A cheerful, explosive affair
Update: Deedee Siytangco, spokesperson of former President Aquino said Cory’s apology to Erap was said in jest.
1. On the Statement that Cory Apology A Joke : If it was a joke, there was wisdom and truth in that joke
Even if it was said in jest, as some persons insist, the fact that it was said at all portrays the growing sentiment of regret about Edsa Dos and the realization that it was a mistake. In Mrs. Aquino’s own words, “I am one of those who feels guilty for the 2001 uprising.” Even if it is to be interpreted that former President Cory Aquino stated it lightly, it does not discount the fact that it was stated publicly and with sincerity. So we will take it for what it was worth: an admission by former President Aquino of regret over Edsa Dos and a gesture of reconciliation to former President Estrada for the bad judgment made at the time.
The statement was something that former President Estrada did not expect, much less ask for. Everyone in the audience was surprised by the line. And Mrs. Aquino’s statement to Congressman de Venecia, “Matagal ka na naming hinihintay na sumali sa amin” (we have long been waiting for you to join us) reflects the opposition and deep resentment of former President Aquino against the current administration.
2. On Richard Gordon Statement calling Mrs. Aquino “Sorry Aquino”
Mrs. Aquino is an internationally acknowledged icon of democracy and arguably the most revered citizen of the Philippines today because of her principled reputation. He need not share her sentiments but he should at the very least regard them – and her – with respect.
We can use the good senator’s own wisdom when he said, “When we are leaders, we must be called upon to teach our people.” As one of the most respected leaders of this country, Mrs. Aquino yesterday displayed and taught us humility, something a lot of politicians today need more of. She must be applauded for having displayed this, even if only in the light atmosphere of a book launch.
I have attended numerous gatherings hosted by former House Speaker Jose de Venecia and wife, Gina and I can say that last Monday’s launching of JDV’s book, “Global Filipino” was the most enjoyable.
The atmosphere was cheerful. Maybe it has something to do with Christmas. Definitely, it didn’t look like a gathering of those who are not in power.
The buoyant tone of the occasion was set by former President Joseph Estrada, who put everybody in stitches with his witty remarks. Here are some of the memorable lines
“Believe it or not, I read this book from cover to cover. you know, when I was incarcerated, with nothing better to do, I read a lot of books, mostly biographies, like this one. That is why I have greatly improved my good-looking English!
“But because of the significance of the book, I finally decided to read even if it almost gave me a headache because it is over 400 pages long.
“Mahaba ang biography ni dating Speaker De Venecia. Parang mga speeches niya. title na title na lang, ang haba na.
“But I suspect, it is not only me who may have had a headache reading JDV’s biography. I suspect Malacañang had a bigger headache.”
Estrada said despite political differences with JDV, they have remained friends through the years. He said, “We both stood up and fought for our convictions. going thru his book, i could see that JDV is a man of conviction, just like me. The only difference is that i am a certified man of conviction because i was convicted. So my advice to JDV today is that if you want to be a certified man of conviction, wait for your turn.”
Having come to terms with his 2001 misfortune when he was pushed out of Malacañang three years before the end of his elected term, Erap can now joke about it. He said, “Of course, in 2001, Congressman De Venecia was among those who went to Edsa Dos. But today, I give JDV my full and absolute pardon. that is my exercise of executive privilege.”
Estrada was a difficult act to follow and it’s a credit to former President Cory Aquino’s undiminished credibility that her brief remarks became the highlight of the occasion. It simply underscores that sincerity and humility are what makes headline material.
When it was Cory’s turn to speak, she picked up from Erap’s remark about Edsa Dos: “I am one of those who plead guilty for the 2001 uprising. Lahat naman tayo nagkakamali. Patawarin mo na lang ako.”
Erap later on said it was the “best Christmas gift he ever received.”
It was the second time that Cory and Erap were together in an event after January 2001. The first time was at a Makati rally last February 29.
Cory and Erap are confident with each other’s public appeal which explains their easy rapport. That cannot be said of former President Fidel Ramos, who up to now, has to share the stage with Estrada after he helped oust him in January 2001
Ramos came after Cory and Estrada have gone.
Cory’s remarks made an impact because she could be referring to what would be happening in the coming weeks. Referring to JDV’s revelation of behind-the-scenes shenanigans involving Gloria and Mike Arroyo, Cory said, “Thank you, Joe, for coming out at last. Matagal na kitang hinihintay na sumali sa amin. So, better be late than never.”
Cory’s apology to Erap has unnerved the snooty members of civil society who refuse to admit their responsibility in creating a monster that is Gloria Arroyo.
The two former presidents showed that they can rise above their political differences and Erap has an explanation to this: “In the twilight of our years — as we are now both senior citizens — I know that we can still work together to achieve our common vision for our country: a vision of a real and working democracy, a vision of a just and humane society, a vision of peace and progress; a vision of a prosperous Philippines. “