DR. JOSE V. ABUEVA & THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION IN CALIFORNIA ~ AN
APPEAL TO THE POWER ELITE IN THE PHILIPPINES
By CESAR TORRES
June 10, 2006
at the San Francisco International Airport on April 17 aboard
PAL. From left Dr. Abueva, Dr. Isagani Sarmiento, San Francisco
Consulate Protocol Officer Benedict Guttierrez, Consul Anthony
Achilles Mandap, Mrs. Coring Abueva and her bosom friend Ms.
For almost half a
month from April 17 to May 3, 2006, Dr. Jose V. Abueva, past
President of the University of the Philippines System and Chairman
of the Constitutional Commission was in California at the instance
of the alumni of the University of the Philippines and their
This is an account
of how that visit was effected. We are not going into the details of
what Dr. Abueva shared with us concerning his preferred system of
government and how it might be instituted in the Philippines which
he admits is “iffy” considering the many hurdles along the way. This
account will not delve into the advantages and disadvantages of the
forms, structures and processes of a presidential, parliamentary,
unitary, theocratic, dictatorial, federal, military junta,
transitional revolutionary, monarchical, benevolent dictatorships,
narco or jueteng republics, etc. I think we all know about them.
If you are not interested in Un , then you have already missed a lot.
We wanted to
impart to Dr. Abueva our firm belief – nay, even implore him and his
group, and other members of the Philippine ruling class, especially
those who exercise the “monopoly of legitimate force” – that the 8
million Filipinos in Diaspora and those of us who are in North
America should be considered by the power elite in the homeland in
the formulation of fundamental decisions, such as amending the
before the start of the Forum, Mrs. Coring Abueva, right,
exchanging pleasantries with a fellow Surigaonon, UP Medical
Alumni Society of America (UP-MASA) whirlwind, Dr. Libby Asis
Sevandal whose mother was from Samar and father from Leyte.
Doctor Libby was the first one to provide her support to the
Organizing Group to invite Dr. Abueva to California for a
dialogue with the Filam community on the Philippine
Constitution. In dark glasses is Gonz Laspinas emphasizing a
point with Atty. Victor Salting, back to camera.
Jose Abueva and Mrs. Cora Abueva at the world famous Monterey
Aquarium. From left to right: Ben Tudtud, the host at Monterey
who paid the fees to the aquarium, Ted Aquino, President of
the UP Alumni Association of America, Mrs. Abueva, Dr. Abueva,
and Dr. Manuel "Pogs" Gaspay, President of the UP Alumni
Association of San Francisco. Not shown is Dr. Melchizedeck
Solis, host of the visit.
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After all, we
reasoned out, the 8 million Filipinos outside of the homeland have
been propping up the Philippine economy and society by their
remittances. In 2005, it was estimated that some $12 billion was
remitted. Of this, it seems 60% was accounted for by the 3 million
Filipinos in America.
the fact that as of April 10, 2006 there were only some 44,323
Overseas Filipinos who have registered as voters out of the 8
million Filipinos in Diaspora with the super-efficient San Francisco
Consulate headed by Consul General Maria Rowena Mendoza Sanchez
leading the list at 1,737, Toronto at 1,224, Milan in Italy at
1,048, Hongkong at 1,032, London at 771, Kuala Lumpur, 724, and New
York with that famous Consul General at 140, Washington, D.C. 135,
Honolulu, 7 and Los Angeles and Southern California where we have so
many eloquent and erudite Filipino leaders, writers, and
nationalists, with the mind-boggling number of 24 Overseas Absentee
Voters, we still believe that we deserve a bit of consideration. The
power elite and the Trapos are not isolated from the rest of the
world. We are all linked to each other whether we are being
brutalized in some Middle Eastern country, Hongkong, Tokyo or
Singapore, Kota Kinabalu or dreading being blown to bits in Iraq and
you are in your ornate offices in Malacañang or the awesome halls of
Our voting record
and potential may not be impressive when compared with voter turnout
in the homeland where even the dead can vote, and numbers can change
shapes and sizes like a rubber band. But we could still make a
difference. We admit, many of us are light years away from
outstanding alumnus of the UP College of Law, for instance, Loida
Nicolas Lewis, who can invest in the “Communist” People’s Republic
of China, instead of in her native Sorsogon where the New People’s
Army, the Filipino Communists who are inspired by the Chinese
Communist Revolutionary, Mao Zedong, and the Government Soldiers,
the vanguard of Capitalism, are killing each other. Many of us
cannot afford to borrow from our credit cards and send thousands of
dollars to our favorite Trapos or become hermanos and
hermanas in our fiestas. But in most cases, the $100 that
we send in response to the frantic appeals of our relatives,
friends, and starving nieces who are studying and who might be on
the verge of prostituting themselves can make a difference. It
depends on our commitment, our network, and credibility. And we
maintain that many Filipinos in Diaspora are very serious with
respect to our commitment to the homeland. They have their
respective networks and in general, their credibility are beyond
Those who are interested in water bongs have already tried kings-pipe and are more than satisfied.
We invited Dr.
Abueva to share his thoughts with us especially on the Philippine
Constitution, a subject that seems to be at the center of the
national attention at the moment because of the possibility that the
1987 Constitution will be replaced with a new one. Due to a
combination of factors, this issue is literally tearing Philippine
society apart. It is so contentious and so divisive. And among those
who are at the core of this national and international debate is Dr.
As a former
President of the once-respected University of the Philippines, we
also invited Dr. Abueva to provide moral support, even if many of us
do not necessarily agree with him on fundamental issues concerning
Philippine society and systems of government. I imagine him, and
many others like him who have very strong, intense, and sincere
ideas on Philippine issues as unwilling puppets dancing to a
discordant, deadly cacophony played by an orchestra in a macabre
“Symphony of Hatred” under the batón of incompetence, greed,
intolerance, envy, pervasive moral corruption, and exploitation
When we invited
Dr. Abueva, we had to be sure that there would be enough of us who
could contribute to defray his expenses – plane fares, hotel stay,
transportation, etc. Since we feel very proud and our sentiments are
focused on the millions of Filipinos whose lives are almost
subhuman, we did not want Dr. Abueva to come to California by
availing of some funds from the Philippine Government. We thought
that any government money that might be used for Dr. Abueva’s trip
to California should be used instead to help the “poorest of the
poor” among our people. Neither did we entertain the possibility
that he could go to some super rich Filipinos and organizations to
shoulder his travel expenses.
for posterity before the Forum on April 22 at the Social Hall
of the San Francisco Consulate. From left seated: Jose Galang
Caedo III who is President of the Filam Democratic Empowerment
Council of San Francisco; Counselor Mayann Teodoro and her
friend, Counselor Lourdes Santos-Tancinco. Standing from left
to right: Counselor Rey Tancinco, Senior Partner of the
Tancinco Law Offices, the biggest Filipino law office in
America staffed by UP alumni; future Ambassador John Jiao who
worked so hard to coordinate Dr. Abueva's visit to California;
his boss, Vice Consul Fred Santos.
call on the Office of the San Francisco Consul General, Maria
Rowena Mendoza Sanchez (left), then Mrs. Abueva, Dr. Abueva,
Ted Aquino, President of the UP Alumni Association of America,
Dr. Isagani Sarmiento. It is interesting to note that among
all the Consular posts of the Department of Foreign Affairs
all over the world, the San Francisco Consulate General stands
out in having the greatest number of Overseas Absentee Voters
all over the world.
Apparently, I was
not the only one who felt very strongly about the need to interact
with Dr. Abueva on the Philippine Constitution. We felt that even
if they are not connected to the Internet, many of us 8 million
Filipinos in Diaspora would be interested also. The initial
consultations with a close circle of friends and leaders of the UP
alumni in California and America proved me right – Biochemist Maria
Luisa Andrada-Yee, UP MASA pillar Dr. Libby Asis Sevandal, Nurse
Andette Lorenzo-Laspinas, Engr. Morgan Benedicto, Esquire-to-be
Richie Dira, ex UP Business Ad Professor Jose Aliling IV, ex UP
Alumni Association of Berkeley President Ceny Alfonso-Duldulao, Romi
Beza, incumbent President of the Berkeley Alumni Association and all
past presidents of this multi-awardee UP alumni association; Ted
Aquino, President of the UPAA of America and San Francisco and his
Executive Vice President, Manuel “Pogs” Gaspay. They all gave their
thumbs up. So it was “Padayon!” to invite Dr. Abueva.
Even our three
consuls in the San Francisco Consulate who are alumni of the UP and
their young colleague contributed to our fund. Inasmuch as their
salaries are paid by our not-so-rich Philippine Government, Consuls
Anthony Achilles Mandap, Raffey Hermoso, Arvic Arevalo and possibly
the IT genius of the entire Philippine foreign service, John Jiao,
each contributed one-fourth of what many of us contributed.
This time, that
oft-quoted aphorism of our “Friends”, i.e., “From each according to
his ability…” seemed very appropriate when our moral and financial
commitments were “juxtaposed” with the kind-heartedness of UP
Outstanding Alumnus, Dr. Isagani Sarmiento, CEO of Crumbs
Engineering and founder of the Fish for Peace Foundation. Gani and
Dora, bless their kind hearts, picked up the round trip transpacific
fare of Dr. Abueva, and more.
In addition, two
very dear friends contributed to our fund also – former University
of California in Berkeley Staffer and our Pride of Samar, Quintin
Lambino Doroquez and the new chair of the Save-a-Tahanan Foundation,
the first chair of Pamana-United Way, Ms. Marisa Robles of Chevron
Corporation. Others extended their much-needed moral support also.
And by doing so, they inspired us greatly: Jose Galang Caedo III our
icon in the Filipino Internet world, Counselor Mayann Teodoro and
her “Chung” buddy, Counselor Lourdes Santos-Tancinco,
Salinas-Monterey icons in the Filam Community, Dr. Melchizedek Solis
and Ben Tudtud. And of course, the tireless advocate for the
recognition of the importance of the Filipinos in Diaspora to be
included in the electoral processes in the Philippines, Mr. Victor
Barrios of Global Filipinos, supported us.
In the San
Francisco Consulate, the staff members of this example of what Dr.
Abueva, the scholar of public and development administration in the
Philippines would refer to as “efficient, effective, and responsive”
public administrative system, especially Ruby Balanban, Wilma
Bautista, Elaine Diza, Medel Cantoria, Jerry Vicidor, and Lito
Lucido, under the inspiration of the Honorable Deputy Consul
General, Fred Santos, may not be addressed as “Sir” or “Ma’am”. But
they are a joy to behold in their cheerfulness and efficiency.
Dr. Abueva very
graciously accepted our invitation on March 3, 2006.
So the two
Consulate Protocol officers, Consul Anthony Achilles Mandap and
Consul-to-Be Benedict Gutierrez and yours truly checked in Dr. and
Mrs. Abueva to a hotel in what used to be a seedy area in San
Francisco, the haunt of the “Flower Children” during the Vietnam War
and which became the favorite place of the dregs of San Francisco,
the most beautiful city on earth. The area has been rehabilitated.
One reason advanced is the influx of Asian immigrants to the area.
We requested the Filipino staff members of the hotel to take care of
our guests. Of course, they were proud to have such distinguished
guests. But they could not do anything about the collapse of the
telephone system in the hotel for several days. Dr. Abueva’s mobile
phone which was state of the art in the Philippines, was not state
of the art in San Francisco. So Dr. Abueva was incommunicado while
in the hotel.
The UP alumni were
admirable in their graciousness and sense of duty to Dr. and Mrs.
Abueva. We have already shared with the Internet how MC Canlas, a
former UP history instructor and now the cultural-anthropological
historian of the Filipino community in Northern California arrived
at the San Francisco Consulate shaking with anger and frustration.
His wallet was picked while trying to fulfill his duty as the
tourist guide of the Abuevas. The Consul General had to rub his back
to calm him down.
And Ted Aquino,
President of the UP Alumni Association of America drove Dr. Abueva
and Mrs. Abueva from San Francisco to Monterey and back. Ted drove
from 6:00 AM to midnight. The trip to Monterey and back was not
boring. Far from it. Stanford Ph.D. Manuel “Pogs” Gaspay regaled
our guests, non-stop while I napped, with tales of wonder and shared
some secrets about some prominent Filipinos. In Monterey, we were
received by Dr. Melchizedek Solis and Ben Tudtud, two Datus Alimaong,
who paid for our tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In that
historic part of the Central Coast of California, Salinas-Monterey,
where many Manongs suffered greatly as the first immigrants and
trailblazers of the Filipinos in America when it was fashionable for
the American ruling class to warn that “No Dogs and Filipinos
Allowed!”, you don’t need to meet with other Filipinos if Dr. Solis
and Ben Tudtud are your hosts.
Abueva at the World Affairs Council on April 20, 2006. To his
left is Mr. Rodriguez, Moderator after the presentation. Some
50 guests from all over San Francisco attended the
presentation. Dr. Abueva expressed his gratitude for being
invited to this prestigious center whose guests were famous
statesmen and thinkers from all over the world.
Abueva responding to the questions presented to him. To his
left is Mr. Victor Barrios of Global Filipinos who has been
very active in pushing for Filipinos abroad to register and
vote in Philippine elections and in disseminating information
on Charter Change.
world-famous Monterey Aquarium, Dr. Abueva and Mrs. Abueva finally
felt the “jet lag” catching up with them. They were sleepy.
Fortunately, they found a small theatre inside the aquarium complex,
a movie house, showing the denizens of the oceans of the California
Coast. It was dark inside. I saw them holding hands. They must have
recalled those days in their undergraduate UP days when they would
skip classes to go to some movie houses in Quiapo or Escolta.
considering that we have 7,107 islands and our coastline is longer
than that of the United States, I inquired of Dr. Abueva if there is
an aquarium that our people, especially the young ones, can visit so
that they can appreciate our marine flora and fauna and the
importance of our coral reefs, and our seas. He answered “No.” But
there are plans to construct an aquarium in Subic. I was thinking of
the former pre-eminence of the UP Marine and Fisheries complex in
Then there was the
presentation at the World Affairs Council in the afternoon of April
20. I was the first one at the center since it is just a few blocks
from my office. It was a full house. One thing I remember that Dr.
Abueva said about the Philippines during his presentation was that
politics is a matter of leadership. (I would use the Ancient Greek
concept of politics as the search for the good life.) And that the
Philippine political system is “weak”. It is manifested in the
inability of the government and Philippine society to address the
basic and primordial concerns of the Filipino people. For instance,
he said, that about 40% of the residents of the once-beautiful
Quezon City, are squatters. The information we get is that many of
our people reside in shanties, some made of cardboard boxes, making
babies in their pushcarts, sleeping among the dead in the graveyards
and under the bridges. They come to the Metro Manila Metropolis from
the impoverished countrysides which are in turmoil.
Then there was
that tour conducted by the UP Alumni Association of Berkeley headed
by Romi Beza. They went to Napa Valley, the vineyard of America.
Since I prefer Bahalina from Samar and Leyte and Lambanog
from Quezon, I am not really enthusiastic about going to Napa
But after getting
tipsy on the free wine in Napa Valley, Romi Beza and Ceny Duldulao
of Goldilocks brought Dr. and Mrs. Abueva to the residence of Vangie
Poe Quesada. Yes. She is the sister of the late Fernando Poe, Jr.
who was the political opponent of Gloria.
The Poes are not
like some political trapostic families in the Philippines who are at
others throats. They are united. Frankly I was skittish that there
might be some “tampuhan” or worse, fireworks, during the
reception. But Romi Beza assured us that it would not happen. When
the hosts learned that it was the birthday of Mrs. Abueva, they had
a birthday cake and she blew some candles. And they sang “Happy
Birthday”. I could imagine Dr. Abueva singing that famous Cebuano
song, “Usahay”. Indeed, if there is any event that makes Dr.
Abueva’s visit to California something to remember, it would be this
What we have been
dreaming for, some kind of reconciliation among the prime movers in
the Philippines occurred up to a point, in the San Francisco Bay
Area on April 21, 2006 during the party in honor of Dr. and Mrs.
Abueva, tendered by the UP alumni in the home of Vangie Poe Quesada.
Then the main
event, the forum at the San Francisco Consulate on April 22,
Saturday. I arrived early. But many people had been there ahead of
me. Some of the guests were the movers and shakers of the Filipino
community in the San Francisco Bay Area. Frank Batara, Mayor of
Hercules, was there. There was Regor Aquilar, a famous name in the
Talsik Yahoo e-group, a discussion list whose members are mostly
composed of people who do not see any redeeming feature in President
Gloria at all. Rodel Rodis was in coat and tie. Two Filipino
academics, Dr. Joaquin Gonzalez III of Golden Gate University and
the University of San Francisco and Dr. Leo Paz of the City College
of San Francisco were there. Greg Makabenta of Filipinas Magazine
was impatient. He questioned the methodology of the open forum which
he said smacks of censorship. The forum was covered by the media of
course – Christi Morales of ABS-CBN, Lito Gutierrez of The
Philippine News, the Fortalezas, and others.
Greg Makabenta, Vice President of the National Association
Federation of Filipino Associations in America, publisher of
Filipinas Magazine, and a columnist for Business Day, raising
an issue with Dr. Abueva during the open forum. Others in
photo are from l to r: Andette Laspinas, Ceny Duldulao, Aida
Barrios, Ted Aquino, and a Filam Veteran, Mr. Sales who
brought lots of pancit to the Forum. It was his birthday on
the Forum, shown from left to right: Consul Anthony Achilles
Mandap who moderated the Forum, Romi Beza President of the UP
Alumni Association of Berkeley, Ted Aquino President of the UP
Alumni Association of America, Counselor Mayann Teodoro one of
the Panelists, Vice Consul Alfredo Santos, Dr. Abueva, Mr.
Victor Barrios of Global Filipinos, Panelist Counselor Ted
Laquatan, Dr. Isagani Sarmiento CEO of Crumbs Engineering and
Fish for Peace Foundation who picked up the plane fare of Dr.
Abueva (he was also a panelist), Cesar Torres, Andette
Laspinas, a member of the Organizing Group who handed the gift
of another member of the Organizing Group, Ms. Maria Luisa
Our Filam Forum
members who are in the San Francisco Bay Area were there: Morgan
Benedicto, Nat Dueñas, the ever-elegant Chit Applegate, Dr. Libby
Asis Sevandal escorted by the San Beda LLB, Victor Salting,
Professor-President Jose Aliling IV, Nestor Duldulao who was
concentrating intensely because his eyes were closed while Dr.
Abueva was making his presentation and Ceny Duldulao, Andette and
Gonz Laspiñas, Mark and Josie Alegre, Nerissa Fernandez of ABS-CBN,
Celly Carbonell, University of San Francisco Professor Jun Jun
Villegas, Judge Michael Nisperos, Richie Dira, Ester Chavez, point
person of The Inquirer in America, even René Pascual of the
Filipino Integrated Bar Association of California, and later on,
Dennis Normandy of the San Francisco-Manila Sister City Commission,
and of course, Jacquie Lingad-Ricci, CEO of HeartBridge
International Foundation and Commissioner of the City of San
Francisco, who also wanted to interview Dr. Abueva for her radio
program, and many others more.
A Filipino veteran
who is a frequent attendee in the Consulate forums, Mr. Leo Sales,
arrived with Mrs. Sales. They had lots of pancit and other goodies.
It was his birthday.
Jay Caedo arrived
early. He declined to be a panelist. But he had a very nice time
chatting with my former student, the impetuous and brilliant,
Counselor Mayann Teodoro who was one of the panelists. The others
were bar topnotcher and UP Law Salutatorian, Rey Tancinco, UP Public
Administration Outstanding Alumnus Counselor Teddy Laguatan, and Dr.
Isagani Sarmiento. Mr. Victor Barrios was one of the panelists too.
The moderator was UP lawyer who is in charge of the Overseas
Absentee Voting Project in the San Francisco Consulate, Consul
Anthony Achilles Mandap.
Dr. Abueva’s Power
Point Presentation was very cerebral. It lasted for more than two
hours. I could feel the impatience of many people. They wanted to
ask questions of Dr. Abueva. Of the “Panel of Experts”, all the UP
panelists expressed their unhappiness at the massive corruption in
the Philippines and what they perceive as the very low quality of
the political and government leadership there. They did not even
inquire about the details of Dr. Abueva’s proposed system of
Then there was
that luncheon organized by the UP alumni in that upscale Chinese
Restaurant in Chinatown. And surprise. Senator Magsaysay peeped in
on us. He announced to the group his gratitude that Dr. Abueva had
written the biography of his father, President Ramon Magsaysay. Then
there was picture picture! In all the excitement, Mrs. Abueva lost
her glasses. Academic ladies man, University of San Francisco
professor Jun Jun Villegas became a guest of this UP luncheon. I
think he was invited by the lovely UP Mass Communication coloratura,
We saw off Dr.
Jose Abueva and Ate Coring Abueva at the San Francisco International
Airport in the morning of April 23. They were bound for Los Angeles
for another forum, organized by the UP Alumni Association of Greater
Los Angeles with the assistance of the Los Angeles Consulate which
has only 24 Overseas Absentee Voters registered which is of course
an error. The Protocol Officer who was with us was Consul-to-Be
Benedict Gutierrez again.
Philippines, I only met Dr. Abueva once. He was the bright boy of
the UP at that time, the Assistant Dean of a college now referred to
grandiosely as the National College of Public Administration and
Governance. While watching him share some jokes with the humble
Filipino baggage handlers at the airport, I was thinking to myself
that he is not the snobbish and matapobre UP academician at
We were driven to
the airport and back by Lito in a Consulate van whose door cannot be
opened or closed by just anyone. It needs the touch of its master
who has to make some weird signs with his hand while murmuring some
incomprehensible incantations. Only then will the door of the
Consulate van open.
How about the
finances? Excluding the extraordinary donation of Dr. Isagani
Sarmiento, and perhaps that of Mr. Victor Barrios’ Global Filipinos
and Ms. Celia Cloma, we received and had pledges of $810. We spent
$838.76. This does not include the expenses of UP Alumni Association
of America President, Ted Aquino, and those of the UP Alumni
Association of Berkeley headed by Romi Beza and the gift of the
biochemist, Ma. Luisa Andrada-Yee.
What did we
accomplish in all of these?
perhaps just this: Groups, organizations, communities can achieve so
much if there are no hidden agenda among their leaders and if their
leaders, including those who do not claim leadership, are
intelligent enough, please allow me to repeat intelligent
enough, (emphasis supplied), to understand that the
public or greater good should be paramount in all collaborative
undertakings, especially in affairs of government. This was
dramatically manifested by the two UP alumni association leaders,
Ted Aquino and Romi Beza. And more so by the team of the San
Francisco Consul General, Ma. Rowena Mendoza Sanchez.
Abueva, second from left, with prominent Filipino leaders in
Northern California: from left, Romi Beza, President of the UP
Alumni Association of Berkeley, City of San Francisco
Commissioner and Youth Commission Vice President Jacquie
Lingad-Ricci, doing an impromptu interview for her radio
program while trying to look pretty. Jacquie, as CEO of Heart
Bridge International Foundation, has generated massive
assistance for the Guinsaugon calamity victims. To her left is
Greg Makabenta, then Atty. Rodel Rodis, Chairman of the Board
of Trustees of the City College of San Francisco, a popular
leader among the Filipinos and columnist of The Philippine
News, the oldest and most widely circulated Filam periodical
in America. Deputy Consul General Fred Santos is at the
tendered by the UP alumni after the Forum. From left to right:
Andette Laspinas, Pinole Mayor Frank Batara, one of the two
Filipino Mayors in Northern California, Gonz Laspinas, Romi
Beza, Ted Aquino, Senator Ramon Magsayay, Jr. who expressed
his gratitude to Dr. Abueva for writing the biography of his
father, Pressident Ramon Magsaysay, Celly Carbonell, Dr.
Abueva, Cesar Torres, Estela Mendieta, University of San
Francisco Professor Jun Jun Villegas. Seated from right to
left: Mrs. Cora Abueva, Ms. Celia Cloma whose father claimed "Freedomland"
in the Spratleys, Ms. Ceny Duldulao ex-President of the UP
Alumni Association of Berkeley, Ms. Henrietta Fajardo, former
student of Dr. Abueva in the UP, and Counselor Mayann Teodoro.
On my part, from
April 17 up to April 23, I never asked Dr. Abueva about the
Philippine Constitution and parliamentary systems of government. I
think I am still familiar with structures and processes of effective
political systems. As far as the Philippine situation is concerned,
the materials available to me are more than sufficient. So pardon my
hubris, I may not need to bother Dr. Abueva, Congressman Jaraula, ex
President General Fidel Ramos, my favorite Senator Nene Pimentel,
Professor Clarita Carlos or Dr. Segundo E. Romero, Speaker de
Venecia, and Samar’s Pride, Eddie Nachura, to lecture me on
effective political systems. Assuming that they would humor people
like me, in the first place.
But I believe that
the most important message that we wanted to impart to Dr. Abueva
has been delivered. Our message is a desperate plea:
with your group and the power elite in the Philippines our prayer to
consider us when you are modifying the basic foundations of
Philippine society, especially when you are crafting systems of
government in the homeland. There might be just 44,323 of us who are
registered to vote with just a paltry and hilarious number of 24
registered with the Los Angeles Consulate General – a number which
is definitely wrong considering the number of Filipino leaders and
the intensity of their opinions regarding the Philippines – and
1,727 in San Francisco as of April 10, 2006. But there are 8 million
of us all over the world. And we remitted an estimated $12 billion
to the homeland in 2005. Most of us share the same fears and
anxieties about our homeland and the future of the 80 million
Filipinos. We agonize on the killing there whether it will continue
till Endtimes or we become a ‘Failed State’ like Somalia or Rwanda.
But despite our anguish, many of us never lose our hope that through
a confluence of events, the Philippines will eventually achieve that
not-so-grandiose dream of just becoming a respectable country that
all of us will be proud of, for which our heroes and thousands of
our people have sacrificed their lives.”
Finally, all these
things would have not been possible without the hard work and
extreme dedication of, among others, Messrs. John Jiao, Romi Beza,
Ted Aquino, Ruby Balanban, Wilma Bautista, and Elaine Diza and
Deputy Consul Fred Santos. God knows, there are so many of them that
I cannot cite all of them here. But we all know who we are.
And we are not
forgetting, of course, the graciousness and humility of Ms. Vangie
Poe Quesada and the untiring Ms. Ceny Alfonso Duldulao and the
incomparable kindness of Dr. Isagani Sarmiento.
If ever, how about
Dr. Jose V. Abueva – a Filipino patriot, a liberal democrat par
excellence, a scholar, a UP professor of political science and
public administration – as Interim Prime Minister while the
loathsome Trapos or dish rags are trying to situate
themselves in a possible new system of government?
was a figment of my imagination.