Monday, March 29, 2010


The entourage that accompanied the late President Corazon Aquino to West Germany in 1989 received immediate lessons in Teutonic respect for law and human rights even before landing on German soil. The PAL plane carrying the Aquino party was hovering over Bonn at 8 a.m. and had to stay aloft for some 30 minutes because of an early morning anti-noise law. German authorities were afraid that a 21-gun salute for President Aquino would wake up Bonn-Cologne residents. A flyover of German jets to welcome Cory was likewise called off because of a noise pollution law.

In her initial contact with German officials and the German press after the usual welcome amenities, the President was peppered with questions about the reported widespread violation of human rights in the Philippines. She was immediately forced into a defensive stance about her regime. She said reports of such violations were the handiwork of her political opponents and the communists in her country.

Inside her, she must have been cursing the day she released Jose Ma. 'Joma' Sison, Filipino Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chairman, from incarceration after the EDSA revolt. It was the Sison group, based in Utrecht, Holland, which successfully brainwashed the European press about human rights violations by the Aquino regime, described as worse than those under Marcos.

An eye-opener report to many Manilans was the revelation that among those in the Aquino party was resigned Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Philip Juico. If the report was true, it was asked, what in heaven's name was he doing in the delegation? Was it to deliver a message to certain government agencies still bent on prosecuting Juico for complicity in the aborted Garchitorena land scandal in spite of a presidential clearance already given him?

In her official talks with German leaders, President Cory stressed that one of her accomplishments was the dismantling of business monopolies set up during the Marcos regime.

But of course that was only for the consumption of the Germans. As many Filipinos know, she may have done away with the Marcos cronies, but she was helpless in stopping the return of powerful oligarchs demolished by Marcos and the appearance of new cronies (like the Lopezes and their ABS-CBN network), including several others in her administration.

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