POSTSCRIPT / January 31, 1999 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

Share on facebook
Share This
Share on twitter

Marcoses shouldn’t be too garrulous, arrogant

A LESSON that the Marcoses may want to learn on a quiet Sunday is the value of silence.

It would do their cause some good if they keep quiet, and stay low-key, while their friend President Estrada works out a compromise for their illegal wealth cases.

Imee Marcos, for one, is unnecessarily stoking resentment with her indelicate retort to demands that they apologize. Why should we? She asked. We’ve not done anything wrong!

It’s amazing how facile it now is for the Marcoses to sweep under their mental rug the mass arrests, torture, murders, the plunder and other high crimes committed with devilish arrogance at the height of the Marcos dictatorship.

* * *

LOOKING at the old pictures of the Marcos family when they first went to reside in Malacañang in 1966 upon Ferdinand Marcos’ first election, one spots Imee, Bongbong and Irene as then simple, unspoiled and looking so innocent and vulnerable.

Those pictures could prompt one who had not been a victim of the dictatorship to say that the sins of the father should not be visited on the children. The problem is that the children have grown and seemed to have taken on the arrogance that comes with power.

Maybe there’s no cure to induced amnesia, but just one gruesome murder should jog the memory of Imee. This was the case of a student who asked pointed questions in a forum where Imee, then chairman of the Kabataang Barangay, was the speaker.

The poor student was picked up by Imee’s security men and was found days later slain after being tortured. His murder was one of some 10,000 cases cited in a US court and for which Imee was found guilty.

Some of the evidence presented and made permanent record of the atrocities of the Marcos regime were pictures of the victim whose eyes were plucked and his guts spilled out.

This could be one of the reasons why Imee, the only one among the Marcos children, could not go to Honolulu even when her father was dying. Until now, she has not dared to set foot on American soil where arrest warrants await her.

* * *

INSTEAD of resenting the legal research of former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga on the economic plunder of the Marcoses, President Estrada should welcome it and even use it to good advantage.

Salonga, one of those best informed on the illegal wealth cases, pointed out some loopholes in the compromise agreement with the Marcoses and the escrow documents between the Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Philippine National Bank where some $540 million of the Marcos loot was to be deposited.

Instead of appreciating and using the information to strengthen the government’s hand in handling the Marcos cases, Mr. Estrada exploded and called Salonga senile. That’s not only unpresidential. It is suspicious.

The President’s reaction betrays where his loyalty lies. He is not for the Republic, but for his long-time friends the Marcoses. It is obvious that he wants to protect them. And he claims “walang kaibigan….”

If his heart is really for the mahihirap as he claims and if he wants justice for the victims of martial law, Mr. Estrada should take Salonga as an adviser on the Marcos cases and heed his sage advice.

* * *

WE’RE pleasantly surprised that until now we still hear from readers finding common interest in fishing, which we casually wrote about some Sundays ago recalling those weekends we had spent angling in the San Francisco Bay Area.

That some readers would be motivated enough to write should be a fascinating detail in any study of how and why people relate to their newspapers.

Or maybe the question should be: “What is it about fishing that anglers never tire talking about it?” Good question for those who also want to discover the secrets of a long, leisurely life.

Reader Max A. Hermogenes said in a letter:

“When you wrote about crabbing under the Golden Gate Bridge, I was reminded of my good friends in San Francisco who introduced me to the art of catching crabs. Back in 1973, when the fishing pier you mentioned was still the old and wooden pier, we needed no license to catch crabs. Then about 1980s this was built with a concrete pier with guardrails.

“We would stop by Chinatown to buy chicken necks and some squid as alternate bait. Before setting our bait, we asked the crabbers at the pier what bait was preferable. Then we dropped our nets some 20 to 30 feet below.

“The crabs in the bay are the dungeones variety similar to our alimango except that they are hairy. Game wardens show up once in a while to check the catch. Small ones and females with eggs are confiscated and violators would get a ticket or fine. Sometimes wardens would stop cars while leaving the area and check the catch. Call them strict but they are doing their job to preserve the fish and crabs to grow and be available to others.

“In Texas, crabs are of a different type. They are blue crabs and caught in the Gulf of Mexico. When friends from other towns or the Philippines visited us, we usually took them to NASA in Houston. We would proceed to Kemah nearby where we ate seafood at the restaurant beside the dozen or so fish stalls. Filipinos as far as Dallas would come to buy a month’s supply since they have to travel some 400 miles back.

“In this city by the gulf, Vietnamese boat people stayed, built bigger boats, fished year-round disregarding the fishing season, used nets with smaller eyes in violation of regulations. Local fishermen fearing their livelihood was threatened, confronted the Vietnamese with the Ku Klux Klan by their side. Crosses were burned in front of the Vietnamese houses and the frightened Vietnamese left on their boats.

“New Orleans was my first US residence. We arrived there with some 200 Filipino nurses recruited by Louisiana hospitals. Being new, we could only buy fish and groceries where there was bus service since we could not buy cars for lack of credit record.

“But supermarkets in New Orleans sold a lot of fish, crabs and crayfish. Butchers would chop the fish’s head and throw it into the garbage bag, but Filipinos would retrieve them for sinigang. Later on, when butchers cleaned fish for a Pinoy, they would ask if she wanted the head too.

“Here crayfish were plentiful during the cooler months. They crawled on the fields by the bayou and you could catch them if you would brave the night. Coast guards would drop by our apartment where we stayed with some 20 nurses and would sometimes bring us crayfish.

“A few of our nurses friends ended up marrying coast guards or navy men. Some of the men, though stationed in Florida, would drive more than 10 hours during their off days to seek a Pinay nurse for a wife.

“By the way, we did not stay long in New Orleans because the Commissioner of the State Board of Louisiana wanted the Pinay nurses sent home for not passing the state board test the first time they took it. With the intervention of the Governor at the urging of the Hospital Director, they were given a chance to take another exam on the subject that they failed. They passed, but about 90 percent left for Texas, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

“We came back as balikbayans in September 1990 and have not left since. I guess I did not have the patience for angling because of the time it entailed. One bad experience was when friends took us to Tiburon but could not fish for poor visibility due to fog.”

* * *

FROM writer Krip Yuson came another note saying that fellow writer Eric Gamalinda and he wanted to excerpt those POSTSCRIPT nostalgic notes on fishing in the Bay Area and include them in a forthcoming book on FilAms.

The book includes the main essay by Gamalinda, he said, and “covers the origins and contemporary aspects of the Fil-American experience.” We’ll watch for the book’s coming out.

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of January 31, 1999)

Share your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published.