The ‘revolution’ begins in Batangas

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After the widely advertised anti-pork rally in Manila bombed on Monday, when the purported “one million people’s march” turned into an ill-disguised pro-Aquino shindig, we need now to turn and listen more to what Pope Francis calls, “the peripheries.” There is where we could be learning more about the real issues that go beyond President B. S. Aquino 3rd’s “pork”.

From Cebu last Saturday, we heard fresh and stronger drums against the “pork,” which kept on coming back like the cat with nine lives, despite the Supreme Court ruling declaring it null and void. Congratulations to Archbishop Jose Palma for hosting the event, and to all the Cebuanos who supported it.

But in Batangas today, the play goes to a higher plane. We shall be hearing the first unified multi-sectoral and interfaith call not just for the permanent abolition of “pork” but for Aquino’s speedy and gracious retirement. This will be a bold call for change, real change, not just cosmetic or superficial change, but “radical” change.

“Radical” is derived from the Latin word “radix,” which means “root.” “Radical change” then simply means change that goes into the root of things. Not merely regime change, but system change, structural change, cultural change.


It begins with Aquino being asked to step down for his numerous violations of the law and the Constitution and his poor performance in office. But it does not end there: it necessarily entails repairing what has been broken, damaged or destroyed, taking out the rot, and reordering the larger moral and political environment.

This is why we say the need is not to “succeed” PNoy now, but to put in a transition team that would fix the system before we seriously consider electing a new government.

These are brave words, on their face. But with Aquino wholly capable of sinking the nation with his flawed vision of morality, the Constitution, and politics, how is this goal to be accomplished?

This question will be put today in Lipa City. And the assembly, organized by the hitherto unannounced National Transformation Council, will try to answer it. Several highly respected moral and spiritual leaders from the various faith communities will try to contribute to this enterprise. I have been asked to keynote, and I look forward to it.

This is the first time such an assembly under the auspices of the Council is taking place. It is also the first time the Council has decided to make its legal presence felt. For the last three years, the Council, whose membership is purely by invitation, has lived a quiet, unseen existence, self-organizing, and holding private internal meetings to reflect on the rapidly changing moral and political environment after Aquino came to office.

Hosted by the Archbishop of Lipa, the Most Reverend Ramon Arguelles, the assembly will listen to chosen leaders of the Catholic Church, the Protestant sector and Islam on the subject of “national transformation.”

These include Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, and former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines; Most Reverend Fernando Capalla, Archbishop Emeritus of Davao, and former CBCP president; Archbishop Arguelles; Father Romeo J. Intengan; S. J., Pastor Arthur Corpuz of the United Church of Manila; and Dr. Kamil Unda, a Muslim scholar who will be coming with a 100-strong Bangsamoro delegation from the South.

It is a most interesting mix. Vidal was the CBCP president who issued the document “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” on Feb. 13, 1986, which declared that “if the government does not of itself freely correct the evil it has inflicted on the people, then it is our serious moral obligation as a people to make it do so.” That statement, in my reading then as now, provided the moral basis for the EDSA “revolt” that ousted Marcos.

The cardinal was also believed to have advised the embattled president Joseph Ejercito Estrada in 2001 to avoid a confrontation with the anti-Estrada forces that could result in unnecessary bloodshed. Estrada decided to step down peacefully on Jan. 20, 2001, to pave the way for the takeover by his vice president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who subsequently ruled until 2010.

The cardinal will most likely be asked to share his insights with the assembly on these two incidents involving the stepping down of a sitting president.

Archbishop Capalla, on the other hand, was CBCP president when the late former President Cory Aquino and some bishops called on then President Arroyo on July 5, 2005 to demand that she step down at the height of her perceived “unpopularity.” Capalla was not aware that such meeting was taking place, but as soon as he learned of it, he issued a statement supported by all the bishops, restating the role of the clergy in providing moral guidance to public servants, but acknowledging its limits. He read his statement to the press, but failed to retain a copy for his files.

I am eager to hear him say whether PNoy’s moral obligation at this point is to defend his office or to relinquish it. I am equally eager to see if the host prelate, Archbishop Arguelles, would repeat a statement he had previously made at a press conference, which I had helped to moderate at Club Filipino, saying that the 2016 election offers no possible relief to the nation’s crisis and should be completely avoided.

A spokesman for the Islamic delegation looks at the Lipa assembly as the beginning of a “peaceful revolution.” He says this is the first time his group, led by Muslim leaders Amir Omar Ali, Alim Saranggani, and Kamil Unda, would be participating in an unarmed and non-violent revolution. It could be a watershed.

The word “transformation” seems to have become some kind of “mantra” of late. Even Aquino used the word in his last State of the Nation Address. But so far the Council alone has decided to accept openly the challenge of non-violent revolutionary change. There is need for the rest to catch up.

We need to believe that unless there is a change in men, a change of men would be meaningless; that unless there is a change in the political system, structure and culture, a simple regime change would not yield much fruit.

In Batangas, we could begin something new, something different. Setting aside our own personal ambitions and self-interests, we could begin to think together, reason together, pray together, work together, and in the words of the Prophet Micah, “do right and love goodness and walk humbly with our God.”

fstatad@gmail.com

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31 Comments

  1. Attacking Kit Tatad is like barking at the wrong tree.
    He is a reporter – reporting what is happening to day under this administration.
    Why attack the reporter. What has he done? Do you want him “Magbulagbulagan siya”

    No way – continue Kit. We want to know the truth.

    Those who attack you for reporting the truth are members/supporters of the “YELLOW BRIGADE” who wanted to continue to support those in the Administration who are doing the Unconstitutional Disbursement of the peoples money.

  2. Walang mangyayari jan. Coup de etat ang kailangan ng matinag ang mga naka pwestong gahamang puitiko. Tamo ang South Korea tumino ng maka ilang coup.

  3. Tatad kahit anong sabihin mo against Pnoy hindi mo kayang makaakit ng Tao na sasama sa iyong kabuktutan. Ikaw ay walang karapatang magbigay ng kahit opinion dahil ikaw ay nagtaksil sa bayan ng Tuta ka pa lang ng rehimeng Marcos. Ngiti mo pa lang, ngiting aso na.

    • i don’t get it why you attack Tatad for reporting what really is an eye opener to people who were lied to by the medias that are controlled by aquino. geez. grow some brain.

    • >>> Hindi po naman si Mr. Kit Tadtad ang manghihikayat o nanghihikayat sa mga tao. Siguro basahin muli ninyo ang buong context ng article at unawain ang isinasaad nito. Kung magbabasa po tayo huwag po natin haluan ng emotion at kung galit sa nagsusulat huwag ng basahin. Ganoon lamang kasimple ang magbasa.

      At ung salitang “Tuta” may dalawang uri ito.
      1) Iyong isa ay palatahol lamang
      2) iyong isa naman bago tumahol, umuungol at tulo laway .

      And delikado iyong tinukoy ko sa 2). dahil ganiyan ang tamang itulad sa ugali ng namumuno at mga alipores nito sa Congress.

  4. as long the Pilipino citizenry sees/reads things like this kinda keyboard revolutions, they will not come out. so shut down comments and stop your nonsense keyboards uprising and you’ll see they will come out on their own in a mass. PERIOD.

  5. What we need to hear are concrete, specific, understandable forwarded solutions to our people and communities’ yearnings. Not high highfalutin statements whose objectives can not be grasped by a simple minded, honest-to-goodness filipino. State the social or political problem and propose your solution for public discussion .
    What are our pressing problems? Graft and Corruption is now being addressed as you have witness how the DOJ handled cases of PLUNDER of our money. This alone could make other problems wait. Nobody should dictate what the people should decide upon proper determination what the BOSS likes. Our Constitution is a dynamic, living instrument where we the people can change amend or revise.

  6. Junk it , Mr. Tatad. Before we embark on another adventure, let’s first find out why the last one failed, “bombed ” as you termed it. Was it sabotaged? Was it because the organizers have no common agenda ? Was it lack of logistics? Was it because there’s rally fatigue now prevailing among the rallyistas? We all like to know so next time will be better and more successful.

  7. Its time for a revolution. Hope the Pnoy will listen not on the people that surrounds him, but to his conscience and may find guidance with the Lord. After all we are human and we can change for the better if we do something wrong. President Noynoy it’s not yet late for you to come to your senses.

  8. Protest, kung totoo na nagsama sama sama ang mga Cardinals , i’m not against on this , September na next week , 4 months na lang dadalaw ang Pope sa Bansa , bakit kailangan pa ng bansa na dumating pa ang ganitong sitwasyon , papaano paghahandaan ang pagdating ng Pope , kung puro katiwalian ang pag uusapan , hayaan ng matapos ang term ng pangulo , , alam naman ninyo kailangan ang mahigpit na siguridad , peace in Order ng bansa.

  9. This is a great movement which I wholeheartedly support. The radical change begins in our hearts, in our consciousness, then we translate our enlightened individual transformation into nonviolent political action. This is a non-egoic undertaking, I hope, which we need to push through if we are to transcend the mess into which the unenlightened national leadership has ushered us all. I’d like to be counted as an all-out supporter of this peaceful revolution. Like you Mr. Tatad, I hail from Bicolandia but I’ve gone beyond narrow regionalism or sectarianism. I join hands with other self-respecting human beings who refuse to be trampled upon any further by incompetent and rapacious leaders.

  10. Allaeehh! Ganon talaga pag meron nasasagasaan lalo na ngayon malaki mga halaga ng kaban ng bayan ang hinahabol, hindi mawawala ang gagalaw para kontrahin malalaking politiko pa naman. Naku poh… dapat mag isip po tayo ng maigi… hehehehe…

    • Flor, ikaw ga taga Batangas din, kaibigan? Talasan na mga balisong at simulan na himagsikan! Allah-eh, panay na satsat lamang ang mga tao dine kayat walang nangyayari sa ating bayan!

  11. victor m. hernandez on

    This idea of “revolution” to transform the social, political, cultural, and econmic structure of the nation is fraught with risks as well as opportunities. A “radical” one at that, that goes to uproot the causes of present socio-political-economic and cultural malaise will not be a walk in the park. The controlling elite and oligarchy, as well as the industrial taipans will not be caught sitting or sleeping, and will not just readily and easily give up their privileges and perks.
    One scenario, If P-Noy step down from office or resign, then VP Binay succeeds The rules for the remaining term of office of P-Noy’s, after that Binay can run for the presidency for his own 6-year term. This is much like the Erap resignation succeeded by GMA. The so-called National Transformation Council, if it is able to gather momentum and critical mass will bring the country to the precipe of social upheaval. Assuming that this will be better than the present system,the challenge to bring the transformation for the better is to do this with least collateral damage. No one can guarantee that it will be painless, nor there will be the least damage. The ruling elite in politics, and industry will definitely resist with all their might. So we prepare for the upheaval or armaggedon.

  12. mga gago puro laang kayo ganyan wala naman kayong ipinalit na taong matino na hahawak sa gobyerno lalo laang gumugolo. sino ipapalit nyo aber? mga politiko na gusto nyo makinabang dahil wala kayong pakinabang ngayon sa administrasyon kayo ang dapat sunugin!!hindi pagmamahal sa bansa ang gusto nyo pag mamahal sa mga organisasyon nyo at sarili..

  13. There are two things that musty be fixed.

    Bribery is the food of corruption. We must eliminate all lump sum budget items and have all special funds not be spent by someone in control of it. All money from any source must be sent to the Treasury and all unspent money must be returned to the Treasury.

    Good and honest people are needed in government. We need those people who can set aside their own self interest for the good of the country.

  14. Alfredo a.k.a Usi Sero on

    My fear that PNoy and allies will NOT take it as a threat because of the scarce turnout came to fruition. The problem with us is the unwillingness to put aside differences in ideology for our common objective to completely abolish pork and minimize corruption. Once a person associated with GMA and/or perceived left-leaning group announces he/she will join the protest, people will say they will not attend…massive protest attendance will be hard to get until Filipinos learn to get along to advance a common goal…we need every Filipino in our fight to rid-off our government of corrupt and incompetent people.

    The protest that we hope will be attended by millions of concerned Filipinos did not materialize, but we still have the “people’s initiative” to support and show that we mean business. Let’s support the anti-pork initiative. Tama na! Sobra na ang pangwawaldas ng pera ng bayan!

  15. Raoul T. Geollegue on

    I concur with the need for a paradigm shift (system, structural, and cultural change) to deliver this nation from the vortex of imminent destruction. Carry on Kit. I wish there is a legion of your kind.

  16. Dear Mr. Tatad,

    I salute you, Sir for the very encouraging news and I personally like your reference to the Prophet Micah who fought against corruption in Samaria and Jerusalem, in the name of God.

  17. That campaign seems to me is impossible during the term of Aquino. This administration cannot simply bow out to the demands of the system change advocates group. Aquino seems is bent on doing all what it can to perpetuate the so called political patronage ‘para hawakan sa leeg ang kongreso at patuloy na i-harass ang SC at tuloy mapanatili ang Partidong Liberal beyond 2016 and ultimately prevent Aquino to be jailed after his term.

  18. Makulot of Cuenca, Batangas on

    Mr. Kit Tatad, your declaration is so Bravado and could be likened to a balloon that swirled around lowly and didn’t take off before it burst. You should know well your comrades and not be complacent so that nobody could back-stab you.

    I’m a native Batanggenyo, born, raised, grew up and keep-on going back to this beautiful & peaceful town at the foot of enchanted Mt. Makulot, the Town of Cuenca. Nurtured and raised on values of being “maginoo, matatag, matapat, magalang, mapagmahal sa Poong Maykapal” and chiseled in our heart and brain the mantra of “Never Leave Comrade Behind”.

    Generalizing the political situation and crowds true character in the Province of Batangas, it changed dramatically.

    Days were gone when we never heard of aspiring candidates or politicians spent millions to buy votes or pay constituents Not to Vote for opponents. Have to be a lap-dog of the incumbent Party to survive the next election and be corrupt while in power.

    Political exercise is corrupted and there’s no more handshake trust, once these people got what they wanted, they never look back.

    Mr. Tatad, you’ll never know that you’re running Gung-Ho & leading the pack, but in spite of what you’ve done you’re left behind. Good Luck.

    • May I just please ask whose Bishops received SUVs from then GMA? If it’s not too much of an asking?

  19. Rally’s like this one must be supported especially if it is any avenue of information to the common citizen. The Church for sure is a best and moral arm to initiate these exercises.

  20. Very inspiring column – continue Kit

    Mabuhay, Manila Times for giving Kit Tatad a space in this Newspaper.

    I read the “Manila Times” in the 50’s and is BACK.

  21. gabriela silang on

    change we must! dying to see how the gathering will create the spark needed for change. no question, we’re having it so bad with noynoy…but we wont have it any better with binay! my prayers for a meaningful change which could alter the rot we’re in.

  22. Allah-eh!! mga kakosa sa pulong Batangas, isulong na ang himagsikan at nang maghalo na ang balat sa tinalupan! Ano pa inaantay, Allah-eh?!!