Topnotch pros and public servants


Justice Camilo D. Quiason gone, at 89. I can imagine the “D” stands for Decency or Delicadeza. Companero y Caballero.

Also gone is Secretary Raul M. Gonzales. “M” for mapusok, matapang, ma-whatever. He was one of the few lawyers who openly resisted when martial law was proclaimed so we uhugins stepped up. I imagine I got to know Raul better when awesome Gerry Roxas invited him and me following the widespread cheating in the 1978 elections. In Bahay na Puti, Gerry’s manse in Cubao, we played ajedrez for hours while engaged in opposition and regime change talk, banter and persiflage.

Good there were lawyers who fought when most everyone chose to be prudent, including the leaders of my Church, the Most Numerous One. That was why we admired names like Claver, Labayen, Olaguer, Blanco, et al. Later Cardinal Sin, Bishop Quevedo, et al., in those abnormal times.

Today, government should perhaps be left to politicians and citizens; the clergy I would like to see focus on, or do more in, relief work for Yolanda victims, and matters spiritual, but not in telling us how to run the country. That is why, the constitutional principle separation of church and state. The ‘80’s relationship between Fr. Bob Drinan and Pope John Paul II may help edify and find one’s way.

Last time I met gutsy Raul was before Garci. He agreed to delete a decade ago negative NBI entries for subversion of one Ivan Enriquez, gutsy, principled, patriotic, who I assisted during the dark days. He was tortured. The NBI entries directed deleted had to do with his subversion case in Pasig, where MABINI defended him.

A negative entry I would make is Coach Chot’s Reyes blaming, if I understood him correctly, a national player in Spain, for a loss. It seems to me the world or the country could blame the player, but not the coach who fielded him. No player is perfect but for an honest unintended lapse, should the coach criticized him so openly? Teka, sino po ba ang nagpasok?

Anyway, “[t]oo old to go to jail,” Raul reportedly quipped about VP Tito Guingona. In Spain and Italy I understand one does not do jail time if 70. Ex-Premier Berlusconi is being made to do community service in Italy. So, the state should not be so strict with JPE, going on 91. But he should not be shown or pixed together with Gigi – how sweet – cuz Manang Cristina may want to be heard and vehemently object and demand unconstitutional isolation for her hubby. I cannot see Manong escaping, on the run as a fugitive. He’s unwell and so is GMA, who, in her time, issued a pro-prisoner circular kind to septuagenarians (MC No. 155 of Oct. 2007). Way to go. (GMA is 67. May conflict of interest ba ako? I just turned 75.)

Last weekend, I was in St. Luke’s Global to visit our brilliant Rizal Hi valedictorian, Eduardo Sanchez, 74, the youngest brother of the late Bobbit, former labor chief of Prez Cory. Eddie topped the board exams for chemical engineers and went to Caltech for his graduate studies.

With him at St. Luke’s was son Edward, who came home from the US. In January 1955, Ed and I played hookey with other bulakbuleros. In Quiapo, we saw the afternoon extras blaring that San Beda was Nos. 1 and 2 in the bar. Bobbit was in that Class of ‘54. Florenz Regalado’s holding the all-time record of 96.7% remains undisputed but an emailer said that Jose Luis Quintos was No. 1 in 1903, with 96.33%. Bobby had 95.95% which I thought was all-time for No. 2. Anyway, No. 3 in 1954 was Antonio Quintos, who became a Trustee of MABINI during the long tenure of Chair Bobbit, who had 92.% in the bar.

A first cuz of Eddie in our ‘55 high school class was Eugenio S. Suarez, No. 5 in the 1961 bar tests, living less than a hundred meters from Eddie, topped by our Aveling Cruz, ‘55 valedictorian of Pasig Catholic College. Edward, a Mensa (high IQ) member, recently bagged the grand prize in the first Philippine Search for Product Excellence in Info Technology.

Anyway, No. 2 in 1903 was Sergio Osmena, high IQ, and No. 4 was Manuel Luis Quezon (also high IQ, and Emotional Quotient kuno).


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  1. So this is how 75 years old human brain thinks. Circling inside its skull are memories of the past only. Nothing on present and totally “0” for the future. Hopeless, future less oldies but still claims 99.69% academic grades but is now with IQ like a baby….. aaarrrggghhh… Who cares about your long ago grades. Computer suave teens are intelligenter than past computer less creatures….. Retire now, obsolete brain.

  2. Dear Attorney Saguisag,

    The Martial Law years have confirmed what everyone knows about the Filipino culture, namely we are a resilient bunch to a fault. Well, we endured the Spaniards for four hundred years, the Americans at least until 1945, and the Japanese for five years. For this reason, we allowed the Marcos gang to flourish for years. The behavior patterns we witnessed during those years were not aberrations, I would have to argue. They are common. In fact, I read the same story albeit on a smaller scale about government officials behaving badly as they did during the Martial Law era.

    However, during that period, we also observed courage and nobility of spirit which you and your friends showed the Country to remember and emulate. Yes, you showed us that there were and are Filipinos who choose to do the right thing even if it caused them their lives. I am afraid though that those images are fading from our collective memories. Before they are vanished forever, I hope, you and your friends would leave us the gift of remembrance. The values that you and your friends demonstrated of the not so good old days must be committed to history for everyone to not forget. Because I have not been in the Country the last two decades, I am not privy to what you have been doing the last twenty years. I hope you’ve written about your experiences. If you and your friends have written books regarding those years, I would like to know the titles and where I can buy them

    People here in the US meeting soldiers voice, “Thank you for your service.” I too say, “Thank you for showing us there is courage and nobility of spirit embedded in our consciousness.” I wish it would not remain dormant for too long.

    Danilo Reyes

  3. I always love your articles, funny, witty and very I-walk-with-heroes, Please go on like that forever but stop yourself when you make political comment- you just sound off at times

  4. Roberto Baquiran on

    Sir Rene . Si vp binay is in the news. He is a mabini guy. Is the jejomar binay now the same jejomar binay of mabini in terms of wealth and of values and principle? Thanks

  5. I always admire the beauty and incisive of your article since Day 1. But I would request what’s your take on your “friend” and presidentiable VPBinay.

    • Oh no, huwag naman. But Atty Saguisag could write a book a foot thick on Marcos and corruption, but on Binay, not a line. He rages to the high heavens, fire and smoke emitting from his nostrils and ears, on Marcos’ corruption, but on Binay’s, not a pipsqueak hehehe.