Thursday, September 17, 2009


Back in the early 90s, when Rep. Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. of Ilocos Norte went to Malacanang to take his oath as a member of the Northern Alliance, Rep. Rodolfo 'Rudy' Albano told everybody there that Bongbong will return to Malacanang someday as President.

This prediction aroused concern among the Cojuangcos and the Aquinos, with some wanting to groom Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino as Ninoy and Cory's political heir. They wanted Noynoy to run for Congress in Tarlac in 1995 - and thwart any attempt by the Marcoses to return to Malacanang.

According to the scenario some political observers envision, the Aquino-Marcos political feud will endure into the next century, with Noynoy and Bongbong running against each other for the presidency.

This may be true, or not, with Bongbong "missing" still. However, it's still premature to count Bongbong out for good. After all, he is only 51 and the so-called 'Solid North' is still behind him 100 percent, not to mention the Eastern Visayas block of Imelda Marcos.

But yes, his silence is deafening, especially after Noynoy had recently mentioned at Club Filipino that if ever he wins the presidency, his administration will look into the ill-gotten wealth issues hurled against the Marcoses. That to me is like testing the waters for future warfare. Bongbong can always retaliate by demanding an accounting of the wealth the Aquino government "sequestered" via the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which I think is a misnomer - the PCGG being known for having officials taking advantage of their positions to enrich themselves as well. A case of "ill-gotten wealth from ill-gotten wealth?"

Including the gold hoard.

Hence, stories from many quarters seem to bolster reports from officials of the PCGG that the Marcoses really possessed gold bullions amounting to some US$ 25 billion, the bulk of which came from the Yamashita treasure.

The late Ambassador Emmanuel Pelaez was reported as having attested to the existence of the gold. He was believed to be privy to efforts by certain relatives of President Aquino to have President Marcos agree to share the gold hoard in exchange for his freedom from prosecution. The relatives allegedly demanded that Marcos turn over 80 percent of the gold to them, and not to the Philippine government.

Let the negative comments on this post begin.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


65 years ago today, my parents who were so in love with each other decided it was time for them to be solemnized as husband and wife. He was 21. She was 19. That was exactly on September 16, 1944, amidst the turmoil and destruction brought about by the war, two people were planning their future.

In her book 'Myself, Elsewhere,' Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil makes mention of my mother and father's controversial wedding at the Ermita Church. She writes, "The Americans kept to themselves in reverse ghettoes. Those who attended the Episcopalian Cathedral of St. Mary and St. John on Isaac Peral or the small Methodist church on San Luis and went swimming at the YMCA faced a social barrier. Ecumenism was yet to be thought of. There were some exceptions: Nenita Caballero, daughter of Don Felipe Tuason Caballero married Ariel Bocobo, Protestant and Mason, son of Dean Jorge Bocobo of the U.P. Their wedding, solemnized at a side altar of the Ermita Church, as decreed for mixed-marriages, is still recalled half a century later by the groom, now a retired journalist, with tears in his eyes."

My father and I returned to Ermita Church some 2 years ago. Walking to that small room where he married my mother in simple rites witnessed by Father Blas, the church's parish priest, and officiated by a certain Archbishop O'Dougherty courtesy of my mother's cousins on the Monserrat side, he recalls how that day was so special for him. It was the day he would marry his one great love. Today, a widower since 2001, memories of the past may appear not as clear anymore as before. At 87, many things tend to be forgotten. But not this one. Not their wedding day 65 years ago.

(Image from

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Tomorrow, September 16 will be a day of mixed emotions for some people. It was a normal day in 1991 when the Philippine Senate rejected the newly-signed US-RP Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security which would have maintained the US presence in Philippine territory for many more years.

To those who fought the treaty, September 16 marked the end of almost 100 years of the pervasive American presence. At long last, this country would be completely free and sovereign in the sense that for the first time in 470 years, it would no longer have foreign troops on its soil. Really? Just watch Mindanao and see that this ain't so.

September 16 marked the day the Philippines turned its back on a friend and benefactor, and invited the economic and political difficulties that would result from the loss of US support.

But for both the antis and the pros, September 16 is special in the sense that it marks a watershed in our history. Anti-treaty people say September 16 is Liberation Day, just like when the colonial rule by Spain and the military occupation by Japan were broken. The pro-treaty people say September 16 was the beginning of the day of infamy and betrayal.

President Corazon Aquino had said that the fight was not yet over. She announced she was calling for a referendum three months after (December) to let the people make the final decision. The Constitution provides, however, that this final act be given to the Senate with its treaty-ratifying powers. But President Aquino and her legal advisers said the same Constitution also gives the people the power to review and pass judgment on any act of Congress under the peoples' initiative and referendum system.

The signatures of three million citizens can compel the Commission on Elections to conduct a referendum on any act of government under public scrutiny.

Later on, scores of President Aquino's supporters refused to support her plan to hold a referendum to nullify the Senate's rejection of the treaty. It was a referen-doom.

Monday, September 14, 2009


The great Pablo Picasso had a friend who was an art collector and dealer. The gentleman asked Picasso to go through his collection and separate out the fakes and the forgeries from the real ones.

Picasso, going through his paintings - "real, real, fake, real .. that's fake .. that one too .. real, fake, real, real ..." - when his friend interrupts him.

"Wait, Pablo! That one's not a fake. I saw you paint it with my own eyes."

Picasso replies, "I can fake a Picasso as well as anyone else."

Back here at home, we do have a law punishing forgery of art works. There have been too many counterfeit paintings appearing in the market, especially from the masters such as Fernando Amorsolo, Juan Luna and Botong Francisco. The syndicates behind the fake masterpieces mean business. They had organized a lobby against this law and have even "silenced" a witness, a forger in their employ who was ready to testify against them. The law is necessary. Most of our courts simply warn that buyers must beware when looking around for collections. Caveat emptor, the courts say.

(Image from

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Isn't there a Supreme Court ruling that explicitly prohibits Cabinet members from holding additional posts such as chairmanships and directorships in government corporations like the GSIS, SSS, Philippine banks, and even the Philippine Airlines? If there is still an ounce of delicadeza in them, they should immediately resign such posts and furthermore, return the money they had earned from these juicy mini-thrones.

Many Cabinet members had scrambled to get directorships that carried huge honoraria and lavish perquisites. The Anti-Graft League and the Civil Liberties Union should ask the Supreme Court for an amendatory ruling directing these Cabinet men to return the sums they got from their additional positions.

In addition, there too is an anomaly in government which needs to be checked immediately. This is government officials' failure to liquidate their cash advances and insistence on making more such advances without making the proper accounting of previous ones. One top ranking current official in the government propaganda arm has unliquidated cash advances amounting to PhP 30 million already. Hence, how too can he build a mansion up in Tagaytay City with just a government official's salary unless of course he is into something immoral and illegal, like unliquidating his cash advances?