Letter

National Artist for Literature Francisco “Frankie” Sionil Jose wrote this letter to President-elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III.  In it, he summarized the sentiments and hopes of the Filipino nation.  No one could have written it better.

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Dear Noynoy,

You are now swamped with suggestions and advice, but just the same, I hope you’ll have time to read what this octogenarian has to say.

You were not my choice in the last election but since our people have spoken, we must now support you and pray that you prevail. But first, I must remind you of the stern reality that your drumbeaters ignore: you have no noble legacy from your forbears. It is now your arduous job to create one yourself in the six years that you will be the single most powerful Filipino. Six years is too short a time — the experience in our part of the world is that it takes at least one generation — 25 years — for a sick nation to recover and prosper. But you can begin that happy process of healing.

Bear in mind that the past weighs heavily on all of us because of the many contradictions in it that we have not resolved, whose resolutions would strengthen us as a nation. This past is now your burden, too. Let us start with the fact that your grandfather collaborated with the Japanese. Your father was deeply aware of this, its stigma, its possibilities. He did not leave any legacy because he did not become president. He was a brilliant and courageous politician. He was an enterprising journalist; he had friends in journalism who can attest to his effulgent vision, who did not profit from his friendship, among them Nestor Mata, Gregorio Brillantes — you may consult them. I cannot say I did not profit — he bought many books from my shop and when he was in Marcos’s prison, your mother brought books from my shop to him.

Forgive me for giving you this unsolicited advice. First, beware of hubris; you are surrounded by panderers who will tell you what is nice to hear. You need to be humble always and heed your conscience. When Caesar was paraded in ancient Rome before the cheering multitudes, there was always a man chanting behind him: “Remember, you are mortal.”

I say to you, remember, the poor — some of them in your own hacienda — will be your ultimate judge.

From your comfortable and privileged cocoon, you know so little of our country and people. Seek the help of the best — and the best do not normally want to work in government and neither will they approach you. You have to seek them.

Be the revolutionary your father wanted to be and don’t be scared or wary of the word “revolution.” It need not be always bloody. EDSA I was not. Your father wanted to destroy the most formidable obstacle to our progress — the Oligarchy to which you and your family belong. To succeed, you have to betray your class. If you cannot smash the oligarchy, at least strive to have their wealth develop this country, that they bring back the billions they stashed abroad. You cannot do this in six years, but you can begin.

Prosecute the crooks. It is difficult, thankless and even dangerous to do this. Your mother did not do it — she did not jail Imelda who was the partner in that conjugal dictatorship that plundered this nation. Watch her children — they were much too young to have participated in that looting but they are heirs to the billions which their parents stashed abroad. Now the Marcoses are on the high road to power, gloating, snickering at our credulity and despicable amnesia.

You know the biggest crooks in and out of government, those powerful smugglers, thieves, tax cheats — all you really need is guts to clobber them. Your father had lots of it — I hope he passed on to you most of it.

And most of all, now that you have the muscle to do it, go after your father’s killers. Blood and duty compel you to do so. Cory was only his wife — you are the anointed and only son. Your regime will be measured by how you resolve this most blatant crime that robbed us of a true leader.

And, finally, your mother. We loved her — she united us in ousting an abominable dictator. But she, too, did not leave a shining legacy for her presidency was a disaster. She announced a revolutionary government but did nothing revolutionary. She promised land reform but did not do it. And most grievous of all — she transformed the EDSA I revolution into a restoration of the oligarchy.

She became president only because her husband was murdered and you became president elect only because your mother died. Still, you are your father’s son and may you now — for the good of this country and people — scale the heights he and your mother never reached.

I am 85 and how I despair over how three generations of our leaders failed! Before I go, please let me see this unhappy country begin to be a much better place than the garbage dump our leaders and people have made it. You can be this long awaited messiah but only if you are brave enough and wise enough to redeem your father’s aborted promise.

Hopefully yours,

F. Sionil Jose

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Thank you to T. Alexandra “Sandra” Laguda Sotto who FWD this to me from her New York City base.

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13 Comments

  1. August 10, 2010 at 10:26 am

    roni:

    Please be reminded:

    From now on, comments with no real names, no email addresses that can be confirmed, and no reliable identity checks will no longer be allowed.

    Please upload your comment again with the pertinent information.

    Thank you.

    Toto Gonzalez

  2. Florante Marco said,

    August 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    The true killer and mastermind of Ninoy Aquino is enjoying his power. These people are political opportunists. It is a tragedy, that this episode had happened in our country. However, it happened. If you dig deep into the case: you will see him, as clear as the summer noonday sun…

    I see no good in this Noynoy Aquino administration. The problem is a well entrenched group of people ruling in the form of: political warlords; political family dynasties; political patronage; political opportunism; etc…too much to enumerate. I am not a pessimist; nor an optimist. I’m just a realist…I’ve seen administrations, come and go…all promising change…new era…new society…new republic…new Filipino…hope…”pagbabago”…etc…I’m tired of listening to these gimmicks. Once, they are in power…their vices of plundering the country are there again…same political families…same family dynasties…same people…same political warlords…only with new bosses…

  3. Josh Moya said,

    June 1, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    To Larry…

    Too bad no one of those people who knew the culprit has the balls to tell the truth. So, the million dollar question is… would you tell us? 🙂

  4. June 1, 2010 at 3:21 am

    Surely you know the mastermind behind the murder of Ninoy ?

    You would think CORY would have found out in her term !

    She knows who killed her husband and SO DOES her son, our eminent President.

    AND it isn’t FM and his FL or VER . It was ……………

  5. Jay Samson said,

    May 31, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    The NoyNoy cabinet is looking more and more like a wedding entourage. What’s next? Vicki Belo as DOH secretary?

    Noynoy wants Boy Abunda in his government
    JAM SISANTE, GMANews.TV

    Celebrity TV host Boy Abunda is being considered for a Cabinet post or another government position because of his strong marketing and communication skills, presidential front runner Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said Monday.

    “Think about it from a marketing perspective, things that you would want to market the Philippines for. He will be a good communicator,” said Aquino, whose sister Kris is known to be a close friend of Abunda, her fellow ABS-CBN talent. Abunda is also known as the “King of Talk.”

    Aquino spoke to reporters at his Times Street home after meeting with envoys from the European Union.

    Rumored appointee Eugenio ‘Boy’ Abunda Jr. stands behind Sen. Noynoy Aquino, who breaks the news of his mother’s death on Aug. 1, 2009. Joe Galvez file photo
    Abunda had acted as a family spokesman when Cory Aquino died last August and was by her son Noynoy’s side when he announced her death to the media at the Makati Medical Center.

    Asked whether Abunda would be assigned to a secretary-level position, Aquino said, “It’s possible or lower. Usec, asec also.” Aquino did not confirm or deny when asked if Abunda would be assigned to the Department of Tourism.

    Aquino pointed out that Abunda studied at the Ateneo de Manila University and later took up further studies in international relations.

    “He is an icon in the country and even more so for his ability to communicate, to understand the audience and to be able to advance a particular set of ideas,” he said, pointing out that Abunda supported him all throughout the campaign.

    Asked whether he has talked to Abunda about the possibility of a government position, Aquino said, “Parang may nabanggit na atang, ‘mukhang ok ka sa ganito.’ On that level.”

    But he said the problem with Abunda’s possible appointment is the compensation.

    “Problema non, how much does Boy Abunda earn in a week? How much will his salary be in a year in government? Tapos pag Cabinet position, divest,” Aquino said. Before gaining fame as a TV host, Abunda was a successful public relations man. He also owns Backroom Inc., a talent management firm that handles stars like Gretchen Barreto, Rufa Mae Quinto and Bianca Gonzales.

    Abunda co-hosted Startalk and Show and Tell on GMA Network before transferring to ABS-CBN in 1999

  6. Enrique Bustos said,

    May 31, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Noynoy Aquino the President-elect was voted by 42% of our people.he should now reach out to the 58% who did not vote for him and try to unite our country

    Advise from former President Fidel V. Ramos
    Wanted: A healing President
    Even as Benigno Aquino III is being congratulated, I call on him to become a “healing President” who will unite the Filipinos so that we can expect faster growth for our country.

  7. Myles Garcia said,

    May 29, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    It looks like the new President-elect’s initial moves and pronouncements are bordering on the stupid and amateurish.

    Not a good start. At least Pacquiao is going to school, even though it’s a 1-week crash course. Noynoy should enroll in those DeVry online courses. At best, nobody will see him doing it.

  8. Myles Garcia said,

    May 28, 2010 at 5:57 am

    I hope some 27 years after the crime, the statute of limitations has not passed NOR that evidence has not been lost.

    I mean, it’s that not-very-bright-brother who did it. I mean who else would hatch such a hare-brained scheme that would have repercussions that eventually would bring them all down?

  9. Toffee Tionko said,

    May 28, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Ninoy was murdered when I was high school. Since then, the accused have been convicted, jailed, and pardoned. Yet, the soldiers maintain that they are innocent. According to an article, their Prison Chaplain believes they are innocent. Even after such a long time, the Mastermind has not been named. I hope we find out sooner than later.

  10. Alicia Perez said,

    May 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Myles,

    “that… that man from Makati”

    I love it!

    You mean that “indio” from Makati?

    I have to tell you though that he is much-admired and well-loved by the people of Makati, surprisingly on both sides of EDSA.

    Alicia Perez

  11. Myles Garcia said,

    May 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Sublime and wise as that letter is, I think it is ( a ) blowing in the wind, or ( b ) whistling in the dark… or both. If Noynoy’s “magic” could not even carry his running mate and that… that man from Makati ( and we certainly don’t mean the Zobels ) triumphed, and his party in Congress is a minority, then really… what hope is there? Maybe his sisters can do no worse ( in being the powers behind the throne ).

    I hope I am mistaken.

  12. May 27, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    “And most of all, now that you have the muscle to do it, go after your father’s killers.”

    The Filipino nation awaits that one. Eagerly.

    Toto Gonzalez

  13. Josh Moya said,

    May 27, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I would like to add…

    Noynoy… never ever forget the mandate that was entrusted to you by our people. That is “the” most important thing!


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