Thursday, April 08, 2010


There was a time when at the utterance of the words "Padre Faura," the very first thing that comes to mind is not the priest but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the simple reason that it had its main offices on that street. The Foreign Affairs Department held offices then in Arlegui and Padre Faura - and now Roxas Boulevard.

When Raul Manglapus was its secretary, another street hounded him each waking day. This not-so-lonely-road was none other than Aguado, and over there frequented a group of grown-up boys aptly called the "Aguado Boys." They used to lord it over the DFA during the Marcos regime, while headquartered on Aguado street just across Malacanang. Their loyalty was to then Ambassador Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez. This team practically ran the DFA to the consternation of the foreign secretary and other DFA officials. But operations were smooth as silk, and without the usual bureaucratic red tape.

No promotions, assignments and budgets were okayed by the DFA then without prior clearance from Aguado.

And so Manglapus had to flex his muscles, and first to fall from his purge was Ambassador Ernesto Pineda, considered one of the closest confidantes of Kokoy. Pineda was consul-general to New York when Kokoy was ambassador to the US.

Pineda was relieved as DFA coordinator and placed in the freezer. It seemed his being the brother of former Malacanang legal counsel Flerida Ruth Romero did not in any way help.

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