PREZ Digong could just have said he would act according to his conscience in the country’s best interest. No need to brag he would defy Congress and the Supreme Court if they got in the way. His mouthpieces and apologists again fell all over themselves, scrambling for damage control to rescue their impetuous vocabulary-challenged master. They should catfight with Chelsea Clinton, instead of Digong fighting down his weight.
Heavyweight Senator Eva Estrada-Kalaw we need now. But, she just passed away (as did, in 1992, Senator Tecla San Andres-Ziga, first woman No. 1 in the bar exams and mother of Kamandag Senator Vic, who defended the Batasan from coups in 1986-87). Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros remind me of the duo. Warriors all.
The type asks the foolish questions of the day in a martial law (ML) context, unlike the majoritarian echoes, not voices. Eva would have asked to convene the Senate for it to go on record for a legally tenable, intellectually respectable and psychologically satisfying explanation on each senator’s stand on ML (so trivial in Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s view he continues his training, instead of going home to Mindanao. Not even given the report that wounded Mautes seek treatment in Sarangani where he won, after Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio knocked him out in Cotabato, for the full count, compelling him to district-shop).
We need individual senatorial depositions for history on a serious matter. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana allegedly boldly said no need for ML, unlike in 1972, when Defense Secretary JPE backed Macoy. And how! Here, 15 distracted senators in effect claim they know better than the focused Defense Secretary, who in effect said his distrait Boss did not know what he was talking about.
During the Marcosian dark years, we machos often met with Senators Kalaw and Ziga. At one point, Eva said, “kayong mga lalaki, wala ng ginawa kundi dada lang ng dada.” Which we did. Gerry Roxas [who’d drive his car by his lonesome, even at midnight, and who served food to die for at the Bahay naPuti, where he, Raul Gonzalez and I would play chess], Jovy Salonga, Pepe Calderon, Pastor Cirilo Rigos.
Titong Roces, Booty Jose, Tony Quintos, Roning Mercado, Abe Sarmiento and others, talked. Period. Unlike comrade ConCon Delegate Ernie Rondon, who was stung by the jibe, and helped conceive Operation Takip-Silim (OTS), for which he and Eva were arrested. They had resorted to Rizal’s ultima razon, if not by the force of reason, then by reason of force.
I “dada-ed” orally and also in writing, by pamphleteering. Among my several pamphlets were MABINI’s Occasional Issues (OIs). Please bear with me.
Eva was the subject of our November 22, 1980 OI: “Sen. Salonga cannot represent Sen. Eva in the OTS case where he is her lead counsel [as he was also detained for alleged subversion].
Our December 31, 1980 OI said: “On Dec. 9, 1980, Marcos was reported to have ordered the release of all the so-called OTS defendants in Fort Bonifacio. Kalaw and Rondon were released forthwith…[T]heir co-defendants, who had been there for about a year, were released later. The detained lawyers had not found solace in the [Integrated Bar of the Philippines’] IBP’s don’t-rock-the-boat stance [so, what else is new?] and hardly looked to it for aid and comfort. Hence detained
“Compañeros Angel Poblete, Roger Rayala and Tony Umali never bothered to seek its assistance and eventually got released anyway. Compañeros Vic Amado, Ernie Arellano and Charlie Serapio, to our knowledge, are still in detention and are likewise so minded. Compañero Luis `Booty’ Jose is out but only on a temporary release basis and thus was only given a wider cage in which to roam, as in the case of Sen. Salonga, who is on house arrest…”
An urban legend circulated then had a relieved Charlie saying, “ah, wala naman pala ako sa ASSO ng (arrest, search and seizure order) dala nyo!” Arresting team: “Anong wala, may mga Does, John Doe, Peter Doe, isa ka duon!” Ha-ha.
“The farce of the alleged preliminary investigation was eloquently and painfully narrated by accused Atty. Umali who stated in open court today [Dec. 4, 1980] that all that was done was for the detainees to be lined up before a TV camera and they were required to raise their right hand and they were then sent back to the stockade.
“In People v. Manglapus, MC-34-2 Eva and Ernie were arrested without warning on Dec. 4, 1980, although they had been attending the proceedings regularly. We went to the SC where a hearing was held on Dec. 9, 1980. Sen. Tañada and Sed Ordoñez argued. MABINI was counsel of record in the petition, including Sen. Tañada, Joker, Bobbit and [me]. The petition was drafted by Sed after we adjourned at 12:30 p.m. on the day of the arrest and filed in the SC at 6:12 p.m.. After the Dec. 9 orals, the SC issued a restraining order. Military Commission No. 34 headed by Gen. de Leon suspended the hearings.
“On Dec. 25, 1980, Sen. Salonga called to inquire about the Kalaw-Rondon co-detainees; I said, as of the last hearing date, they had not yet been released. He called up Deputy Minister Barbero who said he had issued the corresponding order two or three days earlier. Later in the day, I visited Ed Olaguer [backed by courageous Al Yuchengco and Mon Diaz in Light-A-Fire]at Camp Crame and also chatted briefly with Doris Baffrey and Marissa Quintero. The other April 6 Liberation Movement defendants detained in Camp Crame were out on Christmas passes and that night, Jojo B and I talked with Philip Suzara, Alex Labajo, Paps Baskiñas and Wiw Palmes in Pap’s house.”
This was one time when I got it from darling Dulce. I had spirited out of our Palanan, Makati home (where I was her Star Boarder), after dinner, to cross Vito Cruz to go to the house of Paps, then on Christmas furlough. When I walked back and got home, Dulce was crying softly, and asked, “kahit ba naman Pasko, wala kang panahon sa amin?”—ouch, the guilty memory of which haunts me still. But, poignantly. The lot of the human rights lawyer.
MABINI, OI No. 14, Oct. 23, 1981 – “…Dodo Sarmiento is assisting his father, Atty. Abe P. Sarmiento, Sr., who represents Eva, in collaboration with Sed, also in OTS.
MABINI, OI No. 20, Mar. 11, 1982. “The military and/or Mr. Marcos must be ready and disposed to accept judicial rebuff or disappointments from time to time in civilian forums in a manner that would be unlikely, even inconceivable, in military tribunals…Yet today, the Kalaw-Rondon bail question in the OTS case (pending before Judge Tensuan of the CFI of Rizal [Q.C.], Br. IV) is in effect being tossed to Marcos…
“The presence of Judge Advocate General Hamilton Dimaya and a panel of military lawyers in the Kalaw-Rondon bail petition hearing in a civilian court last Feb. 17 and Mar. 4 was an alarming eye-opener. There he stood last Feb. 17, as the apparent vindicator and articulator of the position of Mr. Marcos, his Commander in Chief who, he said, with startling candor, could alone decide the question of bail or release. He was acting apparently as lead counsel of the prosecution, with the City Fiscal of Manila (Jose B. Flaminiano) and Quezon City (Sergio A.F. Apostol) and the latter’s battery of assistants in virtual cameo roles. The civilian authority is at all times supreme over the military? . . .”
Truly, Digong idolizes and apes and may even exceed Macoy.
On June 12, 1983, opposition leaders signed a statement that they would participate in the May, 1984 elections only under certain conditions; otherwise, they might not only boycott the exercise but they would even dismantle and dissolve their political parties. Eva ran and won. The opposition split between Boycott and Participate (I was for Boycott then but was for Participate in the 1985-86 snap polls, when I was candidate Cory’s spokesperson).
Mabini’s Jun Factoran, Dodo Sarmiento and I attended Harvard Law, therefore, “mga buang,” we Ivy Leaguers, per Digong. Indeed, one had to be buang to be a human rights lawyer. Yet, where we [Mabinians, Sen. Tanny Tañada’s term] fought hard, we did not lose a single case during ML. If we had a winning habeas corpus petition, Macoy simply would authorize the release of a detainee. The firm of Moot & Academic again won.
Digong, follow your conscience, and that of your mother, who marched against Macoy, and listen to Risa and Leila, worthy Kalaw-Ziga heirs.
BTW, one SC justice naughtily suggested in open court that Eva (as beauteous as sis Nina) be given to the custody of Tsikboy Iking Fernando, per urban legend. Digong is not the only naughty one in our history. In our Pinoy DNA? Mahihilig.
One MABINI member for instance was in a newspaper photo, back to the camera, in a compromising position with a sweet young GRO. The pesky reporters asked: “Sir, kayo poba ‘yan?”
“Huh, huh, I’m not sure.” The candid fellow is now openly for Digong and ML. Josme!
Last Tuesday, I had merienda with two DIs, Dance Instructors, not Dawlah Ismiyah, ha.