Two Bedan promdis win


I saw Jose Ong for the last time last Tuesday in his wake in Manila Memorial, as if he were only sleeping. “Danny” was how I, along with his SBC Law ‘54 classmates, called him (I was with the ‘63 batch). I again asked why “Danny?” Just about everyone called him Joe. A daughter retold the anecdote that that was how a colegiala called him and it stuck. I did not have the heart to press whether that was how he had introed himself to her. Ninoy and Butz Aquino, all the way to Digong Duterte ‘72, cemented the Bedan TsikBoy legend. Lady-Killers.

Joe/Danny was the one I hitched a ride with in Jan. 1971; he was on his way to Manila (BIR) from Ayala Avenue/Paseo de Roxas. Having been recruited by Joe McMicking and Bedan Mario Camacho, in San Fran, I had just signed a contract with EZ Zobel and Bobby de la Fuente (‘54, No. 2 in the bar, after classmate Florenz Regalado, with record-breaking 96.7 percent and 95.95 percent). Joe and Ben Aban ‘55, helped me, pro bono, on tax issues and refused to bill my paying clients, just because I was such a nice guy. Anyway, on reaching Manila and seeing a rally led by Ateneo lawyer Roger Rayala, I got off and bade goodbye to Danny, to join my kind of people. Ayala could have provided me a nice home in some plutocratic enclave, had I not resigned that same afternoon, but a more professional group of people I couldn’t find.

Goodbye, Joe, Prez Cory’s BIR chief, and TY. I am sorry I have no idea where that girl who called you Danny was/is. It seems Bedans could be chameleonic in identities?

Now, the party I used to belong to, PDP-Laban, which used to fit in a Beetle, has become a Godzilla. Partido Hunyango (Chameleon Party) in this land where only the Communists seem to have an ideology.

Leni pledged to support Digong 100 percent; 99 percent lang sana to keep him guessing as to the other percentile, say on the death penalty and on Macoy’s being moved to the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (not enough to put an epitaph up there: HERE, A LAWYER LIES STILL?). Seriously, China has not forgiven Japan for the 1937 Rape of Nanking when allegedly 300,000 were slaughtered. How can we forgive and forget when Bongbong is so dismissive of the 75,000 claims now being processed by the Commission on Human Rights? Better to acknowledge that the abuses and atrocities occurred, and say he’s sorry and would help make amends to widows and orphans, say by scholarship grants and medical/burial help. And maybe by creating jobs.

My pal Jarius Bondoc says: “ONLY 1 JOB VACANCY PER 10 COLLEGE GRADS.” Can Digong create jobs?

If it is true that our small fishermen are again able to fish in the disputed seas, due to Digong’s appeal, he deserves credit, but it seems to be hardly a dent.

Digong should not have canceled his trip to Rome, assuming the Pope would have received him along with sino nga po kaya among his partners? Anyway, we have this from Reuters:

“SCHOLAS OCCURENTES AWARDEES—Household names Richard Gere [Buddhist], George Clooney [agnostic but raised as a Catholic], and Salma Hayek [a devout Catholic but has strayed but considers herself a Christian]are no strangers to glitzy awards in the film business. But an award given to them by the Pontiff himself? Pope Francis awarded the three film stars with the Scholas Occurentes award—the Vatican’s own from its foundation that works to link technology and the arts for social integration and world peace. Francis had a similar organization before becoming Pope, when he was cardinal in Buenos Aires. He says back then, he never thought that he’d become Pope—much less handling out awards to celebrities. ‘It did not cross my mind not to do this because of the responsibility. And I’ll confess that it didn’t cross my mind either that they would elect me.’ Scholas Occurrentes organizers say the awards were given to film actors because ‘important values’ can be transmitted by them to the masses. As award recipients, Clooney, Gere, and Hayek have each agreed to act as ambassadors for the foundation’s arts projects.”

Imagine if Digong had joined the three? A number of things never crossed their minds, I think.

I support Digong’s initiative to ameliorate the conditions of detained GMA, as well as of Pat and Wilma Tiamzon. I helped Junji Altamira, lead counsel of former ConCon delegate and Commission on Audit chief, GMA’s co-accused; we had the PCSO case dismissed on a demurrer (motion to dismiss), without presenting any evidence. Case that weak. It is unsettling that rulings seem to reflect the prevailing power situation. Now our client, Ray Villar, has to go home, no longer able to tell the missus he’s a fugitive, hiding with Junji and whoever.

I credit GMA for working to repeal the death penalty law. Pat and Wilma Tiamzon were honor alums in my Rizal Hi who went to the hills in the late 60s. They recently sent a handcrafted keepsake with this grace note:

“Marso 26, 2016 Atty. Rene Saguisag Fellow Rizalian, Patriot, Human Rights Defender Mahal na kaibigan,

“Kalakip ang token ng aming pasasalamat sa iyong tuloy-tuloy na malasakit. Ang bonsai tree na gawa sa beads ay likha ng mga political prisoners sa SICAI, Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan. May kalakip ding isang tile na patungan ng bonsai tree. Ang tile ay galing naman sa sinirang lumang upisina ng Custodial Center, Camp Crame. Salamat sa walang pagod na paninindigan at pagsasalita para sa kapakanang pambansa at karapatan ng maliliit at api. Ka Ben at Wilma Tiamzon.”

They are among those who should be in the decision-making halls today had Macoy not driven them to the hills. Digong specifically mentioned the couple for release. But he should do the right thing in the right way.

Digong cannot just free political detainees, like my Rizal Hi co-alums, now being tried. But, Digong can do it thru the DOJ prosecutors, who answer to Sec. Vit Aguirre, our ‘71 alum, with whom I’d worked in the case of Hubert Webb early on. Digong cannot ignore or even wreck institutional arrangements. As I would tell callers in our early days in Malacañang, offering P3 million upfront for a permit to import sardines: “Sorry po, Mr. Marcos dos not work here anymore.”

We have to do the right thing in the right way at the right time in the right place and for the right reason. My Five R’s.

On curfew, it would be wrong to arrest parents of minors. They may be busy scratching for a living. Is it now the policy that they who have little in life should have nothing in law? Is it because the Dutertes have been moneyed or propertied plutocrats, oligarchs and bourgoisie all along? Is Digong anti-poor? Or just egalitarian?

Of course, the law in its majestic equality forbids the poor and the rich alike from sleeping under bridges, begging, and stealing bread. – Anatole France. Here in our Palanan they sleep on the bridge linking Makati and Pasay.


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1 Comment

  1. Nice piece of column Mr. Rene Saguisag, you are still the same principled person I am following.