Not Getting Mad at, But Getting Even With, Tita Cory
Sections - Philippine Presidency
Written by Bobby Reyes
Friday, 07 September 2007 05:27
Prologue. I was a member of Dr. Doy Laurel's UNIDO (political party) during the February 1986 presidential "snap" election. Our party founder and president was the running mate of then presidential candidate Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. All of us called her "Tita Cory." I asked the permission of Dr. Laurel to join the "Cory Aquino for President Movement (CAPM)," which was organized by Don Chino Roces. So, I joined the CAPM and was reporting directly to Don Chino. We won the election but it took the so-called "EDSA (Uno) Revolution" for Tita Cory to be proclaimed as the duly-elected President of the Philippines. As alas, as I wrote in my 1993 political novel, "One Day in the Life of a Filipino Sonova*****," many Cory Crusaders became the "Sorry Crusaders." We became so sorry for helping elect a leader who performed worse than her predecessor.
On March 30, 1995, I wrote a "confidential letter" to the Board of Trustees of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. Hereunder is my letter in its entirety, warts and all. For all the frustrations that I had as a "Sorry Crusader," the said letter made me feel vindicated. I never got mad at the person of President Aquino. But my letter got me even with Tita Cory.
This is the first time that the said letter is published. Copies of it were sent to several national leaders of the Philippines and quite a few Filipino diplomats and tourism officials. After more-than 12 years, this writer has decided to publish it as part of the articles in the "Philippine Presidency" section of the www.mabuhayradio.com. After all, it is now the intention of this writer to eventually become one of the country's leading "Philippine Presidents'" historians.
The Board of Trustees
The Pearl S. Buck Foundation
P. O. Box 181
Perkasie, Pennsylvania 18944
Gentlemen and Ladies,
This is about the Pearl S. Buck Woman's Award that you plan to give to former President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino. We understand that you have scheduled the awarding on June 5, 1995, at the United Nations in New York City.
We most respectfully request you to withhold the giving of the award. For Mrs. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino to qualify for the award, she must first address the Filipino people and the Overseas Filipinos the following issues that we raised from 1992 up to the present:
1.0 Why did she approve in January 1992 the sale of 67% of the stocks of the Philippine Air Lines (PAL) to an investment group headed by one of her Tanjuatco, and three Cojuangco, nephews? We argued that the sale resulted in a $300-million, or more, loss to the Filipino people. The Philippine government, through the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), owned the shares. And worse, her nephews did not have the money to pay for the airline stocks. They borrowed the money that they used to pay the GSIS from three Philippine government-owned banks, using the PAL stocks as collateral. Please find attached, as Annex One, a copy of my expose called, "The PAL Scandal," for your perusal and evaluation.
1.1 I have publicly stated that if they found my publication libelous, Mrs. Aquino and her nephews could sue me for libel in Los Angeles, California. Up to now, they have not filed any libel suit. On the other hand, reliable reports have reached me in California that I should not go back because the kin of Mrs. Aquino would "bury me alive" once I land in Manila.
1.2 As part of "The PAL Scandal," I reported later that it was Mrs. Aquino who authorized in 1992 the sale of the PAL Building in San Francisco, California. It resulted, according to the column of the late journalist, Louie Beltran, into a $6-million loss to the national airline. She did not charge Mr. Beltran with libel on this issue about the PAL Building. She, however, filed a libel case against Mr. Beltran and his publisher, Maximo V. Soliven, when the late columnist wrote that Mrs. Aquino "hid under her bed during a coup d'etat attempt at the presidential palace in Manila."
2.0 Why did she permit, during her first month in office, the transfer of the 38 companies that Marcos's brother-in-law, Kokoy Romualdez, owned? The 38 firms were transferred to her brother-in-law, Ricardo "Baby" Lopa. The assets of the Marcoses, the Romualdezes and their cronies were supposed to have been sequestered by the new Aquino administration. But Kokoy Romualdez's 38 companies, which were worth billions of pesos, were not turned over to the Presidential Commission on Good Government. I narrated the illegal and immoral transfer of the ill-gotten wealth in my political novel, One Day in the Life of a Filipino Sonova*****. Please find with this letter a copy of the book, as Annex Two. My book describes the details of Baby Lopa's caper in Chapter XVI.
2.1 The same case happened in the matter of the Philippine Long Distance Company. Instead of sequestering the company for the Philippine government as it was then controlled by the Marcos cronies, she returned the billion-dollar company to her Cojuangco nephews. She claimed that her nephews were illegally eased out by Mr. Marcos. The truth was that the Marcos cronies, whether their moneys were ill-gotten or not, paid the Cojuangcos the prevailing market-stock prices during the sale of equity that happened between them at the time when Marcos was still president.
2.2 I dared, again for the nth time, when my book was launched in December 1993, for Mrs. Cory Cojuangco-Aquino or any of her relatives to file a libel case in the United States, where the book was published. Up to now, not even a demand letter from any lawyer has reached me. We consider their silence a golden admission of guilt.
3.0 Why did she approve the re-negotiation of the loans that her predecessor obtained from Japan? The administration of Mrs. Aquino agreed that the loans would be paid in Japanese yen, rather than in U.S. currency that former President Ferdinand E. Marcos negotiated. Please find a copy of our September 2, 1994, letter to Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama that brought the matter to his attention. The self-explanatory letter is submitted as Annex Three. The error of Mrs. Aquino and her financial advisers has, so far, resulted in a $5-billion (spelled with a "B"), minimum, increase in the loan principal. It added insults to the financial injury that the poor people of the Philippines now shoulder as a result of the currency-exchange difference.
4.0 Why did she tolerate, during her tenure, destitute Filipino women from leaving the country to become maids, bar hostesses, mail-order brides and prostitutes in different foreign countries? For a write-up on the plight of the Filipino women, please read Annex Four. It is called, "Frasier's Joke on Filipino Brides-for-sale Turns into a 'Slaughter in Seattle.'" Statistics would show that more impoverished women left the Philippines for foreign destinations during the six-year term of Mrs. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino than during the 20-year reign of President Marcos. Yet Mrs. Aquino's much-vaunted publicists painted her the Filipino version of "Joan of Arc" and Marcos as the personification of evil.
4.1 During her administration, Mrs. Aquino did not bother to protest to the Japanese government the abuse of Filipino women in Japan. She did not ask the Japanese for the redress of the wartime and modern-day Filipino "comfort women's" grievances. Please refer, for more particulars, to the letter to Prime Minister Murayama (Annex Three).
4.2 Mrs. Aquino was so indifferent to the plight of the Filipino women who were working abroad. Please refer to my open letter to Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos. Submitted as Annex Five is the open letter called, "The Filipino 'Wonder Woman' Could Have Saved Flora Contemplacion in 1991." (Editor’s Notes: Excerpts of the said letter were published too in this online publication; to read them, please go to this link http://www.mabuhayradio.com/content/view/444/51/ .)
4.3 On Mrs. Aquino's track record on Filipino women alone, it is incomprehensible why she would win the "Pearl S. Buck Woman's Award?" In fact, the award to Mrs. Aquino is an insult to the Filipino womanhood. It is like awarding Judas the Nobel Prize for Economics, if the award was available then, for selling Christ for 30 pieces of silver. Would you call Judas' transaction an award-winning entrepreneur's act?
5.0 There are other instances of abuse that Mrs. Aquino and her Cojuangco kin had perpetrated. I could practically write about them, ad infinitum. Please just read my political novel. You will read some of the facts about the Aquino administration. An example is the continued defiance of Mrs. Aquino's clan of the Land Reform Code. They refuse to divide their Luisita Hacienda among the tenants. The irony was that the Congress enacted the Land Reform law during the administration of Mrs. Aquino.
The American people never tolerate injustice, greed and the abuse of power. Americans will condemn your choice for the 1995 Pearl S. Buck Woman's Award once they get to know the truth about Mrs. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino and her clique. Americans never like to see acts of injustice committed against the impoverished people of the Philippines, where a majority earns less than an American dollar a day.
We most respectfully urge you not to give the award to Mrs. Aquino until she complies with the demands stated in this letter. Mrs. Aquino's record is slowly, albeit surely, becoming a socioeconomic and political minefield.
If you proceed with the award ceremony in New York on June 5, 1995, please expect a public demonstration, coast to coast, against your decision. If you and Mrs. Aquino are callous enough, then you all end up in the dustbin of history as some of the coldest, heartless, insensitive, apathetic and soulless creatures the world has known.
I have labeled this letter "Confidential." This means that I will not leak the letter to the public, yet. For I do not want to embarrass your foundation nor put Mrs. Aquino to more public ridicule. Her reputation, after all, is already soiled. If within five working days after receipt of this letter, you do not confirm the cancellation of the award to Mrs. Aquino, we will go public. This means that when we do come out in the open, it will be a total mainstream media offensive. You can ask people, especially Filipino diplomats, in New York and Los Angeles, to confirm that we fight long and hard. We engineered several media campaigns in the past year. We took credit for the poor television ratings of the 1994 Miss Universe broadcast in the United States. We forced a mainstream television station in Los Angeles to delete, for its nation-wide broadcasts, the phrase, "Suspect was an Asian, possibly Filipino" that was used to describe the killer of Manhattan Beach Police Officer Martin Gantz. If we come to clash, please expect a boycott of your office in Perkasie and your activities anywhere in the United States.
Many Filipino Americans like our advocacy and our idealism. So please spare yourselves brutal, costly media and public relations wars. You can devote your resources to better uses, such as helping the Amerasian children, rather than become the American defenders of Mrs. Aquino. Likewise, on our part, the resources we will expend fighting you can be put to use helping your foundation. We have aided efforts to help the Amerasian children in the Philippines. Mrs. Aquino's position is indefensible. It's like fighting for a lost cause. It's like trying to become a stowaway on the SS Titanic. You know, it's hard to beat an army of Dons Quixote that eats controversial causes for breakfast. We do not think that too many bureaucrats can match our zeal and dedication to causes we believe in. We bet that not even one member of your Board of Trustees will put his or her life on the line for the sake of corrupt leaders like Mrs. Aquino. On the other hand, we have been risking our lives for Philippine and American causes. We also have put our wallets into our mouths.
We finally want to tell you why are activists. Please find a copy of our report called, "Connie Chung Now Knows the Plight of the American Veterans of Filipino Ancestry." It is submitted as Annex Six. In it, we said that we live Ms. Jessica Mitford's motto, "'You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.' . . .I said that if I could put to shame the corrupt bureaucrats, then my writings would have mattered. If my writings could publicize the wrongdoers, then my efforts would not have been in vain. Indeed, I feel great if my writings can make the Filipinos, and Overseas Filipinos, look good and their oppressors look bad." Thank you for the attention.
BOBBY M. REYES
Conscience of the Filipino Nation
pilogue. According to Ernesto (Apo Ernie) Gange, a Filipino-American member then of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation's Board of Trustees, the Board nearly panicked and wanted in fact to cancel the awarding ceremony. But several Filipino diplomats and tourism officers in New York City appealed to me to cancel our planned picketing of the ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The Filipino officials told me that I had made my point(s) and it was to the best interest of the country to just ignore former President Aquino. They said that historians would just deal with her record as President of the Philippines. Apo Ernie Gange is now the chairman of the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA). Even if I happen to be the number-one critic of the NaFFAA national headquarters for its failure of observe the ATIC slogan that I coined, Apo Ernie and I maintain cordial and business-like relations. By the way, ATIC is the acronym for accountability, transparency, integrity and credibility.