Binigkas sa “Fighting the Big Lie: A Lecture Series on Democracy and Disinformation” ng The Consortium on Democracy and Disinformation at The Asian Center on Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University noong 10 Disyembre 2021, International Human Rights Day. Malaking pasasalamat sa paanyaya ni G. John Nery: https://www.facebook.com/holyangel1933/videos/456328555834707
Michael Charleston “Xiao” Chua
Para sa akin bilang isang public historian, sa usaping pangkasaysayan sa Pilipinas, ano ba ang malaking kabalintunaan?
May mga nagsasabi na ang human rights o karapatang pantao ay kinopya lamang natin mula sa Kanluran. Na walang konsepto ng human rights ang mga Pilipino.
Nakakabit sa isyu na ito ang pagkakaroon ng tendensiya, hindi lamang ng mga Pilipino, subalit maging ng mga iba pang mamamayan sa Southeast Asia, na kumikiling sa mga malalakas na pinuno. At ang ibig sabihin daw ng malakas na pinuno ay awtokratiko, diktador o yung kagustuhan lamang niya ang nasusunod. Hindi demokratiko at puwede niyang isawalang bahala ang human rights. May nagsasabi na kailangan ito dahil matigas raw ang ulo ng mga Pilipino subalit may nagsasabi rin na gusto lang daw sumunod sa utos ng mga Pilipino. Medyo magulo.
Kung tutuusin, ang malaking kabalintunaan ay hindi talaga purong kasinungalingan. Nakabatay ito sa ilang katotohanang nakikita natin sa ating paligid. Hindi ba’t kaysa individual rights o karapatan ng bawat isang tao, ang mas pinahahalagahan ng mga Asyano ay ang higit na kabutihan ng lahat? Gayundin, hindi ba’t ilang beses na ring sinuportahan ng mga Pilipino ang mga awtokratikong pinuno? Kung tutuusin, matapos na ipataw ni Pangulong Marcos ang Batas Militar noong 1972, hindi ba hindi naman agad naghimagsik ang nakararami? Tila naniwala sila na ito ay para naman sa kabutihan ng lahat. Sa kabila ng libo-libong pinahirapan at napatay sa kamay ng mga puwersa ng estado at iba pang mga kalabisan tulad ng pandarambong na naitala pa sa Guinness Book of Records, 14 na taon pa bago nagkaroon ng People Power at iyon ay nang bumagsak na ang ekonomiya at nagtaas ang presyo ng mga bilihin? Hindi naging ganap na isyu sa maraming Pilipino ang kinasadlakan ng mga human rights violations victims.
Hanggang sa ngayon, tumatanggap ng suporta mula sa bayan ang mga pinunong nagapapakita ng kalakasan at tendeniyang awtokratiko. Sa katunayan, ito ang hinihingi ng marami.
Ngunit, hindi ibig sabihin na wala tayong konsepto mula sa Pilipinas ng human rights. Mayroon, at mauugat natin ito sa kung papaano ba natin dapat ituring ang ibang tao ayon sa ating kultura.
Ayon kay Dr. Carmen Peñalosa ng Miriam College, may itinuturing tayong tatlong uri ng nilalang—Una ay ang “tao.” Sentral sa pagiging tao ang pagkakaroon ng “kaginhawahan.” Mula sa salitang ginhawa na ang kahulugan ayon sa pag-aaral ng historyador na si Zeus Salazar ay mabuting pakiramdam, magandang kalusugan, komportableng buhay, o katiwasayan ng isip); Pangalawang uri ay ang mga hayop at halaman na nagbibigay ng ginhawa sa tao sa pamamagitan ng pagkain ng mga ito; at ang pangatlong uri ay ang aswang, na siyang diumano ay nagtatanggal ng kaginhawahan sa tao.
Samakatuwid, kung ikaw ay tao, dapat na itrato ka bilang isang tao. At para sa isang tao, ang dapat, na siyang pinagmulan ng karapatan, ay ang pagkakaroon ng ginhawa. Sa tamang pagtrato sa iyo dumadaloy ang ginhawa.
Makikita rin ang konsepto ng karapatang pantao sa ang ating konsepto ng “kapwa” na walang katumbas na salita sa Ingles. Ibig sabihin ng kapwa, ay nakikita natin ang sarili natin sa ibang tao. Samakatuwid, kung nakikipagkpawa-tao ang nakararami—hindi ba’t iginagalang mo ang dapat na pagtrato sa ibang tao, sa kapamilya mo, mga kaibigan at sa buong lipunan sa pangkalahatan. Sapagkat kung lahat ay nakikipagkapwa-tao at nagiibigan bilang magkakapatid, hindi ba’t giginhawa ang buong bayan? Kung gayon, walang kontradiskyon sa karapatang pantao, pagiging malaya at kabutihan ng lahat.
May isang sikat na blogger ang nagsabi, “Do we really need freedom, or do we need discipline?” Sobra sobra na raw ang kalayaan ng tao na gawin ang lahat ng ibig niya kaya kailangan isuko na ng bayan ang kanyang kalayaan sa ating lider. Disiplina na lang daw. Ngunit ito ay pagbabaluktot sa diwa ng Kalayaan. Ang Kalayaan ay hindi ang kalayaang gawin ang lahat, sapagkat ayon sa mga sulatin ng bayaning Heneral Emilio Jacinto, sa adhikain ng Kalayaan, “napagkakaisa ang mga tao at kinalilimutan ng bawat isa ang pansariling pakinabang at walang nakikita kundi ang higit na kabutihan ng lahat.” Nagiging malaya ang lahat dahil gumagawa ang bawat isa ng mabuti, samakatuwid, disiplina.
Ang pagsasabi na nakasasama ang kalayaan ay pagyurak sa diwang ipinaglaban ng mga bayani. Kahiya-hiya. Ang disiplina ay kaakibat ng Kalayaan, hindi kalaban nito! Hindi dapat isakripisyo ang kalayaan para lamang sa disiplina. Magkasama dapat ito. Sapagkat ang pagrespeto sa batas at ang pagrespeto sa karapatan ng iba ay tunay na pag-ibig sa bayan at sa kapwa.
Which brings me to my next point. Sa sikolohiya ng mga sinaunang Pilipino, ang pagiging mabuti ay konektado sa pagkakaroon ng matuwid na kaluluwa na naka-align sa langit. Sa paniniwala ng mga Pilipino, konektado ang kaluluwa sa ginhawa. Dapat mabuti ang iyong kalooban at matuwid ang kaluluwa upang tunay na guminhawa. Kaya sa Katipunan, bago ka lumaban, kailangan munang pag-aralan mo ang Kartilya ni Jacinto na siyang nagtuturo ng tamang asal at pakikipagkapwa, “Ang di mo ibig gawin sa asawa mo, anak at kapatid, ay huwag mong gagawin sa asawa, anak at kapatid ng iba.”
Samakatuwid, ang pagiging mabuti o matuwid ay pinagmulan ng salitamg katuwiran na kapwa inuugnay natin sa pagkakaroon ng tamang pag-iisip at maging sa konsepto ng katarungan, na by the way, ay isang mas bagong term sa Filipino na galing sa salitang Bisaya na “tarong” na ang kahulugan ay matuwid rin.
Sa mga sulatin ni National Artist Virgilio S. Almario, ipinapaliwanag niya na ang makatang si Francisco Balagtas ay isang bayani sapagkat ang mga konseptong ipinunla niya sa Florante at Laura ang siyang dinala ng mga bayaning nagluwal sa ating pagkabansa. Sa Florante, sinulat ni Balagtas ang nangyayari sa pagkatalo ng tinatawag na “santong catouiran” – “Ang magandang asal ay ipinupukol / sa laot ng dagat ng kutya’t linggatong; balang magagaling ay ibinabaon / at inililibing na walang kabaong.”
“Sa loob at labas ng bayan kong sawi, / kaliluha’y siyang nangyayaring hari, / kagalinga’t bait ay nalulugami,
/ ininis sa hukay ng dusa’t pighati.”
Sa pagkatalo ng katuwiran, ang kataksilan ang hari at pinapalakpakan, ang mabuting gawa ay ikinakahiya at pinarurusahan. Hindi ba at ito ang nangyayari sa panahon ng abuso sa karapatang pantao?
At kung may “human rights,” ipinakita rin ng ating mga bayani na may “human wrongs”—ano ang maling ginagawa sa tao. Sa isang tula na ipinapalagay na kay Pangulong Andres Bonifacio, ito raw ang ginagawa noong ng Madre España sa mga dumadaing sa mga problema ng lipunan:
“Gapusing mahigpit kaming lumuluhog; / Lamugin sa sikad, kulata at suntok, / Makinahi’t ibitin na gaya ng hayop; / Ito baga, Ina, ang iyong pag-irog?
“Ypabilanggo at saka sa dagat itapon; / Barilin, lasunin, patain sa gutom; / Sa aming Tagalog ito baga’y ampon, / ng Ynang maguiliw sa lahat ng kampon?”
Malinaw na ipinakita ni Andres Bonifacio ang tinutukoy ni Balagtas na pagkawala ng “santong catuiran” at ang hindi dapat na gawin sa isang kapwa tao.
Ngunit bakit pinapayagan ng maraming kababayan natin ang karahasan laban sa kapwa? Bakit marahas na rin tayo sa pagtrato ng ating kapwa sa social media dahil hindi lamang tayo naniniwala sa kanila. Sapagkat binigyan tayo ng ideya na dapat na ituring natin na “aswang” imbes na “tao” ang mga taong kalaban natin. Kailangang ituring kang aswang, upang tanggalan ka ng ginhawa. Hindi na tao ang tingin sa iyo. Ito ang ginagawa noon at ngayon sa mga kritiko ng pamahalaan, at gayundin sa mga adik na kung tutusin mas kailangan ng ating tulong upang mapagbago.
Ngunit hindi ba marahas din ang ating mga ninuno na bagani o nangangayaw? Hindi ba marahas din ang tawag ng Katipon sa kanilang sarili. Kailangan ng konteksto: Sa panahon ng ating mga ninuno, totoong may karahasan ang pangangayaw o pangungubat ng ating mga ninuno sa kanilang mga kalaban. Pinupugutan nga nila ng ulo ang kanilang mga kalaban upang kunin ang “gahum” o “kapangyarihan” ng mga ito at iuwi bilang dangal ng bayan. Subalit kahit sa kanilang sinaunang sistema, may dinadaanan itong mga rituwal, kailangang makatuwiran ang dahilan ng pangungubat. Sa mga Katipon naman, panahon iyon ng himagsikan, karahasan ang sagot sa 333 taon nang kolonyalismo. Sa kanilang kaisipan, marahas sila sa kalaban ng kalayaan at sa mga sumuporta dito.
Ngunit kahit nga si Andres Bonifacio ay may konsepto ng demokrasya na nangmula sa Pilipino. Tinawag niya ang unang pamahalaang mapanghimagsik na “Haring Bayan.” Samakatuwid, ang bayan ang hari, na kung tutuusin ay katumbas ng Kapangyarihang Bayan o People Power.
May proseso at konteksto ang karahasan ng mga nauna sa atin. Ang konteksto natin sa kasalukuyan ay mayroon tayong mga batas, mayroon na tayong mga proseso, mayroon na tayong estado na dapat nagpapadaloy ng proseso. Iyon dapat ang nagtatakda kung ang isang tao ay dapat tanggalan ng kalayaan o ginhawa.
Ngunit bakit tayo narito? Sa kabila ng People Power noong 1986, kung saan pinakita nating mga Pilipino ang pagmamahal natin sa demokrasya at kaparapatang pantao, tila ngayon isinusuka na ang mga ito ng marami? Bakit ganito na tayong mag-isip? Kailangan nating aminin na matapos ang himagsikan ng bayan, may ilan sa ating mga lider, pambansa man o loka, ang nakita natin na inabuso para sa sarili nilang kapakinabangan ang ating electoral system, ang ating justice system, ang ating political system. Kumbaga, nanaig ang elite democracy, demokrasya nga pero iilan lamang ang nananaig, interes lamang ng iilan ang nanaig. Sa kabila ng pagtatangka ng iba na maging mabuting mga pinuno, para sa marami, nakita nila na imbes na kapangyarihang bayan ay ginagamit upang pagsilbihan ang bayan, nagiging kapangyarihan ng may per ana nagsisilbi sa interes ng iilan. Imbes na ang kalayaan at demokrasya at magbunsod sa kaginhawahan ng lahat, nagbunsod ito sa kaginhawahan lamang ng iilan.
Hindi ganito ang tunay na demokrasya. Tulad nang ipinakita ng ating mga bayani, ang Kapangyarihang Bayan o Haring Bayan, ang pagtataguyod nang kung ano ang DAPAT para sa tao, ay nagdudulot ng kaginhawahan. Subalit mangyayari lamang ito kung gagawin natin ang ating bahagi.
Anlakas rin kasi ng pamana ng diktadura sa mga Pilipino, ang sentralisasyon ng kapangyarihan, imbes na sa mamamayan ito. Pinamalas niya na tulad daw ng sinaunang datu, siya lamang ang nagpapamudmod ng ginhawa at puwede namang magpatigil ng pagdaloy ng ginhawa
Tunay na may tendensiya ang mga Pilipino na sumandig sa mga malalakas na pinuno. Subalit kailangang liwanagin na hindi ibig sabihin na malakas na pinuno, o pamunuang datu, ay awtokratiko, sapagkat sa sinaunang bayan, ang datu ang pinakamagaling na bagani.
Ano nga ba ang “bagani”? Ang bagani ang sinaunang mandirigma sa ating mga ninuno. Ngunit ayon sa mga eksperto ng wika, ang “bagani” ay nagmula sa salitang Tagalog na “bayani,” Bahasa Malay na “Berani” at Austronesian o Javanese na “wani,” samakatuwid ito ay nasa wika na ng mga ninuno nating pinagmulan. Ang ibig sabihin ng “wani” ay tumutulong sa kapwa ng walang inaasahang kapalit, at ginagamit ang kakayahan upang ayusin ang kabuuan o ang lipunan. Kaya ang tawag natin sa government employee ay kawani ng pamahalaan.
Kaiba sa “Hero” ng Kanluran na ekstrardinaryo at may persona, ayon kay Zeus Salazar, hindi mayabang ang “bayani” sa Pilipinas. Siya ay may kababaang loob, laging kasama niya ang bayan, at nakatuon sa pagsusulong ng interes ng mga kasama.
Kung ganito ang “bagani” at ang datu ang pinakamagaling o batikan (kasi maraming batek o tattoo) na “bagani” samakatuwid, ang datu ay hindi nagpapakasasa sa pagpapaibayo ng sariling interes kundi iniaalay ang sarili sa paglilingkod sa kapwa.
Hindi rin totoong awtomatikong ang mga anak ng datu ang nagiging susunod na datu, bagama’t ito ang kadalasang nangyayari. Ngunit nararapat na patunayan muna ng hahalili na mayroon siya ay magaling rin sa sandata at pamumuno. Kung hindi na nais ng bayan ang datu o ang kanyang angkan, hahamunin ang kanilang kapangyarihan sa pamamagitan ng sandata. Kaya sa diwa nito, oo nga’t pinapayagan ng bayan at inihahalal pa nga nila ang mga dinastiyang pulitikal, ngunit ito ay habang nakikita pa ng bayan na nagsisilbi pa sila para sa kanilang interes.
Ang datu ang nagpapadaloy ng ginhawa ng bayan, bagama’t siya ang may-ari ng mga lupa at mga bangka, hinahayaan niyang ito ay pakibangan ng bayan. Ito ang papel ng estado sa kasalukuyang panahon. At upang magkaroon ng tunay na kaginhawahan ang bayan, kailangan hind imaging dorobo, bagkus magkaroon ng katuwiran at mabuting kalooban ang mga pinuno.
Ngunit, huwag kayong magkamali, hindi natin pinapakahulugan dito na hindi dapat sugpuin ang kriminalidad. Ayon nga sa dakilang bayani na si Apolinario Mabini, “Kapag ang kapwa mo tao ay …pinagtatangkaang lipulin ang iyong buhay at kalayaan at pag-aari, ay dapat mo namang ibuwal at lipulin siya.” Ngunit ano kaya ang ibig sabihin ng salitang ibuwal. Patayen??? Abogado si Mabini, nainiwala siya sa proseso ng batas. Makatuwiran.
Muli, ang pagkakaroon ng strong leader ay hindi nangangahulugang diktadura, kundi ang paggamit ng malakas na kapangyarihan sa tama at nararapat: ang proteksyunan ang dapat na kaginhawahan, ergo, ang karapatan ng mamamayan.
Paano kaya natin matutugunan ang malaking kabalintunaan na kailangan natin ng awtokratikong mala-diktador na lider at hindi natin kailangan ang karapatang pantao.
Tulad ng nabanggit, ang malaking kabalintunaan ay nagmula rin naman sa ilang katotohanan. Hindi dapat natin sisihin ang bayan kung naging walang silbi ang tingin nila ukol sa demokrasya at karapatang pantao. Ito ay produkto ng kanilang mga nakita at naranasan matapos na maibalik sa atin ang demokrasya.
May narinig ako na mga nagbibigay daw ng “voters’ education” to make our voters “smarter” raw. Umaalingasaw ang elitismo ng ilan sa atin kahit na maganda ang ating hangarin. Hindi nakatutulong ang insultuhin ang bayan sa kanilang paniniwala. Hindi nakatutulong na sila at tawaging “bobotante” o ignorante. Inuulit ko, ang kanilang mga pananaw ay produkto ng ng historikal na karanasan.
Hindi elitismo ang dapat na isagot, iyon bang ang tingin lang natin sa demokrasya ang tama. Ang dapat na sagot natin ay ipakita ang tunay na demokrasya, na ang kahulugan ay isang tunay na talastasang bayan na naiintindihan ng mamamayan. Tingnan natin ang kanilang pananaw, at patuloy natin silang iengage ng may paggalang at pakikipagkapwa ang kahulugan ng demokrasya ngunit dapat ito ay magkasaysay sa kanila.
Sa makatuwid, kulang ang diskurso ng pagpapakita lang na kailangan natin ng demokrasya at karapatang pantao, kailangang dalhin natin ang usapin sa kung papaanong ang paggalang sa karapatang pantao, demokasya at kalayaan ay dapat magdulot ng kaginhawahan.
Nagsisimula ito sa tunay na desentralisasyon, ang gamitin ng mga lokal na pamahalaan ang kanilang mga kapangyarihan sa Local Government Code upang hindi na umasa ng todo sa pambansang lider lamang at gamitin ang kanilang autonomy sa pagpapaunlad ng sariling mga lalawigan at lokalidad.
Ang mga hakbang na ito ay hindi madali, malaki ang gawain. Hindi man tayo magwagi ngayon, kailangan natin magpunla para sa panahon na darating na ang pagsibol ng Kalayaan at kaginhawahan sa bayan. Huwag tayong panghinaan ng loob, kailangan lang nating magsimula sa ating kalooban, hindi man tayo perpekto. Magsisimula tayo sa pag-ibig sa bayan, samakatuwid, pagrespeto sa kakayahan na maintindihan ka ng kapwa mo Pilipino.
Sapagkat kung tayo mismo ay hindi natin nirerespeto ang kapwa natin at ang kanyang kakayahan at karapatan, ang Bill of Rights o ang Katipunan ng mga Karapatan at ang ating Saligang Batas ay isang walang saysay na kapirasong papel lamang. Hindi totoong hindi buhay ang konsepto ng human rights sa mga Pilipino, sapagkat TAYO MISMO ang Katipunan ng mga Karapatan.
(Written for Prof. Patricia Mae B. Jurilla’s Communication II I class in the University of the Philippines at Diliman, second semster, A.Y. 2001-2002. Uploaded to commemorate the 20th anniversary of George Harrison’s death)
“In every mistake we must surely be learning.”
“Kahit kailan, ‘di kita iiwan….” South Border sang in front of screaming fans. It was 30 November 2001 (29 November in London), Friday, I was watching their concert at the Ultra. I received a text message from my best friend and fellow Beatlemaniac, Mayo Baluyut.
I shouted, “Shit!”
George Harrison, the Quiet Beatle, was dead!
Weeks ago, Mayo and I were just joking about the way George acted in Beatles performances. He looked dumb and without self-esteem, in comparison to Lennon and McCartney beside him.
After the concert, I went to my Uncle Jimmy’s home and stayed awake in the wee hours of the morning, watching the cable news. Celebrities and world leaders gave their tributes to the youngest Beatle, from Michael Jackson to British Prime Minister Tony Blair to Her Majesty The Queen.
Beatle Paul McCartney said of him, “He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humor. He is really just my baby brother” (qtd. in “Harrison died” A27).
Ringo Starr, the other surviving Beatle, said, “We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter” (qtd. in Sullivan 61).
Bob Dylan, legendary singer-songwriter who was with George in the group Traveling Wilburys, said in a statement, “George was a giant, a great, great soul with all of the humanity, all of the wit and humor, all the wisdom, the spirituality, the common-sense of a man and compassion for people” (qtd. in “Harrison died” A27).
Yoko Ono, the widow of murdered Beatle John Lennon, said, “Thank you George, it was grand knowing you” (qtd. in “Fans Worldwide A10).
He left behind his wife Olivia Arias and his son Dhani, who released this statement; “He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends. He often said, ‘Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another’” (qtd. in “George Harrison” A1).
Listening to all these tributes coming from those close to him, I started to think, maybe there’s more to George Harrison than just being this dumb-looking Beatle. So I went back to things written about him and The Beatles and most importantly, remember his life as his own man.
George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the greatest rock and roll band in history, The Beatles, was born on 25 February l943 in Liverpool, England. “The only Beatle whose childhood was not marred by divorce or death” (“Remembering” 63). He was fifteen when he joined John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the Quarry Men, making him the youngest in the group. It was George who actually taught Lennon in playing the guitar (“George Harrison” A20). As the Silver Beetles, they worked in Hamburg, Germany, “played a thousand gigs…played eight hours straight” (Achenbach 195). Moreover “authorities discovered that Harrison, at 17, was too young to be working in the Reeperbahn nightclubs. They had him deported” (Sullivan 63). When The Beatles released “I Want To Hold Your Hand” in l964, they penetrated America and hit it big in the whole world! Suddenly, they were touring around the world and playing in front of screaming crowds. When they grew tired of Beatlemania, they quit touring in l966 and began experimenting in the studio. In Lennon’s “Norwegian Wood”, George introduced the sitar in Beatles music, having learned it from the guru, Ravi Shankar. Under the influence of drugs, The Beatles recorded the albums Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Under the influence of Eastern religion, they made The Beatles, more popularly referred to as The White Album. The Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership overshadowed George’s skills. Yet he came out with such classics as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Here Comes The Sun”, and “Something”. After The Beatles broke up in l970, his song “My Sweet Lord” topped the charts. When flood and famine ravaged Bangladesh, he had grown tired of people saying “But what can I do?” So he organized The Concert forBangladesh and became the pioneer rock philanthropist, setting the trend for Live Aid and We Are The World (Sullivan 65). In the last days of 1999, “Harrison was stabbed and seriously wounded in the chest by an intruder who broke into his ansion overnight” (“Ex-Beatle” A1). The attacker, Michael Abram, “had shown signs of a Beatles obsession” (“An Attack” 5). Thank God, George survived when his wife Olivia “ended the assault by hitting the attacker on the head with a bedside lamp, knocking him unconscious” (McAllister 24). But his worsening throat cancer couldn’t be stopped from taking George Harrison from us. He died at 58. Although he was gone too soon, it was less a shock compared to Lennon’s murder. Richard Lacayo, Time reporter, wrote, “It is more in the ordinary course of things, a reminder that the simple passage of time is all that will be needed to complete the work that Mark David Chapman began, subtracting The Beatles from the world” (61).
That night, while I was lying in my dormitory bed, the desire to know more about the man came to me. Suddenly, a white cloud appeared around me and transported me to a hotel room with George Harrison himself. I was hoping to find answers in his own words.
“Good evening! Have a seat!” He welcomed me with a smile.
I told him, “I’m Xiao Chua from the Philippines!”
“The Philippines!” He exclaimed. And he began relating to me The Beatles arrival in Manila, “As soon as we got there it was bad news… We were…bullied for the first time. It wasn’t respectful…it was a very negative vibe from the moment we got off the plane, so we were a bit nervous” (The Beatles 217).
I asked him, “Did you intend to snub the Marcoses when you didn’t appear at the courtesy call in the presidential palace?”
That’s how they decided to present it. Nobody ever said, “Well, they were never asked….” The whole place turned on us. We had people yelling and screaming when we tried to get to the airport. Nobody would give us a ride… Finally, somebody managed to get a car… We were driven to the airport. We were all carrying amplifiers and suitcases—nobody was helping us to do anything—but the mania was going on with people trying to grab us, and people trying to hit us. (The Beatles 220)
He added, “We came [t]here to sing. We didn’t come [t]here to drink tea and shake hands. We didn’t even want to come [t]here” (qtd. in Ocampo 122).
I shifted to another topic, “What did you feel when you guys split?”
He recalled, “My feelings when we went our separate ways was to enjoy the space that it gave me. The space to be able to think at my own speed and to have some musicians in the studio who would accompany me on my songs” (The Beatles 349).
I asked him, “What do you feel as a Beatle?”
He answered, “In reality, The Beatles exist apart from my Self. I am not really ‘Beatle George’. ‘Beatle George’ is like a suit or shirt that I once wore on occasion and until the end of my life people may see that shirt and mistake it for me” (qtd. in Giles 44).
Having read that “He often said that his luckiest break was joining the band and his second luckiest was leaving it” (Sullivan 62), I asked him, “So you’re the most reluctant Beatle?”
He answered, “Being a Beatle was a nightmare, a horror story. I don’t even like to think about it” (qtd. in Sullivan 62).
I interrupted, “Why is that?”
He continued, “In the big picture it doesn’t really matter…whether you’re the king of a country or you’re the Sultan of Brunei or you’re a fabulous Beatle; it’s what’s inside that counts” (The Beatles 355).
I asked him, “Any message for the fans out there?”
He told me, “I’d like to think that the old Beatle fans have grown up and they’ve got married and they’ve all got kids and they’re all more responsible, but they still have a space in their hearts for us” (The Beatles 357).
I wish that our conversation would last, but to end I told him, “Thanks George, I really appreciated it!”
He replied, “Thanks, too, for the visit, Xiao, Hare Krishna!”
And I woke up. It was already Sunday morning. I rose from my bed, played my cassette and listened to the music of Harrison.
Pondering his songs, I realized that his music, in his own write, reflected his feelings and persona. I found out that we have the same personality in one aspect. We’re both individualistic. “As the ‘quiet’ Beatle and his public image was summed up in the first song he wrote for them (The Beatles), ‘Don’t Bother Me’” (“George Harrison” A20). The lyrics say, “So go away, leave me alone don’t bother me” (Lennon, et al. 41). Even the last recorded song of The Beatles was a George Harrison composition entitled “I, Me, Mine”.
His music was also powerful. As lead guitarist of The Beatles, the sound of his lead stood out in the ad-lib of “Can’t Buy Me Love” and will haunt you in “Something”. Although not as great as Eric Clapton’s godly lead, Harrison’s fine lead was powerful enough to move listeners (Clapton played the lead in Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. He also became the husband of Harrison’s first wife, Patti).
His music was also spiritual. His belief in Eastern religion, which he clung to ‘til death, was reflected in his music. He sang his philosophies and played the sitar in “Within You Without You” and “The Inner Light”. Most of his later songs dealt with his search for God. His solo hit “My Sweet Lord” had these lyrics, “I really want to see you Lord” (qtd. in “Remembering” 78). And so was “Give Me Love”, “My Lord, please take hold of my hand that I might understand you” (qtd. in “Remembering” 77). He was actually more spiritual than Lennon, whose being Atheist was reflected in his songs such as “Imagine” and “God”.
His music was also immortal. Harrison’s music achieved it with his finest song, an idyllic love song for his first wife, “Something”. “With more than 150 versions recorded, “Something” is the second-most-covered Beatles song after “Yesterday”. But a measure of Harrison’s obscurity with the band is that Frank Sinatra used to introduce “Something” as his favorite Lennon-McCartney tune” (Sullivan 65). But still, I would agree with Sinatra when he described it as “The finest love song ever written” (qtd. in “Fans Worldwide” A10).
Obscure he was. As John Lennon said of George after the break-up, “His talents have developed over the years and he was working with two f__king brilliant songwriters, and he learned a lot from us. I wouldn’t have minded being George, the invisible man, and learning what he learned. Maybe it was hard or him sometimes because Paul and I are such egomaniacs, but that’s the game” (qtd. in Giles 44). But as Robert Sullivan, another Time reporter, puts it, “He was the Quiet Beatle only in that he was standing alongside two louder-than-life characters and in front of a guy playing drums” (62). Because after the Beatles broke up, he released All Things Must Pass, which was three records long. “The sheer volume of material on that l970 release confirmed the feelings of Harrison’s fans that he was being stifled in the Beatles” (“George Harrison” A20). To Jeff Giles, Newsweek reporter, “That was Harrison’s creativity extending its middle finger” (44).
I suddenly began to admire him for being a songwriter and seeker as well. When “what he hoped to learn, The Beatles couldn’t teach” (Giles 44), he wandered to find his spirituality through introspection, as he sang in “The Inner Light”, “Without going out of my door, I can know all things on earth… The farther one travels, the less one knows” (Lennon et al. l60).
In “All Things Must Pass”he sang, “Sunrise doesn’t last all morning…It’s not always going to be this gray. All things must pass, all things must pass away” (qtd. in “Remembering” 75). Lacayo reflected on its relevance at times such as these, “All things must pass, he said. O.K., we say back. O.K., we know. We have lived through September ll. We have seen things pass. We listen to his song differently now, cherishing it as a warning against old complacencies and a promise that the darkness of this moment too shall pass” (6l).
That night, I lit a candle as my own tribute to George. It’s time to give due respect and recognition to the most neglected Beatle for giving us the legacy of his music. He may look dumb, but looks can deceive. The depth of his mind and the maturity of his spirit are reflected in his music. Listening to that music makes me feel good, sometimes spiritual, sometimes sublime, but always timeless. He and The Beatles are timeless anyway. The fact still amazes me, that these powerful, spiritual, and immortal sounds were produced in the silence of George Harrison, the Quiet Beatle, musician, and most of all, seeker. At last, in the cold silence of the night, Something was heard!
26 January 2002
Achenbach, Joel. “The Beatles.” Why Things Are. New York: Ballantine Books, l99l. 191-20l.
“An Attack On A Beatle.” Newsweek 10 Jan. 2000: 5.
Beatles, The. The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000.
Introducing the Human Rights Historical Online Teaching spot or HOTspot, a virtual exhibit created by the Commission on Human Rights with Prof. Xiao Chua.
MORE ITEMS TO BE ADDED COME JUNE 12. LAUNCHING WILL BE A VIRTUAL TOUR WITH YOURS TRULY. PLEASE SHARE PARA UMABOT SA ATING MGA TEACHERS.
HOMEBUDDIES, TARA PUNTA TAYO SA MUSEUM (KAHIT NASA BAHAY).
May virtual museum app po para sa laptop at PC na ginawa ang Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines sa pakikipagtulungan ng inyong lingkod na nagbibigay ng mga intersante at makabuluhang impormasyon ukol sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas.
Introducing the Human Rights Historical Online Teaching spot or HOTspot.
1. Jet Legaspi
2. Janin Limsico Tan
3. Eddie P. Lagrimas Jr.
4. Gerome Pojas
5. Xiao Chua
With the supervision of Maam Sylvia Angelique Umbac and Atty. Tom Temprosa of the CHR.
Ito ang “Unang Paglalayag Paikot ng Daigdig” na primaryang tala ni Antonio Pigafetta ukol sa Ekspedisyon ni Magallanes at Elcano na salin sa Filipino ni Phillip Yerro Kimpo. Napapanahon ang naging publikasyon nito ng Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino dahil malapit na ang #Quincentennial o ika-500 taon ng mga pangyayaring ito sa taong 2021.
Bagama’t kontrabida sa Pilipinong pananaw ng kasaysayan si Magellan, at talaga namang medyo naging k*pal siya pagdating dito sa Pinas, hindi matatawaran ang kontribusyon ng diwang mapagsapalaran ni Magellan kaya mas nakilala natin ang mundong ating ginagalawan.
Ang tala rin na ito ni Pigafetta ang isa sa pinakamaagang tala ukol sa ating mga sinaunang ninuno. Makikita rito hindi lang ang kanilang kultura na hinangaan ni Pigafetta kundi ang kanilang pakikipagkapwa-tao na siyang naging dahilan para di sila mategui at matuloy nila ang paglalakbay paikot ng mundo na naging tagumpay naman ng Agham at Sangkatauhan.
At siyempre nakikini-kinita ko na may masasabi na naman: Di ba dayuhan si Pigafetta? Dapat di umaasa sa kanya sa kuwento ng ekspedisyon. Dapat perspektibo ng Pilipino. Dapat ang mga sinulat ng nga prayle huwag nang basahin.
Ok. Hinahahon lang ako. Alam mo ba kung saan natin nalaman ang maraming mga kaalaman ukol sa ating mga ninuno bago dumating ang mga dayuhan? EDI SA MGA SINULAT NG MGA DAYUHAN.
E di ba bias against us? Una wala namang hindi biased. At oo biased sila sa opinion pero malamang hindi sa facts at deskripsyon nila tungkol sa atin.
So ganito: paghiwalayin mo lang ang opinion sa facts ng sinasabi at maaari mo nang makita ang pamumuhay ng mga ninuno natin kahit sa sinulat ng dayuhan.
Siyempre dahil multi-disciplinary ang history, kukuha ka ng ibang affirmations sa anthropology at iba pa pero talagang mauuna ang dokumento.
Kaya hindi ito usapin na kapag nagrely ka sa dokumento ng dayuhan e anti-nationalist ka na.
O ayan, sa ngalan ng #Kwinsentenaryo ihiningi ko po kayo sa Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino.
Because Quirino is not just a highway, an avenue, a hospital or a province.
On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, the upcoming Quincentennial Commemorations of the Victory and Humanity of the Filipinos and President Elpidio Quirino 65th Death Anniversary month, the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation through Prof. Xiao Chua releases the digital version of the Mga Kuwentong Quirino Comics which were distributed in 2015 for Quirino’s 125th birth anniversary.
Learn about the President who showed humanity for the White Russians in 1949 and letting them reside in Guiuan, the same town where in 1521, Filipinos showed humanity to the hungry and weary Magellan Expedition, as a continuation of 500 years of Pakikipagkapwa-tao.
Michael Charleston “Xiao” B. Chua, Tarlac City, 16 years old
Note: I am publishing this account twenty years after I wrote it as I begin to realize that this event is already unfamiliar with the newer generation. Although I was not there during the event itself, I collected a bigger picture raw and contemporaneous account based on events being reported on television at that time. There was only text messaging for many people, the internet at that time was not available to majority of Filipinos. Social media, even Friendster, was not even there yet. My opinions on certain personalities and issues in these diary entries, and my tone relating to the EDSA Tres crowd, were based on information and views what were available to me at that time and had changed over time. It might not reflect my present views as a historian.
CHAPTER 1: EDSA DOS
THE STORY OF PEOPLE POWER II IN THE EYES OF A TV VIEWER FAR, FAR AWAY
It’s the 21st of January, the sun rises in the east this great Sunday morning. Although sick, I feel perfectly well just like most of us. A new hope, a new beginning for the Philippines—land the sun loves.
But looking back a week before, it was impossible to even think it will happen again. But it did happen! And we never knew it would be that fast! I’m still wondering: Did it really happen?
16 January. 2001, afternoon
It all started that fateful night of 3 October, just last year. Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson thought that his friend, President Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada was out to have him killed. Chavit then accused Erap of being “The Lord of All Jueteng Lords”, was receiving P 400 Million of illegal gambling collections.
Elected under the campaign guise of “Erap para sa. Mahirap”, man of the masses, two years ago, Estrada was so popular with the poor. Having played defender of the poor in his superb performances as an actor and publicized with his bad English and womanizing, the masses thought that a president was at last raised from their ranks.
After Chavit’s juetenggate, came exposes of the extravagant lives and mansions of the president. his family and his mistresses. How can he do this to the masses that brought him to power? While the masses are hungry, buried in crises, he is engaging in vices of monumental proportions in financial terms. While many are still homeless, fighting the cold of night, he had palaces built that’s worth hundreds of houses of the poor.
The clamor for Estrada’s resignation grew stronger headed by Manila’s powerful Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, and charismatic Former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino. But not strong enough. Most are still blinded. Still, all these will lead to the Senate Impeachment Trial against Estrada. And now the TV will have a role in shaping the nation more than it did before.
The prosecution panel against the president revealed in the impeachment trial that an account in the name of Jose Velarde was actually owned by the president (The signature in the Jose Velarde account is similar with that of the president’s). It was confirmed when Equitable-PCI Bank Senior Vice President Clarissa Ocampo testified that the president signed Jose Velarde, “I was one foot away.”
2 o’clock in the afternoon was the most awaited time every day because it is the start of the hit soap opera which was: The impeachment trial! To us, it was…entertainment more than a political trial. For we were informed about court rules and legal gobbledygook’s. We are now talking to each and every one especially with our classes, “Your honor!”. More importantly, we were informed of the corruption done by Pres. Estrada and his minions. Every day, we were glued in the TV set for the first impeachment trial in Asia.
Although the hope of getting Estrada convicted is getting dim because of mere technicalities by the counsels of the president, and although the clamor for Estrada’s resignation carried on to the streets, I still believe in the constitutional process which was the impeachment. In my heart, I hope that the senator-judges will be fair enough in their judgment and will uphold principle over partisanship, the truth over money…
16 January 2001, minutes before midnight
All the while, I trusted them…but they failed me.
Tonight was a turning point in the Impeachment Trial. The court was debating on whether to open or not to open the second envelope on the Jose Velarde account which according to the prosecution contains [information on] a 3.2 Billion account. The presiding officer, Chief Justice Hilario Davide was to make a ruling on opening the envelope. But Sen. Francisco Tatad told the court that the opening should be ruled out through the 21 senators’ vote.
I, with the whole nation, watched the senators voted. The opening of the Second Envelope would determine if the account was really the president’s. I thought that the senator-judges would like to know the truth just like how eager the Filipino people is to know the truth. At last, we would know…
But eleven senator-judges voted not to open the envelope. Those who would like to open the envelope were outnumbered, na “onse” ang bayan! At that moment, I began cursing the eleven with all my heart! Those bastards… “mga p*t*ng in* nila!” The president might have betrayed the public trust…in secret, but these eleven have betrayed the public trust in [front of] our very eyes! What a shame. I lost my trust with the senate as an impeachment court because the eleven voted for partisanship, not for the truth. I really cursed them, I really hated them!
Because of his “yes to open” vote, Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel resigned as Senate President. The senators who voted with him cried. I cried with them. It was the death of truth and justice in this country.
As the senator-judges who voted “no to open” celebrated, Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta even danced awfully in the halls of the senate. What would his brother Ninoy Aquino say if he was alive today. The people were so furious! They lost hope in the impeachment trial. They would be so happy to bring the trial…to the streets!
As early as 11:00 pm that same night, two hours after the senate’s decision, many people were already in the streets and had a noise barrage simultaneously in Metro Manila. I was still watching TV then. I could hardly sleep. I was so concerned.
This is revolution!!!
17 January, 2001, afternoon
This morning, I stood in front of my fellow students in the morning assembly. Wearing an “Erap Resign” wristband, I appealed to them “Why should you be concerned with all of these? If true, the money that your parents are working hard for and is paying to the government…Where does it go? To Erap!!!”
I continued, “And the jueteng money that your father loses… Where does it go? To Erap!!!” An applause made me pause. Then I said, “We should have known by now what is the truth, but these eleven…” Then I showed them a tabloid cover featuring the eleven’s images as I continued, “…prevented us from knowing the truth! Now we know those whom your parents have voted…impotents!!!” And a loud clap ended my statement. My fellow young people should know.
Later this morning, all of St. Matthew Christian Academy prayed for a peaceful resolution of this crisis. “Thy will be done”, we echoed as one.
When I came home earlier this afternoon. I opened the TV and I was surprised to see the throngs gathered in front of the EDSA Shrine. Thousands of people have filled its intersection and the flyovers on it. And many people have vowed never to leave EDSA not until Erap resigned!!! Simultaneously, protests were held in major cities nationwide.
The revolt was supported by Cardinal Sin, Cory Aquino and the elite.
At this point, the country was in constitutional crisis: The Senate was damaged, the house, paralyzed. The prosecution team had resigned. The impeachment hanging…
Thank God the people have spoken! We’ve been suffering with this ordeal for so long. I was greatly affected. At this point, I’m praying to God for this country badly wounded and so divided. I knew God will make a way. God will…
“Lord, heal our land!!!”
18 January, 2001, afternoon
While sleeping, an unexpected news came. So unexpected, I woke up and almost fell off my bed. This afternoon, Nora Aunor speaking against Erap? Are my eyes fooling me? Are my ears sick? She had been the foremost actress campaigner for the president, now she is telling Estrada to resign? Everything was true. She said she had suffered so much in the campaign trail, often neglected. This is important for the clamor of resignation. At last, someone from the president’s circle of friends is telling Estrada to resign, whatever her motives are.
19 January, 2001, minutes before midnight
It’s my birthday!!!
I told myself, “Erap will not step down, this crisis will take too long!” Nothing’s been happening with the rallies So in the afternoon, I went downtown with my girlfriend [name withheld] and my friend Mayo to watch the parade, it is festival season in our city… Tarlac City. If only I am in Manila, I could have been in EDSA.
But at about 5:00 pm, I went with my girlfriend to her house in a remote area. I can hear shouts of “Erap remain” outside. Anyway, she turned the TV on and although black and white, I can clearly see and hear the news of Defense Secretary Orly Mercado and AFP Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes’s defection from the Estrada administration. They were submitting to the will of the people at EDSA. One by one, police and military officers, cabinet members and supporters were withdrawing their support from the administration. The government was paralyzed.
This is People Power II…The point of no return for Estrada… And there’s no turning back!
When I returned home at 6:00 PM, Pres. Estrada was currently appearing on TV calling for a snap election in May and vowed not participate in it!
Personally, it’s unacceptable. It was unconstitutional. For a snap election to take place, the president and vice president should vacate their posts.
I started tuning in on GMA-7 to watch and record the events as they unfold on VHS. My friend, Mayo, came. Mayo, who lost his interest in history and national affairs regained it when together, we watched tanks rolling in Malacañang grounds to protect the President. And we wondered what will happen to Estrada if ever arrested. Will he be brought to EDSA to be annihilated and humiliated?
Rumors were spreading that Estrada has already left Malacañang. A rumor quickly rectified by friends of the president coming out of the palace.
Church band members Roodz and Chris Mark visited me and Mayo. Chris Mark just arrived straight from EDSA. He recounted his experience: The loud yelling and cheering was so loud, you must shout in order for your companion to hear you.
When the three left my house at about 10:00 PM, I was glued to my TV screen and witnessed the EDSA Shrine crowd at its peak: 1.8 Million people singing anti-Erap songs and dancing anti-Erap tunes. APO Hiking society headed the crowd in singing John Lennon’s peace chant, “All we are saying is Erap Resign!”
Before I went to slumber, beginning to feel sick, I heard the news that a three-man transition team was already negotiating with the administration on Estrada’s graceful exit. But the people already gave a deadline for Erap to step down. 06:00 AM tomorrow or they will march to Mendiola, the street leading to the presidential palace – Malacañang.
20 January, 2001, dawn
Although sick, I woke up again this morning at 2:00 AM. I turned the TV screen on again. I heard that the negotiations had broken down. The militant groups are now preparing for their march to Mendiola at 6:00 AM if Erap won’t resign. This is so thrilling to watch out: What will happen if people power meets people power? Remember, the pro-Erap group! are still in Mendiola. The Cardinal advised the people to stay at EDSA because according to him, an event everybody is waiting will come later at noon.
I received a text message from my teacher, Ms. Jett Paras. She is in Manila today. She’s so blessed to be there. She had seen a rumble between pro and anti-Estrada groups in Makati. It was bloody she said!
Speaking of text messaging, as of writing, millions of messages are passing nationwide, many ’bout the clamor for Erap resignation. If EDSA will succeed, Joseph Estrada will be the first president to be ousted by text messaging.
I’ll sleep again. ‘Till victory is ours…
20 January. 2001. mid-morning
When I woke up, the sun was already high and the marchers have already left for Mendiola. I saw everything on TV… “Ang daming tao!” Meanwhile, in Mendiola itself, the pro-Eraps are preparing for a clash. We see movements, chaos on TV. Their leader was Atty. Oliver Lozano, counsel to the Marcoses. I wonder why he is always on the wrong side of history! Anyway, he is also the counsel for Muslim rebel groups.
20 January, 2001, 11:00 AM
The marchers from EDSA shrine were coming nearer and nearer to Mendiola. They are unstoppable! Showing streamers such as “Go to hell!” and shouting “Erap resign…now!”, they will outnumber the remaining Pro Eraps who are firm in defending their idol. If the people power will meet the other people power, surely there will be a clash! I just pray that this will be avoided. High emotions may lead to violence.
These scenes should make Estrada realize it’s over. Does he not realize it’s over? It’s over, men? But still no words coming from the palace in my good ole TV. Except for helicopters hovering over the palace area, maybe convincing Estrada that the military had turned against him.
At last! Minutes ago, Bro. Mike Velarde had a telephone broadcast at GMA 7 saying, “That the nation should be calm now for he is ministering to the president to be prepared for the reality. He told me he would leave Malacañang…” But the time was still indefinite.
Now, the protesters have come face to face with the loyalists. Only police and barricades are dividing them! The anti-Eraps were so furious they are being stopped. Also, the marchers from other points in Metro Manila are coming.
20 January, 2001, noon
The anti-Eraps were so furious and unstoppable that they broke into military and police lines and ran wild to the intersection of Mendiola and Legarda. They destroyed the stage and a tent built by the Estrada supporters. But they respected the barricade at the foot of the Chino Roces monument and did not proceed to the palace meters away.
Any minute now, the Vice President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be sworn in as President of the Philippines by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. How about Erap? Speculations came out, that Estrada already resigned, that Estrada is preparing to sign the resignation document. But in a phone call to GMA 7’s Maki Pulido Estrada said he will leave the palace on Wednesday, the 24th after they finished packing, “Masama ang loob ko sa nangyayari!” But he stresses that he is not resigning.
20 January, 2001, 12:19 PM
The people at EDSA had won!
Gloria just sworn in “to fulfill my duties as President of the Philippines” in front of the cheering jubilant crowd at EDSA Shrine. The whole government of the Philippines signified their support to the new president by the presence of their top leaders, the military, the Supreme Court, the Senate and the House of representatives. The pro-Erap House Speaker, Arnulfo Fuentebella was [present but was] booed by the crowd.
She now delivers her inaugural address. In the beginning of her speech, she quoted the good book [Bible]. “It is now…a time to heal and a time to build!”
She also echoes the words of a Filipino martyr, Ninoy Aquino, “I have carefully weighed the virtues and faults of the Filipino and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for.”
She also speaks about her four core beliefs:
1. We must be bold in our national ambitions.
2. We must improve moral standards in government and society.
3. We must change the character of our politics in order to create fertile ground for true reforms.
4. Finally, I believe in leadership by example.
20 January, 2001,2:00 PM
There were reports that Estrada already left Malacañang.
Earlier TV viewers stopped to see some Presidential Security Guards running. A friend of Erap came out to explain that Erap was just bidding his guards farewell.
Also Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Angelo Reyes was spotted on the Pasig River on his way to the palace. Maybe, to accompany the President on his way out.
Somebody came out of the sentry gate and distributed a statement from no less than the president of the Philippines Joseph Ejercito Estrada, excuse me, FORMER president.
In his statement, he said that he has strong and serious doubts about the legality and constitutionality of Gloria’s proclamation as president. But he also added that he does not want to be a factor that will prevent the restoration of unity and order in our civil society.
“It is for this reason that I now leave Malacañang Palace, the seat of the presidency of this country, for the sake of peace and in order to begin the healing process of our nation…I call on all my supporters and followers to join me in the promotion of a constructive national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity.”
Then Maki Pulido reported that she heard reports that Estrada already left Malacañang.
20 January, 2001, 2:20 PM
Then suddenly, the sentry gate opened and a soldier came out. He announced that the former president wants the media to see his departure and that Erap was actually still inside. The media ran, the TV viewers stopped and sat.
There were no live cameras, only radio voice overs. When the announcer said that the Estradas are coming out of the Presidential Residence, we heard the media scrambling to get a statement from the former president and struggling with the Presidential guards.
Only when Maki Pulido came back running to the live TV camera at the sentry gate, did we see footage of Estrada and his family accompanied by the Chief of Staff who turned against him yesterday, and his friends who remained with him to the end.
Now we see the Estrada couple waving to the crowd, saying “Thank you!” to the guards just before they boarded the boat out of Malacañang to the other side of the Pasig.
Months ago, Erap said of his enemies, “Pupulutin sila sa kangkungan!” He did not realize that his “kangkungan” was the Pasig, the river at the back of his palace.
21 January, 2001, night
A text message reads, “HAPI OUSTER SUNDAY 2 OL! Yestrdy was SABADO DE GLORIA & d other day was a vry GOOD FRIDAY!”
The text nation is in celebration. The phone messages kept the country connected and alive against Erap. He became the first Philippine President that was ousted with the help of text. A coup d’text!
And of course, who owns most of the text? No less than the youth! Who said that they didn’t care for the country? They did in EDSA Dos. Young people, we can do something! We can party yet we care. Anyway, this is how we turn EDSA Dos to, festive and merry! Carry on!
Information runs fast in an epoch of technology and the media. This conclusion can be proven with the well-informed people who gathered at EDSA. They knew, that was why they were there. They knew what Erap had done, that was why they felt that he did not deserve the post.
For years, we doubted that the spirit of EDSA was still in us Filipinos. It was answered in those four days as seen on the TV screen and as recounted by eyewitnesses. Take what our principal, Ma’am Jett, had seen. She was passing EDSA at the height of the protests, and saw the crowd being generous to each other, sharing something to eat or drink. Then, she turned her eyes and saw the many people sweeping the road, and they were not even paid for it. This is the spirit so Filipino—the spirit of “Bayanihan”—of working together. And in one shining moment, that is EDSA, the people were one.
It was the crowd the Supreme Court saw that made them declare the presidency vacant and swore in the Vice President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to the presidency; it was the same crowd Estrada saw that made him leave the presidential palace.
Former President Cory Aquino and Cardinal Sin, and those politicians on stage at EDSA. may have contributed in the victory. But the real heroes of EDSA are those millions of nameless and faceless Filipinos who were not on the stage, but down, at EDSA and around the country who offered not blood, sweat, toil and tears, but love, prayers, time and laughter. In a peaceful manner, we toppled a dictator in 86′, we did it again!!! May this serve as a warning for our leaders never to betray us…For we can do it again!!!
Whatever the West may think of us, we should never lose faith in what we could do as a community, what we could accomplish if we’re united in one goal. We should believe in ourselves in order for others to believe us. Let’s start with ourselves!
Just like what we did as St. Matthew Christian Academy students at the first hours of the mobilization that is EDSA Dos. We, the young people, were one in prayer, asking God to guide the nation in facing the crisis of the presidency that affected everyone. “Thy will be done!” We echoed as one. And yes we too are heroes!!!’
So, not only was the Filipino spirit magnified, but the greatness of God. For we, as a people, relied on our Wreator for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. It was God I saw who moved and made the impossible happen, and made it that fast. If not because of the bitter events in the impeachment trial, we could still be waiting for a resolution. God made it happen in order to tell us that His will is much better than what we thought was best. God listens…and He never sleeps!
Now, we see the image of a merciful God. As Jamie Rivera sang it as the theme of EDSA Dos echoing God’s promise in the Second Book of Chronicles, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and, pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will hear their land.”
Yeah! God will hear our broken lives.
Well, how about “Madamme President”? I think she becomes the number one beneficiary of all our efforts as heroes of EDSA in her ascendancy as “Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo”. She told us on her first speech as occupant of the presidential palace that she has no grandiose dreams of becoming a great president, “I just want to be a good president…So help me become a good president!”
All I have to say is she needs our help badly in picking up the broken pieces of our country. Earlier this night she said in a prayer rally, “Pray for me so that I may become a good president…”
And as I see the sunrise, I see hope. A hope for a better tomorrow. But a better tomorrow will come to us only if we share the responsibilities of rebuilding the nation. We should not rely completely on the government, we too, must act. For EDSA, contrary to what others are saying, is not just the five-day vigil and party in front of a bronze statue, but a continuous revolution. We are almost forgetting that a true revolution is not a mere change of leadership, but a change of society. Good shot, Prof. Randy David!
And as I see my ever-reliable TV, I see hope! But the battle is not yet finished. We should not let our guard down. We should continue watching. And with my good ole’ TV, I’ll sure be continuing my watch.
I saw history unfold on my TV, as they happened. That’s why I feel prouder to be Filipino. For I know what the Filipino can accomplish together with the help of the Almighty. As my kababayan Ninoy Aquino, who have “Faith in the Filipino, Faith in God,” put it in words, “The Filipino is worth dying for!”
And also, I know that our children, our grandchildren will not judge us for we did something. Sure, they’ll all be proud of us…for we did this for them.
But looking again on my TV screen, I see the image of a poor lady a-cryin’ and a-shoutin’ “Erap Remain!” The masses still believe their idol. What is to become of them?
SINO ANG TUNAY NA BAYANI
(Isang Talumpating Pagpupugay sa Tagumpay ng EDSA Dos)
(Delivered on the first St. Matthew Christian Academy Morning Assembly after Pres. Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s ouster. In celebration of the victory of EDSA 2 and the victory of our prayers. God is good!)
Alam kong medyo sawa na kayo sa ‘kin pero…
Gusto ko lang mag-share. Maganda kasi yung nangyari. Iba yung nakita kong scenario. Hindi pulitiko ang nagpaikot sa EDSA. Yung mga tao, nagsama-sama. Hindi kaya ng kahit na sinong pulitiko ang gawin ‘yon dahil matagal na yang mga pulitiko na nagsasalita sa TV pero hindi pa rin nila napag-iisa yung mga tao. Bigla, nagkaisa!
Naniwala tayo nun sa impeachment process, na magiging fair ang mga judges. Ako, sa loob-loob ko may hope ako. Sana yung ibang senador, kahit hindi na si Miriam, lumambot ang puso. Pero yun na nga… partisanship ang nangyari. Nagalit ang mga tao, as early as 11 o’clock nung gabing bumoto sila ng “no” to open the second envelope, yung mga militanteng grupo, yung mga tao lumalabas na, nag-iingay na sa Manila. At dahil na rin sa text, ne?
Alam n’yo isa lang ang dahilan n’yan, si Lord. Si Lord talaga ang dahilan, palakpakan natin si LordI
Isa ako sa nagsasabing hindi na mauulit ang EDSA kasi iba na ang pag-iisip ng taño. Wala na silang pakialam sa nangyayari sa bansa. Pati yung mga kabataan ngayon, sabi ko, “Naku! Medyo hopeless na kami kasi wala na kaming inisip kundi gumimik wala kaming inisip kundi mga sarili namin, ang mga syota namin!” Pero hindi. Bigla naisip natin ang bayan. Sino ang nagpakilos sa kabataan? Ang Panginoong Diyos!
Sino ang nagpakilos sa mga tao? Ang Panginoong Diyos! Kaya hindi dapat natin siya kalimutan.
Isa pa, may narealize ako. Sabi kasi dito (Will show the pictures of the 10 senator-judges who voted “yes” to open) Ang sampung Hurado—Bayani ng Bayan”. Bigla na-realize ko na mayroon pa palang mas bayani sa kanila….
Ito, sila ang mas mga bayani sa kanila (Will show the pictures of the 11 senator-judges who voted the other way). Naniniwala ba kayo? Na ang mga tuta ni Estrada? Kasi kung hindi dahil sa kanila, hindi nagsimula ang EDSA. Sila ang ginamit ni Lord para magalit ang mga tao. Sila ang ginamit ni Lord para mag-aklas, pumunta sa strits ang mga tao.
In-oust na natin si Erap sa Malacañang. Pero ousting Erap is not enap. Magpray pa rin tayo dahil hindi pa tapos ang laban! Nung nanumpa na si Gloria, nung magba-bye na si Erap, hindi dun natapos ang laban natin. Hindi dapat tayo maging relax.
Oo, hindi nga tayo sumama sa EDSA pero may parte tayo sa nangyari. Tayo yung nanalangin. Tayong lahat dito sa St. Matthew.
Oust Erap, but his ouster is not enough. Dapat kumilos pa rin tayo, manalangin tayo. Oo nga, malayo tayo, nasa Manila sila. Manalangin tayo.
Last na lang, sino nga ba ang tunay na bayani ng EDSA? Maliban pa sa ating Panginoon. Alam kong hindi ito yung mga pulitikong nag-defect nung last minute. Oo, malaki yung tulong nila, yung mga cabinet secretaries at mga military. Lalong hindi si Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Ang bayani ng bayan: Sila, na pumunta sa EDSA. Sila na mga nananalangin tulad n’yo, tulad ko. Tayo ang mga bayani ng EDSA!
-22 January, 2001
CHAPTER 2: EDSA TRES
POSTSCRIPT TO SWITCH-OFF
The events that challenged our idea of People Power
25 April, 2001, noon
I was with [name withheld] in our house at [Exact address withheld] Fairlane watching TV, when a news conference flashed on the screen. It was Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena announcing that the warrant of arrest for Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada for plunder cases was already out. That was an hour ago.
This is but a historical moment. Erap will be the first president to be arrested for plunder (For we never arrested the Marcoses, but the second president to be arrested per see. The first one was President Jose P. Laurel after the war for being a collaborator.)
I just accompanied [Name withheld] to a tricycle to her house at [Address withheld]. I was left alone in the house to wait for news on TV.
What is taking them so long?
25 April, 2001.2:00 PM
Days ago, Atty. Raymond Fortun announced that if ever a warrant of arrest for Erap would be out, Erap himself would surrender to the Sandiganbayan after two hours of the announcement of the warrant.
The arresting officer ignored this announcement, for they are already at Greenhills to arrest Erap. They are being blocked by thousands of Erap supporters who are camping out of Greenhills in anticipation of Erap’s arrest. Night and day, they were ready to defend their idol, even fight and DIE for him.
And they did. Earlier, they were being dispersed to make way for the arresting officers. But water tanks and clubs have no match to the defiance of the poor people still believing that Erap is their savior. Beaten and wounded, even thrown to the canal, still they stood firm, “Erap remain!”
Erap is a blessed man. So blessed with the charisma and the love of his supporters. So loved, many are willing to die for him. It’s not that the masses who loved him so much do not have eyes to see, no! It’s much deeper than that. It’s roots span three decades. We should look back at Erap “Da Artista” who portrayed many roles defending the poor or championing their causes. His lack of education and English proficiency all add up to his charisma to the masses. They could connect and relate to him. He is not poor per se, but he made the masses feel he is one with them!
The drama is now on its third hour and still is running. Is this not long enough to arrest a former president and his son, Jinggoy? Thanks to GMA-7’s Mel Tiangco and the spokesman of the private prosecutors in the impeachment trial, they filled the gap with substantial commentary. Excellent enough to make me stay on watching TV without anything really happening.
I think if only the police waited for Estrada’s surrender and did not attempt to arrest him in his residence at Polk Street, it’s [probably] over. But then again, maybe Estrada himself asked the arresting officers to accompany him from his residence, for the Estradas could never pass through their die-hard supporters.
Still no movement at Polk Street. The police are still trying to get through. [There were reports of media men being harassed by Pro-Eraps]. Arnold Clavio was almost beaten to death when he came out of the Estrada residence at Polk Street. Arnold was conceived to be an Anti-Erap. Today he is scheduled to interview the president.
Estrada supporters blame the media for the humiliation and downfall of their hero.
25 April, 2001, 3:00 PM
At last, something happenin’!
Earlier, Estrada released a video statement about his arrest and detention. Aside from his comments and grievances to the media and the administration, he made a litany of his achievements and Pro-poor projects.
He said that with his ouster, the constitution was violated. According to him, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should have replaced him as president only if he died, became disabled, convicted in the impeachment trial or resigned. He said his situation didn’t fit any of the four that he is still the legitimate president, and that Gloria is just an acting president.
[But] the Supreme Court had already ruled out on the legitimacy of the Arroyo Government. An overwhelming 13-0 for the third time. Their basis “Salus populi suprema est lex”, the welfare of the people is the supreme law. And Estrada’s Executive Secretary Edgardo Angara’s Diary where it states that Estrada allegedly said, ‘I’m tired, I wanna rest!” as basis for his resignation.
Because of his claim that he is still the president. Estrada questioned the charges against him. He claims immunity from suit. His supporters are also questioning his arrest. He is not a criminal, they said, he’s not yet convicted so why is he being put to jail?
I understand that they do not understand what the law states or maybe some of them do not, that plunder is a non-bailable offense, and that he should be detained in order to assure presence in court. There are two detention centers in the choice list: The Former PAOCTF detention cell, the former building which holds the Anti-Crime Task Force he organized; and a bungalow type cell in Fort Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa Laguna, a facility air conditioned and barricaded with three fences, built a month ago in anticipation of Erap’s detention.
Minutes ago, a phalanx of crowd control policemen dispersed the crowd of Pro-Erap supporters with their shields and clubs. A mega tolerance policy is in effect, but to the much defiant a club will fly to your head! I saw one policeman beating an Erap supporter but a comrade stopped him immediately.
Just minutes and the police force are knocking at Estrada’s door. They immediately surrounded the road to avoid the return of Pro Eraps. Because of the over acting “a-climbin’ the gates” policemen, many mistook the thousand policemen as the arresting team. Actually, the actual arresting officers came when the place was already secured and as of writing, they’re still inside negotiating.
Tomorrow’s papers will headline this story, with a picture of a brave woman stopping the policemen with a hose of water. Good try though.
25 April. 2001. 3:20 PM
The Erap supporters who ran frantically when the police dispersed them are now looking helpless as the former president and his family are being led away in a black van. Looking at the top view of Polk Street, it looks like a funeral. He will be brought to Crame for finger printing and mug shotting before detention.
Man, the police surrounded black van really looks like a funeral cortege! Does this signify the death of Estrada’s political career?
25 April, 2001, 5:30 PM
From Camp Crame, new footage are coming out. The former president and his son were being fingerprinted and mug shots being taken. This is due to the Estradas having plunder cases [against them], but as former president in this situation, the Filipinos are now looking down on Erap with pity.
Filipinos, being soft-hearted, would naturally pity him. This Estrada knows. He knows that he should look pitiful in order to gain the sympathy from his masses.
In fairness, Estrada is not hard to love. There’s something in his face, maybe his charisma, that will make anybody understand him. From the start, I don’t like Estrada, but when he became president, I became quite optimistic about him. That optimism reflected on my hitherto unpublished biography on him in my book about Philippine Presidents which was written in 1999.
So I can’t blame his supporters if they’ll burst in fury if they see his mug shots. Looking pitiful plus the sympathy of admirers equal larger support!
Honestly, he really looks pitiful.
What other people do not consider is that justice has to roll. If he is innocent, he will be freed, and regain his post in the pantheon of heroes. If not, then be it done to him according to the law. In any way it still has to be proven.
Despite the accusations against him that climaxed with the Second People Power, Estrada was never given a chance to formally answer the charges in the impeachment trial. This is his chance. Let us give Erap his day in court.
Some Erap supporters were camping in front of Camp Crame at EDSA. A Pro-Erap youth group was spotted by a cameraman making holes on tires of vehicles passing EDSA at that time. They want the people inside these cars and buses to join them.
Suddenly, the gates of Crame opened. Policemen, with shield and clubs came running. The Pro-Erap ran frantically to safety. Few were unlucky and tasted suffering in the hands of the police.
One pro-Erap shouted, “To EDSA Shrine!”
Everybody followed him!
26 April. 2001, Midnight
At 5:00 PM, there were trickles of people coming at EDSA Shrine from the Pro-Erap supporters dispersed from Greenhills and Camp Crame. I saw it from TV, from an ABS-CBN chopper hovering over EDSA Shrine.
Their shout, “Di kami aalis dito hangga’t hindi ibinabalik si Erap sa pagkapresidente!”
Media coverage on that little rally was scarce. In the news, I just see tidbits of what was on, but no coverage.
From their cell, the president and his son were resting. I saw Erap being interviewed three times: at CNN, at BBC and at GMA-7 [via phone]. Still echoing his earlier grievances and the condition of his cell.
But while scanning the remote to see the TV channels, I saw Net 25. At last! A channel covering the Pro-Erap rallies with delayed videos and voice over from commentators of an affiliate radio station, DZEC. It was 10:00 PM, I was so delighted!
26 April, 2001, 2:00 AM
I was so shocked to see that countless Pro-Erap were a EDSA Shrine this night. The tides had turned, just three months had passed after the people massed out in that place to oust Erap, people are there again, this time, the other Filipinos. This reflects how divided this country is.
Erap has divided this country.
“Poor People Power” they called their rally. Net 25 and DZEC Radio Agila becomes their voice. For obviously, their commentators were echoing the Pro-Erap’s “Pro God, Pro Constitution” dictum.
At the EDSA Shrine, it is EDSA Tres. And their shout, “Sigaw ng Mahihirap…IBALIK SI ERAP!”
27 April, 2001, night
After [name withheld] and I had a dinner at McDo earlier tonight, I went home and proceeded to Tito Wally’s house to watch TV with Tito Kok-Chin. My two uncles were Iglesia ni Cristo, who had always supported Erap ever since, as the members of that church practices block voting every elections.
They were tuned in to Net 25. I was unaware of the fact that it is actually owned by the Iglesia ni Cristo, as I was told tonight. The Net 25 footage tonight are showing EDSA Tres at its height! I won’t give numbers ‘coz the information I get varies depending on who is getting the ‘numbers. But EDSA is filled with people from the People Power Monument at White Plains to SM Megamall! It is a long stretch, maybe millions of people are there. Far more in numbers than in EDSA Dos.
This makes me sad. This is a visible testament of how divided the nation is. Why should it come to this? A class war between the poor and the elite. I think it’s unfair to strip off the credibility of their grievances by calling the poor at EDSA dirty and stinky, or by calling them ignorant. I believe, in my own opinion that they are fighting for a corrupt president, but we should not take for granted their grievances. They still believe that Erap is their savior, that he could do no wrong, that he is suffering injustice inside a cell in Camp Crame. These are legitimate grievances of the poor and we should not resolve this by mere name calling.
Some leaders of the opposition spoke this night at the EDSA rally. The speech I most hate was the one by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. The devout Catholic repeatedly said Gloria “Tarantada” in front of a church! Did her mind already left her? This is [why] the Cardinal and the Catholic Church think that the Pro-Eraps are desecrating the EDSA Shrine. Beside the fact that it was filled with garbage and stench left by rallyists, they also damaged the fiber glass roof of the Shrine. Where is their leader? Still the public do not know who the Pro-Eraps are following, JV Ejercito? Ronald Lumbao? Sino ba talaga, kuya?
Live coverage of the rally by commercial TV stations are rare! That’s why the Pro-Eraps are furious with the media. Beautiful lady reporters were pushed and shoved as they reported live from EDSA Shrine. Would the leaders pacify the crowd? But where is the leader?
But the division of the nation is more reflected by the division of my own family in the Erap issue. I despise some candidates for senator of the Pwersa ng Masa especially Enrile, Honasan, Santiago and Lacson, but [name withheld] loves them! I believe that Erap deserves jail before conviction, to him, this is injustice.
Erap not only divided his nation, but he also divided the families.
28 April. 2001, night
This morning, Erap was flown from Camp Crame to Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center for a routine check-up with son Jinggoy. According to the doctors, it would take days before it would be finished.
This afternoon, I was at the Calma-Dozier Farm at Dolores for the birthday party of one-year old Gilliane Calma. the daughter of my cousin Cecille, with my relatives and [name withheld] and her family. And [name withheld]’s mother couldn’t help but be shocked when I jokingly had a debate with die-hard Pro-Erap, [name withheld], who is a successful taxi driver in Manila. He even keeps a picture of Erap in his wallet. Although we have different views about Erap, we share the same opinions over the over show of force when Erap was arrested and the publication of mugshots of the president that made the people angry or pity Erap.
He said he went to EDSA last night!
After three months, EDSA is again filled with people. The same shouts, the same songs. Just the message changed. The song “Erap, Erap manloloko…” is now “Gloria, Gloria labandera…” I know that history repeats itself; I didn’t know it could be this soon! Iba talaga ang Pinoy!!!
30 April, 2001, night
It’s the 5th day of EDSA Tres and still no clear sign of how this would-end. Multitudes are still there, especially by nighttime after work. The government still maintains mega tolerance. No dispersal if gathering is peaceful. Even if they are singing “Gloria, Gloria Labandera ” to lampoon Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Earlier, Gloria announced that her government uncovered a plot to overthrow her by using the human wave of EDSA demonstrators but was aborted last night because of “split” decision of opposition leaders.
She said she’s just waiting for them to do it, “So that I could crush them already.”
Additional intelligence says that if the power grab succeeded, Gloria will be killed and so will be Erap. Then a military junta would take over. But no proof for that yet.
Also, today, emissaries from the president namely Justice Secretary Nani Perez, Senate President Nene Pimentel and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte met with INC leader Eraño G. Manalo. This is to convince Manalo that Gloria has a heart and programs for the poor. The result of this is the pullout of the INC members at EDSA.
After I came home earlier from [name withheld]’s house, I’m so excited to know what’s happening in EDSA. Although Net 25 is Pro-Erap, I like their coverage a lot.
I turned on the TV, pushed the button to Net 25…and the coverage was not there.
Now I realized how news blackout is so much irritating. I was left ignorant of what was happening. I was unaware that the Pro-Eraps are already shouting “Lusob na! Lusob na!”
“Kung sa akin lang, handa na ako. Ang tanong, handa ba kayo (lumusob)? Kailan pa kung hindi ngayon?”
“Papaligiran natin ang Malacañang ng libo-libong tao!”
1 May, 2001, 8:00 AM
At about six this morning, I was awakened by my mom. She delivered the news that made my eyes open wide! The Pro-Eraps are storming the very gates of Malacañang!
Hearing that, it made me stand from my bed. I transferred to the main room where my dad was also watching TV. And it’s true!
I just wondered what happened to the Anti-Erap forces who were at vigil since last night at Mendiola in support of the president. Gloria even visited them last night. Maybe they hid somewhere, for surely the hundreds of them will be overpowered by the thousand Pro-Eraps who came. I’m so happy that they didn’t have a clash!
My mom said that they destroyed and got through the barricades at Mendiola at about 3:30 AM shouting “Erap pa rin!”, “Gloria baba!” and “EDSA Tres!” Spotted was Jude Estrada, son of Erap, as among the rallyists who went to Mendiola.
Earlier this morning, as soon as the Pro-Eraps were making trouble at Mendiola, Erap and Jinggoy were flown from the Veteran’s Hospital to a specially made cell at Fort Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The bungalow type cell is secured with three fences and a guardhouse. It’s air-conditioned and is furnished with brand new appliances and furniture. Pretty good for a detainee!
The Pro-Eraps are already knocking at Gloria’s door! They were already having a vigil in front of Gate 7 when the policemen and the fire trucks came to disperse the angry mob.
I was already awake when the fire trucks inside the palace grounds bombarded the Pro-Eraps with tanks. Instead of dispersing, they were delighted to take a bath after days of not having one (Very condescending and elitist I should say-xc).
The policemen tried to disperse away the Pro-Eraps from Gate 7. This turned to a stand-off!
The Pro-Eraps were so defiant that it is the police who are sometimes running in cover from “high” Pro-Eraps who were throwing stones at them! This is fantastic!
It was like water tanks, teargases and truncheons could not kill the spirit of Pro Eraps. They have such high spirits…well, I just wonder, high on fire or high on drugs (Very condescending and elitist I should say-xc). One Pro-Erap already killed a policeman using home-made gun! They are not afraid, not even with snipers atop the Administration Building. Psychologists say that this is an excellent example of “crowd mentality”. Because you are many, you’ll not be afraid to do things together, even the most bad things!
At last, the President of the Philippines appeared on television, live. Looking tired and lacking sleep with no make-up, she seemed serious and strong. She said, “Sa likod ng mga kamatayan ay ang anino ng mga pulitiko na ginamit ang EDSA rally para sa kanilang kapakanan. Sinamantala ng mga pulitiko ang mga inosenteng tao sa EDSA para isulong ang kanilang kandidatura at ang kanilang hinaharap sa pulitika…. Sila ay nagpagalit sa mga tao sa pamamagitan ng kanilang mga talumpati at sila ang nagplano para ang gabing Lunes ay maging gabi ng paghihimagsik…. Ang mga nangyaring paninira, pagnanakaw, pananakit at mga kamatayan ay kagagawan ng mga pulitikong ito. Sila ang dapat sisihin. Mananagot sila sa bayan!”
1 May, 2001, noon
As soon as they heard that the Erap supporters were out of EDSA, some of the clergy, priests, nuns and other concerned citizens went to the EDSA Shrine with their brooms and mops and started to clean EDSA Shrine from the mountain of garbage that piled up with the five-day EDSA rally. Even senatoriable Solita “Winnie” Monsod was there. The parish priest of EDSA Shrine, Monsignor Soc Villegas was so delighted. But he reported that some stations of the cross were destroyed or looted, and that the back of EDSA Shrine was turned into a public restroom!
The EDSA 2 forces were supposed to have a May Day rally today at Mendiola to match the EDSA 3 rally. But because of the turn-around or events this morning, they have reclaimed EDSA and they’re scheduled to meet there this afternoon.
Back to Mendiola. At 10:30 AM, hundreds of riot policemen began to disperse the Pro-Erap mob near Gate 7 using truncheons. They retreated toward Concepcion Aguila St. Rallyists turned very violent. While retreating, they threw stones to the police. Telecasted live on national TV and even on CNN!
At 10:45 AM, The Pro-Eraps, while retreating turned their anger to a police station. They tried to get in and ransacked it. They also destroyed the crew van of GMA-7 and they burned a police car!
Reporter Jiggy Manicad and Ivan Mayrina of GMA-7 were reporting on the fourth floor of a university when the retreating Pro-Eraps were already on Mendiola Bridge. Gunshots for warning could be heard all around. The Pro-Eraps became so aggressive, aggressiveness never seen before in contemporary history by Filipinos. When they saw the GMA crew on the fourth floor, they started throwing stones on the media men.
“Shit” heard the whole Philippines. It was Jiggy, hit by a stone! Chino Roces’s monument became a mute witness of all this trouble!
As they reached Legarda intersection, the Pro-Eraps burned a construction machine. They also set afire vans of ABS-CBN and, ABC 5! A reporter exclaimed, “What demons came into this mob?” They were destroying everything on their way!
The military’s deadline to disperse the Pro-Erap mob in Mendiola was noon. They cleared the street at 11:30!
Minutes after clearing Mendiola, Presidential Spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao announced that the president is placing the entire National Capital Region under STATE OF REBELLION!
1 May, 2001, 1:00 PM
Upon placing Metro Manila under State of Rebellion, the police and the military started arresting some of the looters and troublemakers in the Pro-Erap side were arrested. Hundreds of them. Although under custody, the authorities should not inflict physical harm on the arrested mob, soldiers and policemen hit those who participated in the riots with their fists and clubs. This became so hot and emotional!
Again the question: Where are the leaders? Where is Juan Ponce-Enrile? Where is Miriam? Where is Ronald Lumbao? It was they who convinced the crowd at EDSA to attack Mendiola. Did these cowards join the masses in the attack? My God! These politicians turned the masses into pawns to fulfill their personal agenda. Where were they when their supporters became wounded and in pain? This morning, Miriam didn’t know anything as she swam in the cool waters of Celebrity Sports Plaza.
Looking at those arrested pleading for freedom; I feel not hatred but pity. The masses were again used by hungry-for-power politicians.
1 May, 2001, 2:30 PM
Before leaving home with my mom to accompany [name withheld] and her family to a wake in San Miguel. I watched on TV the rampage brought by Pro-Erap after retreating from Mendiola. In Avenida, traffic lights broken, stores looted. I also heard that they are making movements at the Nagtahan area.
The order of Pres. Arroyo: Even if 5 Pro-Eraps assembled together, it’s rebellion, and they could be apprehended.
1 May, 2001, night
It was 3:00 PM, I was in San Miguel. I peeped in somebody else’s window and saw on TV that Enrile was being arrested by the police headed by Col. Reynaldo Berroya, the mortal enemy of Panfilo Lacson, who, like Miriam, Enrile and others, is considered as coup plotters.
Pictures from Nagtahan were very disturbing, especially that of a young man burning a Red Cross truck! Again, that man too was victim of these politicians.
The sun sets, on the first day of the State of Rebellion. It’s peaceful. I just hope that the worst is over.
Four days later, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visited Former Pres. Joseph Ejercito Estrada and his son Jinggoy in their cell in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. His arrested supporters were later released.
Estrada is a blessed man. He never became poor in any time in his lifetime, but the masses are ready to die for him. Estrada as an actor is very popular, especially those roles defending the poor. He have charisma. But somebody took advantage of the sensitivity and emotions of the masses. Those abusive mean politicians. We should learn already, especially that the polls are near.
For me, it’s not important whether EDSA 2 is more righteous than EDSA 3 or EDSA 3 is the real voice of the masses or vice versa. Let’s leave that to those politicians and people who call themselves “civil society”. We are a divided country. The Filipinos of EDSA 2 against the Filipinos of EDSA 3. But before we could unite the country again, we should begin the healing process among ourselves. Yes, we should start with ourselves.
The Third People Power only proves that we are indeed a free and a democratic country. But even after a dozen of EDSA, if the poor still could hardly eat…Democracy is worthless!
May the Lord guide this nation, whatever we conceive Him to be. Only He could heal our broken lives.
Exhibit originally entitled “MY RIZAL @ MY LA SALLE: Ang Kayamanang Rizaliana sa Koleksyong Lopez-Rizal Bantug ng Sarili Nating Aklatang DLSU organized by The Libraries of the De La Salle University, DLSU History Departament and MY RIZAL 150 in celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal and the Centennial of the De La Salle University, June-July 2011 at the Old DLSU Library (Now Faculty Center)
Curated and annotated by Michael Charleston “Xiao” B. Chua,
Asuncion Lopez Bantug kasama si Ambeth Ocampo.
Pabalat ng orihinal na edisyon ng Lolo José An Intimate Portrait of Rizal ni Asuncion Lopez Bantug
Ang Koleksyong Rizal-Lopez. Kuha ni Xiao Chua
Si Asuncion Lopez Bantug anak ni Dr. Leoncio Lopez-Rizal na pamangkin naman ng ating Pambansang Bayani na si Gat Dr. José Rizal. Isinulat niya ang Lolo José: An Intimate Portrait of Rizal sa perspektiba ng isang kapamilya. Inilagak nila sa Filipiniana Section ng Aklatang DLSU Manila ang kanilang mayamang koleksyon kabilang ang mga aklat ng kanyang ama. Samakatuwid, naglalaman ito ng hindi iilang mahalagang Rizaliana. Alay sa ika-150 taong anibersaryo ng kapanganakan ni Rizal.
Si Pepe, ang Artista, ang Siyentipiko’t Mediko: Ito ang replika ng isang obra ng iskultor na si Rizal na Triumph of Science Over Death na nagpapakita ng bisa ng agham at medisina sa pagpapahaba ng buhay ng isang tao. Nagkaroon ng malaking kopya nito ang kampus ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Maynila, kung saan naroon ang Kolehiyo ng Medisina, sa Daang Pedro Gil.
Si Pepe mismo: Ito ay isang busto na espesyal na nilikha ng isang batikang manlililok at estudyanteng tagasunod ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining Guillermo Tolentino na si Anastacio Caedo upang gunitain ang ika-100 taong kapanganakan ni Rizal noong 1961, 50 taon na ang nakalilipas.
Si Pepe, matiyaga: Facsimile ang mga ito ng dalawang malalaking manuskrito ng Noli Me Tangere at El Filibusterismo ni Rizal, ang dalawang akda na dumulog sa mga Espanyol sa kanilang wika ng mga kanser na panlipunan sa Pilipinas na idinulot ng kolonyalismo. Ang Noli Me Tangere ay hindi lamang salita mula sa ating Panginoon kundi isang uri ng kanser na kapag tinangkang gamutin ay lalong lalala. Sa unang nobela, maganda ang kanyang sulat na tila sulat ng isang babae habang sa ikalawang nobela, na isinulat niya habang maysakit, may depresyon at walang pera, matatalim ang sulat at bayolente ang mga pagbura. Sa panahon na wala pang “copy and paste” sa Microsoft Word, makikita ang sakripisyo ni Rizal upang sulatin lamang ang ang ayon sa Penguin Classics ay “the first major artistic manifestation of Asian resistance to European colonialism” na siguradong ikinanganib ng kanyang buhay.
“Historia Universal” ni Cesaré Cantu.
Si Pepe, maloko: Noong bata pa si Pepe, nalantsi niya ang kanyang ama na ibili siya ng 10-tomong Historia Universal ni Cesaré Cantu sa pasubaling kailangan niya ito sa kanyang pag-aaral. May matatagpuang set nito sa Koleksyong Bantug, ito kaya ang kopyang mismong ipinabili ni Pepe? Maaaring oo, maaaring hindi.
Si Pepe, masipag: Nang ipunin ng José Rizal National Centennial Commission (JRNCC) ang lahat ng isinulat ni Rizal para sa Sentenaryo ng kanyang kapanganakan 50 taon na ang nakalilipas, umabot ito ng 24 tomo! Ang seryeng Escritos de José Rizal ay nahahati sa mga gunita; mga sulat sa pamilya, kay Prop. Ferdinand Blumentritt, mga Propagandista (Tagapagpalaganap) at iba pa; mga prosa (tuluyan) at tula; mga nobela at aklat, mga sulating pulitikal at historikal; at iba pang mga sulatin. Naisalin ito sa wikang Ingles ng unang babaeng Ph.D. sa Pilipinas, ang historyador na si Encarnacion Alzona at sa wikang Filipino. Ilan sa mga tomo ay naisalin sa iba’t ibang wika sa Pilipinas. Ilan lamang ito sa mga tomo na matatagpuan sa Koleksyong Bantug bilang bahagi si Dr. Leoncio Lopez ng JRNCC.
Si Pepe, nobelista: Ito ay mga offset, o eksaktong kopya ng mga unang edisyon ng tatlong aklat ni José Rizal, ang Noli Me Tangere at El Filibusterismo na unang lumabas sa Berlin, Alemanya (1887) at Ghent, Belgium (1891) kapwa, at ang kanyang mga anotasyon ng Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas ni Don Antonio de Morga na nagpapakita ng kanyang tatluhang pananaw sa Kasaysayan (nagpapakita na mayroon tayong kultura bago dumating ang mga Espanyol). Muli silang inilathala ng JRNCC na sa kalauna’y magiging National Heroes Commission, National Historical Commission, National Historical Institute at noong 2010 naging National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
Si Pepe, isinalin: Sa kalauna’y magkakaroon ng mga salin ang mga nobela ni José Rizal sa iba’t ibang wika sa loob at labas ng Pilipinas. At magkakaroon din ng mga unexpurgated (walang bawas) at expurgated (may bawas) na mga salin. Sa Koleksyong Bantug, ang walang bawas na salin sa Ingles ni Jorge Bocobo at ang laganap na pinadaling salin sa Filipino ni Maria Odulio de Guzman (na pirmado pa ng tagapagsalin) ay matatagpuan. Rekomendado ring basahin ang mga makabagong salin ni Soledad Locsin sa Ingles at Virgilio Almario sa Filipino. Magkakaroon din ng mga salin ang hindi natapos na nobela ni Rizal na Makamisa (Etikang Tagalog) mula kina Ambeth Ocampo sa Ingles at Nilo Ocampo sa Filipino.
Si Pepe, may kaaway: Ang unang biograpiya na lumabas ukol sa ating pambansang bayani ay isinulat ng kanyang dating kaaway sa Espanya na si Wenceslao Emilio Retana na hindi naglaon ay naging fan na rin niya, ang Vida y Escritos del Dr. José Rizal (Life and Writings of Dr. José Rizal). Kasama rin ang ilan pang biograpiya na sinundan si Retana, Ang Man of the Century ni Pedro Gagelonia at The Great Malayan ni Carlos Quirino na bagama’t nagtamo lamang ng honorable mention sa Commonwealth Biography Contest ay pinaboran naman ng Pang. Manuel Quezon kaya ibinigay sa kanya ang premyong katumbas ng sa unang gantimpala, Php 3,000.00. Isa sa rekomendadong biograpiya ni Rizal ay ang Rizal: Philippine Nationalist and Martyr ng Briton na si Austin Coates na isinalin sa Filipino ni Nilo Ocampo.
Si Pepe, ang Dangal ng Lahing Malayo: Ang nagwagi ng unang gantimpala sa Commonwealth Biography Contest ay si Don Rafael Palma, pangulo ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, sa kanyang Biografia de Rizal. Isinalin ito ng mahistrado ng Korte Suprema na si Roman Ozaeta sa Ingles bilang The Pride of the Malay Race.
Si Pepe, dokumentado: Bago pa ang Escritos de José Rizal noong Dekada 1960, inipon na ng historyador na si Teodoro Kalaw ang mga sulat ni Rizal sa 6-tomong Epistolario Rizalino. Naglabas din ang Bureau of Public Libraries ng kanilang kalipunan ng iba’t ibang Rizaliana sa Documentos Rizalinos. Isa sa pinakamagandang kalipunan ng primaryang batis ukol kay Rizal ay ang One Hundred Letters of José Rizal to his Parents, Brothers, Sisters and Relatives (1959) na hindi lamang nagtataglay ng mga salin kundi ng facsimile ng mga orihinal na manuskrito ng mga sulat ni Rizal. Ang aklat naman ni José Alejandrino na La Senda del Sacrificio (The Price of Freedom, 1933/1949) ay nagkukwento ng isang verbal na pahayag sa kanya ng best friend niya na si Rizal na nagsasabing mas pinapaboran niya ang mga katangian ni Elias kaysa sa makasariling si Crisostomo Ibarra/Simoun sa kanyang mga nobela. Kasama din sa Koleksyong Bantug ang dalawa sa maraming espesyal na edisyon ng Historical Bulletin ng Philippine Historical Association na may kinalaman kay Rizal, Rizal In Retrospect at Special Rizal Issue.
Si Pepe, kurso sa eskwela: Matapos ang matinding hindi pagsang-ayon ng Simbahang Katoliko na natakot na baka mawala ang pananampalataya ng mga bata sa pagbasa ng nobela ni Rizal, noong 1956 nagtagumpay sina Sen. Claro Mayo Recto at Sen. José P. Laurel na gawing batas ang R.A. 1425 na nagtatakda na ituro ang mga buhay at isinulat ni Rizal sa lahat ng kolehiyo sa Pilipinas upang itanim ang nasyunalismo sa bawat estudyante (sa DLSU, ito ay tinatawag na KasPil 1, sa UP naman ay Philipiine Institutions 100 o PI 100). Bilang pagtugon sa batas, naglabas sina Diosdado Capino and Virgilia Buenaflor ng klasikong serye na Stories of José Rizal na may mga kopya pang orihinal na typescript sa Koleksyong Bantug na nagpapakita nang pagkonsulta ng mga manunulat ukol kay Rizal sa pamangkin ng pambansang bayani. At siyempre nariyan ang palagiang sinasangguni na José Rizal: Life, Works and Writings ni Gregorio F. Zaide.
Si Pepe, ang Unang Pilipino: Noon, ang “Filipino” ay tumutukoy sa mga “insulares,” mga Espanyol na ipinanganak sa Pilipinas hanggang gamitin ito ni José Rizal at ng mga kapanalig sa propaganda bilang katawagan sa kanilang sarili bilang mga “indios bravos.” Ito ang mensahe ng The First Filipino, ang manuskrito na isinulat ng isang nagngangalang “Aries” at ipinasok sa biography contest ng José Rizal National Centennial Commission noong 1961. At dahil si Leoncio Lopez ay bahagi ng komisyon, baka ng hurado pa, may mga kopya ng mga manuskrito na nasa Koleksyong Bantug. Ang dalawang tomong typescript na ito ang nanalo ng unang gantimpala na isinulat pala ng diplomat na si León Ma. Guerrero na ngayon ay isa sa mga pinakapopular na biograpiya ng pambansang bayani dahil nagpapakita ito ng “Human Rizal.”
Si “Aries” si Leon Ma. Guerrero
Si Pepe, si Lolo José: Isang apong pamangkin ni Rizal ang sumali sa Commonwealth Biography Contest at nagwagi pa bilang honorable mention kasama ni Carlos Quirino. Dahil nanliit siya sa kanyang akda itinago niya ito nang matagal hanggang magtanong na ang kanyang mga anak ukol sa kanyang sikat na lolo. Kaya inilathala ni Asunción Lopez-Rizal Bantug ang kanyang Lolo José: An Intimate Portrait of Rizal na hitik sa mga kwento ng pamilya mismo na bumubuhay kay Rizal sa bawat pahina nito. Unang inilathala ng Intramuros Administration noong 1982, ito ay muling inilabas ng Tahanan Books for Young Readers noong 1997 bilang Indio Bravo kasama si Sylvia Mendez Ventura, bilang cd-rom at sa huli, noong 2008 ng Vibal Foundation.
Si Pepe, kontrobersyal: Nagbalik loob ba si Rizal sa Simbahang Katoliko o hindi? Ilang aklat ang nagsuri ng mga argumento. Isa na ang Rizal Beyond the Grave ni Ricardo R. Pascual. Itinanong naman ito ng kapatid na si Trining sa kaluluwa ni Rizal na sumapi diumano sa isang espiritista at sinabing hindi. Matatagpuan ang kwento na ito sa Si Rizal ni Guillermo Tolentino. Kabilang sa mga “Rare Rizaliana” sa koleksyon ang ilan pang mga hindi gaanong kilalang mga sulatin ni Rizal ang inipon ni Juan Collas sa Rizal’s Unread Legacy. Sa kabila ng mga katanungan, pagdududa at kontrobersiya sa pagkabayani ni Rizal, sa kanyang ika-150 taong kaarawan, hindi pa rin siya kumukupas, walang magagawa ang mga ito dahil pinatunayan naman niya sa buong buhay niya na matatag ang kanyang mga prinsipyo para sa bayan.
Si Pepe sa ika-21 Dantaon: 150 taon matapos siyang ipanganak, ang industriya ng paglalathala ng bagong karunungan at interpretasyon ukol kay Rizal ay hindi pa rin natatapos, tanda ng patuloy niyang “saysay” sa bansa at sa mga Pilipino sa kabila ng paratang na bayani lamang siya ng mga elit. Ilan lamang sa mga awtor ng mga aklat na ito na matatagpuan sa Aklatang DLSU Maynila ay sina Ambeth R. Ocampo (Rizal Without the Overcoat, Makamisa: The Search for Rizal’s Third Novel); Nilo S. Ocampo (Istilo Ko: Rizal Romantik, May Gaua na Caming Natapus Dini: Si Rizal at ang Wikang Tagalog, Kristong Pilipino: Pananampalataya kay José Rizal); Virgilio S. Almario (Si Rizal, Nobelista: Ang Pagbasa sa Noli at Fili Bilang Nobela); Ramon Guillermo (Translation and Revolution: A Study of José Rizal’s Guillermo Tell); Javier de Pedro (Rizal Through A Glass Darkly, Romance and Revolution); at ang mahalagang ambag ni Floro C Quibuyen na A Nation Aborted: Rizal, American Hegemony, and Philippine Nationalism na nagbibigay linaw sa mga nauna nang paratang ng sanaysay ni Renato Constantino na Veneration Without Understanding na nagsasabing si Rizal ay hindi maka-bansang Pilipino kundi maka Espanya, na siya ay hindi maka-rebolusyon at siya ay pinili lamang na bayani ng mga Amerikano. Isa-isa niya itong pinabulaanan. Sa mga aklat na ito, nananatili si Rizal na huwarang Pilipino at haligi ng bayan.
Si Xiao Chua habang nagbibigay respeto kay Jose Rizal sa araw ng Sentenaryo ng DLSU, 16 June 2011 sa Rizal sa La Salle exhibit, tatlong araw bago ang Rizal Sesquicentennial (Ika-150 kaarawan)
“Nasasaktan ako, umiiyak ako but I don’t stop. I never stopped. I know na hangga’t kaya ko pa, I will do it.”
Said Michael Charleston “Xiao” Chua with a sense of confidence and determination in response to the harsh criticisms he received as a teacher, artist, historian and an author.
Born and raised on the soils of Tarlac, Xiao Chua was the eldest of the three children of Vilma and Charles Chua. Although having a Chinese surname, Mr. Chua claims to be a pure Filipino in heart and in mind. He is currently a History professor in De La Salle University but “rackets” [as a tour-lecturer and as a host] and extra for local TV networks such as PTV-4 and GMA back in the days, but mainly focuses now on writing columns and articles such as the “Bonifacio: Unang Pangulo.”
“I appear on television, minsan nagappear yung Xiao Time ko sa GMA news. Nagsusulat din ako sa Sunday Abante, lumalabas yung column ko doon, nagstart ako noong October. Nakaanim na ako. Kapag nacollate ko iyon makakagawa na ulit ako ng libro.” He shared. [Eventually he will have a column in the Manila Times too and finish a book with John Ray Ramos, Bayani Biographies: Andres Bonifacio.]
The Launching Pad
[As he was starting his career as a teacher and historian, Mr. Chua became a historical commentator for television. Although he gave interviews prior, his big break was in 2009, “Before June 12, nadiscover ako. Nagsusulat din noon ako sa Bulacan sa newspaper na Mabuhay”, nagsusulat ako tungkol kay Cory Aquino at sa mga nangyayari sa history. 2009 iyon, Sabi nila Ed Finlan “magaling itong batang ito ha” so sinabak kaagad ako, [kaya] naging anchor ako ng Independence Day.” said Mr. Chua smiling as he reminisces the plot twist of his life.
Apparently, people have seen his comprehensive yet clear writing of Filipino history. He has accounted all the issues of the past using stable grounds, reading and verifying the works of various authors, “Yung ibang mga nasa facebook dada ng dada wala namang katibayan, ako gusto ko laging may katibayan.” he said.
It was then on that shows like Boy Abunda’s “The Bottomline” started to contact Mr. Chua and ask him to be their guest. “Hindi naman ako magyayabang ano. Hindi talaga kilala yung ordinaryong tao kung ano yung Historian. Yung mga tricycle driver at gwardya, hindi nila alam iyan. Pero noong lumalabas ako kay Boy Abunda, pinapalagay ko Historian ako. Biglang nakikilala na. ngayon na nga kapag may gustong itanong sa lipunan, Historian kaagad yung gustong hanapin.” said Mr. Chua smiling.
Along this breakthrough, his papers such as Tortyur, and Bonifacio: Unang Pangulo have made their way to the limelight.
Life behind the lights
Being an author for non-fiction works on History means you have to be completely objective, you need to read various accounts to verify what you know and determine what should the readers know. It was all like that in the life of Mr. Chua.
“Writing is a constant struggle where your enemy is yourself kasi you have to improve and read. Hindi pwedeng yung sinulat mo ganoon pa rin. You learn, you attend symposia. Keep yourself informed” he advised.
But besides all that, Mr. Chua thinks that the hardest part of being an author is probably “getting in the groove” and finding the motivation while shutting down all distractions as well. There are times that he would get swallowed by instagram and facebook thus leading to a very unproductive day. In cases where he needed to finish a bunch of work, he would lock himself in a hotel!
However, writing is not a mundane for a person like Mr. Chua, “The worst thing in life, as I observed it is the feeling that you are useless. That you have no use anymore.” He said with a concerned look in his eyes. “You have to write for others.” he added.
But life isn’t just complete without people trying to bring others down. “Nasasaktan ako, umiiyak ako but I don’t stop. I never stopped. I know na hangga’t kaya ko pa, I will do it.” said Mr. Chua as he recalls on the days where critics would often label his works as “mababaw”, “walang kwenta” and/or “walang substance.” Mr. Chua admitted that he is emotional, balat sibuyas even but these people won’t let him down. He has a fairly strong mentality and composure “eventually nalaman ko yung English term for that – grit, and I think I have that.”
Living the dream
As a child, Mr. Chua had a dream of becoming a broadcaster “I want to reach more people but I have reached more people now that I could ever imagine. Kasi kahit hindi ako kilala as Xiao Chua, yung once in their lives nakita nila ako sa TV. They wouldn’t know na it was Xiao pero nareach ko yung tao at malalayong probinsya.”
His dreams of becoming a broadcaster may have turned out differently, but becoming an author for Mr. Chua have also allowed him to live the simple life he have always wanted “hindi ako nakikipagsabayan sa mga so called social media influencers kasi gusto ko yung chill lang ako, relatively known.” He said as smiles and scratches his head.
Mr. Chua claimed that being able to help teachers, students and the like is more than enough for him. Opportunities have knocked on his door and he is confident that he has picked the right one to let in – being an author.
People would often say that Mr. Chua brought down history to the people, but he personally never like that term. “When you say you bring down history to the people, that means you’re up there and they are down there. I do not accept that. My place is that I should be with my people.” He said humbly. “And ang term ko diyan ay yung term ni Dean Gloria Santos na namatay na, isa sa mga tinitingala ko, ‘you bring history closer to the people’. Hindi mo binababa, inilalapit mo and I think that was the role that I assumed when I started my writing career.” He added.
As the clock hits noon we were reaching the end of our interview, but one question still remains: What is the best thing about being an author? Mr. Chua, as he stares deep down his hands, smiled and said,
“Fulfillment. Happiness. That you have shared something. Lalo na kapag napublish. It’s the best thing. Monetary sana kaso I don’t see writing as a living. Writing is more of advocacy, of doing what I really want in life.”
Interview by Mickey Danielle Alegre, additional writing by Pamela de Guzman and Laisa de Guzman, 5 November 2017