Remembering the past that we may not repeat it


LAST Monday, I passed by the Laurel-Aguila junction, on my way to San Beda, for Caloy Loyzaga’s final sentimental journey home. Scene of crowded memories of glorious moments. In that corner, where Max’s now is, I was reminded of the time I saw ailing Olympian Eddie Lim standing there, who could not join and march with us then in our Sto. Nino procession (this was a year or two before our own fatal family tragedy – the clan lost our Dulce – that disabled me). Very much a part of the NCAA and Yco title runs he was.

In future, we may want to mention, along with Caloy Loyzaga, two-time Olympian Eddie, called Stonewall by Willie Hernandez. Now I mention Paing Hechanova, Caloy’s fellow Asiad and Olympiad veteran, who attended the Mass. The UST architect was seated next to Bedan lawyer Ting Cuna.

Togay (Letran’s and FEU’s Herminio Astorga) became my compadre, I told fellow Bedan Krip Yuson who had written a stirring nostalgic tribute in the Philippine Star to King Caloy (called Pomfret, after a Canadian athletic great, from time to time, in my youth).

Boom-Boom Badion, Krip, was the one Mrs. Bachmann ran after with her umbrella in Rizal Memorial. The real culprit was Carlos Mandilag. But, if anyone got hurt, the usual suspect would be Mapua’s Badion (unless he was out of town), who I last saw in Veterans Hospital, visiting Erap, charged with plundering pala; I had thought philandering so I took him on ako after he fell (not from a bed), into the arms of the people who elected Dr. Loi and two sons, Jinggoy and JV, as senators. Guia is San Juan Mayor. He is now Manila Mayor after Noynoy thwarted his Restoration in 2010 (Erap was No. 1 in Mindanao). Kilabot pa rin?

Boom-Boom once hollered that Ting Cuna was the “balyador ng San Beda” but Carlos Badion’s Bicycle Drives I was to see much much later when Charles Barkley would barrel through the lane like a Patton tank. Gifted Badion grew up in Tondo and was not called our basketball’s Bad Boy for nothing. Detroit’s Bad Boys were also a much later bunch.
Good (I think) boys Dr. Louie Kodumal, visiting from the US, and Joffre Alajar were the first Bedans to greet me.

What comes out in my memory every time I go to the San Beda Church (not a chapel) is cantemos al amor de los amores, cantemos al senor . . . with which we opened every Friday Benediction. With effervescence (a word I first heard from Fr. Rojo). Today, Intercom prayer at noontime on the intercom, ditto at three o’clock. It used to be Angelus was at six p.m. (oracion still observed in the provinces?). Then, we’d go down to the canteen for cola and hopiang hapon, ten centavos each, or to splurge, the delicious succulent greasy hamburger (30 centavos).

Your greatest omission, Krip, was not mentioning that I wrote the forgettable Foreword of Big Difference (I was also so called, Big Difference, Malaki Raw ang Diperensiya o sira ko). Also for Raul Roco’s bio, written by ailing Conrad de Quiros, I was also Foreword author last year. Coming in the next few weeks, my Foreword on martial law human rights violations in a detailed chilling book written by Raissa E. Robles, to be launched in time for February 25; it is underwritten by caring members of the patriotic Ateneans for a Better Philippines, to remind us of the harrowing egregious gross human rights violations from 1972-86, which should never be beyond easy recall. NEVER AGAIN!

The human rights compensation board seeks an extension of how to deal with 75,000 human rights claims (some may be spurious but some legit claims were probably not filed by victims not wanting to monetize their suffering; many are genuinely needy though; deserving, no question). Raissa has picked some glaringly graphic cases, illustrative, not exhaustive. Her late father, Joe, with whom I discussed Scholastic Philosophy, was with us in the defense panel in the We Forum case (where I was cited for contempt twice, landing me in prison for calling Macoy a “super-subversive” in open court).

Bongbong is probably correct that the same charges will be dredged up as February 25 approaches, the day we People-Powered out his family of kleptocrats and gross human rights violators, and the world applauded. No closure until we do justice to the human rights victims. Bongbong aspires to be Veep in May and maybe the presidency in 2022 (versus Manny Pacquiao? Josme!).

Santayana warned that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
We remember the past positively when we recall King Caloy, Pomfret, and negatively when we recall Jane Ryan (Imelda) and William Saunders (Macoy) who opened their Swiss bank accounts in 1968. The Supreme Court ordered the Marcoses to return the ill-gotten wealth on July 15, 2003, but weirdly, ponente Justice Rene Corona did not order the prosecution of the ill-gotteners who flaunt their imperial lifestyle today.

Tocayo Rene is now facing charges under R.A. No. 6713. He seems to be raising the argument that he should be given the benefit of the intent of Sec. 10 of R.A. No. 6713 on review and compliance, where an errant individual is given a chance to correct or complete his filing. He reportedly lost 4-1. I, as principal co-author (with Uncle Jovy Salonga) and sponsor of the bill that became R.A. No. 6713, am inclined to support the lone dissenter.

But, the Sandiganbayan and the Supreme Court may tell me, “Mr. Saguisag, this was what you meant.”

The rationale could be the law is not the individual opinion of a lawmaker but the collective wisdom of 24 Senators and close to 300 Congressmen. (But, maybe Rene’s reported invocation of the law came too late?)

No wonder Bismarck reportedly said two things the people should not see being made, sausages and laws.

On vindicating the human rights victims, among the amalgam of reasons is to prevent a repetition of misconduct we don’t punish, and deny haven to gross human rights violators. To borrow from Ted Kennedy, the presidential term of PNoy – whose father was salvaged by the military in 1983, a fate Noynoy barely escaped in 1987 – will soon come to an end, but to all “those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream, shall never die.” Ditto for the BBL and Edca.

May I also bid goodbye to Dondon Paderanga, gone to a better world. If my fading failing memory serves he was in Rockwell last January 25 and heard Mass in memory of Prez Cory, whose birth anniversary it was. Jun Factoran texted me: “There will be a testimonial dinner for Dondon on Tuesday, February 9, at the Linden Metropolitan Club, Makati, at 6:00 p.m.” Here’s hoping going to Guadalupe Viejo at that time, from wherever, would not make one feel that the Club is in another planet.

Tonight, a hipag, Atchi Pat (Quintans-Bernad) will mark her birth anniv (debut?). Invited to a MOA shindig, I said “sure.” Then, told apparently, no room, the venue shifted to Intramuros. On a Friday night? I had to change to “best efforts.” Binalik sa MOA. What a traffic-driven existence we live.

To a number, I’ll say: “Long time no see.” Matagal nang walang kita.


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  1. We also have to remember that during Cory’s time, Marcos’ former hechmen, Enrile Ramos; Honasan et al, were members of the government.

  2. Dear Senator Saguisag,
    May I know if you are in accord with CJ Sereno’s defense of Poe’s foundling natural born concern.
    Thank you very much.

  3. Atty. Rene : Your writings are a veritable feast, a welcome treat to start the weekend.
    Mabuhay po kayo!

  4. Did Raissa Robles tackle the travails of the number one human rights violations victim, Prof Joma Sison and those of his SELDA comrades?

    One of these days, somebody should also write a book about the human rights violations victims during the reign of Cory Aquino onwards in all its graphic, gruesome details. It should explain why these victims did not receive the same attention as their fellows in the 70s.

    • Is there a war with no victims? Surely, the writer of that book is still living in dreamland which with her naivetté has no capability to know and understand what real politik is. Martial law was an offshoot of the war between the Left headed by benigno aquino with his henchman, joma sison who are out to grab political power and the Right represented by Mr. Marcos. We, the activists were pawns who were exploited because of our idealism. Had Mr. Marcos didn’t pull the rug under benigno, we would now be living in a National Democracy where benigno would be the autocrat whose megalomania knows no bounds. Remember those front page pictures of benigno carrying his automatic rifle on the streets of Manila prior to martial law? Those so-called victims of martial law were just collateral damage euphemistically ranted as “human rights victims” in the propaganda war designed by Malloch for quo rhee. For if we are to compare it to Assad who stood his ground or even Egypt, the martial law of Marcos was still tame compared to what Indonesia experienced during the 60s or the killings in Singapore or even in Malaysia when both nations were just starting to build their respective nations. Even the rule of quo rhee produced more killings than the claimed 70,000 victims of martial law notwithstanding the murders perpetuated against those farmers after the Hacienda Luisita Incident.

    • Human rights victims were still counting up to the current PNoy regime. But it was just ignored by the yellow media, keeping the blame to Marcos.