Forgetting the Marcos dictatorship (1972-1986)


Jose V. Abueva
Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 23, 2016

Are we a soft, forgetting and forgiving nation? Remembering Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship and its incalculable harm has become so difficult. His family members were entrenched in political power soon after his death. And now his son, Sen. Bongbong Marcos, is running for vice president.

Marcos was elected president in 1965 and reelected in 1969 to serve only until 1973 under the 1935 Constitution. To extend his term, he declared martial law in September 1972 and ruled under his 1973 Constitution that legitimized his dictatorship.

On Aug. 21, 1983, Ninoy Aquino was assassinated upon his return from the United States to persuade Marcos to end one-man rule and restore democracy. Ninoy’s murder invigorated the suppressed opposition to the dictatorship. Years later, in an attempt to justify his continued rule, Marcos declared “snap” elections for president and vice president to be held on Feb. 7, 1986.

A team of international observers said the elections were “not conducted in a free and fair manner.” But Marcos had himself and Arturo Tolentino declared the election winners over Corazon Aquino and Salvador Laurel, galvanizing widespread protests.

Then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Gen. Fidel V. Ramos led a military coup against the dictator. Jaime Cardinal Sin summoned the people to converge on Edsa in support of Cory Aquino and the coup plotters against Marcos.

The resulting Edsa People Power Revolution forced Marcos and his family to flee Malacañang and leave the country on Feb. 25. They began their exile in Hawaii under the auspices of President Ronald Reagan and the US government.

The cumulative outcome and costs of Marcos’ dictatorship are incalculable. The plunder of the nation’s wealth is only one of the costly consequences of his evil rule. Take it from his wife Imelda: “We own practically everything in the Philippines … from electricity, telecommunications, airlines, banking, beer and tobacco, newspaper publishing, television stations, shipping, oil, mining, hotels and health resorts, down to coconut mills, small firearms, real estate and insurance.”

During Marcos’ two decades in power, the Philippines fell far behind other countries in Southeast Asia in the pursuit of development, and became the region’s “basket case.” Democracy was nonexistent, the economy was in ruins, and the culture of corruption, violence and cynicism flourished.

Thousands of Filipinos were killed, imprisoned, tortured, displaced from their homes and communities, or simply disappeared without a trace. The communist rebellion spread almost nationwide. And secessionist Moro rebels fought the government in Mindanao.

In the garrison state and its war zones, human rights were regularly violated by the combatants on both sides of the conflict. Marcos’ promise of a “bagong lipunan” (new society) of peace and development with freedom and equity never happened.

By usurping governmental powers and abusing them, Marcos betrayed his public trust to defend the Constitution. In brief, he betrayed our country.

And indeed, Filipinos have “a soft, forgiving culture,” as Lee Kuan Yew, the late former prime minister of Singapore, once observed.

As Raissa Robles wrote in the Inquirer (10/1/14): “The 1986 People Power Revolution did chop down the Marcos political tree. But its intricate roots that spread far and wide across the state bureaucracy and Philippine society remained intact. All the Marcoses had to do was nurture the roots and wait for the tree to grow back.

“In 1998, by Imee Marcos’ own reckoning, ‘we waited 12 years to be on the right side of the fence.’ Right side meant a political alliance with then victorious President-elect Joseph Estrada, velvet seats in Congress for Imee and her mother, and a governorship for Bongbong.”

A Marcos loyalist, Estrada also said he favored Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but backed out because of immense opposition to it.

Continued Robles: “An ecstatic Imee spilled the family’s secret to success: ‘Many professionals were appointed by my father. So you have this immense bedrock of Marcos appointees who keep moving up.’

“Like secret stay-behind units, this vast army of professionals scattered in all sectors of society have defended the Marcoses and helped erase the dark legacy of their regime. For various reasons, no post-Marcos administration made it a point to keep the memory of the atrocities and the greed alive and pass this on to the next generation.”

We may really be a soft, forgiving and forgetting nation. And especially because we have a political oligarchy: Many of our leaders belong to political dynasties. Most of them are mainly “transactional leaders” focused on political power and patronage for the voters’ support. They are not “transforming leaders” focused on our constitutional vision of building “a just and humane society” and “a democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, freedom, justice, love, equality and peace.”

And most of our over 100 million Filipinos were born after the Marcos dictatorship from September 1972 to February 1986. The educational system failed to inform them about the nation’s tragic experience under one-man rule.

Our nation-state has serious need for basic reform and national development. We need to modernize our education, culture and society; develop our economy, reduce mass poverty, and curb rapid population growth; strengthen the middle class as the bastion of democracy; and reform our political institutions. All these we must do in order to be effective in fulfilling our lofty constitutional vision of building a just and humane society and a real democracy under the rule of law.

Jose V. Abueva is the 16th president and a professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines. He is also the founding president of Kalayaan College and cofounder of the Movement for a Nonkilling Philippines and the Centrist Democratic Party-Ang Partido ng Tunay na Demokrasya.

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2016, Our Challenging Year Unfolding

A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva
The Bohol Chronicle
January 3, 2016

Looking back first. Globally, “2015, was “a year of both despair and hope” according to The Huffington Post. The despair: “Americans died tragically, from Baltimore to San Bernardino, California. In Paris, a deadly shooting devastated the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January, and a series of terror attacks, for which the self-described Islamic State claimed credit, killed at least 130 in November. Civil wars and terrorist campaigns plagued the Middle East and North Africa, driving many to flee their homes in search of safety.”

“But 2015 was also a year of hope. The people of Ireland voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and international leaders adopted a watershed agreement to try to mitigate climate change. In July, Iran and six world powers reached a historic deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lighter economic sanctions. And while European countries disagreed on how to resolve the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis, many individual Europeans stepped up to show solidarity with and support for the newcomers.”

“More than 1 million refugees and migrants fleeing the global disorder of civil war, poverty and persecution in 2015 landed on Europe’s doorstep. It is the largest crisis of displaced people since world war ravaged the European continent seven decades ago.”

China’s official vision and dream, and her oppression of small neighbors. “Internationally, China will do its best to embrace peace and shared prosperity, growing together with its neighbors and beyond to achieve better standards of living. xxx For its own self-interest, China will develop and maintain a good neighbor policy….”
In fact, China continues to dominate, militarize, and exploit the seas and islands belonging neighboring Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Ignoring the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, of which she is a signatory, China ignores the Philippines’ recourse to the U.N. Permanent Arbitration Court in the Hague for the settlement of the dispute.
We are hopeful that the favorable judgment of the U.N. Court will strengthen our side in our conflict with China. As well as the other ASEAN countries victimized by China.
We must understand our 2016 elections and candidates in the context of our constitutional vision of our society and democracy. In the Preamble of our 1987 Constitution, the fundamental law of our land, we Filipinos are committed to build: (1) “a just and humane society” and (2) “a democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace.”

Sa wikang Filipino, sabi ng Preamble ng ating 1987 Konstitusyon: Nais nating “itatag ang lipunang makatarungan at makatao.” At “ang demokrasya sa ilalim ng batas at ng rehimen ng katutuhanan, hustisya, kalayaan, pagibig, pagkapantay-pantay, at kalinaw.”

Knowing and evaluating our national and local candidates. Ideally, therefore, as good citizens and with our constitutional vision in mind, we should evaluate our national and local candidates on: (1) the relevance of their campaign promises, party or alliance platform to our national problems of poverty, exploitation, and injustice; and (2) on their individual character, abilities, and experience as leaders.

One of our many serious political problems is the lack of an authentic political party platform or program of government of some presidential candidates. In fact some of them have no established political party accredited by the Commission on Elections. Some presidential candidates depend mostly on their celebrity and personal popularity, and their perceived win-ability.
Senator Grace Poe is a very popular, party-less presidential candidate. She was a foundling baby in Iloilo with no known parentage. She popularized herself as the adopted daughter of the late movie king and failed presidential candidate, Fernando Poe and his also well-known wife and movie queen, Susan Roces.

Performing well as Senator, Poe has been disqualified by the Commission on Elections in her presidential candidacy for not being a natural-born Philippine citizen and her lack of ten years of residency in the Philippines. Once a naturalized U.S. citizen she gave up that citizenship. On her appeal the Supreme Court may rule on the finality of her disqualification.

Poe’s running mate for VP is Chiz Escudero, the leading candidate. He glories on his glib tongue and personal popularity; and on his beauteous second wife, Heart Evangelista as campaign attraction. He left his first wife and took with him their two children.

The Nationalist Alliance Party candidate is Vice-President Jejomar Binay, a known loyalist to Ninoy and Cory Aquino, and the veteran Mayor of Makati. He has been tried and convicted of corruption and plunder charges but has avoided imprisonment. Projecting himself as the champion of the poor, he has travelled continually and campaigned vigorously, thus projecting himself as the nation’s known champion of the many who are poor. He defeated Mar Roxas as the Liberal Party VP candidate of BS Aquino III in 2010. Binay is leader of his family dynasty: successive mayors of Makati and a senator. Congress has not passed the law required by our 1987 Constitution to abolish family dynasties. What kind of a democracy do we have?

Binay manages to be a leading presidential candidate in credible national public opinion surveys. What kind of political culture and presidential government do we have?

Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas is campaigning on his unquestioned honesty, executive ability, and the Liberal Party platform. His VP candidate is Representative Leni Robredo, the able economist-lawyer, and widow of the veteran and admired tsinelas Mayor of Naga City, Jesse Robredo. He died in a plane crash as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government. Roxas and Robredo struggle hard and hope to overcome and win.

Davao Mayor Digong Duterte is running as veteran strong-man, law and order leader. He boasts in having lawless citizens killed for the public good. He is the only presidential candidate advocating a constitutional amendment: for federalism. His running mate is Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. They are candidates of the PDP-Laban Party. Duterte is popular and hopeful.

The veteran and voracious Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is running again as presidential candidate. Incredibly, she picked as running-mate Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos. He is the son of our country’s worst president: the plundering dictator Ferdinand Marcos in whose terms thousands of people were killed or just disappeared. His mother, Imelda, was the imperious and extravagant Governor of Metro Manila.

After 20 years as president, Ferdinand was defeated by Cory Aquino as the people’s candidate in February 1986. And he was banished to exile in Hawaii in the EDSA People Power Revolution of February 1986. Since then for long, Imelda has been a Representative, and Bongbong’s sister the Governor of Ilocos Norte. Why are so many of our people oblivious to the abuses of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and forgiving to them and all their family members? What kind of political culture do we have!

So what is the true state of our assumed Philippine democracy? Following is a summary of
the assessment made by four leading Filipino political scientists in their great 2011 book, Chasing the Wind: Assessing Philippine Democracy. Felipe B. Miranda, U.P.; Temario C. Rivera, International Christian University (Tokyo); Malaya C. Ronas, U.P.; Ronald D. Holmes, De La Salle University.
“They challenge our conventional wisdom that the Philippines is a democracy. Going beyond the traditional approaches to understanding democracy, the authors offer a re-conceptualization of democracy anchored on three essential elements: (1) an expanded notion of public accountability; (2) a sensitivity to regime outcomes particularly on key indicators of human development; and (3) a definite period for assessing the effectiveness of these practices and outcomes. xxx While critical of the failed democratization process in the country, the authors do affirm the urgency of collectively struggling for a truly democratic order.
“Much of the current confusion in classifying a regime as democratic stems from an overly liberal analytical bias that permits non-democratic and even anti-democratic regimes to pass themselves off as some species of democracy albeit clearly saddled with critical deficiencies in terms of popular sovereignty, rule of law, free and competitive elections, public accountability and other bona fides of any functional democracy. Historically, this bias has benefited corrupt, anti-democratic, oligarchic ruling elites that lean on paper constitutions even as they violate these constitutions’ democratic provisions with much impunity.” Felipe B. Miranda.
“We have not had any successful transition to a democratic regime. We have failed to meet even the minimum conditions of a procedural democracy: free and fair elections. How can we even refer to our system as a “democracy” when much of its electoral contests continue to be perverted by outright violence and coercion. Moreover, powerful political clans have consistently dominated various national and local positions in the country, foreclosing the prospects of wider electoral competition and political participation.” Temario C. Rivera.
“The actual practice of the presidential form of government in the Philippines deviates from the principle of separation of powers and system of checks and balances aimed at preventing the abuse of power to protect the rights of the people. The vast power of the presidency has resulted in an executive hegemony which has weakened the legislature, judiciary, and constitutional bodies and has stalled the democratization of our country.” Malaya C. Rona
“Civil society and the decentralization process have not really propelled democratization in the country as both arenas continue to suffer from innate systemic limits and institutional and organizational weaknesses.” Ronald D. Holmes
So, on the bases of our actual leaders, citizens, and political institutions, we can best claim to be “an aspiring democracy.”
Our Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines, Partido ng Tunay na Demokrasya, offers our ideology, vision, and mission to transform our political system, leadership, and citizenship toward our vision and mission in our 1987 Constitution!

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A Boholano’s View December 27, 2015

A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva
The Bohol Chronicle
December 27, 2015

This is not my own “View” as a Boholano. As we were approaching this year’s celebration of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, it was my appreciation of the profound and compelling view of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, as told to us by Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA, that I received in the Internet on 17 November 2009. It is his view of “Jesus as Christ the King.”

I use Fr. Kirstein’s view of “Jesus as Christ the King” because, usually, as we approach our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25 we are overwhelmed by our secular ideas and materialistic feelings of Christmas parties and programs and the exchange gifts. Some of our songs on this occasion don’t even mention Jesus Christ, God the Son, and His mother, Saint Mary, our Mother Mary.

Here is the message of Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA.

“Christ, the King of the Universe. (Daniel 7.13-14: Revelation 1.5-8: John 18.33b-37)

“At one stage I worked in an African country where there were a number of different kinds of idolatry so-called. For some it was the worship of carved images they believed represented their gods. Others were termed animists because they were spirit worshippers worshipping the spirits of the river, the sun or the earth believing they gave them life and nourishment. Others still were voodoo worshippers and so on.

“We may think that idolatry belongs to these primitive peoples of the past only. We may feel we are superior with the great advances in modern science, medicine and technology but this is not so. Modern peoples have their idols too and how they worship these idols. Money is the most common idol today. But there are others – possessions, pleasure, drugs, alcohol, success, fame or power. Idolatry at best leads to a superficial life, and at worst to a debased life. But the greatest harm idolatry does is that it causes people to forget the true God.

We know too that people can also make idols of themselves. In dictatorships and in former communist states the leaders made idols of themselves, pictures, and statues etc. The leaders put themselves on pedestals. Then when communism collapsed many of the idols were pulled down and smashed, as was the case in Iraq with the statues on pedestals of Saddam Hussein.

Today in the gospel on the feast of Christ the Universal King we see a different image of a true leader. The vision of Christ the King and Lord of the universe as portrayed in the 2 first readings and Responsorial Psalm is one of great majesty and power; of glory and eternal dominion, of one who rules over an eternal and everlasting kingdom, a kingdom which can never be destroyed.

“But how different is that portrait to the one we find in the gospel, where Jesus, a prisoner of the Jewish authorities, is brought before Pilate to be interrogated by him. Here stands a man who is captive and helpless being questioned by a provincial political functionary of no great international importance.

“When Pilate questioned Jesus, ‘are you the King of the Jews?’ it was not as if he took the accusation seriously. He was curious to know what this man had to say for himself. In the encounter between the two it is obvious that Jesus is the one in command. There was a quiet authority about everything he said and did. We have to distinguish between authority and influence. Some people with great moral authority or spiritual power, like Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King, were quite powerless but still have great influence over others. Accordingly they don’t need to coerce others. So it was with Jesus. On the other hand political or military leaders like Pilate when in power depend on large armies to keep total control over their subjects. Pilate had power over people; Jesus had great influence over them.

What then are we celebrating when we pay homage to Christ the Universal King? If we take his life seriously, it had nothing to do with political power, economic might or earthly prestige. Indeed Jesus made this quite clear in his reply to Pilate’s question:’ my kingship is not of this world, if my kingship were of this world my servants would fight that I might not be handed over to the Jews, but my kingship is not of this world’.

It is obvious then that the Christ’s kingdom has nothing to do with power or politics. If Christ can lay claim to his kingdom, it can only be by a battle for the minds of men and women; a battle where truth will overcome the power of darkness which distorts our perception of ourselves and the world around us, a battle where love will overcome hatred and sufferings, the wars and all the evil and hurt causes by hatred. That is why in the Preface of today’s Mass, [Christ the King]we describe Christ’s kingdom as a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, peace and love.

We might well ask ourselves today: ‘where are we personally in all this?’ How do I work for peace, justice, truth and love? It is in our homes, our schools, our workplace, and our recreations where the struggle takes place. And we know it is not an easy struggle. That is why we need to pray often to the powerful Holy Spirit to help us to be true subjects of Jesus who are known, not just by what we say but above all by what we do. Sometimes it might give us a different emphasis if we speak about the reign of Jesus our Universal King in daily life.

Yet Jesus is not really our King unless we are consciously his subjects. He is not our King if we do not listen to him, love him, serve him, and follow him. He is not our King if we do not actively identify with the goals, the aims of his kingship. We come under his kingship not just because we are baptised or carry the name Christian or Catholic nor even because we involve ourselves in various religious activities. We can say we really belong to his kingship, as already said, when we try to walk with him, when we try to live our lives fully in the spirit of the Gospel, when that Gospel spirit penetrates every facet of our living.

And we cannot really follow Jesus our King until we know him better. This requires more than just a nodding acquaintance with the Gospel and the New Testament. Prayer too is very important.

Finally we believe that Jesus is not only the King of Christians but Lord of the whole universe as the second reading tells us. But he is a very special kind of King and Lord. It is the responsibility of each one of us to get to know him better and to help others to know him better: a King who loves unconditionally a King who wants to be reconciled with the sinner, a King who wants to help and heal the sick and the weak a King who is humble and not proud, a King who wants to share his life with us – forever.

Lord Jesus, help us to allow you to be truly king in our own personal lives. Amen.”

Thank you so much, Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA
Jose “Pepe” Abueva

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President P-Noy’s 5th and Last SONA

A Boholano View of Jose “Pepe” Abueva
The Bohol Chronicle
August 2, 2015 

About 4 o’clock in the afternoon on Monday, July 27, the nation watched our President deliver his fifth and last “State of the Nation” address. I watched him on television in my room at the Bohol Tropics Hotel in Tagbilaran. (I just happened to be there to receive my recognition as one of the eight “Today’s Outstanding Boholanos in the World” in the evening.)

President P-Noy’s 5th and last “State-of-the-Nation Address.” In our history this was the longest SONA ever delivered: 2 hours and 12 minutes. The SONA is required of every President in our 1987 Constitution.  Much of his address was indeed very substantive. A good part of it was also used to thank his colleagues and fellow leaders, supporters, even relatives and his yaya. He also used a great deal of posted interviews and films. Speaking entirely in Tagalog, he evidently meant to reach out to as many citizens nationwide. By this he has succeeded more than any other Filipino president.


  • Appointed people with integrity and independence (Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Commission on Audit Chair Grace Pulido-Tan, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima).
  • Increased the dividends of government-owned and -controlled corporations to P131.86 billion in five years
  • Increased BIR collections to P1.3 trillion.
  • No more reenacted budgets (unlike under some presidents) .
  • Better world perception of the Philippines: “Asia’s Rising Tiger,” “Asia’s Rising Star,” and “Asia’s Bright Spot.”
  • Increased foreign investments with P6.2 billion in 2014, the highest in our history.
  • Increased local investments with P2.09 billion.
  • 8-percent growth of the manufacturing sector.
  • Lower unemployment rate, at 6.8 percent, the lowest in the past decade.
  • Better labor and management relations; total strikes down to only 15.
  • Expanded beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to 4.4 million households.
  • By 2013, no more backlogs in the number of textbooks, classrooms and chairs.
  • Started to implement K to 12 Program.
  • 6 million finished TESDA courses; with 71.9 to 91.26 employment rate.
  • Doubled Phil-Health beneficiaries to 89.4 million; covered the poorest 40 percent by 2014.
  • Completed the Cadastral Survey.
  • Accomplished 78 percent of Sitio Electrification Program.
  • Philippine air carriers now off European Union blacklists.
  • European Maritime Safety Agency continues to recognize our maritime education certificates (saving the jobs of 800,000 Filipino mariners).
  • In process to buy out the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) private maintenance contractor.
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization—acquired/bought 2 C-130, three C-295 medium lift transport. and 2 2-212 light lift transport, 6 landing craft utility, 12 FA-50 fighter, etc. Completed 56 modernization. projects and approved 30 more.
  • PNP equipment to “shoot, scoot and communicate”—302 patrol jeeps of 2,523 bought have been delivered; 12, 399 handheld radios; 30,136 long firearms; 3,328 investigative kids and 16,867 radios.
  • Oplan Lambat-Sibat able to arrest 163,00 wanted persons and neutralize over 1,000 gangs; decreased homicide cases to 23 per week.
  • Built 57,000 housing units for men and women in the armed services.
  • Infrastructure: completed Lullutan Bridge in Isabela province and Jalaur River Multipurpose Project in Iloilo. province; started/ongoing projects include Balog-Balog Multipurpose Project Phase 2 in Tarlac, Basilan. Circumferential Road, Muntilupa-Cavite Expressway.
  • 50 ongoing public-private partnership projects.
  • SWS survey: 8 out of 10 Filipinos trust the Philippines will be among the “developed countries.”
  • European Commission lifted yellow card/ban for Philippine fish products. “SONA HIGHLIGHTS. AQUINO’S REPORT CARD 5.” Philippine Daily Inquirer. July 28, 2015.

Frequent and loud applause from the Senate and House of Representatives and guests. Indeed the President had an appreciative and cheerful direct audience who liked whom they saw and heard personally.

Loud approval from business. This report came from PDI reporters who said it was because this sector benefits the most from his reforms that provide a springboard for the country to continue to grow economically.  The President emphasized the gains made in terms of his anticorruption campaign and on the infrastructure front, his focus. He contrasted the country’s present situation with the state of things before he came to office in 2010. He stressed that investors continued to line up to bid for big ticket projects under his Administration’s  public-private (PPP) program.

Expressed failure of President P-Noy.   “Serbisyo palpak,” said Gabriela Rep. Emmie de Jesus. Mapang-aping asendero, said Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap. “Walang pagbabago” said other lawmakers. The President’s mention of the need for passing the anti-dynasty bill was too late in his term, as if he did not seriously mean it, and did not want to offend his political friends who mostly belong to family dynasties. Militant critics emphasized the real need is system change. Former Bayan Representative Teddy Casiño said: “There was no straight path under Aquino. The past five years of Aquino were a ‘failed leadership.” The President’s mention of the need for passing the anti-dynasty bill was too late in his term, as if he did not seriously mean it and did not want to offend his political friends. According to the latest Social Weather Stations report, the nation’s self-rated poverty is unchanged at 51 percent. Some 11.2 million families consider themselves poor, while 8.1 million consider themselves food-poor. 

President P-Noy’s Full and Final Report on His Presidency (2010-2016). Before he turns over his presidency to his successor on June 30, 2016—the President we shall elect in May 2016—President P-Noy will deliver a more important and comprehensive address to the Filipino people to fulfill his national accountability for his full six-year term as the 12th President of the Republic: June 30, 2010 to June 30, 2016. 

The opportunity will be provided him by the University of the Philippines Public Lectures on the Presidency and Administration of Benigno S. Aquino III. These lectures are to be delivered by the members of his Cabinet starting about March 20, 2016; and concluded by his own valedictory lecture/address to the nation in the first week of May 2016. All the lectures will be edited and published in one volume: The Presidency and Administration of Benigno S. Aquino III (2010-2016). 

As the outgoing 12th President of the Republic of the Philippines, President Benigno S. Aquino III will be able to give a copy of the volume to his successor on June 30, 2016, the presidential turnover ceremony at Rizal Park in Manila.

We should remember that outgoing President Corazon C. Aquino presented an autographed copy of her book, The Aquino Administration: Record and Legacy (1986-1992). U.P. Public Lectures on the Presidency and Administration of Corazon C. Aquino. 1992, to her successor, President Fidel V. Ramos on June 30, 1992.

Altogether our Center for Leadership, Citizenship and Democracy, U.P. National College of Public Administration and Governance, produced three volumes on The Presidency and Administration of Corazon C. Aquino in 2002-2003. I respectfully request President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to see these books again. 

  1. The Aquino Administration: Record and Legacy (1986-1992).
  2. The Aquino Presidency and Administration (1986-1992). Contemporary Assessments and “The Judgment of History?”
  3. Corazon C. Aquino: Early Assessments of Her Political Leadership and Her Place in History.



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July 4, 1946, not June 12, 1898 is Our True “Independence Day.” And How Should We Celebrate Our True Independence Day?

A Boholano View of Jose “Pepe” Abueva
The Bohol Chronicle
June 21, 2015 

Based on historical and legal realities, the Philippines became a legal or de jure Republic on July 4, 1946. On this date the Philippine Commonwealth under U.S. colonial rule ended. The Republic of the Philippines came into being as a de jure republic recognized by the United States, and by several other states. The Philippines had been a recognized member of the United Nations when this was formed even before we became an independent nation-state.

President Diosdado Macapagal declared that our independence day should be June 12, 1898. On his cue, “On August 4, 1964, Republic Act 4166 renamed July 4 holiday as ‘Philippine Republic Day,’ [and] proclaimed June 12 as ‘Philippine Independence Day.’”

President Macapagal reckoned the independence of the Filipinos from foreign (Spanish) colonial rule because General Emilio Aguinaldo declared the nation’s independence from Spain in Cavite on June 12, 1898.

In fact, on June 12, 1898 the Filipinos were still under Spanish rule. The U.S. Navy, under Admiral George Dewey, was in Manila Bay and his forces prevented General Aguinaldo from capturing the remaining Spanish military forces in Manila. The USA was determined to realize its imperialistic and colonial intentions toward the Filipinos and Filipinas.

And when General Emilio Aguinaldo was proclaimed Presidente at Malolos on January 23, 1899 and the Republica de Filipinas was established at the Malolos Congress in March 1899, Islas Filipinas had been ceded by Spain to the United States of America under the Treaty of Paris of December 10, 1898, for US$10 million.

Curiously, on December 24, 1898, before Aguinaldo was proclaimed Presidente of Republica de Filipinas, the last Spanish Governor General, Diego de los Rios, surrendered the entire Islas Filipinas to the formative Federal Republic of the Visayas led by General Martin Delgado based in Santa Barbara, Iloilo. On Christmas day, December 25, 1898, General Delgado declared the independence of the Federal Republic of the Visayas from Spain. [I owe this information to Amando Doronila in his column, “The end of the Spanish empire,” June 19, 2015] where he quotes from “The Rise and Fall of the Federal Republic of the Visayas,” by Dinggol Araneta Divinagracia.]

Was Governor General de los Rios unaware of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898? I suppose in those times they could not readily communicate from Spain or the U.S.A. to the Philippines in 14 days?

Filipino Revolutionarios in Luzon, Iloilo, Cebu, Bohol, Samar, and Mindanao fought the Spanish forces and then the American imperial invaders. In due course, all Filipino resistance to the American invaders ended. On July 4, 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt officially ended the Filipino-American War, known to the U.S.A. as “The Philippine Insurrection.”

In fact, Republica de Filipinas or the so-called first Philippine Republic led by Emilio Aguinaldo was only a de facto republic because it was not recognized by any state to become de jure. Indeed, Filipinas had been ceded by Spain to the United States.

The U.S. sponsored Philippine Commonwealth ended and became a de jure Republic of the Philippines only on July 4, 1946. In fact, this is our real “Independence Day.” Under oppressive Japanese military rule, the Philippines also had a fake Japanese-sponsored independence from the United States.

The Philippine Star had a meaningful, critical editorial, “No flag-waving where it matters,” on the observance of our Independence Day on June 12, 2015 that is really worth quoting at length. Which I shall do hereon.

“INDEPENDENCE Day should be an occasion for bragging – with false modesty, of course – by any country, of its landmark economic, political, social and, yes, military achievements in the years after it frees itself from colonial, oppressive overlords. In the case of the Philippines, the latter are the Spaniards, the Americans and the Japanese.

“President Benigno S. Aquino III chose to mark it differently by singing praises of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, presumably his anointed candidate in 2016 to succeed him as the country’s leader.

“The President, instead, should have spoken about Filipinos not going hungry, not having to make dropouts of their children whom they can no longer afford to send to school, not having to bear with a mother who opts to work as a maid in a richer country to make both ends meet for the family she leaves behind, not having to eat for breakfast such news as the monumental corruption that has entrenched people in high places and not seeing them get away with it. xxx

“In past Independence Day celebrations, military parades were the norm, with the Quirino Grandstand in Manila’s Rizal Park (Luneta) teeming with common folk given a sense of security, even a false one, perhaps, and engulfed by national pride at the sight of soldiers marching in precision before the President and foreign diplomats, as well as proud representatives from various government agencies calling attention to accomplishments in agriculture, the sciences, the civil service and other areas with their colorful  floats and equally disciplined walk-bys before Filipinos and the world.

“We don’t get them anymore, 117 years [actually only 69 years from 1946] after we won freedom from the Americans, on whose “benevolence” our present-day leaders still depend for external security through such arrangements as the EDCA, VFA, even the MDT that is unbelievably more than 60 years old, and the list would probably go on.

“What we get are motherhood statements, the very same ones made by Aquino’s predecessors, from 1946 to 2010, a case of hearing one and hearing all, and one that ironically gets lapped up by generations of Filipinos to whom independence seems to have no meaning at all.

“Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay, in separate Independence Day speeches that were made public on the eve of June 12, talked about ridding the country of poverty – a mantra it really is, especially when hearing it from two millionaires who both probably have not taken a ride in one of those train systems whose operators practically run over their customers with their high fares and poor services.

“The President goes, “We call on you to exercise the rights and freedom borne from the toil of our ancestors and continue toward shaping a more proactive and mature discourse, perpetuating positive change to the broader spectrum of society, and emancipating our citizenry from the shackles of poverty, corruption and greed.”

“Not to be outdone, Binay goes, “Because of our collective struggle, the Filipino now enjoys many liberties. Yet, our freedom is not complete, for the spectre of poverty continues to cast its large shadow on many of our people despite the nation’s macroeconomic progress over recent years.” xxx The Philippines blew many times over its claim to national freedom and sovereignty when it had to mark its Independence Day through decree, not creed or other more honorable means.

“Its citizens seem to have become jaded to June 12, anyway.

“In public places that matter, such as light-rail train stations that serve millions daily, not one Philippine flag was in sight, not even on the eve of Independence Day.

“Among city folk, no flag-waving was to be seen, either.

“But as of this writing, we were holding our breath for the fireworks.
If the pyrotechnic display falls short of expectations, however, then we have to accept that we are not really celebrating anything at all.” [End of extended quoting of the Philippine Star editorial, June 13, 2015.]

What should the President of the Philippines say to the nation on our Independence Day? 

On our Independence Day as a nation-state since 1987, I believe that what matters most to our nation and citizens of our Republic is the true and honest answer to the question: 

“What have the incumbent President and our entire government, and our people as citizens, achieved in relation to our national vision articulated in our 1987 Constitution: to “build a just and humane society” and “a democracy under the rule of law, and a regime of truth, freedom, justice, love, equality, and peace.”

Our many political leaders  hardly make an authentic  accounting of what they have done as duly elected representatives of our sovereign citizens in our democratic Republic.

The State-of-the Nation addresses of our presidents do not serve this purpose well.

Although some Philippine presidents, like President Corazon C. Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos, have rendered their public accounting of their presidency and administration as their term ended. And these are recorded by the U.P. National College of Public Administration and Governance in cooperation with Presidents Corazon C. Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

President Joseph Ejercito Estrada could not render his public accounting of his presidency and administration after he was removed from office by an extra-constitutional “people power revolt.”

We want to know whether President B.S. Aquino III will honor the established “U.P. Public Lectures on the Philippine Presidency” as self-assessments by outgoing presidents and political administrations.” 

To her great honor the President’s mother, President Cory, patriotically and graciously inaugurated the U.P. Public Lectures as a fitting and supreme act of national accountability of the outgoing President of the Philippines to the sovereign citizens of our Republic.

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Albert Einstein’s letter to daughter, Lieserl

A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva
The Bohol Chronicle
June 14, 2015

By good fortune, my dear friend and celebrated poet, Gemino Abad, and his wife, Mercy, forwarded to me this letter on June 8, 2015.

Very gladly I’m now sharing it with the readers of the Bohol Chronicle.

From Einstein! — on Love as the Universal Force/Energy!

Thanks always, Pepe, for sharing your column [in the Bohol Chronicle]!!

Jimmy & Mercy

In the late 1980s, Lieserl, the daughter of the famous genius, donated 1,400 letters, written by Einstein, to the Hebrew University, with orders not to publish their contents until two decades after his death. This is one of them, for Lieserl Einstein. 

A letter from Albert Einstein to his daughter:

“When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.

I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below. 

There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us.

This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force.

Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it.
Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others.

Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals.

For love we live and die.
Love is God and God is Love.

This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.

To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation.

If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.

After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…

If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.

Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.

However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.

When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.

I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! “.

Your father Albert Einstein

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Knowing and judging our political leaders

A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva
The Bohol Chronicle
June 7, 2015

How do we know about the performance of our Boholano political leaders and our top national leaders: President B.S. Aquino III and Vice-President Jejomar Binay?

Dili tagna-tagna. Not by guessing, but scientifically, through a reputable social survey organization that conducts an annual poll of the sentiments of Boholanos on social, economic, and political issues of local and national concern. This is the Holy Name University Center for Research and Publications established in 2000. As a fellow of SWS for many years, I know personally that the SWS, led by former U.P. economist Dr. Mahar Mangahas, helped in organizing the HNU survey organization.

Led by Project Manager Ma. Paz Jiminez-Espiritu, the Bohol Poll 2015 (political survey) was conducted by the HNU-CRP from March 26 to April 17, 2015. The public presentation of its report was made on April 28, 2015. The report was carried in the Bohol Chronicle on May 3, 2015. I am depending heavily on the report of the HNU-CRP as published in the Bohol Chronicle. Daghang salamat sa HNU-CRP ug sa Bohol Chronicle! 

Gihigugma nato ang Bohol: “Heart of the islands, truly Philippines!”

Bol-anons care for their home province and are personally and politically conscious as citizens and coprovincianos.  They want their needs and opinions known to their local leaders and local governments. They can also see and feel what their provincial and local leaders do to serve them if they do.

According to the Bohol Poll 2015, Bol-anons are highly pleased with our Governor and Vice-Governor, our Tagbilaran City Mayor, and our three Congressmen.   

But Bol-anons are dissatisfied with President Aquino III and Vice-President Binay.  Bol-anons also care for our whole nation and the National Government. But they see our top national leaders from a greater distance, much less personally, and mostly through their images and reported work, praise, and criticism in the mass media.

Bulahan jud tang mga Bol-anon sa atong mga lider sa probinsya. We should know that Bohol has been noted  “The best governed province” in the Philippines. And Governor Edgar M. Chatto is reputed to be among the best governors of the Philippines. A Galing Pook awardee, he is also chairman of the Central Visayas Regional Council. 

Although I am a non-resident Bol-anon, how do I know Governor Chatto? As a long-time U.P.

scholar on political leadership, and a member of Governor Chatto’s U.P. Advisory Council, I came to know him personally in our several meetings. He is “a sensitive, progressive, modern, and transforming “Servant Leader.” Occasionally, I also attend the Governor’s meetings in Tagbilaran.

Last February I attended a meeting of the Bohol Sangguniang Panglalawigan chaired by Vice-Governor Concepcion Lim to discuss Bohol’s commitment to be “a nonkilling province,” the first province to join the national “Movement for a Nonkilling Philippines.” This was on Governor Chatto’s initiative.

Tagbilaran is now fortunate to be led by City Mayor John Geesnel “BABA” Yap. Angayan na tan-awon, maayo pang magdumala. Maayong laki! 

“Excellent  rating” of Chatto administration. Boholano voters in the provincial survey gave the Governor and Vice-Governor an “excellent” and a “very good” awareness and satisfaction rating. A great majority of Boholanos (88 percent) was satisfied with Governor Edgar M. Chatto’s performance.  This was a net “excellent satisfaction rating of +83, an increase by one from last year’s +82. Only very few (5%) expressed dissatisfaction with Governor Chatto’s performance.

Vice-Governor Concepcion Lim scored a “very good” net satisfaction rating from 73% of Boholano voters,  with  +62 points, an increase by 3 points from +59 in 2014.  

But in controlling Graft and Corruption, almost half of the provincial voters (41%) judged the provincial government as “poor,” with a net satisfaction rating of -14, a loss of 12 points from -2

in 2014. Providing support for the promotion of Agriculture showed the biggest drop of 29 points from last year. The program of ensuring adequate food supply fell short of one-third of Boholano voters.

Although majority (55%) of the voters were satisfied with the efforts to protect the environment, still the net satisfaction rating of +32  considered “good” fell by 20 points from 2014. We should recall that Bohol was buffeted by natural calamities: earthquake, flood, and a month-long blackout that hit the province. Promoting tourism suffered a 24 point drop from +68 to a net satisfaction rating of +44 with a slight majority (62%) satisfied with the government’s effort.

With efforts to protect life and liberty close to half of the voters (49%) showed satisfaction. Promoting investments remained good at +32, despite the 12 point drop from (+44). 

91% “Excellent satisfaction” for Tagbilaran Mayor John Gessnel “Baba” Yap. He went up 20 points from his rating in 2014 in the same citizens’ survey by the HNU-CRP. What an overwhelming majority!  Tagbilaran voters surveyed gave these 2015 ratings to Mayor Yap (2014 ratings are given in parenthesis): (1) Promoting Investments: +51 (+47); (2) Protecting the Environment: +55   (+45); (3) Providing Livelihood Opportunities and Employment: +24 (+25); (4) Traffic Management: +49  (+28); (5) Reducing Graft and Corruption: +6  (-1); (6) Ensuring Adequacy of Drinking Water: +69  (+66); (7) Protecting Life and Property: +36  (+31).

A believer in sincerity, transparency, and accountability in governance, Mayor Yap’s ratings also clearly show his effectiveness in serving his Tagbilaran constituency and uplifting the condition of our capital city of Bohol. 

Our  Congressmen. All three congressmen of Bohol fared well in the 2015 survey. Congressman Arthur Yap, 3rd District, had 74% of his constituents satisfied, the highest satisfaction rating among the three congressmen in the province. The survey showed Congressman Yap leading with net rating of +69, followed by both Congressmen Aumentado and Relampagos with +63. 

Majority of Yap’s constituents remained in the bandwagon Bohol HEART program, citing economic development in the third district, and impressive bills passed in the House of Representatives. [I know him to be approachable, hardworking, and helpful. JVAbueva]  

Congressman Erico Aristotle Aumentado, 2nd District, had 73% of his constituents satisfied with his performance, and 10% dissatisfied. 

Congressman Rene Lopez Relampagos, 1st District, had 70% of his constituents satisfied and 7% dissatisfied. He said:As a public servant, knowing that people appreciate what I am doing fuels me to work harder for the Boholanos. xxx Somehow, it is a validation that I am in the right track and that what I am doing has truly helped the Boholano people improve their lives.” [As chairman of the House Committee on Tourism, Relampagos has high public visibility nationally; and he is well appreciated for his needed impact on tourism in Bohol. [My observation and impression, JV Abueva.] 

President B.S. Aquino III and Vice-President Jejomar “don’t seem good anymore.” This is what the Bohol Chronicle said in reporting the Boholanos’ assessment of their leadership by Bol-anon voters in the 2015 poll by HNU-SRC.

President Aquino’s net satisfaction rating took a plunge of 24 points—from +67 in 2014 to +43 in 2015. Six out of ten (63%) Boholano voters were satisfied with Aquino’s performance, while two out of ten were not satisfied. 

Vice-President Binay’s net satisfaction rating also nose-dived by 39 points from +71 to +32. Majority of the Boholano voters (54%) expressed satisfaction with his performance, while a plurality (22%) were dissatisfied.






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