“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;”
– From IF by Rudyard Kipling
IF by Rudyard Kipling is one of my anchor points in life. This is so as it helps develop integrity, character and discipline which are the main components of being a good person and an equally good leader. This is possibly so as this is the kind of poetry that legislates laws or guideposts in your life. After all, as the great poet, William Blake, has written – poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. And I absolutely agree!
Developments: With every passing day, as the filing of certificate of candidacy approaches, there are new stirrings in the political scene. Though this really is nothing new but it has been driven into the background when Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao City declared that she is not running for any national office since her father, President Rodrigo Duterte is running for Vice-President – which shows character and a very Filipino trait, a daughter giving way to the wishes of a father. Knowing Mayor Sara through newspapers and television, I believe she is serious – she will not run for President despite the fact that surveys announced that she is leading the pack by a mile among those rumored and declared to be running for President
So the possibility is not dead that she may yet run for President eventually. But this is an iffy situation subject to unforeseen developments – if President Digong is ordered arrested by the International Court (ICC) and this is not only a possibility, it is an eminent probability; if President Digong is incapacitated by serious accident or serious illness that he cannot perform the duties of President; if, God forbid, he dies; or, if he is ousted from power and the elections will proceed anyway. If any of these possibilities ensue, I believe Mayor Sara will run for President in the 2022 election. The titillating question is – who would be her Vice-President?
Sara-Imee or Bongbong Marcos tandem: Mayor Sara has political savvy, so has Imee. The best possible team mate for Mayor Sara is Senator Imee Marcos. That will make woman the determinative element in the May 2022 election. Many will say – it’s about time after the Cory Aquino and Gloria Arroyo debacles. First, Sara is no Cory or Gloria. Second, she has more character than both. Third, she has more experience in hands own governance than Cory. I should know. As Opposition Provincial Governor and Member of Parliament and as an unrelenting student of politics, I have studied the three of them in words and action. In the case of Cory and Gloria, I have seen them at close range and at a distance. In the case of Mayor Sara, I have seen her only from a distance and from the statements of some of her friends. My judgment on them is based one my readings and studies plus forty-five years of experience as a trial lawyer.
Mayor Sara and the Marcos kids come from deeply rooted political families – Sara from the South and Marcos from the Solid North. That’s a very powerful tandem despite the views of some academicians and public relations practitioners that the North-South balance no long counts – it does! They all come from billionaire families. They have fanatics everywhere. Sara has a father who is a current President with control over police, military, teachers and Comelec – the elements in winning Philippine elections, national or local. The Marcos family has many powerful friends in government, in the military and the police as well as many powerful oligarchs.
These are no joking matters. To defeat them, you need serious students of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.
Invincibility: In politics or war, the word invincible does not exist. No one is unbeatable in war or politics. History is replete with examples – Marcos, Hitler, Mussolini, Khaddafi, Estrada, Trump, among many others. As they say, if there’s a will, there’s a way. Sara is afflicted by the record of the administration of her father, President Digong – of mindless murders, constitutional violations, human rights violations, giving away the West Philippine Sea to Communist China; inability to solve the problems of graft and corruption, illegal drugs; failure to deliver promises like giving Filipinos better life; calling the Christian God stupid and denouncing the Pope; asking everyone to kill and rob Catholic bishops; calling Christian saints idiots and denouncing Catholic Church ceremonies; belittling women by calling them mere biology and saying women are unfit to be President; and many more deranged observations.
These are indefensible. Even the best lawyers cannot defend these words and actions. To free herself from the despicable and scandalous words and actions of her father, she should renounce and denounce them. She probably should make this edited version of what President Manuel Luis Quezon once said – “My loyalty to my father ends where my loyalty to our country and our people begins.” If she cannot do it, she might as well not run for President and kiss the presidency goodbye for now, considering she is still young.
The same holds true with the Marcos kids. The violations of the Constitution; the murders, rapes, tortures, disappearance, human rights violations, graft and corruption and electoral manipulations – which all happened during the Ferdinand Marcos presidency are also indefensible. Considering the behavior of the Marcos kids, I have my serious doubts that they can renounce and denounce the record of their father’s administration. They are equally doomed. And this may bring closure to the continuing presence of the Marcos family in the political scene.
Pacquiao-Honasan tandem: This pairing is something new but these are not new names. Gregorio Honasan is a familiar name. He headed the Reform Armed Forces Movement, popularly known as the RAM during the tail-end of the Marcos years. During those years, his lord and master was Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile fondly known as Johnny and I suspect Enrile is still his lord and master
Honasan: Colonel Gregorio “Greg or Gringo” Honasan is a charismatic military officer, handsome, erect, macho, attractive and at one look has all the qualities that any girl can dream of, though in the whispering and gossiping circles, his being macho is resoundingly disputed just like that of his classmate in the military academy, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson He is an instrumentalist just like his lord and master – meaning, you could find him in almost every administration, from Marcos to Duterte.
In my assessment of Honasan, he has never stood seriously for anything by way of a vision or principle or ideal. Just like any traditional politician or military officer whose main concerns are career, drink, women and family – he has a genius for making motherhood statements which the crowd view to be believable like those of President Duterte. And the intelligent ones who once believed in him find him repulsive. It is unfortunate to happen to asomeone so gifted as Secretary and former Senator Honasan .But that’s life – you define yourself for what you do and what you say.
There is an incident in Honasan’s life which shows defects of character, integrity and discipline. During the failed coup d’etat of 1989, Honasan was one of three military officers who were members of the seven-man National Governing Council (NGC) which was to govern the country in the event the coup would be successful. Each military officer chose their respective civilian component – Maj. General Jose Maria “Jimmy” Zumel chose Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Colonel Gregorio Honasan had Former Defense Minister Juan “Johnny” Ponce Ernile and this writer representing Brigadier General Edgatdo “Abe or Ed” Abenina who chose his lawyer, this writer, as his nominee. Since General Abenina was the Chairman of the coup group and the NGC, I recommended to him Vice-President Salvador “Doy” Laurel as the seventh member for two reasons – since he was Vice-President it would be easy to gain recognition from the international community for the new government and in the Council voting there always will be no tie.
Danding, Doy and Enrile had no personal presence in the military planning.. It was unanimously agreed by the coup leaders that the coup be pulled .on December 7, 1989. It was also agreed that if the military staff felt the schedule be changed – there must be seventy-two hours notice to the NGC Chairman and the other military component members of the NGC
Honasan, without observing the seventy-two hours notice, pulled the coup on December 1, 1989 leading to disaster and consequent failure. Why did he do it? He has a number of excuses that do not jell. One or two suspect that he pulled the coup earlier in violation of previous agreements for only two reasons – Honasan wanted to install Enrile as President of the country and he feared that he and Enrile would always be outvoted in the NGC of seven considering that Danding and the rest of us will not go along with the Honasan and Enrile’s agenda, whatever it was.
Pacquiao: I once wrote a glowing article once on this fabulous eight division boxing champion – Manny Pacquiao. But the way he has been behaving after he declared he was running for President leaves so much to be desired. He has not sufficiently explained why he is running for President. Like any traditional politician he has been spouting motherhood statements. He has not informed the public what he abhors about Duterte and his administration. Having been a Duterte loyalist in the Senate with canine devotion to his master, why did he part ways with President Duterte? He has no vision of what the Philippines should be if he becomes President.
Unsolicited advice: Pacquiao is still young and so unprepared to become President. He should read more books about how to be a good President and while learning, he should run for governor of Saranggani and maybe in some future time when he is prepared, make an attempt to run for President His running mate Honasan should stop ambitioning to run for higher office for the moment. Honasan, with his qualities, has potential. He should devote time to self-examination and self-criticism, learn and adopt the right values and principles, read more books on leadership and the humanities. Not until then should he attempt to run for high public office. He, the rest of the pack, our leaders, the voters and the rest of us can learn from these lines of one of the greatest unacknowledged legislators of the world, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in his A Psalm of Life:
“Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead! “