A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva
The Bohol Chronicle
May 3, 2015
Happy Labor Day and “Feast Day of St. Joseph!
On May 1, I received a text message from my old friend, Marietta Goco, that said: “Happy Feastday! (Gen1:26—2:3;MT13:54-58.) Today is Labor Day, Feast Day of St. Joseph, the Worker.
“‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son,’ the people belittled Jesus, referring to his earthly guardian, Joseph the carpenter. They did not know that Jesus’ Heavenly Father was The Master Carpenter of the Universe!
“God sent His son to build his Kingdom of Justice and Love, and all who participate with Jesus in building the Kingdom on earth, also build their dwelling place in heaven.
“To start the construction, God chose a simple working man to teach His Son the dignity of labor and the value of family, so vital in building up the Kingdom.
Let us learn from St. Joseph’s silent devotion to God, family and work, to labor not just for money but as an offering of Love to make our country and God’s Kingdom a better place for all who follow.
“St. Joseph, pray for us and our family! Lead us to Jesus and everlasting glory! AMEN.”
What a beautiful, heavenly blessing came to me that day from a thoughtful friend in Pangasinan. Marietta Goco did not know that my mother, Nena Veloso Abueva, and my father Teodoro Lloren Abueva, also named me “Jose,” after St. Joseph.
I do distinctly remember that Pope Francis greatly admired St. Joseph in one of his prayers at the Vatican that I witnessed via EWTN.
Every night just before I go to bed, my prayer to St. Joseph says “Bless me to be a good spouse, a good father, a good teacher, associate and leader.
My mother also made me a devotee of San Antonio de Padua and made me wear a brown shirt, short pants, and a white belt as a boy. In fact, I discovered Mama also wore her brown dress and white belt when she and Papa Doro were executed by Japanese soldiers in Balitbiton, Valencia in 1944. My parents had refused to surrender to the Japanese occupation forces and they joined the Bohol underground resistance government.
It fell on me, then only 16 years old, to look for our parents who had been captured by Japanese soldiers in the mountains of Duero, Bohol, imprisoned and tortured them in Jagna, and finally took them for their execution on the hillside in Balitbiton, Valencia in October 1944.
With two cousins, I took a small sailboat (Kaba-kaba) to look for them in Jagna, Garcia Hernandez, and finally at Balitbiton. We gathered my parents’ remains scattered around the hillside and put them in a box to take home to Duero.
Our bereaved family buried Papa and Mama beside our grandparents’ home by the sea in poblacion, Duero, Bohol. We have memorialized our parents, grandparents, and departed brothers and sisters in the same old site that we have renamed Handurawan: Balay Abueva, our Abueva Ancestral Home.
Down with our durable “political oligarchy” [the rule of the rich] and our durable “family dynasties” [the rule of close relatives]. These are common political practice of our politicians, and therefore they are also our common knowledge and experience.
Why should they be controlled and ended? Because they make a mockery of our primary “Principle” and “State Policy” in our 1987 Constitution, namely: ARTICLE II. DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES. “Section 1. The Philippines is democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”
Moreover, ARTICLE II. Section 26 provides “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.
Unfortunately and foolishly, the framers of our 1987 Constitution did not define specifically the kind of political dynasties that should be prohibited and penalized. They left it to our politicians in Congress and also to the President to define the “political dynasties” to be prohibited.
If our Constitution framers had the foresight and practical wisdom, they could have simply and briefly prohibited forming their family dynasties to their relatives in the first or second degree of consanguinity and affinity. And not left it to our national politicians to define and prohibit.
So until now, 2015, or 28 years since the ratification of our 1987 Constitution, our Congress and the President have not used their leadership to authoritatively and specifically define and prohibit “political dynasties” by law.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed two anti-political dynasty bills—Senate Bills 1580 and 55. In her bill the Senator described political dynasty as an “anathema in a democracy.” She said political dynasties have become “invulnerable and constitute an open defiance of our Constitution…blatantly undermining the rule of law.” xxx Her proposals deal with political dynasties in local and national elective posts, “mostly likely because of the greater efficiency and nationalized impact of various systems of information dissemination.” Philippine Star. May 1, 2015.
While Senator J.V. Ejercito filed Senate Bill 1906. He noted the pernicious effects of family dynasties as public office has become the exclusive domain of influential families. Without mentioning the obvious Estrada-Ejercito families, he noted that once a politician is elected to public office, he or she immediately builds a strong political base to ensure not only his or her re-election but also ensure that such electoral support will extend to his spouse and other relatives.”
[Philippine Star. May 1, 2015].
The same news item draws on the UNDP report by U.P. political scientist Temario Rivera “that 94 percent or 72 of the 77 provinces studied have political families; and most political families have won in gubernatorial and congressional elections since 1987.
Cristina Mendez, the author of the Philippine Star news I have quoted entitled her item thus: “Anti-political dynasty bills gathering dust in the Senate where the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation is headed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.