Monthly Archives: April 2013

Crucial vote that made Ninoy Aquino senator

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”


17200537_10209213759286460_995921712_oBy Alex P. Vidal

The person responsible for the rise of the Aquinos in national politics was the late former Senator Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon, who had also served as Iloilo second district congressman and Iloilo City mayor.
It was the late former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., father of President Noynoy, who started the serious political juggernaut of the illustrious family from Tarlac in Luzon when he became the youngest mayor in the country and the youngest senator in 1967.
Liberal Party’s (LP) Aquino was not qualified to sit as senator based on the age qualification for the position under the 1935 constitution. Born on November 27, 1932, Aquino was only 34 when he was elected, but was 35 by the time he took his oath. Thirty five was the age qualification for senator.
The Electoral Tribunal, composed of court justices and representatives from the Senate and the House of Representatives, tackled Aquino’ s case and ended in a deadlock. Ganzon’s deciding vote favored the brilliant politician from Tarlac and paved the way for Aquino’s meteoric rise in national politics. Ganzon’s vote angered President Ferdinand Marcos, who was with the Nacionalista Party (NP).


When Martial Law was declared in 1971, both Aquino and Ganzon were arrested and charged with sedition, illegal possession of firearms, and murder. Ganzon was found guilty of murder while Aquino was found guilty of all three charges.
Hilarion Henares, Jr., who ran for senator together with Aquino in 1967 and lost, recalled that while a battery of lawyers of national stature defended Aquino, “no one volunteered to help Roding. While Ninoy was in isolation in a comfortable cell, Roding was in a crowded cell in Cebu with hardened criminals, in his underwear, soaked in sweat, vomit, urine and feces.”
Henares said Ninoy was rich and his family lived normally. Ganzon, on the other hand, had P2,704 in his bank account when he was jailed, and his 10 children stopped schooling for the duration. “One day his wife realized he was gone and fainted from sheer shock, hit her head on the cement floor: no one helped with the medical bills. She is 80 percent inutile, can’t talk, urinates and defecates with her clothes on. Roding still pays P5,000 a month for her operation,” recalled Henares.


This political utang na loob (debt of gratitude) of Aquino to Ganzon, dubbed as “Timawa prince” and “stormy petrel of the south,” has been mentioned several times in various national dailies during that period until Aquino’s wife, Corzazon, became president via EDSA Revolution in 1986.
“During the snap election,” recalled Henares, “Marcos told Roding that he was a marked man along with Evelio Javier, unless he campaigned for Marcos in Iloilo. My wife and I met him at the house of Eva Kalaw, as we tried vainly to convince Eva to join Cory in Urdaneta. Roding was then agonizing over his decision to join or not to join Marcos, to live or to die, and realizing what happened to his family when he was in jail, he choose to survive.”
“Ganzon campaigned for Marcos for 14 days. He was persecuted by Marcos for 14 years. When he ran for mayor of Iloilo, he won overwhelmingly over the Lopez-Salonga candidate by 10,000 votes; the candidate of Paul Aquino by 20,000; and that of Laurel by 20,500.”


But instead of joining forces when President Ferdinand Marcos, common Martial Law tormentor of Aquino and Ganzon, was ousted by People Power after the 1986 snap elections, President Cory and Ganzon parted ways and traded barbs like arch enemies. As Iloilo city mayor, Ganzon became a constant thorn in President Cory’s administration accusing the first woman president of political persecution and promoting the “illegal” small town lottery (STL) through then interior and local government Secretary Luis Santos.
Ganzon and President Cory became bitter enemies even after they retired in politics and up to their death, they never reconciled.
Without that crucial vote by Ganzon in the Electoral Tribunal, Aquino would not have become senator. Tita Cory would not have been President; Kris Aquino would not have been famous actress; Noynoy Aquino would not have been noticed and would not have been president.
Interestingly, Ganzon’s son, Jeffrey, ran and lost for vice mayor of Iloilo City in the May 2013 elections versus the incumbent, Jose Espinosa III. President Noynoy supported Espinosa, not Jeffrey.

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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


We produce RP’s quality lawmakers, governors

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” HENRY A. KISSINGER

By Alex P. Vidal


Before we further insult Ilonggo history and culture by electing more mediocre and incompetent leaders into public office, we must always remember that Iloilo was once the chief producer of the country’s quality leaders, legislators, and even diplomats.
This was the era when the electoral system was not yet impaired, when leaders were chosen based on their competence and qualifications, when political zarzuela wasn’t yet at fever-pitched.
Good leaders elected even without the help of deceptive and confusing propaganda machine that blurred the demarcation line between reel and real world, when chaffs were separated from the grains.
We had Amado Avanceña (first district), Nicolas Jalandoni (second district), Salvador Laguda (third district), Adriano Hernandez (fourth district) and Regino Dorillo (fifth district) as our first representatives in the Philippine legislative body in 1907. A pride of Molo, Avanceña became governor of Iloilo.
The first Speaker pro tempore in history and the youngest in the first Philippine legislature was Nicolas Jalandoni of Jaro. The famous general of the Revolution was Adriano Hernandez of Dingle, Iloilo who became the first secretary of agriculture. During the first world war, he was the commander of the Second Regiment of the Philippine National Guard. He would have been sent to Germany during the first world war.


The famed Evangelista brothers — Daniel and Jose, simultaneously represented the fourth district of Iloilo in the Philippine Legislature
An Ilonggo delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention, Tiburcio Lutero had been assemblyman in third and fourth districts of Iloilo. Former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’s grandfather, second district Assemblyman Jose Ma. Arroyo also became senator. His brother, Mariano, served as governor.
Senator Ruperto Montinola had served governor and assemblyman in the second district of Iloilo. He was also delegate and vice president of the 1935 Constitutional Convention. His daughter, Gloria Montinola Tabiana, became congresswoman. According to lawyer and historian Rex Salvilla, President Manuel Quezon called Montinola “El Coloso del Sur” (Colossus of the South) for being a principled oppositionist.
Wartime Panay and Romblon Governor Tomas Confesor also was assemblyman in the third district of Iloilo and delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention. Known as the Stormy Petrel in the Legislature, Confesor became senator and the first secretary of commerce and interior and senator. His brother, Assemblyman Patricio, also became governor.
Assemblyman Jose Ma. Lopez Vito Sr. of the second district was governor, justice of the Supreme Court and first chairman of the Commission on Elections. His grandson, Rafael Lopez Vito, became the first congressman of the lone district of Iloilo City.


Salvilla said there was a time when three Tomases served simultaneously in the Legislature – Tomas Confesor of the third district, Tomas Buenaflor of the fourth district and Tomas Vargas of the fifth district. Confesor later became senator and Vargas governor. A grandson of Buenaflor, Roberto Armada was former vice governor.
Congresswoman Gloria Montinola-Tabiana of the third district is the first Ilongga lawmaker. She succeeded her husband, Ramon C. Tabiana, a second termer. She was a daughter of Senator Ruperto Montinola. Congressman Ricardo Y. Ladrido of the fourth district was the only dentist lawmaker in Iloilo. Congressman Pedro G. Trono of the first district was the only pharmacist-doctor legislator in Iloilo. His wife, Lourdes Trono, was delegate to the 1973 Constitutional Convention. Congressman Licurgo Tirador of the third district was delegate to the 1973 Constitutional Convention, governor, mayor and provincial broad member. His father, Federico Tirador, Sr. was assemblyman of the fourth district. Congressman Jose C. Zulueta of the first district was the President of the Senate. He was also governor.
Fernando Lopez was senator and the only three-termer Vice President of the Philippines, city mayor and secretary of natural resources. His son, Alberto Lopez was congressman of the third district and daughter-in-law, Emily Lopez was governor and first congresswoman of Guimaras. Congressman Oscar Ledesma of the second district was senator, governor and ambassador to the United States. He was one of those who refused to receive his backpay as assemblyman after the war. Congressman Fermin Caram, Jr. of the second district was the son of Fermin Sr., governor and delegate to the 1973 Constitutional Convention. His daughter-in-law Tita Caram was city mayor. Congressman Pascual Espinosa of the second district was the only labor leader lawmaker of Iloilo.


Assemblyman Venancio Cudilla of the fifth district opened northern Iloilo by building the San Nicholas mountain road from Barotac Viejo to Ajuy, added Salvilla. Before this, people from the northern towns go to Iloilo City by a circuitous route via Roxas City or by sailboat from various ports of Ajuy. Assemblyman Atanacio Ampig of the third district died during the sinking of SS Corregidor in Manila Bay at the outbreak of the war.
Assemblyman Esperidion Guanco of the fourth district became senator. Assemblyman Francisco Villanueva of the second district was a high ranking official of the Estado Federal de Bisayas during the Philippine Revolution and later senator.
With all these Ilonggo greats carving a niche in national politics in the pre-internet epoch, the responsibility rests on our shoulders to elect the most qualified if not the best mayors, governors, congressmen and representatives. We deserve only the kind of leaders that we elect. No ifs. No buts.

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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


Elect all women candidates

“The desire of the man is for the woman, but the desire of the woman is for the desire of the man.” MADAME DE STAEL

By Alex P. Vidal

Now is the right opportunity for us to choose more women leaders to reinforce our nation building. We can best manifest this desire by helping elect all women candidates in the local, regional and national elections.
In global perspectives, more advanced countries pick women as leaders. Women nowadays are getting much attention in the corporate world; some of the best minds in medicine, diplomacy, legislative assembly, information technology, world politics, education, engineering, among other fields traditionally ruled by men, are women.
Some of us might differ greatly in our attitude toward the status of women as leaders, but I believe that both men and women embody the perfection of the human species. We must start to regard women as in every way the equal of men, save for the petite difference. In this Aquarian age, it can’t be denied that some women have eclipsed men in some respects.
Our culture developed in a patriarchal dominance. In fact, it was both the Old and New Testaments in the Bible that placed women in a subordinate position abetted by some ancient philosophers who were little kinder to them. A woman was a mere helper to man, and she was expressly put under man’s dominion at the time of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.


The Bible says St. Paul enjoined women to be submissive to their husbands, and imposed silence and passivity on them in matters of church government and doctrine.
I personally admire Aristotle whose philosophy was adopted by St. Thomas Aquinas, but history shows he was wrong on two major issues: astronomy and women. Aristotle, a tutor of Alexander The Great and Plato’s student, believed in the geocentric astronomy which was proven wrong by Galileo’s heliocentric theory.
Plato disagreed with Aristotle on women. Plato’s advocacy of social and political equality for women is the most famous break in the solid front of the ancients against feminine equality. Plato, whose philosophy was adopted by St. Augustine, believed that “there is nothing that a man can do in public affairs that a woman cannot do equally well.
In Plato’s view, intelligent and competent women are superior to men who lack some qualities, and “it is a waste of human capacities not to use her in the administration of the state.”


Aristotle, who represented the typical ancient view, rejected Plato’s doctrine in the Republic when he insisted women were necessary for society to run smoothly. Aristotle considered the male naturally superior to the female. The female is a kind of mutilated male, suffering from a natural deficiency, according to Aristotle.
Cervantes’ Don Quixote pictured woman as an imperfect creature whose path to virtue, which is her glory, is to be made as easy as possible. Let’s listen to the gentle knight:
“She must be treated as relics are; adored, not touched. She must be protected and prized as one protects and prizes a fair garden full of roses and flowers, the owner of which allows no one to trespass or pluck a blossom; enough for others that from afar through the iron grating they may enjoy its fragrance and its beauty.”
The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. Now is the right time that we reverse the hostile treatment on women and elect them as our leaders.

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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.

Laughing at a circus performer who turned a handkerchief into bird is no big deal. Laughing at a fat lady who rolled seven times after slipping on a banana peel means there is a need to tighten some screws in our brains or we need to review our GMRC.

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.

If we continue to tremble in anger each time we remember those who hurt us, either we are not yet ready to forgive or the stigma of their misdeed continues to hover in our memory.

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

People aren’t hurt if they get no help after approaching us. It’s our poison-laced remarks that torment them and add insult to their misery. No hostile soundbites are necessary if we can’t help.

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them favors.

Some friends disappear from our life surreptitiously like meteors when they feel they can no longer hack out favors from us. We actually have two types of friends: the “give and take” and the “take and take.” 

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized