IF I knew him personally and was his supporter as well as adviser, what advice would I give President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte y Roa regarding his candidacy in the May 2022 national elections?
Photo from Manila Bulletin
In my lifetime, I have advised many presidentiables to slide down and run instead for vice-president. Among them are:
- in August 1972 at the Manila Hotel – former Senator (1961 – 1967) and 1971 Constitutional Convention Delegate from the 1st District of Rizal Raul S. Manglapus;
- in 1984 or 1985 during a PDP- Laban National Council meeting in Bacolod City – former 1971 Con-Con Delegate from, Assemblyman and Mayor of Cagayan de Oro City as well as Senator and Senate President Aquilino ‘Nene’ Pimentel, Jr.;
- from 1982 to 1986 - former Senator, IBP Assemblyman from Southern Tagalog and Vice President Salvador ‘Doy’ Laurel;
- in 1997 and 1998 – former Senator Vice President and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo;
- in October 2007 and prior to the May 2016 Elections – former San Juan City Mayor, Senator, Vice President and President Joseph ‘Erap’ Ejercito Estrada;
- in 2008 and 2009 - former Congressman and Senator and now Sorsogon Governor Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero;
- in August and September 2009 through his relatives and friends – former Congressman and Senator Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino y Cojuangco.
Among the above, Doy and Erap appreciated and thanked me for my advice.
Raul and Nene resented my advice and as a result, we became cold to each other.
Doy and GMA did what I had advised whether or not they believed me.
My maternal family, Araneta y Zaragoza, and in particular my uncles: Salvador, Vicente, Luis Ma. and Rev. Fr. Francisco, S. J., were friends and political allies of the reformist supporters of President Ramon Magsaysay in the November 1953 national elections.
When Magsaysay crashed and died in March 1957, and Vice President Carlos P. Garcia succeeded as President, the Reformists led by future Senators Manuel ‘Manny’ Manahan and Raul S. Manglapus and my uncle, former ACCFA Administrator Vicente Araneta, split from the Nacionalista Party and organized the PPP – Party for Philippine Progress or Progressive Party of the Philippines, put up a third force and slate for the November 1957 national elections.
Only one of my uncles, lawyer and 1946 Democratic Alliance senatorial candidate J. Antonio Araneta remained with the Nacionalista Party, serving as its Treasurer for decades until Martial Law.
After losing in 1957, 1959 and 1965 but winning in 1961 by allying with the Liberal Party, Manglapus was aiming to run again for President in the November 1973 national elections.
For this, a broad multi-sectoral movement of Christian and Social Democrats had started to be organized in 1966. Graduating in March 1966 from the Ateneo de Manila High School and stepping into the College of Arts and Sciences, I ran smack into the center of the above.
However, by mid - 1972, a core group of young leaders were starting to think of a different strategy picking up from the lessons of the 1961 alliance between the Liberal Party and the PPP/Grand Alliance under the United Opposition Party.
We believed in an alliance between us, as the ‘Kapisanan ng mga Anakpawis ng Pilipinas’ and the LP under Party President Gerardo ‘Gerry’ Roxas.
Since Roxas was from Capiz in the Visayas and Manglapus was from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, we believed that they would make a viable tandem for November 1973.
In the pursuit of what I labelled Lesson # 3 in my previous column – ‘that a united opposition can defeat an unpopular administration’, I was also in favor of Nene, Doy, Ping, Erap, GMA, Chiz, Noynoy and Grace sliding down to VP from their presidential ambitions.
Out of those who heeded our advice, Erap and GMA, at first ran for Vice President and later on for President. Doy became Vice President in 1986, but never President.
Whether as an Executive Vice President of a private telecommunications contractor and supplier, a PDP-Laban Deputy Secretary General, National Telecommunications Commission Deputy and Commissioner and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Director, my favorite destinations were Davao City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Zamboanga City, Naga City and Legazpi City.
While I always tried my best to pay courtesy calls, get to know and develop mutual relationships with LGU officials, I never met Davao City Mayor Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Roa Duterte nor Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo.
The reason was that I was too close to former Davao City Mayor, Congressman and DILG Secretary Luis ‘Luigi’ Santos and Camarines Sur Governor Luis ‘Lui’ Villafuerte.
To be continued …