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Nationhood 2

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Nationhood 2
Ronald Roy — 2012 October 17

To reiterate the point raised in last week’s article titled Nationhood—that we consider the option of war against our Moro brothers from the south—I note Bernhardi’s riveting quote: “The inevitableness, the idealism, and the blessing of war, as an indispensible and stimulating law of development, must be repeatedly emphasized” if, may I add, everything else has failed to win peace in Mindanao.

I was denounced by two anonymous texters as a “war freak”—an inglorious tag I shrugged off without rancor—but was praised by six others, with one of them calling me a “blessed peace freak.” I thank them all for their generous understanding.

Please don’t get me wrong, texter #5081. I have a number of Muslim friends who are very Filipino, even more Filipino than some people I know. My father’s political life gave me numerous opportunities to interact with Filipino Muslims.

When he topped the senatorial elections of 1967 when he likewise bested the field in Mindanao, I instantly liked them, who often came in droves to his residence and senate office seeking favors and pledging loyalty. I did not find disturbing their manner of kowtowing to power, but my naïve view would gradually morph into wariness through the ensuing years.

Sometime in 2007, or 40 years later, the car I was driving at a snail’s pace around Greenhills Shopping Center was bumped by a Pajero. A very young driver (who later turned out to be unlicensed) stepped out of the van, followed by his five passengers. As I calmly took pictures of the collision, Muslim reinforcements arrived, and suddenly I was surrounded by over 30 Moslems unleashing expletives in Maranao. Their rage increased as they demanded immediate reparations, although their van’s strong front bumper as slightly dented, while my sedan’s right fender and headlight were severely damaged.

Two San Juan City cops and three Greenhills security guards finally arrived. Saluting, they greeted me: “Good evening, Sir (sic) Roy. We’ll take care of this.” One of the Muslims stepped forward flashing a driver’s license. I called the cops’ attention to the switch, pointing out the teenaged driver hiding behind the Pajero.

Then, turning to the mob, a cop said, “Ay naku, anong nirereklamo ninyo? Maliwanag sa position na lang na kayo ang bumangga!” Whereupon a Muslim whispered to me, “Sorry, sir, kayo pala si Atty. Roy, ang balitang kaibigan ni Presidente Erap Estrada, at ang nagging Chairman at Presidente ng Greenhills East Association. Dapat nagpakilala kayo agad…” My reply was curt: “Ipagpalagay natin na ako’y nagging isang simpleng tao, makatuwiran ba ang inyong pambabraso?!”

That was one incident worth recalling to demonstrate the Moros’ proclivity for belligerence and intimidation even on Christian turves. I agree, #5081, that the Bangsamoro framework agreement envisions lasting peace, although I honestly believe only divine intervention can bridge the decades-long chasm between Filipino Muslims and non-Muslim Filipinos.

Filipino nationhood implies an individual Filipino’s willingness to sacrifice self-advancement for the good of his community, as well as the public servant’s commitment to serve the general welfare over and above his self-interest. For instance, chairing the senate ways and means committee (in particular) is an acid test not only of honesty but also of unswerving fealty to the general welfare.

Sometime in the early 1960’s, ways and means chair Sen. Jose J. Roy bawled out a representative of the Fil-Chinese textile industry for having offered him a ₱.5 million bribe in consideration of a month’s delay in the passage of a tax bill.

That’s old-school politics, Sylvia (Warren), as old-school as the likes of Don Claro M. Recto, who, apart from standing out “heads and shoulders” as a nationalist, had such an unquestionable sense of nationhood that the Central Intelligence Agency once planned to assassinate him by poisoning. But that’s another story.

Today, his grandson, senate ways and means chair Ralph Recto, has irreversibly resigned his chairmanship in an attempt to uphold his illustrious surname amidst mounting innuendos that his watered-down version of the administration’s tax bill was the result of his alleged acceptance of bribe money from cigarette and liquor companies. Sylvia, I wouldn’t be true to my intuitions if I thought he was on the take.

Ralph, who calls me Tito Ronnie, and his siblings Ricky and Plinky, grew up with my children in the same Greenhills East neighborhood. They were “barkada” for many years, even often seeking out one another in Los Angeles. As a sentimental Tito Ronnie, it is my prayer that Ralph will come out the better of this discomfiting episode. I do see a bright future for him.

It is likewise my prayer that the original sin tax bill, as authored by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, be passed as soon as possible. My older brother, Jun, was a heavy smoker. He succumbed to the big “C” in 1999 at the age of 66.

A heavy smoker myself, I kicked the addiction in 1982, but not without being irreversibly afflicted with Bronchiectasis, a lung disorder similar to asthma, which now, 30 years later, makes me easy pickings for pneumonia whenever I’m exposed to the slightest drizzle or any low temperature.

Let’s enact the bill, pronto. Public health is a prime concern of the state. Ignoring this concern is irresponsible nationhood—bordering on the homicidal.

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