Last Monday I went to the wake of Dante H. Cortez, my pre-law classmate and fellow worker in Dean Feliciano Jover Ledesma’s bufete. Promdi me thought he was the best in English among the Bedans I met and befriended in Mendiola, in his Law Class’61; his classmate Aveling Cruz (my Pasig townsman) was No. 1 in the bar, which I took two years later; I went on to AB, after getting seduced by Caissa, Goddess of Chess, and dropped Botany, for more wood-pushing time.
In the news was the case of assassinated Outstanding Judge Henry Arles, my stude, class of ’74. The system should be proud of him.
Odd feeling to be reading of the interment of a stude. Children and students should bury their parents and teachers. Condolences to the Cortezes and Arleses.
Late-breaker: also to the Gutierrezes. Justice Hugo I first met in the early 80’s in the Supreme Court; after one orals in a small room there (Bobby Tanada argued in the We Forum case, and his father, Sen. Tanny, Ka Martin Vivo, Bobbit Sanchez, Joker Arroyo, Jojobama Binay and I assisted in a rare win; Burgos v. Chief of Staff, 133 SCRA 800 ), we chew the fat and Hugo told me I had gotten two votes as UP Law commencement speaker.
Of course it would not happen; it was well known that I went around, like in a Bishops-Businessmen Conference breakfast, calling Macoy a UP Law “criminal genius”. I was ’92 commencement speaker in Ateneo but did not touch on “Jesuitical jiujitsu”. Prudence. Heaven knew what imprudent I – aren’t I? – would have said about Macoy, who I had called in open court a “super-subversive” in the We Forum trial. Judge Joe Castro made me spend a weekend in the City Jail of QC, where I became a candidate-member of Batang City Jail.
Anyway, Dante’s pa was Pastor, our principal in Makati Elem, who was fond of poking sharply the tummy of wild rowdy irrepressible misbehavin’ pupils. He led a corps of outstanding teachers, the type Henry Brooks Adams would say – affect eternity. We could only think fondly of those days, pinaluluhod sa munggo, pinatatatayo sa sulok, pinaghahawak ng dalawang aklat sa mga nakataas na kamay, made to write “I will never do [whatever]again” a hundred times on the blackboard, or told to stay behind to clean up, etc.. Built character,I thought.
Today, same could be child abuse. My folks believed in spare-the-rod-spoil-the-child, so it-hurts-me-more-than-it-does-you palo, Mommy, aray ko po! – if we misbehaved. Today, Noli Me Tangere. Touch me not or some gung-ho lawyer would have a parent subpoenaed.
I was in high school in 1954 as I told UP Prez Alfredo Pascual in this letter I sent the Diliman Republic last Tuesday:
“I was in junior hi (Rizal Hi) 1954 when R.A. No. 1059 was passed banning naming any public facility after a living person. (Long before Macoy started turning us into the Land of the Bribe and Home of the Fee.) I saw from Bobi Tiglao’s Manila Times columns that this is exactly what UP is doing with Ka Cesar Virata. No obit yet. Can the Republic of Diliman pull it off? Ka Cesar cannot be honored by renaming after him a UP college. R.A. No. 1059 bans this mode of honoring people. Let this go in this scofflaw nation and we may soon have many public facilities named after those still in the land of the living.
“We need not talk of Ka Cesar’s being a Good Pinoy the way Good Germans were during the time of Hitler. He could have left the dictator the way Paeng Salas did, or even a few years into martial law. He could have spoken against the Bataan nuke plant, on which Minister Ting Paterno wondered why we were getting one plant for the price of two. SolGen Titong Mendoza memoed Macoy on November 19, 1975 against it but the contract was signed anyway, involving an initial $644M loan we could not repay (we did repay finally in April 2007, for something we would never use, the largest loan ever extended by Eximbank for a single project at that time). Eximbank’s head Bill Casey said if we wanted to get fleeced, it was none of his business. One does not question Ka Cesar’s financial integrity but the law is the law. He should have turned down the illegal award, given R.A. No. 1059.
“We cannot deodorize martial law’s corruption on the installment plan through the back door by honoring someone whose cruel lie was arguably told in silence. R.A. No. 1059 passed when Mang Ramon Magsaysay was Prez, an honorable man with delicadeza.
“UP has just picked Titong Mendoza a distinguished alum. That is UP’s business. To rename a UP public facility after Ka Cesar, the people’s. Kindly give us a legally tenable, intellectually respectable and psychologically satisfying reason for doing so.”
Does UP care for Uncle Jovy Salonga, now a veggie? Why not rename the UP College of Public Ad – which helped us frame the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards, R.A. No. 6713, by which he lived – after him? He’s almost gone. But, as Mr. Wong said, after he came home from a year-long travel, and found a Caucasian baby Mrs. Wong said was his, “No, two Wongs cannot make a white.”
Anyway nice to know that NFL pro quarterback Tim Tebow, born in Makati to Baptist folks, on August 14 (like Pareng Boy Brillantes, Comelec chief, and me), 1987, is now with the New England Patriots; his Davao Hospital under construction continues to rise with our hopes in the newly-elected officials in his adopted country. Way to go. As the money is his no problem if the facility is named after TT.
Maybe Ka Cesar is a true Patriot but we need to be sure he had nothing to do with the crippling debt Marcos left as Legacy. Prof. de Vera, my friend, no “Jesuitical jiu-jitsu” please; we have to look at the spirit of the law that giveth life, not the letter that killeth. If Ka Cesar had joined Ting and Titong in the mid-70’s, we might not have been fleeced by Eximbank.
No! – to Diliman hair-splitting jiu-jitsu, if I maymix my metaphors.