Below is a copy of the letter that the late Salvador H. Laurel, Cory Aquino’s ally and running mate in the 1986 Snap Elections and her Vice-President, wrote to the late President Cory Aquino on August 13, 1988 to signify his intention to dissociate himself from her administration.
This letter is featured in the book by Cecilio T. Arillo “Greed and Betrayal.” As you will read in the late VP Laurel’s letter to the late President Cory Aquino, many of the same problems that were happening during “Tita Cory’s” time are the same problems happening during Noynoy’s time. And a lot of betrayals too.
Looks like a standard feature of any Aquino Presidency.
Part III, anyone?
Dear President Aquino:
* * * *I write at a time of deep anguish for our people. And so I shall not burden you with undue sentiment. I shall go straight to the point.
* * * *You and I were called by Providence to serve at a turning point in our history. Our call to service was unique. We had sought our people’s vote in an election, but they gave us something more in a bloodless revolution that was to astound the world. At EDSA, we forged a covenant with God, country and people.
* * * *I have tried to live by the covenant. Because of it, I have kept faith with your presidency, even when it was not possible to discern its purpose. Like many concerned Filipinos, I too had my doubts. But the ardent hopes rekindled at EDSA made me decide to give you my best arm to help you lead our people to better times.
* * * *But it did not work out that way. And so after temporizing for 18 months, I was compelled to resign as Secretary of Foreign Affairs on September 8, 1987. At that point, ‘fundamental differences’ had grown between us that went ‘to the very roots of political beliefs and moral principles which determine our conduct and performance as ‘servants of the people’s will and the people’s well being.’ Indeed, we seemed to stand on opposite sides of the ideological conflict. But seeing the possible harm that our sudden separation then could inflict upon the nation, I decided at my own expense, to mute these differences and to hold my peace. I did not join the opposition.
* * * *Now I feel I must write this letter to you and I do so with a heavy heart. For you and I have gone through much hardship and danger together in our lonely fight to restore democracy in our country — and there are feelings, thoughts and memories that press for utterance.
* * * *But the true state of the nation must be told. And the painful truth is that the nation has gone from bad to worse, while you choose to stand aside in the puerile hope that the problems would simply solve themselves. The ‘new moral order’ to which we were solemnly committed has been perverted. It has become a haven for assassins and a den of thieves. Corruption, betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes have been laid at your door, including a complaint for impeachment, which your chief ally in Congress has already consigned to the archives.
* * * *We promised our people morality and decency in government. What do we have instead? The very opposite. It is now openly admitted by many, including your former Solicitor-General and some of your own close relatives in Congress, that the stench of “accumulated garbage” — I’m quoting your own first cousin, Congressman Emigdio Tanjuatco, Jr. — rises to high heaven; that the past years of Marcos are now beginning to look no worse than your first two years in office. And the reported controversies and scandals involving your closest relatives have become the object of our people’s outrage.
* * * *We promised to ‘break the back’ of the insurgency. But what is the record? From 16,500 NPA regular when Marcos fell, the communists now claim an armed strength of 25,200, of which 2,500 are in Metro Manila. They have infiltrated not only the trade unions, the schools, the churches and the media but your government, above all, and now ‘affect’ 20 percent of the country’s 42,000 barangays, according to official statistics.
* * * *In the fight against the insurgency, the nation, particularly our Armed Forces, expected you to provide the leadership, and to give decisive, clear and consistent orders. But you have chosen instead to behave like an innocent bystander, as though the insurgency were the sole concern of our soldiers, their widows and orphans. At the height of our people’s euphoria in in 1986, very few dared to question your unilateral decision to release the communist detainees, declare a ceasefire and hold peace talks with the National Democratic Front. But it has since become clear that these unilateral acts of yours have provided the biggest boon to the communist revolutionary movement. Yet, in your speech before the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva last June, you singled out, as one of your most important achievements, your freeing of the communist detainees, with special emphasis on Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
* * * *In your recent State of the Nation address you told our people that you have already broken the back of the insurgency.
* * * *The truth is that the peace and order situation is much worse today than when you came into office. It is now the number one problem of the nation.
* * * *From city to countryside, anarchy has spread. There is anarchy within the government, anarchy within the ruling coalesced parties, and anarchy in the streets. These require your direct intervention. Yet you continue to ignore this problem.
* * * *On a number of occasions I have proposed that you convene the National Security Council and the Council of State to deliberate and, if possible, take a common stand on the many critical issues confronting the nation. You repeatedly rejected all these proposals claiming that they belong to your exclusive ‘prerogatives’ as President, and therefore you alone will decide them. You insist on holding in the hollow of your hand all your options for national survival, yet you refuse to adopt needed policies and programs that detail those options.
* * * *Despite my limited access to you, which became even more limited after I left the Cabinet, I tried to focus your attention on the need for a well-defined program of government. Such a program was made available to you by UNIDO (United Nationalists Democratic Organizations) from the very start, when it made you its presidential candidate. But in total disregard of all political norms, you completely ignored the party platform, refused to acknowledge your obligations to the party that sponsored your bid for power, and tolerated all open or underhanded assaults against it.
* * * *If I have held my peace until now in spite of your decision to ignore me altogether and to listen instead only to the counsel of those whose political, economic and social interests are more congruent with your own, it is because my sense of responsibility for this new government goes much farther back in time. It was I who, although already nominated for President by the UNIDO National Convention in June 1985, offered you, not a million signatures on a petition, but a solid, pre-existing political structure that would assure you of victory and a chance to fulfil the hopes and dreams of our suffering people.
* * * *While I accept my share of moral responsibility for having helped place your administration in power, that responsibility must be proportionate to the actual opportunity given me to participate in the decision-making process. That opportunity was close to zero.
* * * *It pains me to have to write this letter to the beloved widow of my childhood friend, Ninoy Aquino. But the truth must be told and I cannot avoid addressing this letter to a lady who happens to be President of the Philippines and who as such, cannot escape responsibility for the gross misgovernment of our Republic.
* * * *Let me conclude with a trite but crucial reminder:
* * * *THE COUNTRY MUST COME FIRST AND NO SACRIFICE IS TOO GREAT FOR IT!
* * * *The responsibility to take the essential step to ease the nation’s suffering is yours alone and I would not wish to usurp it. But if, in your conscience, you feel you must now make the supreme sacrifice by stepping down from the presidency and call for an immediate election to enable our people to choose another leader for these critical times, I want you to know that I am ready to make that same sacrifice with you.
* * * *Should you, however, choose to remain in office and continue to misgovern the nation, I will have no choice but to forthwith disassociate myself completely from your government. I will be able to serve our country better by speaking out freely for the national interest and always for the sake of truth, justice, freedom, and democracy.
Salvador H. Laurel *
Had the Philippines used a Parliamentary System, that whole problem wouldn’t have had to be a problem. In fact, when both Cory Aquino and Doy Laurel were sworn in as President and Vice-President, respectively, the 1973 Constitution was still in effect. At that time, the Philippines had been officially transformed by a combination of the 1973 Constitution, a series of constitutional amendments that came after, and one major amendment in 1981 to become a Semi-Presidential System.
With such a system, Cory Aquino, who was admittedly an inexperienced housewife who had absolutely zero background in governance and statecraft but had the moral authority bestowed on her by her late husband Ninoy Aquino, could have acted as a ceremonial Head of State, while Doy Laurel, whom she originally named as Prime Minister, could have then taken on a much more active and more executive role as an energetic Head of Government. Within the framework of a Semi-Presidential System, a Head of State who wishes to delegate more decision-making authority to the Prime Minister can make the country operate as a de facto parliamentary system. This is how things were during the time when Dmitry Medvedev was the President of Russia and his mentor, Vladimir Putin (who was barred from running for president in 2008 as he already previously served two consecutive terms as President) went in as Prime Minister.
(Aside: In all actuality, the context or framework of what Parliamentary Monarchies really are such as the UK, and all other modern parliamentary monarchies, is that they are “semi-absolute monarchies who have permanently delegated all active governance to the country’s democratically-elected parliament while the monarchs simply look on and provide moral guidance to the leaders and serve as a ‘lightning rod’ of respect and support that the general public can look up to.”)
But quite unfortunately, having Doy Laurel as Prime Minister didn’t last for long. One month after Cory appointed him to that post, she abolished it. Then in 1987, the Philippines officially ended up once again with a full-blown Presidential System.
If you’re old enough to remember the Cory-Doy tandem and the details behind it, the whole point of Cory running as President with the much more savvy and experienced leader, organizer, and technocrat Doy sliding to the position of Vice-President was that Cory would be the vote-magnet who acts as the cheerleader, while Doy would be the brains who’d plan properly and get things done. Ordinary thinking voters certainly saw it that way. But it didn’t turn out like that. Doy got sidelined – not by Cory herself, but by the people behind her.
Doesn’t that look eerily like what happened in the campaign for the 2010 elections where Noynoy ran as President after Mar Roxas – the originally-designated presidential candidate of the Liberal Party – slid down to run merely as Vice President? Only this time, instead of Mar being analogous to the Vice President Doy Laurel to Noynoy’s mom, Mar didn’t even get to be Vice President: Noynoy’s own oligarchic inner-circle (the Samar faction) ditched Mar and pushed for the Noynoy-Binay (or “Noy-Bi” campaign).
And what the oligarchic inner circle wants, the oligarchic inner circle gets.
They learned their lessons from the Cory years. Instead of having a technocratic Vice-President who was perfectly capable of calling the shots (like Doy) who could later on pose as a threat to the President, they used someone else – Binay – who is even being made to pretend to pose as the “Opposition.” Doesn’t anyone remember the “unity talks” between Noynoy and Erap? Looks like that’s what the “Noy-Bi” campaign was all about. Now, the evil Conrado de Quiros is actively demonizing Mar Roxas and trying to turn him into scapegoat. Poor Mar, he seems to be playing the role pretty well as instead of independent-mindedly doing the right thing in fulfilling his duties as DILG Secretary, he’s always wearing yellow and following Noynoy’s (rather, Noynoy’s handlers’) script to the letter. Mar has visibly kept mouthing the same wrong and pathetic excuse that the “LGU’s are supposed to be the First Responders.” (Mar made a Freudian slip where he even referred to that as a “Doctrine.” If that was a “doctrine”, Super-typhoon Yolanda was a good time to be a heretic!)
Oh well, that’s their mess. Mar went with the yellows and he’s hopelessly trying to prove his loyalty to them so that he seems to be doing everything that Noy (or his handlers) tell him to say because Mar seems really desperate to get Noynoy’s support for his 2016 presidential bid.
Mar’s eagerness to follow the Yellow script has made him come up with a string of really incredibly stupid moves, in addition to getting recorded on video telling the Taclobanons “Bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo.” In a bid to play Batman and Robin, Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas quickly responded to what was essentially an incident of no national consequence when the “Martillo Gang” robbed a jewelry store in SM North EDSA through their use of hammers and crowbars that the robbers had bought from within the mall itself. This was something that the local police could handle by themselves and there were no “national security” implications to it, but Noynoy and Mar quickly stepped in anyway. Why such rapid response to such an incident that has no implications of national interest, but a slow response to Typhoon Yolanda (aka “Haiyan”) and almost no response to the August 23, 2010 Bus Hostage Incident that ended up with several HK tourists losing their lives as a result of the national government’s inaction?
To top it off, Mar came up with another inane idea: To ban the sale of hammers and crowbars inside mall premises.
Talk about knee-jerk reactions and an inability to look at solving root causes. One view would be to say that Mar is incompetent. Another view posits that Mar Roxas has been forced to “toe the Noynoy line” if he wants to stay in Noynoy’s good graces in order to get Noynoy’s endorsement for the 2016 elections.
See, Mar Roxas is not trusted by Noynoy’s inner circle. They view Mar Roxas as a political opportunist who allies himself with popular leaders and then ditches them at the first sign of trouble. This may actually be the main reason for why Noynoy’s inner circle – often referred to as the “Samar Faction” – chose Binay to be Noynoy’s unofficial running-mate and supported Binay’s run for VP over Mar. They felt that Mar was unreliable and that having Mar as VP might make Mar want to get Noynoy deposed so that as VP, Mar can then ascend to the presidency.
Let’s recall Mar’s history of political allegiances: He allied himself with Erap in 1998 under the LAMMP coalition. In 2000, Erap appointed Mar to the position of Secretary of the Department of Trade & Industry. But as Erap’s star began to fade as a result of Jueteng-Gate, Mar resigned and essentially ditched Erap.
When GMA became president as a result of Erap’s ouster, he pledged loyalty to GMA and got appointed back to being Secretary of Trade & Industry. Not long after, Mar Roxas ran as Senator and won.
But when Mar Roxas’ boss Franklin Drilon got his possé who were in GMA’s cabinet (aka “Hyatt 10”) to withdraw support from her administration, Mar Roxas joined in with them. Mar Roxas has been a political butterfly, fluttering from flower to flower, seemingly having no real loyalty to anyone but his own political ambitions.
This is why the Noynoy inner circle (aka the “Samar Faction”) ditched him and endorsed Jejomar Binay for VP in the Noy-Bi campaign. And this is why Mar is so desperately trying to prove his loyalty to Noynoy. Whenever Noynoy gets him to say something stupid, Mar follows.
Ultimately, Mar looks like like one of the most incompetent technocrats the Philippines has ever seen thanks to all those missteps which result from him following whatever Noynoy tells him to the letter. Even if Noynoy gave Mar his “official” blessing for the 2016 presidential elections, Mar got so damaged which is why he lost.
Re-read the letter that the late former VP Salvador “Doy” Laurel wrote to the late President Cory Aquino and see the parallels between the first Aquino Presidency and the Second. It is thanks to the incompetence of Noynoy Aquino that the memories of his originally well-loved parents Ninoy and Cory have now gotten totally besmirched and numerous Filipinos have grown disillusioned with their “Legacy.”
Had Noynoy Aquino not been made to run for President as a result of his mother’s death and the outpouring of support for her, the reputations of Ninoy and Cory would have remained intact and they both would have continued to be hailed as hero and saint.
Article by Orion Pérez Dumdum