June 15, 2016, p A2, col. 3.) 261 of the Revised Penal Code imposes imprisonment “upon any person who shall challenge another … or shall scoff or decry another publicly for having refused to accept a challenge.”

Nakakaburyong. I keep what is left of my sanity by ballroom dancexercising. Last Tuesday, Hiway 54 sang “La Vie En Rose.” Haunting. Edith Piaf. “Give your heart and soul to me/And life will always be la vie en rose.”

I again recall a Davao-based Bedan classmate, Jess Saplala, whose name appeared in The New York Times: “Jess Saplala was in a bar in Davao City listening to a man singing Frank Sinatra when he noticed that the crooner was the town’s mayor, Rodrigo Duterte.”

Maybe Digong and I can duet in Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s “Something Stupid”?

Digong, warts and all no other place I’d rather be. La vie en rose.

I am not in favor of judicial or extrajudicial execution. Out of the box? Not really. What may be, is looking at exporting marijuana to the many places where using it is legal, like Portugal (all drugs decriminalized 15 years ago, drug use down, no more appeal of the forbidden; users are treated as sick, not as criminals, and the state supplies the drug, gratis or at cost, which should kill trafficking), Spain, Netherlands, Paraguay, and certain places in Canada and the US. Clinton, Bush and Obama all flirted with Mary Jane. And it has an established medical use. Recreational continues to be debated at the highest levels for toxicity. Mary Jane is another source of sin taxes. “La Vie En Rose” [English] lyrics:

Hold me close and hold me fast
This magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose.
When you press me to your heart
I’m in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak, angels sing from above
Everyday words seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be la vie en rose.


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  1. pedro santos on

    The only reason I browse the manila times is to see if Atty Rene has written a column which I enjoy reading, I only wish he writes everyday.He is factual, witty and humorous. More power to you.

  2. I sincerely hope and pray that the honorable Senator Saguisag will live to be a hundred or more and will continue to pen his dispassionate harangue in a manner that tickles the bone rather than raise the blood pressure. His direct-to-the-point commentaries never fail to elicit a laugh despite the seriousness of his remarks. Simply brilliant.

    • Agree, I admire this Senator who standouts from the rest of Crooked- Minded politicians.

  3. Ramon Eamiguel on

    It’s back to the streets, so to speak, for former Senator and human rights advocate Rene V Saguisag. This time, the power of the pen will likely be most effective considering the global reach of Internet and social media. He cannot do this on his own considering the magnitude of challenges our country is facing. We need to support him and others like him, by encouraging everyone to be vigilant and not afraid to speak out.
    The incoming President has already the support of “super majority” both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, courtesy of the turncoats. Thus, there is no more effective opposition to act as fiscalizer. We need more Saguisags and Adazas in us to see us through in this very challenging times.

    Ramon Eamiguel
    Sydney Australia

  4. The way I look at Duterte, he cannot handle criticism . That is the reason he respond to these questions in a humiliating way. By this action, the questionnaire will not question him again afraid that this guy will blow his top. Judging from what I see and heard, he will not finish his term. The nation is not Davao. This nation will bring him down sorry to say. Pilipinos are fed up with Marcos style management. The saying by one American diplomat. 69 million cowards and 1 lunatic is not the mentality in this present generation. Let us see in 1 year.

  5. I think the Philippines will live to regret electing Duerte. I hope im wrong, but its the peoples choice & now they must live with it. Well if it gets to bad they could always revolt. It would end in a bloodbath of that im sure & i hope it doesnt come to that. Time will tell.

    • I hope and pray that the scenario you wrote will not happen. Truthfully, there is a 90 per cent chance that these scenario will happen. With Ping Lacson, Trillanes and all of the PMA students and graduates will not let dictatorship reign in this nation. A blood bath is inevitable.


    Authoritarianism promotes repression, not development—repression that prevents meaningful change and preserves the structures of power and privilege.


  7. Senator, mukhang babalik ka na naman sa pag-indak sa saliw ng water cannons sa kalye. Di bale, aalalayan ka ng tungkod mo sa pakikibaka.

  8. Duterte actions are very confusing. It is the voters choice so we have to follow the majority. I hope the voters are right in their choice. PNP Bato is so gang ho and so proud that I am sure he is just a plain over acting actor. Look at his face, to me he looks like he a comedian . Is he a PMA graduate? Shame on you unfortunately I have fraternity brods that are PMA graduates but they do not act like Bato.

  9. Honestly, I can’t help laughing at every explanation Mr. Rene Saguisag. Indeed your sense of humor is working on me. I think we have to deal our present government status in this manner in order to save our self from negative effect. I want to learn more on how you are doing it. I am not a journalist but I have the urge, I write articles on important issues in my FB in a very serious manner, I know readers will be intimidated so I thought of doing the same as yours, hope I can do it. Well, let us be vigilant for now: As always every government is a crossroad to us. Let us roll with the punch to avoid knock out and to survive the six year rounds. Keep on writing a good analisis. My deceased father likes your principle and as what history and everyday news feeding me…Indeed he is right.

    • It will not be 6 years, either it is shorter or maybe with Martial Law or a revolutionary government, it maybe forever. Who says there is no forever?

  10. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    16 June 2016

    Former Senator an now Manila Times columnist RENE SAGUISAG may not be as blunt as his co-columist HOMOBONO ADAZA, but there is no way this column of his could be taken by soon-to-be Der Fuhrer RODRIGO DUTERTE as heaping encomiums on him. One cannot simply assume that Mr. Duterte is dense, let alone THAT dense; that would be very risky. It is safer to assume that he is smart, and even THAT smart–and thus avoid making a mistake that could be fatal, given Der Fuhrer Duterte’s vow that all who are “corrupt” deserve to be ASSASSINATED.

    And guess what? It is Der Fuhrer Duterte who decides who is “corrupt” and who is not. Once he makes that decision, you can be sure that there is no appeal to a higher authority because he will be THE FINAL AUTHORITY.

    What should send shivers up and down the spine of those unfortunate “corrupt” Filipinos is that Der Fuhrer Duterte may adopt HANGING as his favorite way to dispose of those “corrupt” people, which was the brutal way white Americans in the antedeluvian South disposed of uppity blacks prior to 1865.


    • With Senator Trillanes alive and kicking, Duterte will not have a boring 6 years. Trillanes is the author of the once unbeatable VP Binay. Trillanes is either a savior or a trouble maker but he is very brave and unrelentless. Right now in the senate, Trillanes is the protector against Martial Law or Revolutionary government. An excellent fiscalizer.