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Doy Laurel in history

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Today’s version of democracy seems to be more conducive to trade liberalization, an unfair economic setup that benefits only imperialist powers such as the US and China. Never smaller economies such as the one we have. Democracy is like a dinner plate in which to put capitalist grub on. It only fosters gobble-ization. That is why I no longer support it.

But back in the days when Martial Law was the golden calf, democracy must have probably been the best antidote to that era’s political strife. It was, in a way, excusable, an adhesive bandage sort of thing, just to stop the nation from bleeding further. Salvador “Doy” Laurel et al. realized that when they organized the United Democratic Opposition, later to be known as the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO), at the onset of the 80s. UNIDO served as the catalyst to the political upheavals during the crucial first half of that decade. It later chose Doy to be its standard bearer to challenge strongman Ferdinand Marcos in the 1986 polls. Eventually, however, the reins of the lead war horse was given to recently widowed Corazón “Cory” Aquino.

And the rest, as they always say, is history.

Since then, the nation has been celebrating the victory of democracy every 25th of February, the day Marcos stepped down from Washington’s satellite office which we all know as the Malacañang Palace. Commemorations here, there, and everywhere, toasting the personalities involved—both the self-proclaimed and the wannabes—in Marcos’s downfall, and all that Pinoy hullabaloo we all get from the media all the time the EDSA People Power crops up on our calendars. Sin, Aquino, Marcos, Enrile. These are the familiar names we always hear every February 25. We could just use their initials and come up with SAME to keep it short and simple.

But what of the others? What of Doy the artist and genuine statesman? What happened to UNIDO? Why are they rarely discussed in an important historical event such as the one we’re commemorating today? Unbeknownst to many, the Laurel-led UNIDO was the sole opposition force to defy the Marcos regime when the dictator’s main rival, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, left for the US in 1980 for his heart bypass. The proceeding videos (shown last week in Global News Network‘s Republika ni Érik Espina) provide some answers coming from Doy’s grandchildren: José L. Delgado IV and rock artist Nicole L. Asensio:

ESPINA: Do you ever wonder why his name isn’t in the history books as it should be?

DELGADO: My personal opinion is because the winners write history. The winners are the ones who have a final say as to what is put inside the history books.

Right on, hitting the proverbial nail on its head. But Nicole pretty much sums up why their grandfather and UNIDO are rarely discussed, if at all, in history classes and other EDSA-Revolution-related topics: media is controlled.

That strong statement rattled the host a little, provoking him to say that she’s been saying so many things already. Fodder for conspiracy theorists, one might say (guilty much?). However, the term conspiracy theory was originally meant for those who secretly conspire to accomplish something vile before that term was made synonymous to Jerry-Fletcher type characters. But enough of that. The Laurel cousins’ matter-of-factly statements have now invoked a lot of questions. Who controls the media? And why the cold-shoulder treatment given to Doy? Is it because he opposed Marcos out of  principle rather than on a personal level (they were very good friends before the Martial Law years)? Or is it because the powers-that-be could simply not stomach another potential headache, something that they never experienced with the yellow crowd (whose heroine, by the way, once called Doy a “lañgao” or “fly”)?

If you will ask me, I’d prefer an artist, an idealist, a statesman, a writer over a politician to lead this country. A philosopher king, as Plato would have it. Because a life focused on politics tends to debase the mind. But the arts refine the soul and the celestial spheres.

*******

Have I said too much as well? Because of the foregoing, I am now inclined to publish Bongbong Marcos’s EDSA People Power Revolution statement published a few hours ago in his official Facebook fan page (because the content simply makes pure sense):

Good evening Facebook friends!

It’s that time of the year again (EDSA 1 Anniversary) which, as time goes by, must get more confusing for those that were too young to appreciate history in the making. There’s been a lot of talk about “historical revisionism” as of late, and the need to “get the story ‘right’ for future generations.” As to who holds the “complete and accurate story”, perhaps, belongs to one or two protagonists no longer alive, or a historian that is yet to be born. There is a scramble from many sides to validate their respective points of view through books, documentary films, theatre, TV ”specials” (propaganda) with their endless re-runs, and all kinds of media. I have often stated that a complete and accurate picture of events leading up to EDSA 1 will only be possible when passions have died down and vested interests, political expediencies, and propaganda machineries, are no longer present.

Additionally, there is another way of propagating one’s version of history and that is through legislation, thus, including it in the annals of the State’s statutes that are usually archived in protected government buildings, and classified as “official” for future historians to take note of. In today’s world, they may be stored, too, in some internet “cloud,” either in government computer servers or in a third party cloud provider’s data center.

Recently, a bill was ratified by Congress called the “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013″ which among other things, grants compensation to the victims of human rights violations during Martial Law up to 1986. In as far as compensating human rights victims is concerned, I, personally, have no problem with that. As a legislator, I did not participate in the discussions and deliberations on the bill knowing very well the futility of my views being heard without people presuming me biased. Some parts of the bill, nevertheless, are by themselves reasonable and more importantly, are fittingly imbued with compassion. However, it begs some questions to be asked: what about the other human rights victims of the last 27 years? Why did the legislators have a mind to address the human rights issue selectively? Why differentiate between a person tortured in the 70s and one tortured in the 90s? By default, the victims of human rights violations from 1987 onward get nothing in compensation for the atrocities they suffered solely because they happened under another administration. To treat their situations with less concern and sympathy is blatantly and cruelly discriminatory and unjust. The bill also ignored the soldiers of the Republic that were captured, tortured, and pitilessly killed by insurgents during the same period that the bill covers — 1972 to 1986. Wives of brave soldiers were widowed at very young ages and their children, made fatherless. The legitimate human rights victims during Martial Law deserve the compensation they will get but why should the other likewise legitimate human rights victims not deserve it, too? Do not these “tradpols” sense the weariness of our people when listening to the same voices pontificate from their podiums blind, by choice, to the fact that their audience are still mired in poverty, joblessness, and privation? And that their only wish is for their lives to improve as was promised to them 27 long years ago and still, they wait. These same politicians are wont to cover up the fact that nothing much has changed since 1986 and they do this by resurrecting old bugaboos, and reviving hackneyed and over-used excuses and scapegoats. The fact is, twenty-seven years later, the chasm between the rich and the poor has widened, and poverty has become more widespread.

Moreover, for those that make the lame comparison between the Martial Law years and the Holocaust, they could be offending the Jews without knowing it with their lack of sensitivity and plenty of nincompoopery. There are Generals and other high ranking officers of the AFP during the 70′s who are still alive today. They can correct me if I’m wrong on whether they implemented and enforced, as heads of their respective commands in the AFP, a state-sponsored, systematic mass execution akin to the holocaust where ten million people were killed in gas chambers and by starvation.

The “freedom fighters”, both the self proclaimed and the wannabes, will say we have a liberated press today and I, too, join them in celebrating “freedom of the press”, and I hasten to add, that should include the Internet. Yet, strangely enough, the Philippines has only recently been called “the most dangerous country, not at war, to live in for a journalist”. This was never the case at anytime up to 1986; so, though we may have a free press today, the extraordinarily high number of murdered journalists that gave us the notorious label of “most dangerous” as aforementioned above, occurred many years after 1986 and the killings have continued unabated to this day. Again, these victims, from the ranks of media no less, have not been given the attention they deserve.

Conclusively, the obvious and glaring question is: what about the tens of thousands of human rights victims of the post Marcos era — the last twenty seven years? That question is like an “elephant in the room” that some politicians, the typically glib, sanctimonious, and self righteous, pretend not to see. In addressing only the human rights violations from 1972 to 1986, a total of 14 years, and ignoring the thousands of documented violations that were committed in the last 27 years (that’s double the number of years covered by the bill), what emerges from that is a writing on the wall that screams: POLITICS. The people have seen twenty seven years go by with no substantial changes in their lives; in fact, millions have had to leave their families to seek work abroad. More politics is the last thing they need from their leaders.

The level of politics in this country has become such that when I ran for Senator some three years ago, there were a few that vigorously campaigned against my election, urging the people to make sure that I would not be elected or we would again be placed under Martial Law. Firstly, I ran for Senator and not for President; and secondly, the act of declaring Martial Law is not genetic in nature. There is a saying that goes: “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” You can add to that: “though it could be both”.

Either way, I have chosen to ignore such attacks coming from politicians, the “tradpol” types and those that will use this law to reinvent themselves as “freedom fighters against tyranny”. I will continue to focus on ways to unify our country, specially among our youth, and help in creating a more egalitarian society, and a developed and inclusive economy — a goal that is simple, yet formidable and daunting, but achievable. Last year’s GDP was a significant improvement over the dismal year before, and we should commend the administration for that. My unsolicited advice, though, is that job creation and ways of attracting more FDIs should be undertaken incessantly and relentlessly and if we can manage significant progress in both, then we can look forward to a sustainable year-after-year growth that will be felt by everyone; and that it be “felt by everyone” is the crucial and essential metric. We need that 6.6% GDP to trickle down. Enough of the politics that divide us,the “blame game” that delays us, and the excuses that derail us. The people are sick and tired of it, the young are baffled by, and frustrated with it; and ultimately, it does not put food on the plates of the hungry nor does it create jobs. So I hope this 27th anniversary not be again a celebration of polarization or division. It’s time to focus, move forward, and get things done as one indivisible nation. Maraming salamat pô. ¡Mabuhay ang Filipino!

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

“History belongs to the youth, the
largest and most idealistic and energetic segment of our
population.”

Señor EDSA

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Perhaps the most prominent highway in modern Philippine History is EDSA.

A portion of EDSA.

Formerly known as Highway 54, it was constructed during the American Occupation of the country. This 23.8-kilometer circumferential road runs through five cities (Pásay, Macati, Mandaluyong, Quezon, and Caloocan) and actually stands on what was then a very long coastline hundreds of years before the place was occupied by humans (that is why workers in construction sites along the area usually find seashells during a dig).

EDSA became famous throughout the world during the tumultuous decade of the 1980s not because of its length nor its notorious traffic. It is because this highway was the site of the bloodless 1986 coup which toppled strongman Ferdinand Marcos and his cohorts from Malacañang Palace.

It is sad to note that only a few Filipinos today know that this highway was named after the initials of an illustrious Filipino writer and historian who lived during the Spanish and American era. His name is Epifanio De los SAntos, and his birthday falls today.

No festivities along the highway named after him?

Anyway, below is a brief biographical sketch of this “gentleman from the old school” written by Renato J. Mendoza (from the 1965 book Eminent Filipinos which was published by the National Historical Commission, a precursor of today’s National Historical Institute).

Epifanio de los Santos (1871-1928).

EPIFANIO DE LOS SANTOS
(1871-1928)

Historian and man of letters, Epifanio de los Santos was born in Malabón, Rizal (the lakeside province once known as Morong –Pepe–), on April 7, 1871, to Escolástico de los Santos and Antonina Cristóbal.

When he was seven years old, he studied under a certain Maestro José Flores. He finished his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ateneo de Manila; and his Licentiate in Law from the University of Santo Tomás in 1898.

A brilliant student, Don Panyong’s versatility covered such different endeavors as painting, music, history, literature, law, politics, and others. In his diverse studies, he became acquainted with Germans, French, and Greek literatures, not to mention English and Spanish.

Aside from his achievements in literature, he occupied the following government positions: provincial secretary of Nueva Écija; governor, fiscal of Malolos for 10 years; director of the Philippine Library.

Don Panyong spent most of his time in extensive researches and historical studies which resulted in the formation of one of the most comprehensive Filipiniana collections of his time. He died in Manila on April 18, 1928, of cerebral attack.

Señor de los Santos was also regarded by his peers (notably Cecilio Apóstol, a famous Filipino poet in the Spanish language) as one of the best Spanish-language writers during his time. Some of his notable works are Algo de Prosa (1909), Literatura Tagala (1911), El Teatro Tagalo (1911), Nuestra Literatura (1913), El Proceso del Dr. Jose Rizal (1914), and Folklore Musical de Filipinas (1920). He also wrote the biographies of notable Filipinos in history such as José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Rafaél del Pan, and Francisco Balagtás.

Speaking of Balagtás, de los Santos 1916 translation of the former’s 19th-century Tagalog epic Florante at Laura is now considered a classic in Philippine Literature.

A song “dedicated” to the People Power Revolution

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Today we commemorate the 24th anniversary of the world-famous (some claim it’s also miraculous) EDSA or People Power Revolution. Through this one-of-a-kind bloodless revolution, the Filipinos were able to gain back a lost democracy after years of crony capitalism and martial law.

But after EDSA, have we really recovered from our despondent state? Has the Philippines really regained a democracy which is true and beneficial to all? Or better yet, is democracy even suitable to a nation which, in my opinion, appears to be more suited or akin to a different form of government principally because the Philippines was ruled under a monarchial form of government (many refer to it as a repressive colonialism) for more than three centuries?

Twenty-four years after EDSA, we still have a lot of questions unanswered that needs to be addressed if we are to redeem our country from poverty and lack of self-respect.

Happy EDSA to all of us?

The following reggae music by Filipino rock band The Jerks (formed in the year of my birth) explains the failure of EDSA in a rather poetic manner:

Another ambush strengthens support for Martial Law in embattled Maguindanáo

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The newstory below sounds awfully familiar…

Convoy bearing massacre evidence ambushed

Suspected followers of the Ampatuan clan in Maguindanáo ambushed a military and police convoy Thursday night as it headed for General Santos City with evidence in the Nov. 23 massacre that the authorities collected in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanáo, police said.

Senior Supt. Willie Dangane, Cotabato City police director and deputy Task Force 12 Alpha, was on board a Toyota Altis police car with evidence recovered from the mansion of Andal Ampatuan Sr. in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanáo’s provincial capital, when three men standing at a road side opened fire with M-16 rifles at about 8 p.m.

With Dangane in the car was Chief Supt. Felicísimo Khu, chief of the Central Mindanáo police. Neither official was hurt in the firing. Inquirer.net

As of this writing, there is still no resolution over Arroyo’s questionable Martial Law declaration. It is still being debated in Congress.

But if we are to compare this sad current event to the first Martial Law imposed by ex-strongman Ferdinand Marcos, the abovementioned ambush on the military and police convoy in Maguindanáo would be questionable, too.

Remember what happened to then Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile on the night of 22 September 1972? He was also “ambushed” on his way home to his posh Dasmariñas Village home in Macati City. According to government reports, it was perpetrated by “communist terrorists”. Fortunately for Enrile, he escaped unharmed. And ironically, he’s now the Senate President presiding over the first joint Congress (together with House Speaker Próspero Nograles) which discusses the validity of Martial Law in Maguindanáo.

Prior to the Enrile “attack”, communist insurgency and student left activism have been giving the dictator a lot of headache. So upon hearing of the “ambush”, an angry President Marcos called the attack on his Sancho Panza “the last straw”. He then proceeded to sign Proclamation 1081 placing the entire Philippines under military rule, officially (and more popularly) known as Martial Law.

What happened next was one of the darkest periods in Philippine History.

Years later, when the people rebelled against Marcos in the now famous 1986 People Power Revolution, the beans were spilled. Together with then Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Fidel Ramos (who later on became the 12th President of the Philippines), Enrile admitted to members of the press that the 1972 ambush was fake — it was staged for the sole purpose of declaring Martial Law, a vile scheme to arrest all those who opposed Marcos’ rule! It turned out that Enrile and Ramos were part of the infamous and mysterious “Rolex 12”, the group of military advisers who had helped Marcos plan Martial Law.

Could it be possible that yesterday’s “ambush” against the military and the police carrying evidence against the Ampatuan clan is simply a ploy, a fake, a farcical tactic of the hated Arroyo regime? The dubious Martial Law imposed in Maguindanáo is in grave danger of being revoked by lawmakers. The modern “Rolex 12″ surrounding La Petite Demoiselle will do anything to prove the legitimacy of Martial Law in Maguindanáo.

In the first place, why declare Martial Law just now? If veritable, the writ of habeas corpus should’ve been declared in Muslim Mindanáo a long time ago. Remember that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has been wreaking havoc in that area. And before them, there was the Moro National Liberation Front. But never was Martial law imposed. Why?

Isn’t it that the Ampatuan clan helped Arroyo “win” in the controversial 2004 Philippine National Elections? Filipino hero and legend, Fernando Poe, Jr. lost heavily in Maguindanáo, the Ampatuan clan’s stronghold. And that election loss in the said province is something quite unthinkable even up to now since the King of Philippine Cinema is very popular all over Mindanáo.

Isn’t it that Maguindanáo is also at the center of the Hello Garci maelström?

It appears that the pieces of the puzzle are starting to show up one by one, creating a clearer picture of today’s corruption. The smoke is starting to clear. And Arroyo is having a hard time fanning the flames to cover up her fake presidential @$$.

These people who are bloody drunk with wealth in power — don’t they realize that they are not forever?

Whatever Happened to the “Magkaisa” Singer?

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EDSA 1986: when faith won over violence.

EDSA 1986: when faith won over violence.

Virna Lisa was the high-pitched singer of Magkaisa, the emotional theme song of EDSA 1986. Magkaisa has recently made a comeback in the Filipino psyche because of President Cory Aquino’s passing (it was also one of her favorite songs).

This legendary song even became more popular than Virna herself. One major reason is that she didn’t pursue a musical career.

So where is she now?

Here’s what I found in the net (published by Positive News Media on September 5, 2007):

The song not the singer
By Ben Cal
VIRGINIA, U.S.A., Sept. 5 (PNA)

This fits the description of Ms Virna Lisa, the Filipino-American singer who popularized the song “Magkaisa” in the post EDSA people-power revolt in 1986, but who faded away into obscurity.

Many do not know that Virna Lisa Loberiza is an American citizen although her parents are both Filipinos. Virna acquired her U.S. citizenship because she was born in New York.

Her song “Magkaisa” has captivated millions of freedom- loving Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad which could have catapulted her to stardom, but she prefers to remain in the background and chose to become a social worker where her heart belongs.

By all probability, not too many Filipinos -– young and old — could make an instant recall the name of the then 20-year old Virna Lisa 21 years after she sang “Magkaisa” that became a gold record despite being an obscure singer.

Many would ask where is that singer Virna Lisa? Well, she works as consultant for social security for the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States, caring for the disabled.

She said she loves her work being a social worker the past 12 years.

“I’ve always been a social worker ever since,” she added.

She is married to Snowden Mananzan, a Filipino banker who is the vice president of United Commercial Bank in New York. They got married in California in 1990 and have three children, Jaco, 15, Toby, 13, and only girl whom they named Frankie, 8.

She finished her studies in the Philippines at St. Paul’s College, Adamson University and later at the University of Sto. Tomás where she took up architecture but never graduated because she was a “Green Card” holder.

Lisa’s father, Joey Loberiza, was formerly connected with Toyota Tamaraw, and her mother is the former movie actress Aura Aurea.

The Philippines News Agency had an exclusive interview with Virna at the elegant residence of Ms Emily Dearing, a Filipino nurse, living in the State of Virginia.

The interview was arranged by Jun Pedery, a former US Navy serviceman and retired employee of Boeing Corporation, the world’s largest aircraft maker based in Washington, DC.

Now, 41, but still possesses that stunning Filipino beauty, Lisa recalled how her singing talent was discovered by actor-comedian-composer Tito Sotto after the historic people-power uprising that toppled the 20-year Marcos regime.

“Everything happened so fast,” Liza recalled.

She said she was singing the song “Bridges” during an event in Adamson University in Manila when she was spotted by Sotto who was fascinated by her sweet voice.

“My discovery by Sotto was by chance,” she said.

Without much ado, Sotto asked her to sing a newly composed song entitled “Magkaisa,” composed by Sotto, Ernie dela Peña, and Homer Flores.

Liza said Sotto invited her to sing in the daily noon show “Eat Bulaga” where she sang on television for the first time.

When she was asked to sing “Magkaisa” she was only given a few hours to practice the song. A few hours later “I found myself inside the studio for the formal recording.”

“I did not sign any contract. I just sang,” Lisa said.

Lisa said she did not get paid for singing “Magkaisa” though it earned lots of money.

“That’s one of the reasons why I did not stay in the business because I didn’t understand it well. I don’t think I will do well in it, and you know may be my heart is in the social work that is why I stay in the social work,” Lisa added.

Had she pursued a singing career, would she attain fame in the likes of Lea Salonga and other top Filipino singers? Lisa humbly said: “I don’t know but maybe God has other plans for me.”

In 1994, Lisa was invited by then President Fidel V. Ramos to sing during the 8th anniversary celebration of EDSA People-Power where she sang again “Magkaisa.” (PNA)

Right after President Cory Aquino’s funeral mass at the historic Spanish-era Manila Cathedral, several people and dignitaries still remained at the church to finish the program. Many singers sang patriotic and other songs connected to the late president. One of the songs stood out from the rest. It was Magkaisa (Unite), the theme song of the People Power Revolution of 1986. Over the years, this song has emotionally moved many a patriotic Filipino.

Magkaisa was sung by ABS-CBN talent Sarah Gerónimo after the funeral mass. It was an excellent rendition to say the least. She even almost sounded like Virna.

But who is the better singer for Magkaisa: Virna or Sarah? You be the judge… click here (ALAS FILIPINAS) to watch Sarah Gerónimo’s fabulous rendition. You can also listen to the original version by clicking on my Spanish website’s Magkaisa widget found at left column (at the bottommost part, just below Seguidores).

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