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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

F. Sionil Jose's Open Letter to Noynoy

My wife, Weena, wise woman that she is, emailed me F. Sionil Jose's open letter to Noynoy. I very much appreciate the letter's frank and candid tone. It does not pander. Yet, at the same time, it remains hopeful, giving President-elect Aquino the benefit of the doubt and encouraging him to "redeem (his) father's aborted promise."

Like Mr. Jose, I did not vote for President-elect Aquino but since he obtained the highest number of votes, he is MY President as well. And I want him and his administration to succeed. I believe that after the heat of the electoral battle has subsided, the next step should be for all Filipinos, regardless of party affiliations, to work together to address the great challenges of poverty and corruption.
Moreover, in the long run, the success of the Aquino administration will benefit all of us.

So best of luck to you Noy, you have my prayers and like Mr. Jose, I expect much from you.




An open letter to Noynoy
HINDSIGHT By F Sionil Jose (The Philippine Star) Updated May 23, 2010 12:00 AM



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

4 comments:

  1. F. Sionil Jose captured the sentiment felt by many of us in his beautiful, simply worded letter.

    Congratulations on your campaign. How the whole process must have been so character building for you.

    It's great that you now run your own blog. No more Danton with his trigger-happy 'oops, did I delete you?' ways. :) I hope your blog becomes what it should be - a forum for the intelligent (and sometimes mababaw) exchange of ideas, not the shrine of worship that Opposite of Apathy morphed into.

    What's your new show about?

    P.S. Wasn't the Prince of Persia one of the worst movies you've ever seen?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Sabine. Firstly, thanks for taking time to check out my new blog. Secondly, no show yet but I have a column coming out soon in the Philippine Star Lifestyle Section, For Men. I think it is more interesting to write about non-political things. I'm still interested in writing about policy and governance but I'm looking forward to writing about mundane stuff like basketball, bad movies (haven't watched Prince of Persia yet but my expectations on the quality of movies that originate from video games is pretty low), and the best places in Manila for a guy to get a haircut.

    I'm enjoying maintaining my own blog and finding my own voice - no longer part of some group or collective. And I'm hoping we can all share ideas here - intelligent or otherwise. Peace!

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  3. it's funny how a simple curiosity would lead me into something illuminating. i've seen your tweet on Twilight and that it's just a jest. it's funny in a way that borders absurdity.

    but finding F. Sionil Jose's letter to Noy, i found that more interesting.

    although i was already born when Cory took over the Marcos government, i still had no actual recollection of what really happened as i was just a year or two that time. you can just imagine my generation trying to picture out what really happened through books, documentaries, journals and stories passed on by our elders.

    F. Sionil's letter almost had the gist written down for me. it was like seeing the history through his eyes. it's simple, unlcuttered. blunt, evocative and enlightening.

    thanks for sharing that one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Yash. See how something funny and entertaining lead you to something enlightening. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. And I'm very happy that we have some cross-generational interaction here. We, the little "older" (I don't consider myself "old" yet) and the younger generation, can learn a lot from each other.

    ReplyDelete

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