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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE GMA NEWS ONLINE

By FR. R. AQUINO: 'AN AWARENESS OF WHAT IS MISSING'


The title is from Jurgen Habermas' book on the absence of religion in post-traditional times. Grace Poe now faces many legal battles, besides attacks on other fronts. The result is by no means certain. Jojo Binay has long been pilloried and pelted. Digong Duterte, who belatedly announced his interest in the position he first proclaimed to be beyond the orbit of his ambitions, is now receiving the first installments of flak. Mar Roxas is dismissed as nothing more than the abhorrent prospect of an extension of the present dispensation. Is this any way to choose our candidates? Is it now the rule in Philippine politics that the scum and filth underneath each candidate is unearthed for public revulsion, so that he or she who is least despicable gets sworn into office? That one who throws one's hat into the political right becomes the subject of public scrutiny, I concede -- and I approve. There can be no intelligent choice without basic information. But it is not really information about the candidates that is on the menu. It is rather a contest of horror stories -- tales of duplicity, betrayal, plunder, murder out do each other in painting each candidate in the worst possible hues! Binay remains strong because the people of Makati attest to their experience: He delivers on his promises; he manages efficiently; he makes sure that people get the message that he cares. Poe's appeal consists in the distance she has so far embodied from traditional politics and politicians. She demonstrated her ken at Senate investigations and has demonstrated firmness when it was needed. Duterte has a strong following because Davao is a success story, and the nation is sick and tired of criminality. Now, obviously, the common denominator is that each candidate represents an aspect of this nation's frustration with the present administration. And that is why, for many, there is no way, except by underhanded machinations, for Mar Roxas to win, because he repeats the mantra of "Daan Matuwid", making it at least appear that he believes in it and therefore "threatens" the citizenry with more of the same, more of what they in fact reject by turning to other candidates. Let's find out more about our candidates: what their answers are to nationally pressing concerns, what solutions they have in store for immediately pressing and vexatious problems such as the horrendous traffic of Metro Manila that threatens to eclipse all other gripes in all already long litany against the present administration. READ MORE...

ALSO REPOSTED By Rene Saguisag: Assessing PNoy


Rene Saguisag In 2010, following the departure or "homegoing" of Prez Cory, the presidency was thrust on Sen. Noynoy, thwarting the Restoration of Erap or the Coronation of Manny V, burdened with corruption issues, or the emergence of Gibo Teodoro, not so encumbered. PNoy himself has not been credibly charged with corruption, along with people like BIR chief Kim Henares, a possible problem with others, beginning with Jojobama Binay, who has to deal with heavy perceptual problems. No stealing by No. 1 meant huge savings. PNoy was perceived as a lightweight in 2010; but, we note the ouster of a post-midnight appointee as Chief Justice, usurper Rene Corona. Certain untouchables are in jail but we should have more compassion for ailing GMA and nonagenarian JPE. Now PNoy is charged with being dictatorial, a trait linked to strong dynamic leadership. The 2013 polls were credible. Nothing of the delay and violence of the past, by and large. We are moving to solve our Muslim Mindanao problem. So also with the CCP-NPA dilemma. Our international standing is up, in many fronts. The human rights victims of the Marcoses should finally get compensated in the next few months; PNoy had raised eyebrows by naming as chief of the compensation board a former police general, striking some as having an inmate run the asylum. It has not been the only questionable choice of PNoy. Press freedom we have enjoyed and license we see all over, like perpetuating the myth that Prez Cory was an indolent 9-5 government worker, playing mahjong, just recycled by gutsy Mon Tulfo. I was in Malacanang in 1986-87, Present at the Creation, before I ran for the Senate. Not true. The coups alone made us work, even on Sundays. Population remains a concern; here PNoy has parted ways with the Most Numerous Church, which bats for self-, not birth, control. The mess or garbage Canada exported here is problematic but that left by the Conjugal Dictators is humongous. Massive clean-up required. PNoy has laid down his share of bricks in the national cathedral. I'd grade him at least 80%. I can up it if we have fair and credible polls in 2016, for the changing of the guard. Too late now to talk of constitutional amendment or revision but his mother's fundamental law does need change, given the lessons of our experience of nearly three decades. Be it noted that no one becomes infallible on ascending the presidency. Only the Pope is so characterized, and only on matters of faith and morals. Mamasapano is a black eye but ground commanders should take responsibility, and the credit for eliminating Marwan and Usman. Innocent Muslims, like Sara, 5, were also killed. Collateral damage. War is hell. READ MORE...

ALSO By Fr. Ranhill Aquino:  Duterte - Why he attracts and repulses


DUTERTE --Seldom, if ever, does a CBCP President, Archbishop Soc Villegas in this case, direct a statement at an individual. He did, to express his disgust at Duterte's use of a vulgar expletive on Pope Francis. But not to be overlooked is the fact that Archbishop Soc's statement made clear his utter dismay at those who applauded the bad taste and the bad tongue! Disturbing reversals in popular valuation, however, are not new. Some decades back, the CBCP wrote that it was worried that while in ages past, robbing public coffers was "nakakahiya," these days, one often hears it said of an official who can get away with malfeasance that he is "magaling," and that one who is caught is "mahina," implying, quite clearly, that it would have served him better to be more shrewd and cunning! It does not help Rod Duterte at all to be "candid" about is dalliances with women -- "short time" he calls them because, he openly declares, his "munitions" are apparently no longer as potent as they used to be. Is it candor, really, or ill-concealed boasting of one's enduring machismo? And his cheer-leaders are wrong in calling this "honesty" and "transparency." There is a difference between right and wrong, and announcing to the nation that one has done wrong -- and apparently continues to do wrong -- does not make things right, especially when the declaration is made without any hint of remorse or regret. It turns people off that he cannot be decent even in speech, because that makes them wonder whether he is a decent person at all! It becomes all the worse when he uses an extremely vulgar expletive on the Pope who, of all people, deserves it least. He thought that the use of that populist vulgarity would make him come across as down-to-earth. It might have, to his adoring fans, but it jolted most decent Filipinos into the realization of how common-place such rudeness and uncouthness encapsulated in the abhorrent PI phrase really is. Really, we have no right being habituated to its use, and parents would do well to go back to the practice of our grandparents: washing the mouths of children with warm water and soap when PI escapes their lips! So, why does he have an apparently wide and rowdy following? For one thing, Davao city appears to be proof positive that he delivers on his promises. A crime-free, drug-free, smuggler-free Davao has become part of Philippine lore and associated with these achievements is Duterte's name. READ MORE...

ALSO REPOSTED By Fr. R. Aquino: Jailing one's foes, sparing one's friends


FR AQUINO -Not too long ago, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima was quoted as surmising that there was not enough time to prosecute all who may have dipped their greasy hands into the PDAF and DAP cookie jars. But she did not have to say that. It is obvious, ain't it, that so many who were yellow ribbons on their lapels won't ever be prosecuted under this present dispensation! Last time she was asked about the LP members and presidential allies who ought to have been tarred and feathered a long time ago, de Lima gave the lame reply that the investigation was "on-going". That's an interesting term -- as on-going as time is! On the one hand it lulls the public into believing that something is being done, but since "on-going" knows no deadlines, we may not know whether by the time we pass from this life to the next, "on-going" will still be on! That of course contrasts very sharply with the speed -- in fact, the haste -- with which former president GMA, and Senators Enrile, Revilla and Estrada were sent to the slammer. No, the Administration cannot claim as its achievement the detention of three senators -- because it has so gamely let so many off the hook who march to the beat of Malacanang's drums. Shortly after the decision of the Supreme Court on DAP reached the public, with the decision pointing out that planners, schemers, implementers and executors of this version of "official thievery" were liable, the President himself protested the innocence of DBM's Butch Abad. And once more, there was talk of impeaching some justices of the Supreme Court. I have said this before. I will say it again. To be corrupt, it is enough that one abets the corruption of friends and shields them from inquest and prosecution! THE FULL COLUMN...

ALSO: IKA-125 ANIBERSARYO NG KAARAWAN: Quirino: Pangulong mahusay, dakila at may EQ


Happy 125th birthday, Mr. President! Photo: malacanang.gov.ph
Elpidio Quirino’s 125th birth anniversary coincided with the week of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2015 meet in Manila. His idea 65 years ago of having a Pacific Union was a vision that foreshadowed the South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the APEC. *** Noong November 16, 2015, ipagdiriwang ng bansa ang ika-125 taong kaarawan ni Pangulong Elpidio Quirino, ang unang Ilocano President, da original Apo Lakay. Sa matagal na panahon, palaisipan sa akin kung bakit ang mahahalagang kalsada sa Kamaynilaan na Quirino Highway at Quirino Avenue, pati na rin ang Quirino Province, at ang iba’t ibang Quirino schools sa bansa ay nakapangalan sa kanya. Deserving ba siya nito, e kapag pinag-uusapan ang kasaysayan ng Pilipinas ay dinadaanan lang siya? Gayundin, ang naaalala lamang sa kanyang administrasyon ay talamak raw ang korupsyon at nagmamay-ari raw siya ng isang Golden Orinola. Elitista raw kasi hitsura ni Kuya at mahilig mag-party. From Guro to Pangulo Si Elpidio Quirino ay isinilang sa kulungan ng Vigan noong November 16, 1890. Isinilang siya doon hindi dahil kriminal ang kanyang mga magulang, kundi dahil ang kanyang ama na si Don Mariano ay warden ng karsel na iyon. Nag-aaral pa lamang siya ng mataas na paaralan noong 1906, sa edad na 16, nang kinuha na si Pidiong na guro ng elementarya dahil nangailangan ang barrio ng Caparia-an, Agoo, La Union. Limang buwan siyang naging guro doon kaya naman ang tema nang pagdiriwang ngayong taong 2015 ay “Guro to Pangulo: One Educator’s Journey to Greatness.” Sa kanyang naipon, nakalipat siya ng pag-aaral sa Manila High School at bilang working student, nakapagtapos ng siya ng abogasya sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas noong 1915. Pumangalawa rin siya sa bar exam. Si Quirino mismo ay hindi mayaman subalit napangasawa niya ay mula sa isa sa pinakamayamang angkan sa Vigan, si Alicia Sy-quia. Nang madiskubre siya ni Senate President Manuel Quezon, nagsimula na ang kanyang pag-angat sa pulitika, naging mambabatas, senador, miyembro ng Independence Mission at delegado ng Constitutional Convention. Humawak din siya ng mga posisyon sa Gabinete. Siya rin ang unang dekano ng Adamson University College of Law. Pagsubok na magpapatibay kay Quirino Ang pagsapit ng Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig sa Pilipinas ay malaking dagok sa buhay ni Apo Pidiong. Sa pagsuporta niya at ng kanyang kapatid na si Antonio sa mga gerilya, sila ay inaresto at 15 araw na ikinulong sa Fort Santiago ng mga Hapones. Noong nalalapit na ang pagdating ng mga Amerikano, tinanggihan niya ang mungkahi na tumungo na siya at ang kanyang pamilya sa Baguio. Tinamaan ng bomba ang kanilang duplex na tinitirhan sa Maynila at dahil dito ay naatake sa puso ang ina ni Alicia at kinailangan nilang lumipat sa katabing bahay. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

'An Awareness of What is Missing'

MANILA, DECEMBER 14, 2015 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) Published December 8, 2015 10:45pm By FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO - The title is from Jurgen Habermas' book on the absence of religion in post-traditional times.

Grace Poe now faces many legal battles, besides attacks on other fronts. The result is by no means certain.

Jojo Binay has long been pilloried and pelted.

Digong Duterte, who belatedly announced his interest in the position he first proclaimed to be beyond the orbit of his ambitions, is now receiving the first installments of flak.

Mar Roxas is dismissed as nothing more than the abhorrent prospect of an extension of the present dispensation.

Is this any way to choose our candidates? Is it now the rule in Philippine politics that the scum and filth underneath each candidate is unearthed for public revulsion, so that he or she who is least despicable gets sworn into office?

That one who throws one's hat into the political right becomes the subject of public scrutiny, I concede -- and I approve.

There can be no intelligent choice without basic information. But it is not really information about the candidates that is on the menu. It is rather a contest of horror stories -- tales of duplicity, betrayal, plunder, murder out do each other in painting each candidate in the worst possible hues!

Binay remains strong because the people of Makati attest to their experience: He delivers on his promises; he manages efficiently; he makes sure that people get the message that he cares.

Poe's appeal consists in the distance she has so far embodied from traditional politics and politicians. She demonstrated her ken at Senate investigations and has demonstrated firmness when it was needed.

Duterte has a strong following because Davao is a success story, and the nation is sick and tired of criminality.

Now, obviously, the common denominator is that each candidate represents an aspect of this nation's frustration with the present administration.

And that is why, for many, there is no way, except by underhanded machinations, for Mar Roxas to win, because he repeats the mantra of "Daan Matuwid", making it at least appear that he believes in it and therefore "threatens" the citizenry with more of the same, more of what they in fact reject by turning to other candidates.

Let's find out more about our candidates: what their answers are to nationally pressing concerns, what solutions they have in store for immediately pressing and vexatious problems such as the horrendous traffic of Metro Manila that threatens to eclipse all other gripes in all already long litany against the present administration.

READ MORE...

We have heard enough of their sins and failings, of issues against them or involving them.

These have to be resolved in due time, before the proper bodies and pursuant to established legal processes.

This un-amusing if dirty game we play of pitting slime against slime, of tarring and feathering our candidates for office appears to have been our own slant of politics in this country.

But the particular viciousness of which we are all witnesses now can be traced to the tolerance we showed to a year-long use of people's money and Senate time to crucify Jejomar Binay.

The Ombudsman, known for her thoroughness and daring, could have done the job without need of nationally televised hearing upon hearing in the Senate Chamber.

But the purpose was clear: to denigrate Jejomar Binay at taxpayer's expense. I do not know of any legislation thus far proposed that justified these long-winded displays of bravura (and often brazen bias) on the part of Binay's detractors.

Once we allowed it to happen to Binay, we tacitly gave our consent to a similar treatment for all other candidates -- and that is exactly what has come to pass!

When the President boasted repeatedly that his Administration had sent to jail a former president and leading senators, he was as much admitting -- his strenuous protestations to the contrary notwithstanding -- that prosecutors do his bidding!

When he declared that he was against bail granted to Ms. Arroyo because according to his system of morals, "we should not allow compassion to overcome our eagerness to punish the erring", he had in fact compromised the independence of the courts that decide on the grant or denial of bail.

It does not serve Mar Roxas' candidacy a bit for it to appear that the prosecutorial offices of State are in possession of marching orders from the Administration of which he is the official candidate to be arrayed against his foes. That will only consolidate the irate electorate's position against him.

More positivity will do us all well!


Fr. Ranhilio Aquino is the dean of the San Beda College Graduate School of Lawand a professor at the Cagayan State University.


COMMENTARY: Assessing PNoy July 24, 2015 4:02pm Tags: undefined


Rene Saguisag

In 2010, following the departure or "homegoing" of Prez Cory, the presidency was thrust on Sen. Noynoy, thwarting the Restoration of Erap or the Coronation of Manny V, burdened with corruption issues, or the emergence of Gibo Teodoro, not so encumbered.

PNoy himself has not been credibly charged with corruption, along with people like BIR chief Kim Henares, a possible problem with others, beginning with Jojobama Binay, who has to deal with heavy perceptual problems.

No stealing by No. 1 meant huge savings.

PNoy was perceived as a lightweight in 2010; but, we note the ouster of a post-midnight appointee as Chief Justice, usurper Rene Corona. Certain untouchables are in jail but we should have more compassion for ailing GMA and nonagenarian JPE. Now PNoy is charged with being dictatorial, a trait linked to strong dynamic leadership.

The 2013 polls were credible. Nothing of the delay and violence of the past, by and large.

We are moving to solve our Muslim Mindanao problem. So also with the CCP-NPA dilemma.

Our international standing is up, in many fronts.

The human rights victims of the Marcoses should finally get compensated in the next few months; PNoy had raised eyebrows by naming as chief of the compensation board a former police general, striking some as having an inmate run the asylum. It has not been the only questionable choice of PNoy.

Press freedom we have enjoyed and license we see all over, like perpetuating the myth that Prez Cory was an indolent 9-5 government worker, playing mahjong, just recycled by gutsy Mon Tulfo. I was in Malacanang in 1986-87, Present at the Creation, before I ran for the Senate. Not true. The coups alone made us work, even on Sundays.

Population remains a concern; here PNoy has parted ways with the Most Numerous Church, which bats for self-, not birth, control.

The mess or garbage Canada exported here is problematic but that left by the Conjugal Dictators is humongous. Massive clean-up required.

PNoy has laid down his share of bricks in the national cathedral. I'd grade him at least 80%. I can up it if we have fair and credible polls in 2016, for the changing of the guard.

Too late now to talk of constitutional amendment or revision but his mother's fundamental law does need change, given the lessons of our experience of nearly three decades.

Be it noted that no one becomes infallible on ascending the presidency. Only the Pope is so characterized, and only on matters of faith and morals. Mamasapano is a black eye but ground commanders should take responsibility, and the credit for eliminating Marwan and Usman. Innocent Muslims, like Sara, 5, were also killed. Collateral damage. War is hell.

READ MORE...

JFK and the Bay of Pigs of 1960. The failed Iran U.S. Embassy rescue by Jimmy Carter of 1980. The Beirut Barrack Debacle of Ron Reagan of 1983 when 241 servicemen were killed. The Black Hawk Down of Bill Clinton of 1993 in Somalia. The ongoing Irag bloodletting Dubya Bush inaugurated in 2003. No Prez was sued. Fortunes of war.

Patton was said to have exhorted his troops, "do not die for your country, make the bastards die for theirs." Or words to that effect.

Warriors are trained to kill or be killed, Spartan, particularly in enemy lair our troopers entered. PNoy will survive Mamasapano and won't ever be jailed. What for? Imperfection? Imagine where we would be now had not Providence intervened in 2009-10.

His Ma said in 1986, "let us begin, rebuilding the national cathedral." PNoy has laid down his share of bricks. We cannot rebuild in a day what Macoy and Imelda ruined, which wasn't Rome in its grandeur. The glory that was Greece. Edgar Allan Poe.

PNoy hasn't led us to where Greece is now but has gone far in the other direction.

Rene Saguisag is a former senator who authored RA 6713, The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees.


COMMENTARY: Jailing one's foes, sparing one's friends Published June 26, 2015 11:49pm By FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO

Not too long ago, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima was quoted as surmising that there was not enough time to prosecute all who may have dipped their greasy hands into the PDAF and DAP cookie jars. But she did not have to say that. It is obvious, ain't it, that so many who were yellow ribbons on their lapels won't ever be prosecuted under this present dispensation!

Last time she was asked about the LP members and presidential allies who ought to have been tarred and feathered a long time ago, de Lima gave the lame reply that the investigation was "on-going".

That's an interesting term -- as on-going as time is! On the one hand it lulls the public into believing that something is being done, but since "on-going" knows no deadlines, we may not know whether by the time we pass from this life to the next, "on-going" will still be on!

That of course contrasts very sharply with the speed -- in fact, the haste -- with which former president GMA, and Senators Enrile, Revilla and Estrada were sent to the slammer. No, the Administration cannot claim as its achievement the detention of three senators -- because it has so gamely let so many off the hook who march to the beat of Malacanang's drums.

Shortly after the decision of the Supreme Court on DAP reached the public, with the decision pointing out that planners, schemers, implementers and executors of this version of "official thievery" were liable, the President himself protested the innocence of DBM's Butch Abad. And once more, there was talk of impeaching some justices of the Supreme Court.

I have said this before. I will say it again. To be corrupt, it is enough that one abets the corruption of friends and shields them from inquest and prosecution!


FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO


COMMENTARY Duterte: Why he attracts and repulses Published December 2, 2015 11:25am By FR. RANHILIO AQUINO

Seldom, if ever, does a CBCP President, Archbishop Soc Villegas in this case, direct a statement at an individual. He did, to express his disgust at Duterte's use of a vulgar expletive on Pope Francis. But not to be overlooked is the fact that Archbishop Soc's statement made clear his utter dismay at those who applauded the bad taste and the bad tongue!

Disturbing reversals in popular valuation, however, are not new. Some decades back, the CBCP wrote that it was worried that while in ages past, robbing public coffers was "nakakahiya," these days, one often hears it said of an official who can get away with malfeasance that he is "magaling," and that one who is caught is "mahina," implying, quite clearly, that it would have served him better to be more shrewd and cunning!

It does not help Rod Duterte at all to be "candid" about is dalliances with women -- "short time" he calls them because, he openly declares, his "munitions" are apparently no longer as potent as they used to be. Is it candor, really, or ill-concealed boasting of one's enduring machismo? And his cheer-leaders are wrong in calling this "honesty" and "transparency." There is a difference between right and wrong, and announcing to the nation that one has done wrong -- and apparently continues to do wrong -- does not make things right, especially when the declaration is made without any hint of remorse or regret.

It turns people off that he cannot be decent even in speech, because that makes them wonder whether he is a decent person at all! It becomes all the worse when he uses an extremely vulgar expletive on the Pope who, of all people, deserves it least. He thought that the use of that populist vulgarity would make him come across as down-to-earth. It might have, to his adoring fans, but it jolted most decent Filipinos into the realization of how common-place such rudeness and uncouthness encapsulated in the abhorrent PI phrase really is. Really, we have no right being habituated to its use, and parents would do well to go back to the practice of our grandparents: washing the mouths of children with warm water and soap when PI escapes their lips!

So, why does he have an apparently wide and rowdy following? For one thing, Davao city appears to be proof positive that he delivers on his promises. A crime-free, drug-free, smuggler-free Davao has become part of Philippine lore and associated with these achievements is Duterte's name.

READ MORE...

But even that is dangerous, because he has rid the city of crime in ways that border on criminality or at least the threat of criminality! The Filipino, it seems, can live comfortably with contradictions -- often to his own undoing. The quick fix -- legal or not -- appeals to the Filipino. We bribe traffic enforcers and then complain about graft in the government -- just one instance of what a conflicted people we are!

What this also says is that the Filipinos who support him have just had enough of a government that makes bold statements but does not deliver. His threats strike fear, because he carries them out. And that is what worries me: If we have griped about six years of an administration that, on several occasions, thumbed its nose at the High Court of the land, what shall we do when we have a President who has absolutely no care for what the law provides?

No, this is not about Rodrigo Duterte alone. It is about us -- the expressions we use, the uncouthness to which we have habituated ourselves, the vulgarity that we have accepted as the new "decency," our idolizing of dubious characters, our penchant for quick fixes -- and really, very disturbingly, the fragility and tenuousness of the law's domain!


Fr. Ranhilio Callangan Aquino is the Dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law.


IKA-125 ANIBERSARYO NG KAARAWAN: Quirino: Pangulong mahusay, dakila at may EQ Published November 19, 2015 1:00pm
By XIAO CHUA


Happy 125th birthday, Mr. President! Photo: malacanang.gov.ph

Elpidio Quirino’s 125th birth anniversary coincided with the week of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2015 meet in Manila. His idea 65 years ago of having a Pacific Union was a vision that foreshadowed the South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the APEC.

***

Noong November 16, 2015, ipagdiriwang ng bansa ang ika-125 taong kaarawan ni Pangulong Elpidio Quirino, ang unang Ilocano President, da original Apo Lakay.

Sa matagal na panahon, palaisipan sa akin kung bakit ang mahahalagang kalsada sa Kamaynilaan na Quirino Highway at Quirino Avenue, pati na rin ang Quirino Province, at ang iba’t ibang Quirino schools sa bansa ay nakapangalan sa kanya. Deserving ba siya nito, e kapag pinag-uusapan ang kasaysayan ng Pilipinas ay dinadaanan lang siya?

Gayundin, ang naaalala lamang sa kanyang administrasyon ay talamak raw ang korupsyon at nagmamay-ari raw siya ng isang Golden Orinola. Elitista raw kasi hitsura ni Kuya at mahilig mag-party.

From Guro to Pangulo

Si Elpidio Quirino ay isinilang sa kulungan ng Vigan noong November 16, 1890. Isinilang siya doon hindi dahil kriminal ang kanyang mga magulang, kundi dahil ang kanyang ama na si Don Mariano ay warden ng karsel na iyon.

Nag-aaral pa lamang siya ng mataas na paaralan noong 1906, sa edad na 16, nang kinuha na si Pidiong na guro ng elementarya dahil nangailangan ang barrio ng Caparia-an, Agoo, La Union. Limang buwan siyang naging guro doon kaya naman ang tema nang pagdiriwang ngayong taong 2015 ay “Guro to Pangulo: One Educator’s Journey to Greatness.”

Sa kanyang naipon, nakalipat siya ng pag-aaral sa Manila High School at bilang working student, nakapagtapos ng siya ng abogasya sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas noong 1915. Pumangalawa rin siya sa bar exam. Si Quirino mismo ay hindi mayaman subalit napangasawa niya ay mula sa isa sa pinakamayamang angkan sa Vigan, si Alicia Sy-quia. Nang madiskubre siya ni Senate President Manuel Quezon, nagsimula na ang kanyang pag-angat sa pulitika, naging mambabatas, senador, miyembro ng Independence Mission at delegado ng Constitutional Convention. Humawak din siya ng mga posisyon sa Gabinete. Siya rin ang unang dekano ng Adamson University College of Law.

Pagsubok na magpapatibay kay Quirino

Ang pagsapit ng Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig sa Pilipinas ay malaking dagok sa buhay ni Apo Pidiong. Sa pagsuporta niya at ng kanyang kapatid na si Antonio sa mga gerilya, sila ay inaresto at 15 araw na ikinulong sa Fort Santiago ng mga Hapones.

Noong nalalapit na ang pagdating ng mga Amerikano, tinanggihan niya ang mungkahi na tumungo na siya at ang kanyang pamilya sa Baguio. Tinamaan ng bomba ang kanilang duplex na tinitirhan sa Maynila at dahil dito ay naatake sa puso ang ina ni Alicia at kinailangan nilang lumipat sa katabing bahay.

READ MORE...

Noong February 12, 1945, habang sinusubukang tumakas dahil sa gutom ang mga Quirino, nakita sila ng mga tauhan ng Japanese Navy at pinagbabaril sila. Patay ang anak niyang si Norma at ang asawang si Alicia na kalong-kalong ang anak na si Fe Angela, na tinuluyan ng mga hapon sa pamamagitan ng bayoneta. Natamaan ng shrapnel si Armando habang binabawi ang mga katawan ng kapamilya.

Si Elpidio ay nagbabalot pa lamang ng mga damit at hindi pa nakalalabas. Tila tumigil ang kanyang mundo nang makita ang katawan ng mga mahal sa buhay. Nang ligtas na ang paligid, bumalik siya sa kanilang tahanan at nakitang buhay pa ang kanyang mga anak na sina Vicky at Tommy na nakatakbo mula sa eksena, bagama’t ang babae ay sugatan sa binti.

Ang isa sa pinakamataas na tao sa bansa, ay nagpabalik-balik na tumawid sa Ilog Pasig buhat-buhat ang mga kapamilya, siyam lahat kabilang ang iba pang mga kamag-anak, upang bigyan ng maayos na libing. Wala na ang kanyang asawa at tatlo sa kanyang limang anak.

Pangulong Mahusay: Si Quirino Bilang Ama ng Philippine Foreign Service

Sa muling pagtatag ng pamahalaan matapos ang digmaan, hinirang ni Pangulong Manuel Roxas na unang Kalihim ng Ugnayang Panlabas ng Ikatlong Republika si Elpidio kasabay ng pagiging Pangalawang Pangulo noong 1946. Ayon kay Dr. Ricardo José, diplomatic historian mula sa UP Departamento ng Kasaysayan, gamit ang karanasan sa pagsama-sama kay Quezon bilang kanyang kalihim sa mga Independence Missions sa Estados Unidos at ang karanasan sa pakikipag-usap sa mga matataas na opisyal na mga dayuhan, itinatag ni Quirino ang Department of Foreign Affairs “from scratch.”

Hindi naglaon, kanyang ipapatupad ang mga eksamen para sa mga magiging diplomat ngunit tulad ng sinabi ni Dr. José, “But since the department was still being built, its first members were appointed directly, based on Secretary Quirino’s recommendation.” Nakapagbukas din tayo ng diplomatikong relasyon sa 27 na bansa. Isang kahanga-hangang tagumpay sa isang maliit at bagong bansa pa lamang.

Sa kanyang pakikipagnegosasyon sa mga Amerikano, sinikap niyang itaguyod ang interes ng mga Pilipino. Bagama’t mahirap. Nasabi nga ng isang Amerikanong diplomat sa inis sa kanya, “The trouble with Quirino is that he is taking Philippine Independence too seriously.” Nagawa niyang bawasan ang bilang ng mga lugar na mananatiling base-militar sa Pilipinas mula 70 hanggang 23 na lamang.

Nang maging pangulo, napilit niya ang mga Amerikano na gawing iron clad ang kanilang pagtatanggol sa Pilipinas kung sakaling manganib ang bansa sa pamamagitan ng paghingi ng Mutual Defense Treaty, na hanggang ngayon ay batayan ng ating pakikipagkaibigan sa Estados Unidos.

Isang indikasyon na tumitingin na sa ibang lugar liban sa Amerika si Quirino para sa pagkakaibigan ng bansa ay ang pagpapahalaga niya sa Asya.

Noong Mayo 26-30, 1950, pinulong ni Quirino ang Southeast Asia Union Conference sa Lungsod ng Baguio, kilala sa tawag na Baguio Conference. Nagbunga ang pulong ng mga hakbang tungo sa pagtutulungan ng mga bansang Pakistan, Thailand, India, Ceylon, Australia, Indonesia at Pilipinas sa mga usapin ng kultura at ekonomiya.



Ipinilit ni Quirino ang isang samahan ng mga bansa na tatawaging Pacific Union upang pagkaisahin ang mga bansa sa Asya-Pasipiko na makipagtulungan sa isa’t isa. Kaso inisnab ng Amerika at India ang mungkahi dahil sa iba-iba ang isinusulong na ideolohiya ng mga bansang pagsasama-samahin. Panahon iyon ng pagsisimula ng Cold War at ilag ang US sa mga komunistang bansa lalo na sa pagkilala ng People’s Republic of China.

Masyado pang maaga sa panahon ang ideya ni Quirino.

Pagdating ng panahon, ang Amerika na mismo ang gagawa ng ideya ni Quirino sa pamamagitan ng pagtatatag ng South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) sa pag-igting ng Cold War. Ipagpapatuloy rin ang pakikipagtulungang ekonomiko at kultural ng mga bansa sa mga samahang itatatag pagdating ng panahon—Malaysia-Philippines-Indonesia (MAPHILINDO), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at ang Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation o (APEC) na nagpupulong ang mga pinuno ngayong linggo sa Maynila.

Ayon kay Dean Gloria Santos ng Philippine Historical Association, “Quirino is regarded as the Father of Foreign Service for as the first secretary of foreign affairs, he was responsible for the establishment, development, and growth of the foreign service.”

Pangulong Dakila: Isang pinunong may malinaw na plano

Si Quirino ang kauna-unahang pangulo na naglatag sa industriyalisasyon ng sariling bansa bilang batayang hakbang tungo sa pag-unlad nito.

Ngunit hindi lang ito bola, kongkreto niya itong ipinakita sa pagtatatag ng mga hydroelectric plants tulad ng Ambuklao Dam at maging sa Mindanao sa pamamagitan ng Maria Cristina Falls hydroelectric at fertilizer plants; Nagpatayo ng irigasyon sa mga Ilog Agno at Pampanga at nagpamahagi ng lupa sa Isabela, Cotabato, Bukidnon at Lanao. Siya din ang lumagda ng batas na nagtatatag ng Central Bank of the Philippines, ang pangunahing institusyon ng pananalapi sa Pilipinas.

Gayundin hindi niya kinalimutan ang kanyang pinagmulan. Malapit-lapit sa bituka ng mga tao ang pagsulong niya ng Minimum Wage Law, ang pag-amyenda sa Women’s Compensation Act at ang 8-hour Law upang maipatupad na ito ng maayos, at ang mga proyektong pabahay sa Lungsod Quezon, na ginawa niyang kabisera ng Pilipinas, para sa mga ordinaryong empleyado ng pamahalaan.

Upang ipakita ang sinseridad ni Quirino na makinig sa kahilingan ng mga rebeldeng komunistang Huk, pinadala niya ang kanyang kapatid na si Antonio upang makipagnegosasyon sa Supremo nilang si Luis Taruc, at pinatuloy ni Quirino sa sariling tahanan si Taruc sa pagbaba nito sa kabundukan, sa kabila ng dami ng mga hotel na mayroon na noon. Dito makikita na nais makipag-usap ni Quirino sa mga rebelde bilang kapamilya niya. Nang bumagsak ang pag-uusap at pinatay ng mga Huk sa isang ambush ang kabiyak ng kanyang mentor, si Doña Aurora Aragon Quezon noong 1949. Pinagpatuloy niya ang pagpapatupad ng kahilingan ng mga Huk sa pamamagitan ng kanyang mga programa para sa social amelioration, na pagdating ng panahon ay magiging Social Security System, pagpapautang para sa kagamitan at pangangailangan sa pagtatanim ng mga magsasaka at ang pagpapautang para sa pagpapatayo ng pabahay, na pagdating ng panahon ay magpapatuloy sa pamamagitan ng PAGIBIG Fund.

Hindi lamang may talino, may puso din

Ngunit hindi lamang talino, may puso rin si EQ. Bagay nga sa kanya ang initials niya, may emotional quotient (EQ) siya.

Ipinakita ni Quirino ang kanyang EQ sa ilang mga pagkakataon. Ang mga White Russians, mga residente ng Rusya na tagasuporta ng Czar at mga anti-komunista, ay tumakas noong panahon ng 1917 Bolshevik Revolution patungo sa Tsina.

Nanganib ang buhay nila dahil sa pagwawagi ng mga Komunista sa Tsina. Lumikas sila ngunit walang bansa sa daigdig ang gustong tumanggap sa kanila. Hindi ito nakapagtataka, kakatapos pa lamang ng digmaan at ang mga bansa ay problemado pa rin sa kani-kanilang mga suliranin. Gayundin, 6,000 katao sila.

Sa kabila nito, si Quirino lamang ang tanging pinuno sa mundo na dagling kumupkop sa kanila at pinatira sila sa Tubabao Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar sa loob ng tatlong taon. Sa kanyang pagbisita doon, ipinagiba niya ang mga pader upang ipadama sa mga ito na malaya sila sa bayang ito.

Nang manganib ang demokratikong pamahalaan ng South Korea nang salakayin ito ng North Korea sa tulong ng mga Tsino noong 1950, tumugon muli si Quirino sa kahilingan ng United Nations na magpadala ng mga batalyon na tutulong na pigilin ito. Nagningning ang galing ng Pilipino sa pakikipagdigma sa Digmaan sa Korea, ang pinakaunang pakikidigma ng mga Pilipino sa dayuhang bansa.

Sinabi sa kanila ni Quirino, “…You who are to go now will be the first to carry the flag of your own sovereign nation abroad in the war for freedom…. Poor as we are, this country is making a great sacrifice in sending you there but every Peso invested in you is a sound investment for the perpetuation of our liberty and freedom.”

Noong 1953, nilapitan si Quirino ng kanyang manugang na si Luis “Chito” Gonzales, kakakasal pa lamang niya sa anak ni Quirino, ang Unang Ginang Vicky Quirino, at sinabi niya sa pangulo, “Papa, I want to go to war.”

Digmaan ang halos umubos sa kanyang pamilya nang walang awang patayin ng mga Hapones ang kanyang asawa at tatlong anak. Buntis ang Unang Ginang at maaaring manganib ang buhay ng asawa ng kanyang anak dahil muli sa isa na namang digmaan.

Ngunit, ang tugon ni Quirino, “If you go to war, then my son has to go with you!”

Kaya naman, si Lt. Tommy Quirino ay nagsilbi sa Korean War bilang tagapag-ugnay ng komunikasyon habang si Lt. Chito Gonzales ay nagsilbi bilang reconnaissance pilot doon at nabigyan pa ng Military Air Medal ng Estados Unidos at ng Korean Pilot Wing Medal ni Pangulong Syngman Rhee dahil sa kanyang katapangan.

Ibinigay din ni Chito sa kanyang mga kasamahan ang suweldo niya sa dalawang buwan niyang paninilbihan.

Ayon kay Quirino sa mga kasapi ng 14th Battalion Combat Team, “I sent ahead of you, my only son and my son-in-law to offer their blood in the defense of democracy. Thus, my pride will be that with my own flesh and blood, I shall have participated in your coming struggle and victory for the honor and prestige of our country.”

Bayan o sarili? Bayan ang pinili ni Quirino.

Ngayon, ang South Korea ay isa nang maunlad na bansa. Hindi sana naisakatuparan ito kung hindi lumaban ang 16 na bansa, at kasama po riyan ang Pilipinas.

At sa kabila ng pag-ubos ng mga Hapones sa halos kanyang buong pamilya noong World War II, noong July 4, 1953, habang nagpapagamot sa John Hopkins Hospital, nagbigay siya ng Executive Clemency sa 437 na mga nananatiling Japanese War Criminals na ilang taon na ring nakapiit sa bansa.

Hindi ito maintindihan ng marami subalit ayon sa kanya, maaari pa nating maging kaibigan ang mga Hapones para sa interes ng bansa. Nais niyang maghilom na ang sugat na iniwan ng digmaan.

Anong klaseng tao ito na imbes na paghihiganti ay pang-unawa ang kanyang isinukli sa mga taong gumawa sa kanyang pamilya ng masama?

Isang maginoo, isang disenteng tao.

Hatol ng Kasaysayan

Nakakalungkot isipin na ang naaalala ng marami sa kanya ay ang hindi niya napigilang korupsyon sa bansa sa kabila ng kanyang mga pagsisikap. Kasi naman mismong mga kapartido niya ay bahagi ng kanyang sakit ng ulo at mismong kumalaban sa kanya. Maging ang CIA ay tinulungang silang siraan siya.

Ipinakalat ng mga kalaban niya na mayroon siyang Gintong Orinola, na ayon sa mga historyador “doesn’t make sense.” Ayon sa kanyang anak at Unang Ginang Vicky Quirino, ayaw gumamit ng ama niya ng orinola at kahit maysakit kailangang dalhin sa banyo. Ngunit tumugma ang paninira na ito sa imaheng elitista, na mula estudyante pa lamang ay nais nang laging magmukhang presentable, naka-amerikana. Isang taong mahilig sa kasiyahan at sa mga magagandang bagay sa buhay.

Ngunit buong buhay niya iisa lamang ang kanyang naging ari-arian: ang kanyang huling tahanan sa Novaliches, sa ngayon ay Quirino Highway. Ang iba ay ari-arian na ng kanyang asawang mayaman. Ang kanyang pamilya rin ay nagpatuloy na mamuhay ng marangal matapos siyang mamatay noong 1956.

Ayon kay Quirino, “So conduct yourself that both in public and in private life you can always look straight into any man’s eyes and tell him ‘Go to hell!’ ”

Sa kanyang kaarawan, binabalikan na ng mga historyador ang kanyang pamana at nakikita na sa paglipas ng panahon at sa paghahambing sa mga sumunod pang mga pangulo, hindi na masama, bagkus magniningning pa ang kanyang rekord. Dahil ayon nga sa respetadong dating UP President na si Salvador P. Lopez sa kanyang talambuhay kay Qurino na The Judgment of History, “With the passage of time, Elpidio Quirino stands taller still in the Pantheon of Philippine Presidents… He deserves to be enshrined in the hearts of the Filipino people not only as First Diplomat and eminent… President of the Republic of the Philippines, but in the sober judgment of many, as the greatest and the best.”

Isinabuhay ni Apo Pidiong ang mga salitang binitiwan niya sa kanyang talumpating pampasinaya, ang pinakamaikli sa kasaysayan ng bansa, matapos na mamatay ang Pangulong Roxas, "Tolerance, Goodwill and Love."

***


Si Prop. Michael Charleston “Xiao” Briones Chua ay kasalukuyang assistant professorial lecturer ng Pamantasang De La Salle Maynila. Isa siyang historyador at naging consultant ng GMA News TV series na Katipunan at Ilustrado. Ang sanaysay na ito ay batay sa kanyang news segment sa “Xiao Time: Ako ay Pilipino” sa istasyong pantelebisyon ng pamahalaan. FROM ACADEMIA: Michael Charleston Chua De La Salle University, History, Faculty Member | History +9 Ph.D. Anthropology Student, University of the Philippines Diliman; Finished BA History (2005) and MA History (2010) degrees from UP Diliman more


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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