Tatad in The Times


The Manila Times is pleased to announce that former senator Francisco S. Tatad, “Kit” to all his friends, will write a column for this paper beginning Monday. His First Things First will appear on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. It used to run in another paper until last week.

Mr. Tatad started his writing career at the University of Sto.
Tomas, where he studied philosophy and letters and became literary editor and managing editor successively of the Varsitarian, the students university organ. He first broke into international print as a sophomore when his short story, “A Morning Fare,” which he had earlier submitted as class work, was published by The Asia Magazine, the Hong Kong-based English-language magazine for Asia.

He was paid $150. “It was the best money I ever got from any of my writings,” he recalls. He is the author of at least six books on politics and culture, and one literary novel (The Last Holocaust) awaiting publication.

In 1963, he left college and went into active journalism, first as correspondent of Agence France-Presse, and then as diplomatic reporter and columnist of the Manila Daily Bulletin, at which job he was hailed as the country’s best foreign affairs reporter and analyst.

In 1969, at the age of 29, he interrupted his journalistic career by accepting a Cabinet appointment as presidential press secretary, spokesman, and eventually Secretary and Minister of Information.
He thus became the youngest Cabinet appointee anywhere in the world.

Whenever asked how this happened, Tatad says, “I did not know any better, and the President did not know any better either.” He served for 10 years without any alternates or deputies, except when he had Reuben Canoy, also a writer and broadcaster, as undersecretary for a couple of years. The late journalist Larry Cruz, who became a famous restaurateur later, was his assistant press secretary.

In 1972, at the height of the communist insurgency, he read the proclamation of martial law. Tatad had to face an extremely hostile international press afterward. But in 1975, TIME magazine, in an international survey of rising young leaders, named him, along with the late former senator Benigno Aquino, one of the “150 faces of the future.”

In 1978, he topped the elections in Bicol for the Batasang Pambansa.

In 1980, he had a falling out with Marcos and resigned from the Cabinet, the only one to do so six years before the EDSA revolt.

He returned to journalism and wrote columns for Business Day, Philippine Daily Globe and contributed regular pieces to the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal (both international and Asian editions) and the Far Eastern Economic Review, among others.

He also published and edited Philippines Newsday, a political-economic daily, which ran for more than a couple of years until he entered the Senate.

He was elected to the Senate in 1992, reelected in 1995 and served until 2001, mostly as Majority Leader to five Senate presidents. The Senate press used to call him “the Moral Conscience of the Senate.”

He has won several honorary doctorates in law, humanities and public administration from Philippine and foreign universities, and has been conferred by the Marawi Sultanate League the title of Sultan a Macalangcap (Bearer of Truth).

He travels the world on speaking engagements, and is known internationally not only as a writer and public intellectual but also as a humanitarian worker for human life, the family and marriage.

He sits on the board of two US-based international organizations on human life and human dignity, the International Right to Life Federation in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the World Youth Alliance in New York.

Although not a lawyer, he was allowed to give the opening argument against the Reproductive Health Law during the oral arguments before the Supreme Court.

And he says that to this day his argument was simply ignored, not refuted.

He had several personal encounters with Saint John Paul II during his pontificate, and at least once with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during his.

He is married with seven children, four of them married, who have given him and his wife ten grandchildren, including twin girls, one-year-old.


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    In this administration especially in Congress, we have a lot of DEALERS AND NOT
    LEADERS. We have the likes of Drilon the crocodile, Cayetano the hypocrite, Abad
    the pork corruptor and their overall leader Abnoy the king of the pork and all these
    who were bribed and bought for the impeachment of Corona. To hell with these


    Thank you Manila Times for having Kid Tatad in your rooster of columnists. Mr. Tatad
    is one columnist whose column I sought everyday and do not miss to read. He is
    objective and super. Gone were the days when we had intellectuals and straight
    forward men in government in the likes of Marcos, Tatad, Salas, Tangco, Flavier, Mendoza, Ople and so many others. Unlike what we have now in this administration,
    it is packed with people with lesser minds. Go for it, Manila times.

  3. Edgar G. Festin on

    Congratualations, Manila Times. Mr. Tatad is one of the most erudite Filipinos. His mastery of English prose has not been matched by any public intellectual who became a senator of the Philippines.

  4. Kit Tatad is really an intellectual – being the youngest cabinet members picked by the late Pres. Marcos. His credentials is truly exemplary. It is unfortunate that the voters (yellow mobs voters) preferred to elect to congress the likes of Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid, and other mediocre members of congress. Gone are the high caliber members of the old Congress like Claro M. Recto, Lorenzo Tanada, Roseler Lim, Ambrosio Padilla, Arturo M. Tolentino, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo, Rodolfo Ganzon (dubbed as the “Stormy Petrel” of the House), and other illustrious and brilliant principled lawmakers. The present crop of the members of both Houses are nothing but mediocre and inutile. There is no way we expect to regain the stature of both Houses even for the next 50 years.

  5. armando flores on

    At no other time is ex-sen. Tatad more needed in government than today. His experience, integrity, moral values, independence, vision and intellectual prowess are unequaled. The people deserve to have a principled man as Sen Tatad and not the incumbent public officials that we have now who have been rotten by graft and corrupt practices in government. I vote for Tatad as President with former CJ Corona as Vice President or vice-versa.

  6. their main target to amending the constitution is to void/invalidate the so called ‘sequestration of ill-gotten wealth’ by the government from the past to the present.

  7. go for it Kit. you know better of the past than the youth of todays. tell them the truth, the ambitions, why the Philippine Society is a mess now.

  8. Jose R, Bonifacio on

    You have too many columnists… what you need is more reporters…Just two or the most three, the former ambassador is OK.

  9. Noy V. Brizuela on

    Dear Senator Kit;
    I am back here now in Grayslake, Illinois near the vicinity of North Chicago in Illinois. Congratulations in all your ‘Published columns you had with MST–my wife Boots and I never missed reading your every piece’—-We hope to get in-touch soon! Just for a ‘clarity’ The NiNoy…! I know and associated with… until I checked him in at CKS International Airport, for his last trip to MIA, August 21, 1983- was; the ‘new Heart-Repentant/willing Spirit to face his DISTINY!—We’re still hoping for all well meaning individuals to Join Us in our Crusade!!! Again, our sincerest Congratulations! mvnoy,