Of birthdays and presidents Print
Tuesday, 12 September 2017 14:22



He turned 100 yesterday amidst varied reactions: the loyalists cheering for their “hero”, while the yellows angrily dissenting. In his memoirs, Eric Hoffer, the philosopher of the masses, wrote about the Philippines: “A rising mass movement attracts and holds a following not by its doctrine and promises, but by thse refuge it offers from the anxieties, barraness and meaninglessness of individual existence… The milieu most favorable for the rise and propagation of mass structure is, for one reason or another, in a state of disintegration.”

Professor Florentino Dauz, in his book written in 1974, essayed: “It can be safely assumed, without being prudish, that the rise of Ferdinand E. Marcos… is more of a pronounced disenchantment of the representatives of the masses not only with the leadership under the Macapagal government but also with the politics of the Old Order. His age, his motto, his brand of politics gave some distant and fundamental hopes for the dispossessed.”

The Marcos government, according to Dauz, started the policy of industrialization. He said the building of roads, bridges, dams and the electrification of the barrios are necessary steps to strengthen the underpinnings of industrialization. “Mr. Marcos’s agro-industrial position is not a compromise as his most gifted critics have never failed to remind us – that policy was a position arrived at after listening to experts, never before a consensus was obtained.”

His industrialization policy and infrastructure development was continued on by his successors because they know that they are the keys to economic advancement. Some economists were agitating for an “Economic Open House”. Marcos followed the thinking that the Philippines can rise by her own methods and sacrifices. Of course, we knew that we couldn’t do it alone — we needed our friends to get things moving. Thus, the United States, Japan, Canada and ,now, China played  gigantic roles to get us rolling.

There were no Gos, Aguirres, Medialdias, Abellas or Piniols around him at the time to help him think. He had Adrian Cristobal, Francisco S. Tatad, Blas Ople, Juan Ponce Enrile, O.D. Corpus, Jake Clave, Teodoro Agoncillo, Juan Tuvera and many more intellectuals that included Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, J.V. Cruz and Arturo Tolentino.

Here at home, “Golden Boy” from Tetuan and Mercedes who emerged in his early 30s to give inspiration to the youth as a young reporter-broadcaster turns 60 years old today. He is now a senior citizen. He was a man of action, treading the barrios with his “Tienda na Gulod” and “Cuentas Claras”. He wanted to be the foremost leader of the Independent City of Zamboanga, however aware that that was almost impossible as he had to battle two giants, equally endowed as he but more fortunate in name.

While the crowd in 2013 did not vote for him, they adored him. To his credit is this: He was and always will be an honest and honorable man.

Happy birthday, Erbie.


There is a “Demosthenes of Greece” in Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the agitator-statesman, on a mission to destroy, ala Hurricane IRMA, El Presidente and his family, linking Paolo Duterte to alleged smuggling. He has pitted his combative nature against the Dutertes. He has defined in so many nasty words political barbarism, claiming that it is his role to do so as an opposition senator. Trillanes has demonstrated his uncultivated conduct even on a fellow senator, Dick Gordon, and any of the mouthpieces of the administration. It is now El Presidente’s turn to throw mud at Trillanes , accusing him of having offshore bank accounts with an argument seen to be as a defense of his family’s honor. El Presidente is now on the attack mode against his principal tormentor. This isn’t a new technique. In the biblical Book of Job, the first word of the accused and angry God were directed at his human challenger: Who is this that darkens counsel with words devoid of knowledge?”

Trillanes will not stop his derogation on the Dutertes. This charade has to stop for the sake of the already heavily-divided country. Puritan lawyer John Winthrop defines the mission of government officials, thus: “When you call one to be a magistrate , he doth not profess nor undertake to have sufficient skill for that office, nor can you furnish him with gifts, etc.; therefore, you must run the hazard of his skill and ability. But if he fails in faithfulness which by his oath he is bound unto, that he must answer for.”