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The Winner! November 20, 1965

November 20, 1965

The Winner!

It’s The Same Old Story – A New Hero’s Rise to Power On the Wave Of The People’s Will,Whose Name Is Fickleness; The Downfall Of Yesterday’s Idol Who Was Blamed For All The Country’s Ills.

By Napoleon G. Rama

It was like 1961 all over again. The play had the same ending. The lonely vigil in the Palace. Laughter and lights in the hideout of the winner. The stunned disbelief. The threats and tension. Controversy over the count. The flight of “migratory birds.” The warm embrace of the few faithful left – warm like the coming of tears.

Turn back the clock of history . . . An era was ending; a new one was about to begin. The rock of Sisyphus had rolled down – and now to begin again at the foot of the hopeless hill.

One passed by the Palace on that night of defeat and noted the stillness and the sadness, the silence drenching the park and the passersby. And the lamps, once lovely and luminous among the trees, announcing with their incandescence the gay rituals in the Palace premises, now burned dully, somberly, casting more shadows than light.

A new hero was hailed; the old one was mocked and derided. Such was the will of the people, whose name is fickleness. It seemed as if politics had been invented to punish the powerful, and the cycle of presidential elections, to confirm the loneliness of the office of the president.

Now, the same old story. . . . glory and defeat in the batting of an eye, in a dot of time – reminder to the vanquished and a warning to the victor that power passes and the contract with the electorate is good only for four years.

Let the winner never forget – no president of the Republic has eve been reelected. There was President Elpidio Quirino, then President Carlos P. Garcia, and now President Diosdado Macapagal. It is doubtful if President Manuel Roxas could have avoided their fate even if he had lived long enough to face the electorate again. Before him, President Sergio Osmeña, the greatest statesman the country has ever produced, was not spared the rebuff reserved for all re-electionist presidents.

Only President Ramon Magsaysay could have survived a reelection bid, but only because he was endowed with that rarest of gifts – political charisma. But he was phenomenon hard to come by. In the last half century only two Philippine politicians possessed this gift – Quezon and Magsaysay. They inspired not merely admiration but also adulation. Worshippers overlooked their idols’ faults, remembered only their virtues.

The political pattern of presidential rise and fall favored President Macapagal in 1961. In 1965 it was President-elect Marcos’ turn to profit from it.

The cards are always stacked against the incumbent.

The reason is not hard to find. No president, no matter how well-meaning and hard-driving, how wise and competent, is capable of solving the problems of the country in four years. So tremendous are the problems, many of them centuries-old, that four years is too short and a human president too limited to cope with them.

It is here that a president comes to grief at the hands of his own people. More than just an occupant of the loftiest post of the land, he is in the eyes of the electorate (thanks to campaign speeches and promises) the Moses who will deliver his people from bondage and want.

Every election season the them dinned into the ears of the electorate is that the presidential aspirant can do what the incumbent president did not accomplish. The companion theme is that for all the evils buffeting the country the President is to blame. Alas for President Macapagal, there were even those who blamed him for the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Thus, in every election campaign the people’s mind is conditioned to fixing responsibility for the unsolved problems of the nation on the incumbent president. They expect the in-coming president to perform miracles. The clamor for change becomes the opposition’s most resonant was cry. Every opposition party since Roxas’ Liberal Party has adopted the battle cry. It has never failed. No theme, the politicos have discovered, more effectively establishes identification with the electorate. For it echoes the popular sentiment. It was the issue that licked President Garcia, the theme that beat President Macapagal.

For all the expert analyses on the factors that swept President-elect Marcos into power, the obvious reason is a simple one, a needy people demanded a change – any change. This demand was stronger than all other factors put together in the last campaign.

Hence, the biggest most powerful vote in the country is not the Ilocano vote, the Cebuano vote, the Iglesia Ni Cristo vote, the NP or LP vote, but the protest vote, the poverty vote. There is no other way of explaining why President Macapagal lost or scored so poorly in almost all undisputed LP bailiwicks.

For as long as the country is afflicted with the ancient problems of food, housing, unemployment, high prices, law and order, so long will the protest vote be the most potent force in a presidential election.. The rising expectations, the unreasoning demand that the president solve all the country’s major problems, the predisposition to blame him for every ill, the predilection of candidates to make wild promises, the general poverty – all help create the protest vote.

Next to the protest vote – from which every opposition party has profited – the most powerful factor behind the Marcos victory was the solid Ilocano vote. It marked off the l965 election from all other presidential elections in the past.

The Ilocano vote was a tremendous political asset for Mr. Marcos, not only because the Ilocanos are clannish and numerous but also because they furnished the President-elect with a tremendous political machine to match or blunt the operations of the powerful administration one. Even more vital to the Marcos victory than the votes in Ilocandia was the national machine assembled and oiled by Ilocano immigrants in all parts of the country. The most footloose group in the country, they are in every nook of the Republic. There is no single big town in the country that doesnot harbor an Ilocano community.

Now it can be told. Mr. Marcos’ secret weapon in the last elections was not the Ilocanos in Ilocandia, but the Ilocanos out of it.

The Ilocanos away from home”, explains Jose Aspiras, Mr.Marcos’s genuine Ilocano spokesman “are more Ilocano than those in Ilocandia.”

What keeps the Ilocanos away from Ilocandia fervent Ilocanos is their minority complex, the instinct of self-preservation and constant nostalgia, said Aspiras. Always a meek minority and keenly aware of the national joke about their thriftiness (“The Scots of the Philippines”), they stay close to one another, make common cause and form a well-knit, solidly-welded community, not so much out of fondness for one another as for purposes ofself-protection.

In Ilocandia where the climate is harsh and the soil niggardly, the Ilocanos have to fight for survival. Hardship and poverty at home,said Aspiras, have made the Ilocanos away from home a self-conscious, hardy, industrious group, better-equipped than any other group to meet the challenge of life and to survive a crisis. Such hardiness and industry have paid off in their quest for a place under the sun in other provinces. In many provinces in Visayas and Mindanao, the Ilocano communities are well-off and well-heeled, some of them dominating the business fields.

It was these immigrant Ilocanos spread all over the country that provided Mr. Marcos with what the political pros regard as the most necessary election equipment – a “personal” campaign apparatus. In many places the party machine, because of factional fights, cannot be relied upon. It is here where the “personal” machine comes in.

According to the Marcos boys, the immigrant Ilocanos proved their clanish allegiance to their region and fellow-Ilocano candidate for president.

“As far as they were concerned,” said Aspiras, “it was no longer just an election fight between President Macapagal and Mr. Marcos. They regarded it also as their own personal fight which had at stake regional pride and fortune.”

They conducted their own campaigns in the towns and barrios where they resided; they got organized; they gathered information, they printed their own sample ballots; they took care of herding the voters to the polls; they raised campaign funds; they stood watchers inside the polling places. They were Mr. Marcos’ Fifth Column in Mindanao, the vaunted LP bastion.

The NP standard-bearer could not have had a more devoted, more hard-driving political machine. What made it a perfect political machine was that it was self-winding so to speak. It was a volunteer organization, fired with missionary ardor and zeal.

Next to the Ilocano vote, in Ilocandia and elsewhere, Mr. Marcos’ msot devastating election “weapon” was Mrs. Imelda Marcos whose success as a vote-getter was described by most political writers covering the NP campaign as “phenomenal.”

She managed a campaign of her own. She certainly was the most beautiful campaigner in the l965 elections. Everywhere she went she drew bigger crowds than any of the senatorial teams. On the surface, the voters wsent for her bewitching campaign tactics – her little sob stories, her glorious dresses, her tea parties, and her kundimans sung with professional style and skill.

But it was not her tear–jerkers, her dresses, her parties and kunkimans that made up her greatest contribution to the Marcos campaign. It was her remarkable defense of her husband’s questioned integrity that countred most.

NP tacticians were agreed that in the electoral battle the LP’s most lethal weapon was the integrity issue against the NP standard-bearer. At the start of the campaign some NP leaders threws their hands up and kept out of the fight because they were convinced that the integrity charges against the NP standar-bearer were simply unanswerable.

In the integrity issue the LP’s found Mr. Marcos’ softest spot. NP strategists were at their wits’ end trying to blunt the LP attack on Marcos’ personal character and record in office. It was Imelda who provided the NPs with the armor that shielded Marcos from political destruction.

And Imelda’s defense was classic in simplicity and conciseness. She offered herself as the star character witness for her husband. And her punch line was:

“They say that my husband is a forger, a murderer, a land-grabber. Look at me. Do you think I would have married this man if he was that bad? Do you think I would have stayed with him and campaigned for him if the charges were true? I should have been the first to know about the character of my husband. He is the best, the tenderest husband in the world. . .”

A beautiful woman, with the “voice of a nightingale” and the “charms of a movie queen,” as an AmericAn newsman described her, testifying in behalf of her husband, is the most effective, the most appealing star witness in the world.

That her defense was largely addressed to the emotions and, in the realm of logic and legal procedure, a little irrelevant was of no moment. A town plaza is not a courtroom. What might be an effective brief before a court of justice is a “dud” as far as the crowds are concerned. Thus, the NPs solved what they considered their biggest problem in the battle of propaganda – the integrity issue against “President-elect Marcos. It was Imelda who “de-fused” the LP propaganda bombs.

And, of course, there was the Iglesia ni Cristo vote. The fact is Mr. Marcos, despite the confident predictions of his strategists, did not get 90 per cent of all the votes in Ilocandia. But INC insiders will swear that Marcos got at least 99 per cent of all the INC votes.

The INC vote has proved to be more monolithic than the Ilocano vote. The reason is simple. The Ilocanos voted as Ilocanos devoted to a fellow-Ilocano and a “favorite son.” The Iglesia ni Cristo members voted as a religious sect, bound by a religious dogma and by church injunction to vote for INC candidates under pain of mortal sin and expulsion from the sect.

The INC makes no bones about it. Its spokesman in an official statement confirmed that the policy of the INC to vote as one man is “scripturally-supported.” The injunction is part of the INC catechism. As a religio-political organization, the Iglesia Ni Cristo has a totalitarian force.

Apart from the effects of an absolutely solid vote, variously estimated at from 300,000 to 400,000 in number, the INC, although a religious minority, increases its political sway and power by expert political horse-trading in towns and barrios. In many places, the INC’s small but solid group holds the balance of power. Where the contending candidates are evenly matched and engaged in a nip-and-tuck fight, the INC vote determines the result of the elections. Here is where the INC strategists come in. The politicos knws that the INC can deliver on its promise. That is why they go out of their way to woo the INC ministers in their districts and jump at the opportunity to make a deal with the INC. Under this setup, the INC usually winds up controlling the town or the province.

It is this situation that makes the INC even more powerful than it is thought to be. With its solid vote, it holds the sword of Damocles over the heads of politicians, big or small. It is not the number, but the monolithic character, of the Iglesia Ni Cristo that makes it a very potent and dangerous political force.

The INC knows the uses of religion for political purposes, understands Philippine politics and is aware of its political power. There’s no telling how far the INC will go to influence national elections. INC insiders are already predicting an INC president in a not so distant future. All this INC political sway is further abetted by the lack of a Catholic vote, as the last elections clearly demonstrated. Catholics vote as independent men.

Summing up, the President-elect’s victory in the last elections was made possible by the protest vote or guts issue, the Ilocano vote, the campaign charms of Imelda and the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s politico-religious vote.

Quezon and the judiciary, August 21, 1965

Quezon and the judiciary
by Rodrigo C. Lim
Cagayan de Oro City

August 21, 1965–AMONG THE HIGHLIGHTS OF Manuel L. Quezon’s life, whether as a private citizen or as a public official, was his consistent fight against injustice in any form. Nothing could provoke him to anger more than seeing a man denied his rights under the law.

As President of the Commonwealth, Quezon made it one of his first tasks to overhaul the judiciary, in order to make it, in his own words, “as perfect as humanly possible”. He had hardly warmed his seat in Malacañang when he announced that “to bulwark the fortification of an orderly and just government, it shall be my task to appoint to the everyone may feel when he appears before the courts of justice that he will be protected in his rights, and that no man in this country, from the Chief Executive to the last citizen, is above the law.”

There was no question that, at the beginning of the Commonwealth regime, the Philippine judiciary as a whole was below standard. There was so much incompentence in judicial ranks that the people were beginning to lose faith in the administration of justice. Prevalent among the masses then was the feeling that justice in this country was only for the rich and the powerful.

To begin with, the justice of the peace courts were presided over by men who should have been planting camote instead of dispensing justice. The courts of first instance had their share of antiquated and decrepit judges whose ideas, philosophy of life and sense of justice were out of tune with the times – “judges with 19th century mentality”, as Quezon called them. A good number of them were leading immoral lives, while not a few were failures in the law profession who had landed their positions solely through political pull.In fact, even the highest tribunal of the land – the Supreme Court – was then not beyond reproach. It was rumored in those days that favorable decisions of that body could be secured for a consideration through the wives or the mistresses of some of its members. True or not, this kind of task tended to undermine the people’s faith in our courts.

Quezon was awrare of the wretched state of our judicial system. So he undertook to revamp it from top to bottom, in accordance with the Commonwealth Reorganization Act.

Quezon startes with a series of pronouncements on what he expected members of the bench to be – from the lowly JP’s to the august Supreme Court justices.

“from now on, justices of the peace must be justices of the peace and nothing else”, he declared. “The time when a justice of the peace could be the tool of any person is past. Any justice of the peace who does not feel that he is sufficiently strong to declare himself independent of the whole world had better get ready to quit now, because he is liable to lose his position in a way not creditable to himself.”

Quezon stressed tha the JP courts were, in many cases, the only cogs in the judicial machinery with which the poor had any contact. And if these poor folk had no confidence in the justice of the peace of their municipality, they likewise would have no faith in the higher courts of justice, he pointed out because they did not have the means to take their cases to the courts of first instance.

Thus did Quezon exalt the humble JPs, and, in line with his desire to improve their status, he caused the National Assembly to pass a law providing that all justices of the peace should be members of the bar. All non-lawyers in the service who had good records were, however, allowed to remain until they reached the age of retirement.

Quezon exercised great care in the selection of JP’s. he took pains to go over the list of candidates with then secretary of Justice Jose Yulo and study their individual qualifications. Appointments were based principally on merit; political pressure used by an aspirant was counted against him.

This caused a furor among the assemblymen who considered the JP’s position subject to political patronage. Upon learning of the assemblymen’s attitude, Quezon called them to a caucus, reiterated his policy of no political interference in judicial appoinments, and dared the assemblymen to fight him on the matter. No one accepted the challenge.

Quezon applied a more rigid standard in the selection of new judges of first instance, justices of the then newly, created court of appeals and members of the Supreme Court. Even before his election, Quezon had pledged: “I will appoint no man to the bench without… a thorough investigation of his character and ability… and I pledge myself to do everything in my power to maintain these courts free from political and other extraneous influences and to appoint thereto only men of proven ability and integrity and of the broadcast human sympathies.”

It was not enough, Quezon emphasized, that a judge should be learned in the law. “Above all”, he said, “a judge should be incorruptible. Besides, an ideal judge should combine high technical training with vision and statesmanship. The constitutional provision which secures the tenure of our judges, designed to preserve the paramount independence of the judiciary, affords no remedy against the continuance in office of men with antiquated ideas and fossilized viewpoints inimical to the very existence of a progressive social order…. Herein lies the necessity of careful deliberation in the selection of our judges.”

In his autobiography, The Good Fight, Quezon wrote:

“I was determined not to make questionable appointments. I would drop those judges who had proved themselves unworthy in the past. Favoritism was to play no part in my selection for the bench – nor did it. My test for justice of the Supreme Court was not only integrity but also his modernity of view: Was he a man capable of interpreting the spirit of the new constitution as well as the letter of the law? Was he a jurist and not merely legalistic? I quizzed each one of the remaining Supreme Court justices in turn to ascertain whether they placed other human rights on the same level as the right of property. Those judiciary officials who used through political pull to get an appointment to the Supreme Court or to the Court of Appeals were, in my view, utterly undesirable for such post.”

Quezon’s policy of appointting to the bench only men “of the highest integrity and unquestioned moral character” was best shown in the case of an assemblyman from the South who did not run for reelection to give way to a man of Quezon’s choice. One of the solon’s friends suggested to Quezon that he appoint the former assemblyman judge of first instance.

Quezon flared up at the suggestion.

“That fellow is the last man on earth I will appoint to the bench!” Quezon exclaimed heatedly. “He is immoral and an inveterate gambler.”

Illustrative of Quezon’s abhorrence of political and other extraneous influences in matters affecting the judiciary was the case of a judge of first instance. This judge was one of the oldest members of the bench in point of service, so Quezon promoted him to preside over one of the branches of the court in Manila. While the appoinment was pending confirmation by the Commission on Appointments, however, the secretary of justice received information “harmful” to the judge. The secretary thereupon informed Quezon who ordered him to investigate the charges.

While the investigation was going on, Quezon was approached by a very close friend and compadre of his, a Chinese millionaire, on behalf of the judge. The Chinese businessman, it turned out, had previously won a case in the sala of the judge.

Instead of having the case quashed, Quezon immediately ordered the secretary not to proceed further with investigation – because, according to him, “regardless of the merits of the complaint, there is sufficient cause for the Chief Executive to consider him (the appointee) unworthy of the position of judge by mere fact that in order to keep himself in his present position, he has appealed to the said Chinese merchant to intervene on his behalf”. At the same time, Quezon wrote the Commission on Appointments to allow him to withdraw the Judge’s nomination.

“Officials of the Philippine government”, Quezon said, “must be made to realize that whenever they are involved in a case, they should assert their rights through the methods recognized by law – never through outside influence. In the case of a judge, this is much more important. A judge should never place himself in a compromising situation. The dignity of his office, no less than the independence of the judiciary, is involved.”

A subsequent explanation from the judge that the intervention of the Chinese businessman was done without his knowledge failed to move Quezon. The judge was booted out of the service.

There was also the case of another judge, a brother of one of the highest Commonwealth officials and a life-long friend of Quezon himself. In all the 20 years that he had been in the judiciary, his honesty and integrity were never questioned. Because of a “slip” of his in-laws, however, his otherwise brilliant career came to an inglorious end.

This judge was charged with receiving lavish gifts, in cash and kind, from one of the litigants in his court. It was proved in the investigation that the “gifts” had indeed been given, but it was also proved that they were solicited and received by the judge’s father-in-law – without the former’s knowledge, much less consent. That argument did not, however, save the judge. Once again, Quezon reiterated his dictum that public officials, like Caesar’s wife, must be not only pure but also above suspicion.

The judge was dismissed.

On a petition for reconsideration two years later, however, Quezon amended the order of dismissal and allowed the judge to resign, “considering that said judge had suffered morally by his involuntary separation from the service during the last two years, and that by such separation the public interest had now been duly served”.

It’s no wonder then that during the Quezon era, the people had faith in our courts of justice: they knew that incompetent and corrupt judges had no place in the administration. We who were privilege to witness the events of that “golden era” remember how the people respected their judges. It was because they comported themselves – they had to – with dignity and decorum. Indeed, the Commonwealth judges were the cream of our luminaries, many of whom later served in our highest tribunal with honor and distinction.

The Nation: 1965, June 12, 1965

The Nation: 1965

By Quijano de Manila

The profile of the controversial present becomes incontrovertible, set against the past.

June 12, 1965—MID-DECADE of the Seething ’60s finds Philippine society knocking itself hard. We glance at the state and say that, politically, we are a failed society. We study the prices and say that, economically, we are a bankrupt society. We peruse the crime figures and say that, spiritually, we are a violent society. We devour the latest scandals and say that, morally, we are a sick society.

Some may wonder how anybody so sick could knock himself so vigorously. Others may argue that the seeming vigor is the delirium of fever.

Are we in excelsis or in extremis? Neither. We are in transitu.

The 1960s will go down in our history as the decade during which we finally got off the ground and saw everything with fresh eyes. The transition has been from earthbound to airborne, and is a transcending of the peasant. This has nothing to do with politics or economics. In fact, the reason we have no clear picture of today is that we’re always being offered either a political picture—good or bad, according to which faction is the painter—or an economic picture, again either happy or gloomy, according to whose statistics we are citing. But a nation is not its politics or economics. A nation is its people. And a nation changes only when the people change.

We are all agreed that we have to change our basic viewpoints and attitudes if we are to become progressive and dynamic; at the same time we fear the dynamics of change, we dislike the risks and uncertainties that the modern industrial nations have accepted as a way of life. We cling to the static society, where today is just like yesterday and tomorrow will be just like today. And we are so fearful and so furious today because that society has exploded from under our feet; we are up in the air; and nothing will ever be fixed again: not prices, not morals, nor ideas, nor creeds.

That’s the revolution we’re undergoing at the moment.

Ours has hitherto been an earthbound peasant-oriented society. Our values were peasant values; our attitudes, peasant attitudes. It’s not merely sentimentality that impels us (the politicians especially) to glorify the peasant and profess an obsession over his lot; we think thus to preserve the peasant society which is a static society, because we long for security. But the revolution we are now engaged in is against peasantness: against routine meekness, resignation, fatalism and provincialism. To change, we have to kill the peasant in us, because it is the peasant mentality that has kept us earthbound, mean and poor through the ages. Of a great American writer, Willa Cather, who grew up among the now-vanished peasantry of the American Middle West, it’s said that her novels represent “the triumph of mind over Nebraska.” The 1960s may signify our triumph over peasantness, our liberation from the peasant mentality.

The liberation is evident in our changed attitudes to everything from money to morals. Our money notions today are especially illuminating.

The older generation still winces when buying what yesterday were regarded as “luxuries”—say a car or a TV set or stove and oven: it’s the peasant in us that winces. At the grocer’s, when told that a kilo of grapes costs four pesos, the peasant in us shudders and we repeat the peasant’s classic expression of horror: “Naku, kuwarta na ang kakanin mo diyan!” This is the money notion we inherited from the peasant society: the idea of money as something solid, fixed, sacrosanct, a thing in itself. But as modern physics began only when matter was viewed not as “inert” but as energy, so capitalism begins only when money ceases to be a feudal token for barterable goods and becomes an expression of energy. A peso in the hands of a peasant is only a hundred centavos; in the hands of a potential Rockefeller it’s a wealth-producing wand, the wand of a wizard. So the figures in a chessboard vary in value according to who is handling them, expressing, in the hands of a chess master, that master’s skill and quick wit and genius.

Philippine society has not yet reached the Rockefeller stage but has already shed its peasant-society inertness—which is why we are so outraged by the insensibility of our young to the “value” of money: “When I was your age, my baon to school was only two centavos; and how I clutched those two centavos, how carefully I spent them!” Now we give them a peso or two and they handle the money with none of the reverence we had for our two centavos. The difference goes beyond the difference in value between two pesos today and two centavos in the old days, because it’s a difference in cultural attitude. The emphasis has shifted from money as a value in itself to the values of comfort, of the good life.

This is amusingly illustrated by the problem of prices.

One mother groaning over high prices fell to reminiscing nostalgically on the days before the war, when eggs cost only so much, fresh milk could be had for a song, butter and canned goods were ridiculously cheap, the prices of meats were a joke, and apples, grapes and oranges didn’t cost a king’s ransom. Whereupon her children exclaimed that their mother must have enjoyed quite a table when she was young; with everything so cheap, she must have had eggs, fresh milk, butter and canned goods, lots of meat, and apples, grapes and oranges every day! That brought up the lady short. Thinking back again, and comparing her children’s table with her childhood table, she realized, with a shock, that what was ordinary fare for them had been “luxuries” for her, though she had been young in supposedly cheaper times. She had tasted apples only during Christmas; the poorest urchin on the streets of Manila today hardly regards an apple as an event. Yet she had not come from a poor family; they were reasonably well off but had lived as meanly—from today’s viewpoint—as though they were impoverished: a movie once a week; new clothes only on one’s birthday; new shoes only on Christmas. And though she now looked back on those days as a heaven of low prices, what she actually remembered were her parents groaning over the prices and the hard times. What she found herself having to admit was that her children ate better, dressed better and lived better than she had done as a child.

That lady’s second thoughts overtake all of us. We understood the value of money all right in the old days, but not the value of living as well as we could. The good life is not a matter of prices; it’s a state of mind. We lived meanly in the days when prices, as we realize now, were low; but the nation in general, in this year of grace and high prices, 1965, lives much, much better than it did then. Examples can be piled up.

If we dare to vaunt that first-run movie houses before the war cost only 45 centavos, if you went to the matinee, only 55 centavos if you went later, the inevitable question is: who went to first-run movie houses in those days? One went there, all dressed up, maybe two or three times a year, on special occasions like a birthday or an anniversary or a first date—and the going was really an “occasion” in itself, for only the foreign community and the rich went to the first-run movie houses. Today everybody goes to first-run movie houses, on any day of the year, and thinks nothing of it. There has been a breakdown here not only in money values but in class barriers.

The same can be said of Baguio, which used to be practically just an American resort before the war. Today the people you meet there in summer include the janitor in your office, the boy who delivers your morning paper, the fishwife you buy from in Quiapo, the waitresses in your downtown restaurant, and your former housegirls. How come the masses have taken over Baguio only now, when it costs so much more, and not back in the days when it was presumably cheaper to go there?

Thinking back to restaurant prices in Manila in prewar days, one can only wonder why we didn’t “eat out” oftener in those days. A couple of times a year—again on special occasions—we did go to the famed old Chinese restaurants with the kundol and the hot towels; but “eating out” became a Filipino custom only in these more expensive times. A restaurant like Max’s can cater to the hoi polloi and flourish, though the price of the chicken there has gone up to three pesos, the price of the steak to four pesos (served with a bowl of tossed salad). Would Max’s have been possible in prewar times? People then would have fainted if asked to pay three pesos—or whatever the equivalent price would have been—for a fried chicken; and the reason would not have been that they had chicken, for cheap, every day at home, or even every Sunday.

Comparing ourselves then with ourselves now, we see the change, we appreciate the difference, and all talk about having been better then, of having lived better in those days, becomes so much eyewash. We were clenched into ourselves then, cramped and timorous; we have opened out now—and the change shows in the houses we live in: bright open houses designed for living, through which the air blows.

The houses we developed during the Spanish period had nobility and grace, besides being efficient dwelling places, with their tall spacious rooms and generous windows; but from the 1900s through the 1930s there was a very obvious debasement of taste: our domestic architecture produced mostly monstrosities, of which the flimsy, dingy, stuffy accesorias that became prevalent in the 1920s were the most squalid. But even people with money didn’t know how to build for comfort. The lower middle class was then putting up those horrors called houses which seemed to be all sala—one vast sala edged with hot little cubicles of bedroom and a space of outer darkness: a drab kitchen, a dim bath, a dank toilet. As for the rich, they were confecting those wedding-cake mansions that may still be studied mirthfully in provincial capitals and along Manila’s Taft Avenue. The change in our character shows in the shift of emphasis from the showplace sala (which, in today’s houses, has all but melted into the dining room) to the more vital areas of bedroom, bath and kitchen. When we build now we build for our own convenience; we don’t stint on the space we really use (like bedroom and bath) just to have as much space as possible for a sala that will stagger visitors, which was the basic principle of prewar architecture.

Today’s Filipino house is more functional, more sensible, and bespeaks a more casual society. Even the rich have learned the elegance of understatement; even the poor have learned to discount façade. The need for face comes from a lack of self-confidence. We have become more willing to be taken for what we are. And this is the second big change wrought by the revolution of the 1960s: the Filipino had lost his timidity.

The Verve of Independence

That timidity is best illustrated by the way we used to dress. From the 1900s through the war, a sartorial cowardice possessed the Filipino as it was impressed on him that, because of his dark skin and hot climate, he shouldn’t dare to wear colors. We know that the Spanish-era Filipinos—the men as well as the women—dressed with more spirit, dared the flamboyant in hue, and to hell with the hot climate; but throughout the American era the Filipino meekly submitted to the white-drill uniform. There were a couple of revolts, very late in the era: the Hawaiian shirt, for instance, and the McCrory style; but by and large we hewed to the Puritan line and stuck to prim white.

Our timidity affected even our women (though the terno continued to be gorgeous) and inhibited them from colors supposed to be not proper for brown folk. As late as the 1930s, society girls in Manila were debating whether a Filipina could wear such colors as red, yellow and orange, and the hesitant opinion was that maybe she could, if she “moved” in the dress. Today’s Filipino girls would find the mere argument hilariously incredible: they dress with verve, in any color they please. And the Filipino male likewise now runs the gamut of the spectrum with the aplomb of a peacock. Our clothes are a declaration of independence—and the hell with the hot climate.

The importance of such social manifestations cannot be underrated because they express radical changes within the society. The fashions of an era may tell us more about that era than its politics. In this instance, the testimony of prewar male fashions controverts the usual political interpretation of the American era: that it liberated us in spirit from musty medievalism. What we actually read in the fashions is a long spell of inhibitedness—that notorious “inferiority complex” of the Filipino—expressed during the Empire Days in the puritanical americana cerrada, a white coat chastely buttoned up to the jaw (note that the Filipino associates this garb with America) and later on in the white-drill uniform, which bespoke national docility, submission, conformism and conservatism. The timidity expressed by these fashions was broken only in the present time. Black suits, multi-hued knitwear and the Beatle shirt testify to a spiritedness in the contemporary Filipino that makes his prewar paisanos look, in retrospect, like white mice.

This spiritedness spills over into manners—and here we are on more controversial ground. The complaint is that today’s Filipinos, especially the young ones, are toughs, rowdies, boors, drones and donkeys; and the front pages daily seem to offer proof of this. Yet harking back to the days when the young were “seen and not heard,” one feels, while admiring the manners, that the old policy of gagging and reining in the young was partly responsible for the Filipino’s timidity. What it produced was generation after generation of Filipinos who knew their place, who were prim, gentle, sheepish and rather sissified. Any mother of today will say that the difference between her young and herself young is that her children are not afraid of company, are not afraid to speak up, unlike in the days when the young were, yes, unworldly but only because they were kept from the world. It was not a wise policy, as we all learned when the war came. The disillusions we suffered might not have been so excruciating if we had been less naïve. But our children today are, as we ourselves say, tough: they know it’s a violent world.

Well, okay, the parents will argue, we don’t mind if our children are wild if only they were as good in school as we were. And the parents will fetch out that old chestnut about a college student today being only the equivalent of a seventh-grader in prewar times. How true is this? The prewar scholar was very bright indeed; at the drop of a report card he could spout the Gettysburg Address, tell you about Washington and the cherry tree, or quote from Longfellow and Tennyson. But it was all a rather bookish brightness, smelling of the schoolma’ams of New England and that little red schoolhouse. Even in those days, the older generation was uneasily aware that something was wrong: that the young, though seemingly so educated, had become ignorant and provincial in a fashion that they of the older generation had not been in their more barbarous day. They had been conscious of Europe, of Rome and Greece, on the one hand, and of the Revolution, of Rizal and Bonifacio and Aguinaldo, on the other hand; but the little parrot products of the public school system seemed to know only America, had no history but American history, had no literature but literature in English, had no knowledge but book knowledge. The bright minds were one-track minds.

Today, alas, the average student can’t spout the Gettysburg Address, has never heard of Washington and that cherry tree, and couldn’t quote any poet at all; but he can drive a car, ride a scooter, repair a radio, tinker with the TV, master a machine, tell you about satellites, learn any dance, pack a gun, and mix a birgincoke cocktail. If he’s not as bookish as his forebears it’s because education has moved from lessons in a classroom to practical experience of the world. Far from the prewar seventh grader being the equal of today’s collegian, it may be that, in actual range of knowledge, in sophistication, yesterday’s college student is not even the equal of a ten-year-old boy today, unless we equate knowledge with book knowledge. If the young seem such dullards to us, it’s because we expect them to spout the Gettysburg Address like we did; if they seem so wild, it’s because we still cling to the standards of a timid past. Yet we, too, are trying to disengage from that past—and the best proof of this is the rise of drinking in the Philippines.

This, again, is controversial ground; anybody who tries to justify today’s heavy drinking as part of a cultural process is bound to be pulverized; but the fact remains that the drinking Filipino is advancing into territory he timidly skirted before. Who of us drank in prewar days? The old men, with memories of a noble tradition distilled in their bottles of Domecq; and a few garrulous old crones, nursing asthma and a cup of ginebra. We had two beer factories, but the product was mostly consumed by the American soldiery, in saloons with swinging doors, foot railings at the bar, and brass spittoons. We natives never ventured in there; we played it genteel, with our limonada and sarsaparilla. Our not drinking was part of a timid culture—which is why a revolt against that timidity was bound to involve machismo drinking, to prove to the world and to ourselves that the Filipino is as capable of drink, too, as of anything else on earth. From the inhibited society in which so many doors were closed to us, we have moved into a society in which we demand our right to enter every door—and that includes the bar’s swinging doors. Today the Filipino knows his beer, his martini, his stateside, his cuatro cantos, his long-neck, his marka demonyo, and his birgincoke. The bar is still not an item in his society, but the beer hall is. And he has jumped onto the cocktail circuit, once sacred only to whites. For our drinking marks our emergence into the great world. We are no longer afraid of “company.”

Recall Philippine society in prewar days. The Filipinos kept to themselves. The Americans kept to themselves. The British and Europeans kept to themselves and to the Americans. The Chinese and Japanese kept away from themselves. And each social world was a closed world. When war loomed, some Manila ladies tried to bring Filipinos and Americans together socially but found the social gulf impassable. This now sounds absurd but it was fact then. And the irony is that today, when Americans and Filipinos are no longer “related,” they have come closer together, at the cocktail party. For the Filipino, cocktail glass in hand, has invaded the worlds formerly closed to him. This is a very minor example of the third big change that has come over the contemporary Filipino, a change that has become most evident during the 1960s: the Filipino has gained in mobility.

The Nerve of Freedom

This mobility is aside from the economic migrations—like the influx of Visayans into Manila or the trek to Cagayan and Mindanao—that have marked the postwar period, though these migrations too, or, rather, their stepped-up rate, reveal increased adventurousness in what used to be a very stationary folk. But need rather than nerve may explain the migrations, whereas what could be called a cultural mobility denotes a change in the nature of our society.

The average Manileño of prewar days, for instance, got no farther away from his city than Antipolo in May or a parent’s hometown for the fiesta. Foreigners raved over Baguio and Mayon and Zamboanga and Sulu; but Filipinos felt no itch to see their land for themselves. The lack of transportation, roads or money does not explain this lack of curiosity. One could grow up in Makati and never have attended the river festival in nearby Pateros; and Manila seemed, even for provincial Tagalogs, so faraway that a trip to the city was in the nature of an expedition.

Today, though it’s supposed to be hard times, the provincianos have made Manila a commuting point; the masses join the gentry in Baguio for the summer; and more and more of us are traveling to Mayon and Zamboanga and Sulu to see the marvels there with our own eyes. We now think nothing of motoring to Batangas just for a dip, or to the Hundred Islands just for a picnic, or up to the Ilocos coast just for an overnight rest. On weekends last summer, on the highways, as the crowded palm-bedecked buses and family cars sped out past in endless file on their way to excursion spots, one had the feeling of watching a nation on the move. It’s quite an exhilarating feeling for one who remembers this as a most stay-at-home nation.

The mobility comes from greater curiosity, which in turn springs from an aroused interest in our country and people and history. One reason we didn’t bother, in the old days, to go see a nearby festival like, say, the Pateros river ritual was that to do so would have been “backward” of us, indicating a most unhealthy interest in the past at a time when we were all so anxious to be very American and modern. One was better occupied memorizing the Gettysburg Address or reading Washington and the cherry tree than watching superstitious processions and wasteful fiestas. Only when this imported Puritanism gave out did we get around to discovering Pateros, which, now, we show off to diplomats and tourists. And now it’s the intellectuals who head pilgrimages to Capiz, to experience the ati-atihan, and to Marinduque, to enjoy the moriones. It’s no longer backward but, rather, highly fashionable to attend an interesting procession, and to hunt for old churches, and to collect saints’ images. The “past” we despised is now very “in.”

This reversal of old attitudes has naturally made us skeptical of all the other ideas we once thought permanent. The skepticism underlies our current resistance to involvement in Vietnam, a resistance that may be contrasted with our reaction to a similar calamity in the 1930s: the Spanish civil war. Then we were all militant republicans eager to get involved. Bishop Aglipay offered to organize an expeditionary force to fight in Spain for the Loyalists, and aid-to-Spain centers sprang up in Manila. The bell that tolled in Spain tolled for us; and Mr. Hemingway’s bridge was no farther away than our doorstep. Today we couldn’t care less if all the bridges in Vietnam were bombed. As Mr. Johnson says, “There’s no blood in a bridge.” And nobody quotes Donne or Hemingway about Vietnam. It’s not that we have become less fervent about democracy, only more cynical about war in general, especially wars of liberation and wars to end war. We have become cynical about bells that, we are assured, toll for all mankind but turn out to have been tolling only for us. Once bitten, twice shy. The others get postwar booms; we get bombs. So, though no man is an island, we’d rather cultivate our own garden.

Faith is the flesh of freedom but skepticism is the nerve; and as we stand in midyear, and in mid-decade, to ponder, on our new freedom day, the state of the nation, we may realize that we are so critical of ourselves because we have come so confident of ourselves. We can take anything, even self-detraction, so we throw the book at ourselves. It’s a healthy attitude. As the saying goes, it’s when you begin to think you’re safe that you’re in danger.

The prophets that cry havoc do us a service by impelling us into self-examination. Have we really become degenerate? Is the country really going to the dogs? Is our condition really disconsolate compared with happier times? Or, the handicaps notwithstanding—like rising prices, rising taxes, rising crime rates, rising impatience—are we not living better today than at any other time in our history? An honest look at prewar times, for instance, can only force us to admit that we didn’t even know how to live well then, when we could afford to, because we prized money not as a means but as a thing in itself.

But the main point about the 1960s is that we have been responding to the challenges of the decade with changes in our character. The changes have been detailed above: the shift from a respect for money to a respect for our own well-being; the shedding of the peasant’s timidity and of the puritan ethos; and the consequent increase in self-confidence, mobility, curiosity and cynicism.

If these changes have resulted in civic unrest, a fractious young and general turmoil, they have also resulted in the events which will go down in history: the change in our Independence Day, the nationalist revival, the Borneo claim and Maphilindo, the land reform act, the agitation against the bases and parity rights, the various rallies against the American embassy, the fight for an independent stand on Vietnam and other Asian questions, the salary-equity strikes against foreign firms, and all the other insurgencies of the last four years that are explicable only if we assume radical changes in our character.

From the steam and smoke of the turmoil emerges a profile of the Nation in this year of grace 1965 that’s clear-cut enough and far from depressing. At no other moment in our history, not even in the 1890s, was the profile of the Nation so definite, so precise, as during these Seething ’60s.

The rest of the decade may show us the full face, the discovered identity.

Freedom of the editor, by Teodoro M. Locsin, April 10, 1965

Freedom of the editor
April 10, 1965

By Teodoro M. Locsin

WHAT is this freedom of the editor that is the subject of this morning’s discourse?

It is the freedom to say the truth, of course. But what, to quote Pilate, is truth—although Truth stood whipped and battered before him?

It is freedom to spread, in the best over-developed tradition, lies about those who are less fortunate, whom one had exploited and must now degrade?

I have read little truth about my country in the so-called free press of the democracies. Friendly democracies. With such friends, who needs enemies?

What is this freedom we are so hot and bothered about?

Is it the freedom to prostitute the press?

The freedom to distort, malign, spiritually colonize?

Or is it not freedom from pride and prejudice?

Which is preferable—slavery or degeneracy? Fear or venality? What is freedom if it is merely freedom to be stupid and ignorant—or to betray?

Those who would write truthfully about other people—let them think of Lawrence of Arabia who put himself in the place of an alien race and paid the price. He wound up no longer feeling like an Englishman but knowing he was not an Arab, and madness, he said, was never far off. But how else may one write about an alien people?

A foreign correspondent, if he is not to be merely a foreign agent, sent abroad to tell lies about other people, so his people may be entertained or remain in blissful ignorance, must turn spiritual traitor, turn alien. If he is not prepared to do this, he can do truth a service by staying home.

What is freedom—of the editor or of anyone?

It is freedom to be intelligent and informed. Freedom to be ignorant is not freedom, for what is freedom? Is it not liberation? And what is ignorance but a prison?

One should be prepared to die for freedom—and how silly it would be to die for one’s ignorance!

Freedom is responsibility and the affluent as well as the slave hate it.

Freedom is a dirty word to those who do not believe in freedom but merely preach it. It is Luce talk, a loose expression, and can be made to mean anything. Freedom is slavery in George Orwell’s 1984. Freedom is freedom to be fired—in the usual democracy.

What is freedom? What is the freedom of an editor? It is freedom—

To study. (And having to go over so much in order to turn out a respectable paper—a paper one can respect—makes study almost impossible.)

To think. (And how can one think in a hurry?)

To express oneself. Freedom not to say the opposite of what one thinks. Freedom to tell one’s publisher to go to hell. But if one did that, one would go jobless while the publisher would not go to hell; he would merely get himself another editor.

How many publishers want an editor who believes in freedom?

Freedom of an editor is not to have to say the opposite of what he thinks—but what if what he thinks is not worth a damn? Would it not be better for all concerned, including the readers, if he simply shut up or were made to shut up? The publisher would be doing the readers a favor.

Freedom of an editor is freedom—to resign if his publisher is not a proper publisher, and how many publishers are proper publishers? Let us be truthful. We know one another.

“The public be damned! What’s good for me is good for the country!”

Are these or are these not our sentiments?

But what if the editor himself is an improper editor, without any encouragement from his publisher?

Freedom is inseparable from character.

Let us think more about this freedom business.

Freedom is a condition created by the free play of intelligence. (The racist is free—to spew out his poison. Exterminate him? We must be patient. Not extermination—he may have the arms—but time and education may do the trick. Meanwhile, let freedom reign. Freedom as degradation. As devourer. The crocodile should be free—to eat you. All god’s chillun got wings, including the vampire bat.) What is freedom? It is freedom to love truth and go in search of it.

To love truth is to hate lies, or what one believes to be lies. But what are one’s beliefs worth? Hence, the need for humility.

Though we think we are right, we know we may be wrong.

Let us consider the serious practitioners of this thing called journalism. Not the press prostitutes and degenerates that give the profession such a bad name, assuming it can have a better one. . .Many papers are mere extortion sheets, demanding payment, monetary, political or otherwise, to be quiet. Let us consider the serious practice of journalism.

If one would practice journalism in a serious fashion, one must be free, but the freedom of a writer, the freedom of an editor is merely an extension of the freedom of the publisher. And the publisher is under constant pressure, the pressure of—

1. His financial interests, that is, his dependence on advertising, his other businesses.

2. His lack of education and information.

3. His natural stupidity.

4. His nationality—“My country, right or wrong, but my country!”

5. His sheer humanity. His childhood, his sex-life, his family, his—his humanity. To err is human. To publish is to err.

Let us cultivate silence. “But what will happen to democracy?” Freedom of the press is a necessary evil, okay?

What is the press? The press is a mass medium for the circulation of truth and error. All one can hope is that what is circulated is not mainly error.

Now, let us take up the subject of advertising. Advertising income depends on circulation. Why advertise in a paper nobody reads or is given away to promote the illusion of circulation? But what is circulation? It is based on what? One people’s stupidity, bias, hunger for triviality and sensation? What would be the circulation of a truly serious paper?

How many papers dare to be serious, to be free? To dare is to rely on the proposition that the relationship between advertiser and paper is strictly a business one, that what is important to an advertiser is not what you think, with which he may disagree, but how many copies with all kinds of opinion—and the proposition that your readers are, as the syllogism goes, rational animals. That reason would prevail—a risky proposition.

I have expressed myself badly. One starts to write something and something else comes out. This is what I am trying to say: No matter how serious one may be, how dedicated to journalistic ideals, if one does not have enough readers, therefore enough ads, one will go out of business. It is not enough to be serious, to be free—one must earn the right to be taken seriously. To establish intelligence and integrity takes time and unceasing effort of both mind and will. The exercise of freedom is fraught with consequences. Freedom must be earned. It must be based on a long record of dedication to reason.

And where is reason to be found if not in a “free market” of ideas? In unlimited discussion? That is why a publisher who would truly practice journalism must be prepared to stake all on this skeptical notion of truth, as the product of free thought and expression. And on belief in the natural dignity of man, which calls for freedom to express his convictions. His honest convictions. And how is dishonesty to be exposed except through constant contradiction?

Journalism may be viewed, but humbly, as a mission. It is literature in a hurry. The refuge of failed poets and novelists, or would-be reformers who have not yet learned hot to wipe their noses, of rejects of other profession. A man must be crazy to want to be a newspaperman. A serious newspaperman. A doctor save a life. What do you think you are saving?

But having committed oneself to journalism, there is the matter of self-respect. Of respect for the craft which one would practice. We must do our best or cease to be men. Prostitution is a feminine occupation or should be. A female prostitute is pitiful, a male one disgusting.

Journalism as a craft calls for skill, for scrupulousness, for integrity. One does not build a wall with too much sand and too little cement, a house with rotten timber. There must be a sense of involvement in one’s work, which is not possible if one thought of it as merely a living. There must be a capacity for generous anger, which must be distinguished from merely a lousy temper, at the same time, a reluctance to hurt for the sake of hurting, a painful sense of obligation to let one’s spear know no brother.

Journalistic integrity is difficult to claim, but its lack is even more difficult to expose. For one may wear a mask of disinterestedness not easy to penetrate. The real face of journalism is not always visible. The acts of darkness may consist of commission and omission. By silence one may respectable betray and go against the honor of the profession.

It is doubtless romantic to view journalism as engagement. This is peace, not war. Resistance against an enemy calls for engagement, total engagement. One recalls Filipino resistance under threat of torture and death. One must be prepared to give up everything for the cause, for what could be greater than the cause? Not to be afraid to die—that, one suddenly realized, suddenly experienced like a breath of fresh air in prison, when the doors opened, was freedom. Journalism as engagement? Yes, for journalism must be free if it is to be journalism, and freedom calls for total engagement in war and in peace.

One must believe in journalism as one must believe in any other human occupation to practice it properly. That is why we speak of “following” an occupation. Whatever it is, one follows or one goes against. Whatever the occupation, one should make the most of it, not contribute to its diminution or violation. It is just a living? It can be a meaningful one. What is life without meaning?

We are not as needed as doctors, subtle as lawyers, constructive as engineers and obstructive as officials, but we exist and have a proper function. The mite is a state of being as complete and purposeful—unless all of creation is absurd—as the star. We should be more than mere gossips, sensation-mongers, wheeler-dealers, running-dogs of imperialism, domestic and foreign. We should not be anybody’s organ—an expressive word—the instrument of anything. We have our own specific being, our particular existence. Let us be what we are or are supposed to be. If we cannot be more, let us not be less than journalists. Let us practice journalism.


TO repeat, the freedom of an editor is an extension of the freedom of the publisher, unless the two are one. An editor is only as free as his publisher will let him. How free an editor is, therefore, depends on what kind of a man the publisher is. Does the publisher believe in freedom of expression? If he does, there should be no problem.

How about the freedom of the writer, the reporter? He should have freedom, of course, but, in the end, he is accountable to the editor for his use of that freedom. IF he misuses it, if he reports as happening what never did, as true what turns out to be false, and if he does this too often, he leaves the editor no choice but to fire him. He is giving the paper a bad name. He is either too stupid to do his job properly or he has been bought.

What do I mean by press prostitutes? Those who promote special interests, whether those of others or their own—whether they are reporters or editors or publishers. To praise what should not be praised, to blame the blameless—for money or other unworthy consideration—is, to put it mildly, not to practice journalism. A paper is sold on the understanding that it is dedicated to the public good. If it is dedicated to some private good alone, it is being sold under false representations. It is a fraud. It’s like selling love—which cannot be sold. That’s what I mean by prostitution, journalistic or otherwise.

The writer is accountable to the editor, the editor to the publisher, the publisher to himself—if he is worthless, this is not a problem—and the readers. A worthless publisher can always be punished by the readers by refusing to buy his lousy paper. He will go out of business. Of course, if he has other sources of income, if he is very rich and uses the paper to promote his non-journalistic interests, as a club—he can always use his paper’s losses as an income tax deduction. He can lose and lose, and still come out winner. But not as a journalist.

A publisher who is conscious of his accountability to the readers, depending on their faith, on his paper’s credibility as a true paper and not a club, a private organ—such a publisher must believe in, has no choice but to practice, open-mindedness. The paper must present both sides of a controversy, present all views. It must be fair. The readers must never be given reason to think that they are being led by the nose, that they are being taken advantage of, that they are being fooled. The journalistic dice must not be loaded. The roll must be honest. The house does not always win but should also lose. If journalism is a game, it should be a game; it should not be rigged.

Is there no limitation to freedom of the press? How about dangerous ideas? All one can say is, if they are wrong, they can’t be really dangerous, for they can be both published and exposed. The question is: Are we right? If we are right, we can always prove the other wrong in free debate. We may be wrong, of course—then, we would be in trouble.

A paper needs advertising, of course, unless it is subsidized, but to be slavish toward advertisers is to stop being a paper, being believed in, being read—and to lose the paper. And the advertisers. What is the use of advertising in a paper few or nobody reads? One must be prepared to lose an advertiser in order to keep one’s paper, to keep the rest of one’s advertiser. And a certain restraint is always helpful. One should not advertise everything. Anything. A certain lack of greed is support for one’s independence.

Should a paper present, in the national interest, only the shining aspects of the nation? Why concentrate on the ugly as the Philippine press seems to be doing? What sort of an image does the Philippines have abroad? Personally, I do not care how we look abroad; what is important is how we look to ourselves. Let us publish what’s wrong with us—perhaps, enough indignation may be aroused to right it. Expose the evils—to stop them. What do they thing? We know what’s wrong with them. Never mind what they think. We must make democracy work here—or lose it. That’s what is vital. The freedom of an editor rests, ultimately, on the success of freedom.