Thursday, August 19, 2010
A tribute for Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.
This is just the first part of MR.Benigno Aquino Jr. speech in L.A(1981)
I have been asked by many people, what is the actual situation in the Philippines. I think I owe it to a Japanese executive. One of the leading industrialists of Japan whose company invested $450 million in the Philippines, they set up a big plant in Mindanao it was a sintering plant, and this plant is now completed and this Japanese official came to the Philippines and he spoke at the opening ceremonies. I think this Japanese explained the situation in the Philippines very well. As you very well know the Japanese have a difficulty pronouncing their Rs. Manila becomes Manira. And so this Japanese gentleman stood up and said, My dear Piripino pipor, you are very raki, and I consider he said the Filipino people the most raki in Asia. And the people were of course surprised and they wanted to know why they are very lucky. He said you know why you are raki? You have a president who robs you, and you have a first lady who robs you more!
I say our situation today, maybe likened to the story of a fellow candidate of mine during Laban. As you very well know, we fielded 18 in 1978 to oppose the Marcos team and I was in jail, and I was never allowed to campaign. But there were 20 other gentlemen – ladies and gentlemen campaigning for us. One of them was the irrepressible former Secretary of Education Anding Roces. And Anding Roces had a very favorite candidate or had a very favorite personality in all of his speeches, and he called him Iskombro. According to Anding, and this is a story of Iskombro, Mr. Marcos one day wanted to go to the National Mental Institution to the psychopathic or to visit the psychopathic. And naturally the doctor of the psychopathic wanted to impress Mr. Marcos, and three weeks before Mr. Marcos arrived, all the patients of the psychopathic according to Iskombro, were trained by the director. And so, according to the story, the director trained them, pagdating ika dito ng ating Pang-gulo, pagtaas ng aking isang daliri, ‘ikang ganon, palakpakan. And so one week they trained them, the director would lift one finger, palakpakan. On the second week, pag ‘ikang ganon, dalawa na, palakpakan at sigawan. So the patients responded, two fingers palakpakan, sigawan. On the third week just before Mr. Marcos arrived, pag isang finger ‘ikang ganon palakpakan, dalawang fingers palakpakan sigawan, pag tatlong finger, palakpakan, sigawan at talunan pa. And so the patients responded.
And the great day arrived and Mr. Marcos came. The military escorts came, five thousand inmates of the hospital were there, and they were all dressed immaculately in white, and the director walking behind Mr. Marcos lift one finger. Nako palakpakan! And Mr. Marcos saluted. As they were going to the middle of the auditorium the director raised two fingers – nako palakpakan, sigawan pa! Sabi ni Marcos okay ‘to ah. And as they enter the main stage, as Mr. Marcos was about to sit down, sabi ng director tatlo. Nako palakpakan, sigawan, talunan pa! And Mr. Marcos standing, sabi niya kay director ayos ka na director doble na ang inyong budget. But as Mr. Marcos sat down he noticed there was an old man sitting in a corner, walang kibo, he was just sitting in the corner. And so naturally the president wanted to know, sabi niya director e bakit ‘ika yung matandang yon hindi pumapalakpak hindi sumisigaw, hindi tumatalon? Ang sabi ng director, Pangulo‘ikang ganon, mabuti napo yan, he is already okay lalabas na bukas, hindi bali na. Kanya po sa ating mga kababayan na nandidito sa Los Angeles, na pagnakikita ang larawan ng Ginoong Marcos, at silay nasaludo pa at napalakpak, huwag nyo sanang kalimutan ang mga kasama nyo sa National Psychopathic Hospital. Sapagkat kaming hindi napalakpak kami ay magaling na at kami ay palabas na.
And so dear friends, I was allowed by Mr. Marcos to go out for two weeks last year on Christmas after seven years in prison. And I met an old barrio captain of mine from Tarlac. And this old barrio captain of mine never failed to give me a sage advice. He visited me, we broke bread and then I sat down with him and I said, Apo ‘ka kong ganon, ito ba’y may kataposan na, may katapusan pa ba ito? Bakit? sabi nya. Eh ako’y inip na inip na, I am very very impatient. I said. I have already spent seven years. Is there any hope for our redemption? * Hindi ko ‘ika alam anak eh kun matatapos to. Napakatagal na ‘ika malapit na akong mamatay eh hindi pa ‘ika natatapos. Pero alam mo ‘ikang ganon palagay ko matatapos din. ‘Ika ko bakit what is your reason? Aba’y sabi niya, doon sa Iran ay mayroong isang tunay na Shah natapos, eh itong atin na sha-han lamang. And I feel my friends, as the Tagalog would say, kay haba-haba ng procession sa simbahan din ang tuloy, this will also end.
I have often asked myself, when I was in prison for seven years and seven months, you will note that one of the greatest problem of a prisoner is loneliness, for seven years I was not allowed to see the moon and the stars. There were days where they left me all alone by myself, I had no reading material, I had nothing, I was tweedling my thumb, I would walk and walk and walk across my room. That is a room of about four meters by five meters. Hoping that I will get tired, and then when I get tired I will fall asleep, knowing that tomorrow will be the same. And I often asked myself, eh bakit ka pa nagpapakahirap dito? In ’73, a high official of the government asked me, endorse mo na lamang ang new society Ninoy, ayos na, ilalabas na kita. When I refused, they advised me, sumulat ka na lang kay Marcos, ask for his forgiveness. Eh ano naman ‘kakong kasalanan ko, siya ang nagkasala sa bayan, bakit ako ang humihingi ng tawad?
My friends I cannot understand, the temerity and the gall of these people. ‘Ikang ganon, be practical, e talagang ganon eh, makibagay ka na ‘ika, napakalakas ‘ka ng bagyo eh. Ikaw lang ‘ika ang mahihirapan diyan, mag isa ka diyan. Hindi bali ‘ikang ganon, kung ayaw mo nang sumulat, eh tumawag ka na lang sa telepono ibulong mo na lamang, ayos na. I would like to tell you, I was tempted in my seven thousand almost 7,285 days in prison to do just that. I am only human. Ako po ay isang tao lamang. When my wife and children would visit me and they would leave me at dusk after one hour, I also would like to enjoy the embrace of my children and the peace of my home. But if I give faith in that conviction, if I refused to accept the jurisdiction of the military court, and because I refused to defend myself, they will give me the death sentence, I vowed to myself, that because you elected me to the senate and I gloried in its pomp, therefore it is time that my I am – or I must suffer the consequences of my act. And because I knew, I knew early on, and I discovered that there is a God who is just. Na mayrong isang Panginoon na ibibigay sa atin ang ating kagandahang ginawa, at paparusahin tayo sa ating kamaliang nagawa rin. It is because of that faith in my Divine Creator, that sustained me all these years.
All I had to do was call for a telephone that was outside my room. All I had to do was pick it up and tell Mr. Marcos, brod tapos na, ayos na, I am throwing the towel. Killers in the Philippines were freed. The people who were used to testify against me told the court, I killed 50 people! And yet that man was freed. He described to the people, he described to the military tribunal, how he killed human beings, and yet that man was freed and I was in jail. Many witnesses was, were paraded before me. I never saw them in my life, and yet they were pointing fingers at me, accusing me of crimes I never committed. They admitted to crimes. They said they were communists. They said they were number three in the communist hierarchy and yet the government set them free, and I was in jail. But I knew, that somehow I will regain my freedom. Maybe not in this world but elsewhere. And I knew that sometime, somewhere Mr. Marcos and I will meet, and in that meeting I will have my satisfaction.
Dear friends last January 17, Mr. Marcos told the world martial law has been lifted in the Philippines. It was a very good news. I mean if you are only reading the headlines, you would say, this is the greatest thing that happened after eight years martial law is lifted, freedom should be returned by now. And the Filipino people should be out in the street, like VJ Day, like VE Day, they should be dancing in the street, they’d be shouting alleluia and the bell should be ringing Te Deum. But the announcement of Mr. Marcos was met with stony silence why, because it was only a cruel deception. Because three days before martial law was lifted allegedly in the Philippines, Mr. Marcos signed into a law Presidential Decree 1737. I did not know about this law until Senator Tanada came to me in Boston and gave me this law. And when I saw the number I was stunned and I had cold chills in my back, because Presidential Decree number 1737, and this is exactly the exact address of my office in Harvard - 1737 Cambridge Street. Ako po ay ne-nerbiyos, hayop ka ‘kako sa daming numerong kombinasyon ito pa ang tinamaan ng sweepstakes. Hindi ko nga nalaman kun sinadya ito sa Maynila ngunit ito po’y hindi nagpatulog sa akin ng isang linggo. Sapagkat, this Presidential Decree says, an act providing for the preservation of public order and the protection of individual rights and liberties during periods of emergency and exercise of extraordinary executive powers, signed by Marcos a few days before martial law.
Now let me read to you section number 2, and I hope Danny Lamila hears this very well. Section 2 says, and I quote, “whenever in the judgment of the president or prime minister,” yan po ay si Marcos yan president at prime minister, “there exist a grave danger or a threat or imminence thereof, he Mr. Marcos, may issue such orders as he may deemed necessary to meet the emergency, including but not limited to preventive detention.” Ano po’ng ibig sabihin nito’ng preventive detention. The meaning of preventive detention is, if Mr. Marcos thinks that next month you will commit a crime, he can now order you arrested so that you will not be able to commit your crime. Anong klaseng batas yan? Iniisip mo pa lang ay nabilanggo ka na eh. Aba’y hayop ‘kakong batas na ito, eh kong totoo ito, eh lahat ng lalaking diborsyada na nag-iisip pa lang magliligaw patay na sa asawa. Imagine my friends if in the mind of Mr. Marcos, he suspects that next week you may commit a crime, the police can arrest you in the Philippines today.