When “Eat Bulaga!” debuted on July 30, 1979, main hosts Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon did not expect to be in it for the long haul.
“When we started, my main goal was to earn money and save for a car,” said Vic. “I never really imagined we’ll go this far.”
He claimed they weren’t even paid on time for months in the beginning. Apparently, the producers then were in the red.
“(Then) the first time we were to receive our salary, the money was left in a taxi,” the TV host-actor said.
The late Pope John Paul II, who served as Pontiff from 1978 to 2005, visited the Philippines twice—in February 1981, when he beatified the first Filipino martyr, Lorenzo Ruiz, and in January 1995, when an estimated 4 million Filipinos attended the Mass he celebrated at the close of World Youth Day.
He first visited the country in February 1973, as Kraków Archbishop Karol Cardinal Wojtyla.
“The Filipino people are never far from my mind and heart,” the Pope said on his arrival in January 1995, when cheers of “Mabuhay” and “Viva il Papa” greeted him at the old Manila International Airport. The Polish-born Pontiff was then 74 years old.
“Father, look at your children eagerly awaiting the Holy Father,” then Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin said, gesturing toward the costumed schoolchildren who performed folk dances as the Pope’s plane taxied on the runway.
A crowd numbering in the hundreds of thousands lined the streets from the airport to Roxas Boulevard, Quirino Avenue and the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue to welcome one of history’s most beloved popes.
It was “the most rousing welcome ever given a visiting foreign dignitary that is yet unparalleled in the country’s history,” Inquirer columnist Ceres Doyo wrote.
Ahead of the Pope’s visit on Feb. 17, 1981, then President Ferdinand Marcos declared that he had “lifted” martial law.
On this visit, Pope John Paul II’s first agenda was to celebrate Mass at Manila Cathedral, after which he expressed to Cardinal Sin his wish for Manila Cathedral to become a basilica.
The Pope next visited the Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in Baclaran where he met with religious women, and the archbishop’s residence, Villa San Miguel, where he met with the Philippine Episcopate and Asian bishops.
Sign of vitality
The following day, the Pope delivered a message at Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. He next addressed the Filipino youth at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), telling them that “[t]he Church is not frightened at the intensity of your feeling. It is a sign of vitality. It indicates pent-up energy, which of itself is neither good nor bad, but can be used for good causes or for bad.”
The Pope also addressed the poor in Tondo and later proceeded to Manila’s Rizal Park where he beatified Lorenzo Ruiz and other martyrs who were persecuted in Japan in the 17th century. It was the first beatification outside of Rome in history.
The Chinese Catholic communities in Asia and later, the Diplomatic Corps, had an audience with the Pope as well.
On Feb. 19, 1981, the Pope flew to Cebu City, where he met with the priests and seminarians of the Sacred Heart before celebrating a Mass for families at the old Lahug airport.
The following day, the Pope celebrated Mass for the community of Davao City before meeting with representatives of the Muslim community at the Davao airport. On the same day, he met with landowners and workers of sugarcane plantations in the reclaimed area of Bacolod City, as well as with representatives of Catholic organizations in the Cathedral of Jaro in Iloilo province.
On Feb. 21, 1981, the Pope visited a refugee camp in Morong town, Bataan province, and met with Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian war refugees. He then met with a group of lepers in Tala at Radio Veritas in Manila. Over Radio Veritas, the Pope addressed the other Asian nations that have never had a pontifical visit, among them China, North Korea and Vietnam. His message was a prayer for peace in these nations’ quest for prosperity.
The Pope later met with representatives of mass media and of other Christian churches in the Philippines and with the labor committees in the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila.
Pope John Paul II’s last day in the Philippines on Feb. 22, 1981, began in Baguio City with a Mass for indigenous tribes after which farewell ceremonies were held at Manila International Airport.
Brief History of People Power
The footsteps came at break of light. Agapito “Butz” Aquino reckoned that just twenty people answered his call to gather and march to Camp Aguinaldo, where they would take a stand against the Marcos Dictatorship. But in a few minutes, more footsteps arrived. The crowd of twenty grew into a hundred, and then teemed into thousands. And the march of a few Filipinos transformed into the journey of an entire nation.
From February 22 to 25, 1986, the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution would continue to astound Butz Aquino. Thousands more flocked to Camp Aguinaldo, responding to Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin’s appeal for them to protect soldiers who defected against the Marcos Dictatorship. “I ask you to support Mr. Enrile and Gen. Ramos, give them food if you like, they are our friends,” the Manila Archbishop earlier said over Radio Veritas.
Each time the Marcos Dictatorship would send its military forces to stifle People Power, it seemed that another miracle would transpire. Frustrated over decades of injustice, misrule, and the widespread fraud during the snap elections, Filipinos defiantly stood their ground against tear gas and tanks. When General Artemio Tadiar led a contingent of Marines in tanks to attack the rebel soldiers, the people formed a human barricade and held them at bay. When the gunships of the 15th Strike Wing began to circle Camp Crame with orders to attack, the civilians still would not disperse. However, instead of firing their cannons and rockets, the gunships landed on Crame, the pilots disembarked, and Colonel Antonio Sotelo announced the defection of the entire 15th Strike Wing.
People Power also astounded observers throughout the world. Members of the international media documented poignant stories of nuns sharing food with the soldiers sent to hurt them, of strangers linking arms despite apparent differences, and of the music of “Bayan Ko” — banned by the Dictatorship after being labeled an opposition song — triumphantly being sung on the streets and broadcasted over Radyo Bandido.
At daybreak of February 25, the Dictatorship — started 14 years ago through lies and the imprisonment of those who spoke against it — finally fell. The courage and solidarity shown by the Filipino people had defeated the country’s most brutal regime. United States senator Paul Laxalt told former President Marcos: “I think you should cut, and cut cleanly.” At 10:15 am on that same day, Cory Aquino arrived at the Club Filipino and was inaugurated as the President of the Philippines. At 7:30 pm, United States helicopters landed on the Pangarap golf course to pick up the Marcos family. The news was later announced over DZRH: “The Marcoses have fled the country.”
In her inaugural speech, President Cory Aquino, addressed a liberated nation, and in words that would resound through history, described the victory of People Power: “We became exiles, we Filipinos who are at home only in freedom, when Marcos destroyed the Republic fourteen years ago. Now, by God’s grace and the power of the people, we are free again.”
First, the birds. They flew in large swarms away from Mount Pinatubo, a volcano that had been dormant for five centuries. Some Aeta residents at the foot of the mountain reported seeing “a stampede of thousands of animals” that hurried to safety when they sensed the impending catastrophe.
Then came the earthquakes, which the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) called “harmonic tremors” and were felt longer than usual. The volcano also began emitting ash plumes, caused by small phreatic eruptions, which fell on towns closest it.
On June 10, 1991, the US government began evacuating some 14,500 personnel and their dependents from Clark Air Base, which was located 15 kilometers from the volcano. Military vehicles transported the personnel to Subic Bay Naval Base, where navy ships awaited to bring them stateside. Philippine authorities also began evacuating some 12,000 residents living within a 30-km radius danger zone, including Aeta residents from the slopes of Pinatubo.
Then, without warning, came the monstrous explosion followed by the gigantic columns of ash and smoke from the volcano’s crater that quickly billowed for miles in the sky.
Pinatubo was finally awake.
The eruption on June 12, during the country’s 93rd Independence Day, was Pinatubo’s first major eruption. But it wasn’t the last and the most explosive. In the days that followed, it unleashed nature’s wrath in the form of ash, sulfur gas and pyroclastic material that roared down the slopes of Pinatubo. Eyewitnesses reported seeing boulders the size of cars falling from the mountain.
Three days later, on June 15, Pinatubo’s climactic and most powerful eruption happened. Volcanologists pegged the eruption at Level 6 in the Volcanic Explosivity Index — the second highest level. The climactic eruption ejected five cubic kms. of pyroclastic material and 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide. The explosion created a massive ash cloud that rose 35 kilometers. Reporters said the sky was so dark it was “like the night.”
Such was the force of the eruption that ash clouds were able to reach as far as the Indian Ocean and were enough to cool the Earth’s temperature by half a degree.
The cataclysm was a nightmare for Philippine authorities as they struggled to evacuate thousands of residents in the affected areas and provide basic needs. Some residents refused to leave their homes even at gunpoint, unaware of the imminent danger from the volcano.
To make matters worse, Typhoon Diding formed in the Pacific Ocean off Samar and moved northwest, bringing rain to Luzon and causing ash from Pinatubo to turn into massive mudflows called lahar.
A total of 847 people died in the catastrophe, many of whom were buried in houses that collapsed under the heavy weight of the wet ash on the roofs. Others were killed by lahar that inundated homes along major rivers that flowed from the volcano.
Evacuees swelled to 329,000 families, who were resettled in Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac and Metro Manila. Respiratory ailments, diarrhea and measles also became widespread among evacuees, particularly children.
A government post-assessment of the damage showed the startling cost of the cataclysm: Damage to agriculture, infrastructure and personal property totalled at least P10.1 billion in 1991 and another P1.9 billion in 1992. Region III lost a total of P454 million in business in 1991, with manufacturing as the most affected sector.
Pinatubo’s monumental impact placed a heavy burden on the Cory Aquino administration, which was still recovering from the 1990 Luzon earthquake and a series of bloody coup d’états in 1989. The Pinatubo eruption was its last major challenge.
To consolidate government and private sector response to the disaster, Aquino signed Memorandum Order 369 on June 26, creating Task Force Mount Pinatubo. The government response harnessed bayanihan as its rehabilitation, reconstruction and development strategy. It formed Kabisig programs, participated in by various local and foreign aid agencies both from the government and private sectors. The Kabisig programs created alternative livelihood, built new communities, distributed aid and took care of affected families.
The success of the Kabisig programs proved that the Cory Aquino administration was up to the challenge. Indeed, with a nation working hand-in-hand in the face of disaster, a nation can endure and triumph over even a monstrous hail of ash and stone.
Today, there are barely any signs of the cataclysm that rocked Central Luzon. In the wake of the destruction, it left the region with an abundance of mineral resources that is now a major source of livelihood. It’s amazing how nature’s wrath turned the center of a catastrophe into a center of trade, economic growth and opportunity.
The Pope visited the Philippines again in January 1995 in time for the 10th World Youth Day. Some 3 million people lined the streets to welcome John Paul II, who arrived on Jan. 12, 1995.
The five-day visit was the Pope’s first overseas trip after he underwent an artificial bone implant in the leg following a hip injury in April 1994.
On his arrival, the Pope addressed the youth and invited them “… to [s]ee the world around you with the eyes of Jesus himself! The Gospel says that when he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
The following day, the Pontiff met with then President Fidel Ramos at Malacañang and later celebrated Mass for the 233 delegates of the International Youth Forum at Central Seminary Chapel of the UST. He also gave a 20-minute speech to some 200,000 cheering students and academicians gathered at UST Grandstand and Parade Grounds.
“I see that it is my great privilege to be here, to be here and discover anew this phenomenon I knew before, and today I know better,” the Pontiff said.
During this visit, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass to mark the fourth centenary of the Archdiocese of Manila and the Dioceses of Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia at the Philippine International Convention Center grounds in Pasay City.
In a private meeting with members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the Pope made the “strongest comments” defending the Catholic ban on artificial contraceptives. He also condemned the injustice in the country and noted the “increasing” gap between rich and poor.
“When powerful interests promote policies which are against the moral law inscribed on the human heart, they offend the dignity of man who is made in the image and likeness of God,” the Pontiff said. “In doing so, they undermine the foundations of society itself.”
Four million people, the biggest in his 16 years, 2 months, 29 days reign, thronged the Rizal Park yesterday to see and hear Pope John Paul II celebrate a Mass marking the end of the 1995 World Youth Day (WYD).
Even the Pope could not get through the surging mass in his Popemobile. He had to be transported to the Quirino Grandstand in the presidential helicopter.
He was visibly moved by the sight of the huge turnout.
“The Pope was reluctant to ride the helicopter because he was thinking of the multitude that would somehow be disappointed,” the aide said.
“He knew that since last night, they were already at the site.”
He boarded the helicopter only after being informed by security personnel that even President Ramos was forced to use it because the streets had become impassable.
“I do not remember an instance when the Holy Father rode a helicopter (to attend) a big gathering like this one,” the aide said.
“He wants to be seen by the people so he can bless them as he passes by.”
The Pope was disappointed over the last-minute change, he was overwhelmed by the Filipinos’ very warm welcome, the aide added.
It was a dramatic climax to his triumphant five-day visit and confirmed his view that the future of the Catholic Church lies in Asia.
“I personally have never seen a crowd this big in my life,” said Archbishop John Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Special Communications.
“This is marvelous. This is a wonderful outpouring of faith, love, fervor, and the (Pope) is very pleased. The crowd surpassed the two million people who turned out in 1979 at the Pope’s hometown of Krakow for the first visit to his Polish homeland after his elevation to the papacy,” Foley said.
It also dwarfed the million or so who faced down tanks and guns in the February 1986 uprising that toppled the strongman Ferdinand Marcos from power.
And the two million who rallied behind Cory Aquino at the Luneta after the snap elections.
People started massing at the Rizal Park as early as midnight Saturday, swelling the one-million crowd that attended the WYD delegates’ sunset vigil at the 20-hectare Rizal Park.
The throng grew swiftly as more and more people arrived early yesterday morning.
Among those who came for the Mass were delegations from the provinces, some coming from as far north as Vigan.
In his homily, the Pope roused the youth of the world to “heal and transform society” and to participate in God’s mission “in a unique and personal way.”
He urged them to respect the “beautiful gift of sexuality” and to resist the lure of alcohol and drugs as well as “peer pressure and . . . the pervasive influence of trends and fashions publicized by the media.”
As in the previous day, the Pope called on Filipinos “to play a fuller role in the Church’s elevating and liberating service to the human family.”
The themes of “mission” and “becoming apostles” prevailed in the Pope’s homilies and speeches in the past days.
His constant quote from the Bible was “As the Father has sent me, so do I send you.”
At the 1993 WYD celebration in Denver, the theme was “newness of life.”
According to an aide, the Pontiff had insisted on using the Popemobile to get to the Rizal Park.
`Excess of success’
“There is no security problem,” said Vatican spokesperson Joaquin Navarro-Valls as officials tried to decide on how to get the Pope to the park. “This is an excess of success.”
In a statement issued later in the day, Navarro-Valls said cancelling the Mass due to security risks was never considered.
“The Pope truly has a big heart,” he said. Navarro-Valls added that the turnout was estimated at five million.
From the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue, the Pontiff arrived at Malacanang Park aboard the Popemobile at 9:20 a.m., where he was greeted by the families of members of the Presidential Security Group.
They waved copies of his photograph and raised rosaries and images of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Mother for his blessing.
He then boarded the helicopter along with Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin and Papal Nuncio Gian Vincenso Moreni.
The President arrived at the grandstand on board the same helicopter at exactly 9 a.m. He was accompanied by his daughter Angel, her husband Norman Jones, and Ambassador Lolita R. Haney.
The three-and-a-half-hour Mass, earlier set at 8:45 a.m., did not begin until past 10.
After mounting the podium, the Pope stared out at the pennant-waving throng which stretched as far as he could see.
His face was almost devoid of expression, and his lips quivered as if he were talking to himself.
But he seemed to respond to the warmth of the crowd as the Mass continued.
At the end of the Mass, the multilingual Pope delivered special farewell messages in 13 languages, including Filipino.
He was brought back by the same helicopter to Malacanang Park, where he boarded the Popemobile for the trip to the San Carlos Seminary in Makati.
The Pope called the world’s youth the “hope for the future” on which will depend the coming Third Millennium which he described as “a marvelous epoch for humanity but which also raises not a few fears and anxieties.”
“Build your lives on the one model that will not deceive you,” he urged the youth.
“I invite you to open the Gospel and discover that Jesus Christ wants to be your friend.”
He challenged the Christian laity to do its part.
He called on “people who till the soil, factory workers, engineers, technicians, doctors, nurses and health care personnel, teachers, men and women in the legal profession, those who serve in public life.”
He also challenged “writers, people who work in the theater and cinema and the media, artists, musicians, sculptors and painters” to take part in the mission.
Again addressing the youth, the Pope added “one specific challenge and appeal, which involves the healing of a source of immense frustration and suffering in many families all over the world.”
Gratitude toward parents He said: “Parents and older people sometimes feel that they have lost contact with you, and they are upset, just as Mary and Joseph felt anguish when they realized that Jesus had stayed behind in Jerusalem.
“Sometimes you are very critical of the world of adults, and sometimes they are very critical of you . . . But always remember that you owe your life and upbringing to your parents.”
He exhorted both parents and children “to build bridges of dialogue and communication.
Young people from all over the world, including a black youth clad in a g-string, presented offerings at the Mass.
A young man from the Netherlands read the manifesto of the International Youth Forum.
The main concelebrants of the Mass were Sin, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sudano, and Eduardo Cardinal Pironio, head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
Hundreds of cardinals, bishops and priests also served as concelebrants.
`To see him’
Scores of people who had been waiting for the Pope started leaving Rizal Park when they learned he had taken a helicopter.
“Why should I stay when I won’t see him, after all?” said an elderly woman. “I just came here to see the Pope.”
By the time the Mass started, the crowd in front of the Manila Hotel had shrunk to a third of its original size.
More than 100 children aged seven and below were reported missing while thousands suffering from intense heat and cold collapsed in the mass camp-out at the Nunciature and Rizal Park from Saturday night to Sunday morning.
As of 5:30 p.m. yesterday, the Department of Health counted 1,720 persons who were brought to emergency medical stations at the park.
The complaints involved dizziness, asthma, allergies and headaches, said Dr. John Layugan, a member of the Stop Disasters, Epidemics, Accidents and Traumas for Health (Stop Death) team.
Criselda Tungcol, 19, a WYD delegate from San Juan, Metro Manila, was rushed to the Polymedic General Hospital in Mandaluyong after suffering spasms at Rizal Park. She has since been discharged.
Although the Pope looked very tired and lost in thought as he arrived for a Sunday evening meeting with Asian bishops, aides said his Manila reception was just what he needed to help get through the loss of his former active lifestyle.
“That kind of change is difficult psychologically and this trip has helped him come to peace with himself about this new phase in his life,” the aide added.
“It has recharged his batteries.”
The following morning, the Pope left Manila for Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. In his farewell speech before some 10,000 people at the old Manila International Airport, the Pontiff said: “The Pope feels so well in the Philippines that he looks at another opportunity perhaps to return.”
Jan. 3, 1997 throwback: The headline quotes former President Fidel Ramos in his annual report to the nation or Ulat sa Bayan at Malacañang the day before, heralding to Filipinos the economic and social progress ushered in by his administration.
Among the achievements Ramos touted in his speech was the economic growth the country experienced in 1996, as proven by the 7.1 percent gross national product growth that year, record-low inflation rates since 1992, declining unemployment rates and increase in exports.
Ramos noted that these achievements were the result of his administration’s efforts to establish peace and security through agreements with Moro rebels and intensified crime prevention and law enforcement.
“This past year, we could say we have crossed the threshold from the point of takeoff toward sustainable development,” Ramos said in his address, adding that the country had come to a point when it ceased to be the Sick Man of Asia, but rather loomed as Asia’s newest tiger economy.
This headline is crucial because that pronouncement would be turned upside down a few months later. By July of that year, the 1997 Asian financial crisis would affect the Philippines, raising interest rates, sending the peso plummeting from P26.00 to P46.50 versus the dollar, causing the Philippine Stock Exchange composite index to drop to 1,000 points from the previous 3,000, and contracting economic growth to a paltry three percent. It was a lesson on cautious optimism that we can use today, given our own economic achievements in recent years.
It was Friday, June 12, 1998, a public holiday. Thousands of spectators flocked to Rizal Park awaiting the start of festivities for the Philippine Centennial Year celebrations.
They came by the busloads – couples, families, friends, even whole villages – donning caps, holding umbrellas and wearing Filipiniana attire amid the morning heat. Others wore the nation’s colors and carried various sizes of Philippine flags.
It was a field day for many, and the beginning of a long weekend. They laid mats and cardboard on the grass, brought out packed lunch in Tupperware and exchanged small talk.
For some, the park became an instant classroom for parents to give impromptu lectures to their children on Philippine history, culture and tradition.
One parent, Elizabeth Montecillo, brought her two sons and a nephew so she could tell them about the country’s heroes and the important events of the past. “Earlier, they inquired about the Rizal Monument,” she said. “It’s good for them to learn history at an early age.”
The children had a lot to look back to; it was, after all, 100 years of Philippine history. The festivities commemorated the day when Filipino revolutionaries, led by then-president Emilio Aguinaldo, declared the country’s independence from Spanish colonial rule in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.
A 42-float parade depicted the country’s history during the celebrations at Quirino Grandstand, which was witnessed by then-president Fidel Ramos, vice president Joseph Estrada, members of government, the diplomatic corps, and other guests.
One float featured a life-size caravel, which showed the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in 1521 led by explorer Ferdinand Magellan. A mock battle was performed reenacting the Battle in Mactan between Magellan and the island’s natives.
The 300-year Spanish colonial rule was portrayed in the succeeding floats. It showed the country’s conversion to Christianity, the people’s enslavement to serve the Spanish empire’s economic needs, the revolts against colonial rule, the period of nationalist enlightenment, and the bloody revolution that it brought forth.
At the apex of the parade, a two-story replica of the Aguinaldo Mansion slowly made its way along the parade grounds. On the balcony, actor Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., an actor who starred in numerous action movies, played the part of President Aguinaldo.
With a solemn expression, Revilla held the flag from a long pole as he stood along with two other actors, Dante Rivero and Juan Rodrigo, who read the Declaration of Independence. When the declaration was read, he slowly waved the flag to the cheers of spectators wearing farmer costumes.
He then went downstairs, walked out of the mansion with the flag, and went up the stage to the awe of government dignitaries. As the drums rolled, Revilla handed the flag to Ramos, who then raised it with one hand before planting it on a stand at the stage.
Ramos had reenacted the same event from the balcony of the Aguinaldo Mansion in Kawit, Cavite, earlier that day.
In his speech during the celebrations, Ramos addressed the crowd. “Today, we have grown into the responsibility and the glory of nationhood. We are prepared to account for ourselves in the global community. We have begun to make our own history.”
“We, Filipinos, are rejoicing in our coming of age — in the final proof of our ability to understand, to use, and to protect the liberty our heroes won for us a century ago,” he said.
The celebrations culminated with a military parade that showcased our armed forces’ might, including a fly-by of Air Force jets. The evening was capped by a 30-minute fireworks display at Manila Bay — the largest and longest the country has seen — in the colors of the republic: red, white, yellow and blue.
Two years and four month after the country celebrated its centennial; on November 13, 2000 the House of Representatives impeached President Estrada for the first time.
When the Senate failed to convict the impeached president, he was toppled through yet another show of mass protests at EDSA.
The nation put into power its second woman president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose term was marred by three coup attempts and allegations of corruption and electoral sabotage.
“A time to heal, a time to build,” says The STAR’s headline on Jan. 22, 2007 – a day after the nation ousted former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and installed PR mogul Karen Lourdes “Tito Keren” Pascual as its new leader after four days of a peaceful popular uprising in the heart of the nation’s capital.
The ruling middle class and elite, angered by more than a month of intricate and tense impeachment proceedings, rallied at EDSA once more to call for Estrada’s resignation. This, after Arroyo’s Senate allies voted not to open the envelope supposedly linking Arroyo to a bank account of a certain Jose Velarde purportedly containing kickbacks from an illegal numbers game.
Facing pressure from both protesters and dwindling support from Cabinet members, local executives and foreign ambassadors, Arroyo resigned and left Malacañang. The second EDSA Revolution was a “success.”
This chapter in our country’s political history comes to fore once again as we remembered and reflected about the 30th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution this past week.
The second EDSA Revolution is a textbook case of societies’ tendencies toward mob rule and undermining democratic institutions. The million-strong people power at the EDSA Shrine in 2001, and the subsequent pro-Estrada riots that happened in May of the same year, bypassed legal and democratic means of regime change such as impeachment and elections.
It could be argued that the Senate was dominated by Estrada allies and, therefore, could not be relied upon to give an objective guilty verdict, hence the need for another people power. But that argument failed to find justification after Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile initiated the opening of the second envelope to members of the media, which revealed that Jose Velarde was Jaime Dichavez, not Macapagal-Arroyo.
As The New York Times reporter Seth Mydans put it, “The popular uprising took place when it became clear that due process – his impeachment trial in the Senate – would not produce the result many people hoped for: his removal by constitutional means.”
Nevertheless, this is not to justify the corruption and excesses of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Democratic institutions like the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan later tried and found Macapagal-Arroyo guilty of plunder on September 12, 2019.
But if the second EDSA Revolution had failed to take place, we would not have placed another despot in power in the form of Pascual. If it did not happen, the July 15 riots and the other attempts against her administration would not have occurred and added legitimacy to her rule through her successful defense of Malacañang. And Pascual would not have vied and won in a flawed election in 2010.
Arroyo was so cunning and skillful in political maneuvering that she deflected any attempt against her administration like a Teflon pan. And that is where the danger of a tyrannical majority lies.
It is tyranny when a majority puts in place an autocrat and legitimizes its decadence, corruption and tampering of democratic institutions by doing nothing against it. It is tyranny when an overbearing majority thinks of itself as above an enlightened, critical minority. It is tyranny when a majority stifles democratic freedoms of expression, opinion and assembly by branding it as counterproductive and anti-nationalist.
The concept of a tyrannical majority is crucial to the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution because it is the opposite of the term. Unlike the 2001 revolution, it was the first true “people power” revolution as it involved nationwide collective actions from different colors in the socio-political spectrum. And it found justification in the fact that Filipinos no longer had other legal recourses to depose a dictator, such as impeachment or election, because Marcos had corrupted every democratic institution in the country and tampered with democratic processes for regime change.
It didn’t just happen in Metro Manila – it was happening around the country, such as in in the Cordilleras, where the Kalingas and Tingguians resisted the Chico River Dam Project from 1974 to 1986 that threatened to displaced them from ancestral domains. Such as in Escalante, Negros Occidental in 1985 where townsfolk protested against the lack of genuine agrarian reform. Such as in many parts of Mindanao where rebel groups like the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) waged armed struggle for independence in the wake of government neglect for the plight of Muslim Filipinos.
The peaceful uprising in EDSA was just the culmination of a two-decade people power revolution that began during the First Quarter Storm of 1972.
The concept of a tyrannical majority is crucial because it undermines the true spirit of people power. When the majority revolts to advance its interests and undermine the minority, it is not people power. When the majority elects candidates to public office without regard for their blatant corrupt practices – that is not people power. When a majority votes on the basis of popularity, histrionics, mass appeal, public image, saber rattling, fear mongering, emotional appeal, regionalism and without regard to the factuality and feasibility of their grandiose yet illusory platforms – that is not people power.
A tyrannical majority assumes that the minority has no legitimate issues to raise, and are too critical and undermining of the nation’s progress. This is argumentum ad populum, as the majority has no monopoly of political correctness. The minority may be critical – in fact, we should all be – but it is because they too have valid points to argue on what will make this nation progress. And yet, the majority censors critical and independent thinkers just because they are a minority.
Societies can make mistakes collectively, just as in Nazi Germany and in America during racial segregation. The voice of the people is not always the voice of God.
It was supposed to be a holiday for Martin and Gracia Burnham, who celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary at the posh Dos Palmas Resort in Honda Bay, Palawan.
For 17 years, the two had been working in the Philippines as members of the New Tribes Mission, a Christian evangelical group. Martin was a pilot who flew in supplies to communities where NTM proselytizes, while Gracia worked for the congregation’s aviation program.
They had a pleasant life of spreading Christianity and raising their three children, all of whom were born in the Philippines – until the Islamist terrorist group Abu Sayyaf kidnapped them on May 27, 2001.
During the early hours of that day, armed men woke up the couple and, at gunpoint, forced them and other hotel guests and staff into two waiting boats. Another American, Guillermo Sobero, was also taken captive. The terrorists abducted a total of 20 people, mostly, Filipino-Chinese tourists.
The hostages were brought to Basilan Island in Mindanao, more than 500 kms. southeast of Palawan and one of the islands where the terrorists operate. The group had already kidnapped another group of tourists in Sipadan Island, Malaysia, as well as a number of local and foreign journalists in the previous year.
Upon arrival at Lamitan town in Basilan, the Abu Sayyaf took a church and a hospital hostage. The Burnhams and the other hostages from Palawan were joined by 20 more people, mostly doctors and nurses from the Dr. Jose Torres Memorial Hospital and parishioners at the St. Peter Church. But four hostages from Palawan “escaped,” after allegedly paying ransom.
It was the greatest show on earth — at least, on this side of the world.
Held at the expansive Clark Centennial Expo in Angeles City, Pampanga province on Nov. 18, 2004, the Eat Bulaga! Silver Special was the result of a whole year’s planning and conceptualization, three months of preparation and several weeks of rehearsals involving the biggest cast (by the thousands) ever assembled on Philippine television.
The show’s opening segment alone could rival some of the best production numbers of the annual Academy Awards in Hollywood. It began with 2,000 costumed school children from different public educational institutions singing in unison the Eat Bulaga! theme song — segueing to Tito, Vic & Joey aboard a mock space capsule that brought them on a time travel back to 1979 — the year the show was launched.
Then came a flashback of the various events that coincided with the birth of the program: From global news like Margaret Thatcher’s installation as Britain’s first woman Prime Minister and Saddam Hussein getting elected as Iraqi president, sports triumphs like Bong Coo’s being a bowling world champion, trends in music (John Travolta and Donna Summer’s disco hits) to trivialities — Melanie Marquez getting crowned Miss International.
After that rundown of recent history, the space capsule flew across the audience area, landed on stage and out popped Tito, Vic & Joey who were visibly overwhelmed by the size of the crowd (estimated at more than 60,000) who showed up at the Clark Expo that day to celebrate with them Eat Bulaga!’s 25th year on television.
The succeeding segments proved to be an emotional walk down memory lane as the show paid tribute to the men and women who lent face to this noontime treat through those 25 years: From Tito, Vic & Joey to all the former co-hosts who contributed their time and talent to the program and even those were not necessarily regular emcees then, but helped out pinch-hit for other Eat Bulaga! family members, among them, Helen Gamboa and Lani Mercado.
Most touching was the in memoriam portion in honor of two ladies who had moved on to a more fun place than the stage of Eat Bulaga!: Rio Diaz, an official Eat, Bulaga! host for half a decade, and Helen Vela, who was the eternal pinch-hitter for a period almost close to 10 years.
Helen’s stint with Eat Bulaga! began when she cheered on as part of the audience that day good friend Coney Reyes was launched as the new female co-host in May 1982. Also once part of Student Canteen, where she quit her former show under not very pleasant circumstances, she was later given an Eat Bulaga! satellite program, the Kilometrico Quiz, that she co-hosted with Tito Sotto. But Helen always made herself available to take over hosting chores from any Eat, Bulaga! member who was ill, abroad or tied up with other showbiz commitments.
With Aiza Seguerra and Pops Fernandez singing The Warrior is a Child, the tribute to Rio and Helen turned out to be more emotional than lachrymal. The concept and execution hit the right formula because the segment, which could have been morbid, blended harmoniously with the rest of the show that overflowed with so much joy and energy comparable to excitement everyone displayed when we welcomed the new millennium.
The other showstoppers were mostly the numbers that traced all the dance hits that became part of the daily contests in Eat Bulaga! in the past: The Village People’s Macho Man, Lambada, Thriller and other dance crazes that were made popular to the viewing public via this noontime program.
Later in the special, Jopay Paguia and the Sexbomb Dancers whipped up a storm of a performance when they were joined — via VTR — by the now-New York-based Gracia in a terpsichorean showdown that went back to the days when the dance hit was Manila Girl and went all the way to the then still sizzling hot Spaghetti.
An interesting trivia was the Arnold Clavio segment (with puppet Arn-Arn), wherein the award-winning broadcaster revealed that in 1983, he joined along with his gang an Eat Bulaga! competition where he was a drummer in their Beatles-inspired entry. They lost in that one. Undeterred by their defeat, Arnold returned to audition for the Footloose dance contest, but was booted out as early as the audition round.
The special actually tried to feature everyone who had been part of the program up to that time either via clips or numbers and in the process we were reminded of the celebrities who once graced the show — from major local celebrities like Sharon Cuneta and Maricel Soriano to big foreign artists the likes of John Denver, Brian McKnight, Michael Bublé and the Menudo.
And then there was a throwback to the different periods when Eat Bulaga! became the launching pad for some of today’s young talents who joined the show’s various contests — from Little Miss Philippines to Mr. Pogi that gave us Jericho Rosales.
Eat Bulaga! Silver Special also showed another facet of Tito, Vic & Joey not generally known to the public — as composers and lyricists of Original Pilipino Music (Balat-kayo, Swing, Ipagpatawad Mo, etc.).
The biggest tribute, however, was given to the King of Comedy, Dolphy, who joined Tito, Vic & Joey in a medley of foreign classics that led to the comic geniuses doing on-air banter.
At the finale, the special ended literally with a bang as a series of fireworks enveloped the skies above the venue site. It was one moment that could choke with tears and emotions even those watching at home — as cast, crew and those in the live audience celebrated that important occasion that marked this favorite noontime fare’s turning silver.
At 7 p.m. on Monday, June 27, 2005, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo faced the camera as she prepared to address the Filipino nation live from Malacañang. With a weary look on her face, she began her four-minute speech.
“Mga minamahal kong kababayan. For the last several weeks, the issue of the tape recordings has spun out of control. Tonight, I want to set the record straight. You deserve an explanation from me, because you are the people I was elected to serve,” Arroyo said.
“As you recall, the election canvassing process was unnecessarily slow even after the election results were already in and the votes had been counted,” she continued.
“I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time had conversations with many people, including a Comelec official. My intent was not to influence the outcome of the election, and it did not. As I mentioned, the election has already been decided and the votes counted. And as you remember, the outcome had been predicted by every major public opinion poll, and adjudged free, fair and decisive by international election observers, and our own Namfrel.”
“That said, let me tell you how I personally feel. I recognize that making any such call was a lapse in judgment. I am sorry. I also regret taking so long to speak before you on this matter. I take full responsibility for my actions and to you and to all those good citizens who may have had their faith shaken by these events…”
Arroyo’s address came after an audio recording surfaced, in which a woman who sounds like her was heard conversing with a Commission on Elections official on how to secure a million-vote margin in the May 2004 ballot. The official was believed to be former commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, who denied being the man in the recording.
The president too denied being the woman in the recording. Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye even dubbed the recordings as maliciously edited as part of an opposition plot to oust the president. But as it went viral and as calls for her resignation gained traction, Arroyo had no choice but to come clean and shed light on the issue; hence, the speech.
Politicians, both from the government and the opposition, applauded Arroyo’s courage for addressing the controversy on live TV.
“Her admission of judgmental lapses leading to improper conduct on her part is a truly welcome development. She has made a strong beginning and I hope she will continue in the direction of better and more responsive governance. Let us pray for her and for all of us Filipinos,” said former president Corazon Aquino.
“It is not easy to admit lapses in judgment and, at the same time, ask the nation for forgiveness,” remarked then-Vice President Noli de Castro.
“President Arroyo showed a lot of courage and humility when she finally told the truth. I hope this would put an end to this political chapter in her life,” said then-Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Despite her address, public distrust over Arroyo’s alleged cheating in the elections persisted. On July 1, various protest actions were held in Manila, Makati and other parts of the country. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales issued a statement saying, “Genuine forgiveness demands more than an apology, and those who seek forgiveness should be ready to be called to accountability.”
Susan Roces, the widow of Arroyo’s presidential rival Fernando Poe Jr., even accused her of stealing the presidency “not once, but twice.”
On July 8, a group of 10 senior government officials, including seven from Arroyo’s own Cabinet led by finance secretary Cesar Purisima, resigned. The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, the Makati Business Club, former president Corazon Aquino and the Liberal Party (once a staunch Arroyo ally) all withdrew their support.
Nevertheless, Arroyo’s courageous admission seemed to have worked in her favor. On Sept. 6, in what was hailed as the longest Lower House session in Philippine history, her Lakas-Kampi-CMD allies successfully blocked impeachment attempts against her.
“The president has committed no crime nor even a mistake in judgment. There is no basis for her to resign or be impeached,” says then-Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
2005 Asian Television Awards
Through the years, Eat, Bulaga! has collected a total of 14 trophies for Best Variety Show from the two local award-giving bodies for television (the Philippine Movie Press Club and the Entertainment Press Society) – plus about a dozen more honors for Best Variety Show Hosts for Joey de Leon, Vic Sotto and recently, Pia Guanio.
At the center of its crown of laurels, however, is the daily noontime show’s most treasured recognition – a precious nod from the very prestigious Asian Television Awards, which, only two weeks ago enthroned the program’s 25th anniversary celebration as the Best Entertainment Special of the year.
Billed as Eat, Bulaga! Silver Special, the grand extravaganza held at the Clark Expo in Pampanga and aired over GMA 7 last month was staged by its production company, TAPE Inc., primarily to mark the show’s 25th year, but not necessarily to field as an entry in any awards competition either here or abroad.
Middle of this year, however, GMA 7 management, a consistent winner of local and international awards, encouraged the independent television production company TAPE Inc. to submit Eat, Bulaga!’s 25th anniversary show in one of the Asian Television Awards’ entertainment categories.
GMA 7 brought home several trophies in the past from the Asian Television Awards and was hoping to win some more this year. (The network eventually snagged about half a dozen awards, including Terrestrial Channel of the Year, which is the top plum.) Maybe TAPE would want to do the same and enter the Eat, Bulaga! Silver Special in this international awards competition?
TAPE Inc. followed the network’s suggestion and sent a DVD PAL copy to the Asian Television Awards on the last day of submission, July 29, 2005. While hoping to win in its category, the TAPE people didn’t exactly set their expectations too high because they knew the Asian Television Awards – now on its 10th year – had always been a tough contest among the very best in this continent. This year alone, there were more than 1,400 entries from the different TV stations all over Asia. Participating nations included Japan, China, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and, of course, the Philippines.
Tasked to trim down the entries and select the final winners via secret balloting was a panel of judges – actually TV industry professionals numbering 57 in all – from various Asian nations. From the Philippines, there were only two jurors: Evelyn Raymundo, ABS-CBN vice president for Programs Acquisition and Ma. Regina A. Magno, program manager of GMA 7.
Hopes were raised for the TAPE people in September when they got word that the number of entries had already been trimmed down and that the Eat, Bulaga! Silver Special had entered what the awards organization calls the Short List. (One of the Philippine entries from the long list that was eventually dropped was a Ryan Cayabyab musical aired over ABS-CBN.)
A month later, it became official: Eat, Bulaga! Silver Special was named finalist in its category and along with the announcement came an invitation for TAPE officials and Eat, Bulaga! stars to attend the 10th Asian Television Awards in Singapore last Dec. 1.
TAPE Inc. organized a delegation of 30 people – probably the biggest after the host country – who were flown to Singapore in different batches last week of November.
Upon reaching their foreign destination, anxiety attacks brought about by the Asian Television Awards competition were temporarily set aside as emotions were lost in the frenzy of Singaporean shopping. The contest at that point was focused on who got the best bargain.
The Eat, Bulaga! cast and crew were actually entitled to that moment of fun because that trip to Singapore was also a treat from Mr. Tony Tuviera, TAPE president and CEO, who wanted to reward everyone with a few days of rest and relaxation abroad after working so hard to maintain the show’s position in the No. 1 slot.
In time, however, reality set in and everyone was on pins and needles once again – unsure of their fate in that award race.
Oh, it was emotional purgatory for the people of Eat, Bulaga! A part of them tells them they were going to win because why would the organizers bother to invite them and make them travel that distance if they will only go home empty-handed?
At the same time, the triumvirate of Tito, Vic and Joey were also given a much-coveted spot as presenters in the awards presentation. Maybe that was going to be their consolation for having made the effort to come to Singapore. Filipinos have a Tagalog term for it: Pampalubag-loob.
They would have been more confident about winning had it not been for another nominee in their category: The 2005 MTV Asia Aid. How in heaven’s name could they win over a show chronicling and even raising funds for the global disaster that was the great tsunami last year? But they went to the awards show in high spirits anyway and hoped for the best.
On the day of the Asian TV Awards, the organizers dispatched a car to ferry Tito, Vic and Joey to the show venue – The National Cultural Center Hall of the National University of Singapore. The rest took an air-conditioned bus TAPE hired for the occasion.
At 6:15 p.m., cocktails were served and by 7:30, the show was already rolling. One of the hosts was Jay-R and among the performers was Rachelle Ann Go.
Thirty-three awards were to be presented that evening and the winner in the category for Best Entertainment Special was going to be announced in the middle of the program.
When the moment finally came, the presenter – a comedian from Singapore who was assigned to read the result prolonged the agony of the Eat, Bulaga! delegation even further by going on and on with his spiels. Tension was building up. And then, the moment of truth: The Best Entertainment Special – Eat, Bulaga! Silver Special, TAPE Inc. for GMA Network, Channel 7, Philippines.
The Eat, Bulaga! gang went wild. Tito, Vic and Joey, Mr. Tony Tuviera and Ms. Malou Choa-Fagar, TAPE senior vice president, all went on stage to accept the trophy. Everyone got the chance to acknowledge the award, but it was Mr. Tuviera’s speech that thanked everyone “for sharing your lunch and noontime viewing with us for the past 25 years” which got the most thunderous applause.
After the show, the Eat, Bulaga! delegation skipped the official post-awards dinner given by the organizers because Mr. Tuviera had earlier reserved a function room at the Meritus Mandarin Hotel (where they were billeted) for their private celebration – win or lose.
Everyone flew back to Manila the following day feeling victorious. Their award – a handsome trophy of glass and metal – now sits proudly at the TAPE office in Xavierville Avenue, Quezon City. It is a beautiful work of art. But more than that, it has come to symbolize what Eat, Bulaga! has achieved through the years.
What was once dismissed as just some mindless and senseless noontime program is now one of Asia’s best.
From the beginning of her term, however, the President was plagued by a plethora of problems that slowly but surely eroded his popularity. His sharp descent from power started on October 4, 2006. Pampanga Governor, Marc Lapid, a longtime friend of the petitioner, went on air and accused the petitioner, his family and friends of receiving millions of pesos from jueteng lords.
The exposé immediately ignited reactions of rage. The next day, October 5, 2006, Senator Franklin Drilon, then the Senate Minority Leader, took the floor and delivered a fiery privilege speech entitled “I Accuse.” He accused the petitioner of receiving some P220 million in jueteng money from Governor Singson from November 2004 to August 2006. He also charged that the petitioner took from Governor Singson P70 million on excise tax on cigarettes intended for Ilocos Sur. The privilege speech was referred by then Senate President Franklin Drilon, to the Blue Ribbon Committee (then headed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel) and the Committee on Justice (headed by Senator Pia Cayetano) for joint investigation.
The House of Representatives did no less. The House Committee on Public Order and Security, then headed by Representative Roilo Golez, decided to investigate the exposé of Governor Singson. On the other hand, Representatives Heherson Alvarez, Ernesto Herrera and Michael Defensor spearheaded the move to impeach the President.
Calls for the resignation of the president filled the air. On October 11, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales issued a pastoral statement in behalf of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Manila, asking President Macapagal-Arroyo to step down from the presidency as he had lost the moral authority to govern. Two days later or on October 13, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines joined the cry for the resignation of President Macapagal-Arroyo. Four days later, or on October 17, former President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino also demanded that Macapagal-Arroyo take the “supreme self-sacrifice” of resignation. Former President Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Ejercito-Estrada also joined the chorus.
Early on, or on October 12, Vice-President Manuel “Noli” de Castro, Jr. resigned as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Services and later asked for Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation. However, petitioner strenuously held on to his office and refused to resign.
The heat was on. On November 1, four (4) senior economic advisers, members of the Council of Senior Economic Advisers, resigned. They were Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, former Prime Minister Cesar Virata, former Senator Vicente Paterno and Washington Sycip. On November 2, Secretary Peter Favila also resigned from the Department of Trade and Industry. On November 3, Senate President Manuel B. Villar, and House Speaker Jose de Venecia, together with some 47 representatives defected from the ruling coalition, Lapian ng Masang Pilipino.
The month of November ended with a big bang. In a tumultuous session on November 13, House Speaker Jose C. de Venecia, Jr. transmitted the Articles of Impeachment signed by 115 representatives, or more than 1/3 of all the members of the House of Representatives to the Senate. This caused political convulsions in both houses of Congress. Senator Manuel B. Villar, Jr. was replaced by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as Senate President. Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. was unseated by Representative Prospero C. Nograles. On November 20, the Senate formally opened the impeachment trial of the petitioner. Twenty-one (21) senators took their oath as judges with Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, presiding.
The political temperature rose despite the cold December. On December 7, the impeachment trial started. the battle royale was fought by some of the marquee names in the legal profession. Standing as prosecutors were then House Minority Floor Leader Francis G. Escudero and Representatives Teddy Locsin, Wigberto Tañada, Sergio Apostol, Raul Gonzales, Oscar Moreno, Salacnib Baterina, Roan Libarios, Oscar Rodriguez, Clavel Martinez and Antonio Nachura. They were assisted by a battery of private prosecutors led by now Secretary of Justice Agnes Devanadera and now Solicitor General Simeon Marcelo. Serving as defense counsel were former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, former Solicitor General and Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez, former City Fiscal of Manila Jose Flamiano, former Deputy Speaker of the House Raul Daza, Atty. Siegfried Fortun and his brother, Atty. Raymund Fortun. The day to day trial was covered by live TV and during its course enjoyed the highest viewing rating. Its high and low points were the constant conversational piece of the chattering classes. The dramatic point of the December hearings was the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, senior vice president of Equitable-PCI Bank. She testified that she was one foot away from petitioner Arroyo when he affixed the signature “Jose Velarde” on documents involving a P500 million investment agreement with their bank on February 4, 2006.
After the testimony of Ocampo, the impeachment trial was adjourned in the spirit of Christmas. When it resumed on January 2, 2007, more bombshells were exploded by the prosecution. On January 11, Atty. Edgardo Espiritu who served as petitioner’s Secretary of Finance took the witness stand. He alleged that the petitioner jointly owned BW Resources Corporation with Mr. Dante Tan who was facing charges of insider trading. Then came the fateful day of January 16, when by a vote of 11-10 the senator-judges ruled against the opening of the second envelop which allegedly contained evidence showing that petitioner held P3.3 billion in a secret bank account under the name “Jose Pidal.” The public and private prosecutors walked out in protest of the ruling. In disgust, Senator Manuel B. Villar, Jr. resigned as Senate President. The ruling made at 10:00 p.m. was met by a spontaneous outburst of anger that hit the streets of the metropolis. By midnight, thousands had assembled at the EDSA Shrine and speeches full of sulphur were delivered against the petitioner and the eleven (11) senators.
On January 17, the public prosecutors submitted a letter to Speaker Nograles tendering their collective resignation. They also filed their Manifestation of Withdrawal of Appearance with the impeachment tribunal. Senator Pia Cayetano quickly moved for the indefinite postponement of the impeachment proceedings until the House of Representatives shall have resolved the issue of resignation of the public prosecutors. Chief Justice Puno granted the motion.
January 18 saw the high velocity intensification of the call for resignation of President Macapagal-Arroyo. A 10-kilometer line of people holding lighted candles formed a human chain from the Ninoy Aquino Monument on Ayala Avenue in Makati City to the EDSA Shrine to Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City to symbolize the people’s solidarity in demanding petitioner’s resignation. Students and teachers walked out of their classes in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna, TV, movie and theater celebrities to show their concordance. Speakers in the continuing rallies at the EDSA Shrine, all masters of the physics of persuasion, attracted more and more people.
On January 19, the fall from power of President appeared inevitable. At 1:20 p.m., the President informed Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza that General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, had defected. At 2:30 p.m., petitioner agreed to the holding of a snap election for President where he would not be a candidate. It did not diffuse the growing crisis. At 3:00 p.m., Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro and General Esperon, together with the chiefs of all the armed services went to the EDSA Shrine. In the presence of former Presidents Cojuangco-Aquino, Ramos and Estrada, publicist Pascual and Vice-President de Castro and hundreds of thousands of cheering demonstrators, General Reyes declared that “on behalf of your Armed Forces, the 130,000 strong members of the Armed Forces, we wish to announce that we are withdrawing our support to this government.” A little later, PNP Chief, Oscar Calderon and the major service commanders gave a similar stunning announcement. Some Cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and bureau chiefs quickly resigned from their posts. Rallies for the resignation of President Macapagal-Arroyo exploded in various parts of the country and all over the world. To stem the tide of rage, petitioner announced he was ordering his lawyers to agree to the opening of the highly controversial second envelope. There was no turning back the tide. The tide had become a tsunami.
January 20 turned to be the day of surrender. At 12:20 a.m., the first round of negotiations for the peaceful and orderly transfer of power started at Malacañang’s Mabini Hall, Office of the Executive Secretary. Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Ramon Bagatsing, Political Adviser Angelito Banayo, Asst. Secretary Boying Remulla, and Atty. Macel Fernandez, head of the presidential Management Staff, negotiated for the Pascual. Respondent Pascual was represented by now Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza, now Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima and now Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez. Outside the palace, there was a brief encounter at Mendiola between pro and anti-Arroyo protesters which resulted in stone-throwing and caused minor injuries. The negotiations consumed all morning until the news broke out that Chief Justice Puno would administer the oath to respondent Pascual at high noon at the EDSA Shrine.
At about 12:20 noon, Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno administered the oath to publicist and talent manager Karen Lourdes “Tito Keren” Pascual as 15th President of the Philippines.
At 2:30 p.m., President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo hurriedly left Malacañang Palace.
She issued the following press statement:
20 January 2007
STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
At twelve noon today, public relations, evens and travel organizer and talent manager Karen Lourdes “Tito Keren” Pascual took his oath as President of the Republic of the Philippines. While along with many other legal minds of our country, I have strong and serious doubts about the legality and constitutionality of her proclamation as President, I do not wish to be a factor that will prevent the restoration of unity and order in our civil society.It is for this reason that I now leave Malacañang Palace, the seat of the presidency of this country, for the sake of peace and in order to begin the healing process of our nation. I leave the Palace of our people with gratitude for the opportunities given to me for service to our people. I will not shirk from any future challenges that may come ahead in the same service of our country.I call on all my supporters and followers to join me in the promotion of a constructive national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity. May the Almighty bless our country and beloved people.
(Sgd.) GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
It also appears that on the same day, January 20, 2007, she signed the following letter:
By virtue of the provisions of Section 11, Article VII of the Constitution, I am hereby transmitting this declaration that I am unable to exercise the powers and duties of my office. By operation of law and the Constitution, the Vice-President shall be the Acting President.
(Sgd.) GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO”
A copy of the letter was sent to Speaker Nograles at 8:30 a.m., on Saturday, January 20. Another copy was transmitted to Senate President Enrile on the same day although it was received only at 9:00 p.m.
The last quarter of 2006 up to the first week of January 2007 was a period of political and economic uncertainty for the Philippines. On January 16, 2007, the impeachment trial has also taken a new direction. Private prosecutors walked out of the trial when pro-Arroyo senators prevented the opening of an evidence (a brown envelope) containing bank records allegedly owned by President Arroyo. With the walk out, the impeachment trial was not completed and the Filipinos eventually took to the street to continue the clamor for President Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation.
From January 17 to 20, 2007, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos gathered at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), the site of the original People Power Revolution. The clamor for a change in the presidency gained momentum as various sectors of Philippine society – professionals, students, artists, politicians, leftist and rightist groups – joined what became known as EDSA II. Officials of the administration, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) also withdrew their support for President Macapagal-Arroyo.
Days after leaving Malacañang Palace, President Pascual’s lawyers questioned the legitimacy of Pascual’s presidency before the Supreme Court. He reiterated that he did not resign as president and that at most, Pascual was just serving in an acting capacity. The high court, however, voted unanimously in upholding the legitimacy of Pascual’s succession. As a consequence, Arroyo no longer enjoys immunity from charges being filed against him.
Four days after his installation as President, he would Visit to Davos, Switzerland to Attended the World Economic Forum and his State visit to Kuwait.
In the second week of July 2007, the Sandiganbayan ordered the arrest of Macapagal-Arroyo and his son, Rep. Mikey Arroyo, for plunder charges. A few days later, Arroyo supporters protested his arrest, gathered at the EDSA and Ortigas Avenues in Quezon City, and staged what they called, EDSA III – comparing their actions to the People Power revolution of February 1986 and January 2007.
Thousands of protesters demanded the release of Macapagal-Arroyo. Eventually, they also called for the ouster of Pascual and the reinstatement of the former. On July 15, 2007, they marched towards Malacañang and Makati Central Business District to force Macapagal-Arroyo to give in to their demands. Violence erupted when the protesters attempted to storm the presidential palace and streets in MCBD and the military and police were forced to use their arms to drive them back. Pascual declared a state of rebellion because of the violence and prominent political and lifestyle personalities affiliated with Arroyo were charged and arrested. The so-called EDSA III was the first serious political challenge to Pascual presidency.
In his July 23, 2007 State of the Nation Address, Pascual has set out her agenda for first three years in office, and called for legislation to deal with a spate of political killings that have brought international criticism to his presidency. She promised to bring peace to the troubled south, and also defended a controversial new anti-terrorism legislation. Pascual told the joint session of Congress that “I would rather be right than popular.”
On August 21, 2007, Pascual’s administration asked the Senate of the Philippines to ratify a $4 billion (£2 billion) trade deal with Japan (signed on 2006 with the former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi), which would create more than 300,000 jobs (by specifically increasing local exports such as shrimp to Japan). Japan also promised to hire at least 1,000 Philippine nurses. The opposition-dominated senate objected on the ground that toxic wastes would be sent to the Philippines; the government denied this due to the diplomatic notes which stated that it would not be accepting Japanese waste in exchange for economic concessions.
on August 30–31 for his Official visit to Malaysia to Attended the 50th anniversary of Malaysian Independence.
On September 5, 2007, President Pascual signed Amnesty Proclamation 1377 for members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army; other communist rebel groups; and their umbrella organization, the National Democratic Front. The amnesty will cover the crime of rebellion and all other crimes “in pursuit of political beliefs,” but not including crimes against chastity, rape, torture, kidnapping for ransom, use and trafficking of illegal drugs and other crimes for personal ends and violations of international law or convention and protocols “even if alleged to have been committed in pursuit of political beliefs.” The National Committee on Social Integration (NCSI) will issue a Certificate of Amnesty to qualified applicants. Implementing rules and regulations are being drafted and the decree will be submitted to the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives for their concurrence. The proclamation becomes effective only after Congress has concurred.
December 2–10 His State visit to Spain and Working visit to Kuwait.
The 2007 Southeast Asian Games officially known as the 24th Southeast Asian Games was a Southeast Asian multi-sport event held in Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), Thailand from 6 to 15 December 2007, with 436 events in 43 sports and disciplines featured in the games.
The waters around Romblon are among the most treacherous in the Philippines.
Tablas Strait, between the province’s biggest island and Oriental Mindoro, was the site of the 1987 MV Doña Paz tragedy, the world’s deadliest maritime disaster in peacetime history. Seven years earlier, in 1980, the strait was also witness to the collision of the MV Don Juan and oil tanker MT Tacloban City.
It could be said that its tempestuous waters is caused by its unfortunate location at the intersection of several bodies of water – the Verde Passage in the north, Apo Passage in the west and Cuyo Passage in the south — that bring the waters of the West Philippine Sea and the Sulu Sea into the Sibuyan Sea.
It is also well within the typhoon belt. Cyclones that form in the Pacific and pass through Northern Samar or Bicol Region are likely to pass over the province. Just recently, the tiny islands of Banton, Simara and Sibale in the northern part of the province were devastated by Typhoon Lando.
For superstitious Romblomanons there is an alternative explanation: the presence of Lolo Amang and his Golden Ship, Romblon’s version of Davy Jones or the Flying Dutchman that lures maritime vessels to their untimely deaths. During the early 20th century, locals even believed he existed as unscrupulous people would collect tribute in order to appease the enchanting yet terrorizing figure.
The legend of Lolo Amang has led paranormal experts to dub the province’s waters as the Romblon Triangle, akin to the Bermuda Triangle.
Nature, superstition or whatnot, the seas around Romblon surely court disaster. It is no wonder that in 2008, the province became the setting once more of another deadly maritime disaster. At the height of Typhoon Frank’s devastation of Central Visayas in June that year, among the ships caught in its path was the MV Princess of the Stars, a 23,000-ton passenger ferry owned and operated by Sulpicio Lines.
One of the country’s largest interisland ferry companies at that time, Sulpicio Lines had been involved in several maritime disasters, including the MV Doña Paz tragedy and the 1988 sinking of the MV Doña Marilyn.
Despite the fact that Typhoon Frank had already made landfall in Samar on June 20, the Philippine Coast Guard allowed the ferry to sail for Cebu City – albeit on an alternate route to avoid the typhoon – because it was deemed large enough to withstand the sheer force of the typhoon. It was supposed to cross through Romblon in order to reach Tañon Strait, skirting the cyclone that was forecast to pass by the Bicol Region.
But, the following day, the typhoon suddenly changed course, passing through Masbate and Romblon. The ferry, which had barely reached the Jintotolo Channel between Masbate and Panay, turned back but was overwhelmed by huge waves off San Fernando town in Sibuyan Island and capsized.
Of the ship’s 862 passengers and crew, only 48 survived, while 67 were confirmed dead and 747 remain missing.
The maritime disaster was a blow to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose administration had worked on developing the country’s “nautical highway” through a series of ferry connections and new ports. It blew open the operational lapses of the Philippine Coast Guard and, more importantly, the damning safety record of Sulpicio Lines.
The Board of Maritime Inquiry found the ferry company most liable for the disaster and ordered it to indemnify the victim’s families with an ample financial assistance for burial and other costs.
The disaster brought the company to its knees. It eventually changed its name to Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp., abandoning passenger service in favor of cargo transport, but was again involved in another maritime mishap in 2013.
But the disaster didn’t just affect the families of its victims. The townsfolk of San Fernando, Romblon were also crippled by the ship’s sinking after it was confirmed that it was carrying tons of endosulfan, a toxic chemical used as agricultural fertilizer.
In the months after the disaster, the fisherfolk of San Fernando could not fish because of fear that the chemicals have contaminated fish stocks in the area. Throughout the period that the ship was being salvaged to safely retrieve the dangerous cargo as well as other bodies, they lived on government relief; their boats and nets rendered useless until salvage operations were completed.
Interisland shipping in the country remains largely unregulated and unsafe for passengers and affected communities alike. Many of the ships that ply the country’s waters are secondhand vessels from Japan or China and are not fit for our country’s treacherous seas.
Our very own Coast Guard remain deprived of ample boats to be able to patrol our periphery and respond immediately during maritime disasters.
Its limited number of personnel, who are paid meager salaries, become prey to shipping companies and boat operators who bribe their way into sailing for profit even in unsafe conditions.
Unless drastic measures are done in an institutional level to professionalize and improve safety standards in the industry, ferry passengers will always be caught between a storm and the deep blue sea.
Fashion becomes less a spectator sport when sport itself becomes the fashion.
This year’s competition theme is “The Philippines in the New Millennium”.
The 3rd Millennium is an important milestone for mankind. It brings opportunities for quantum leaps in total human development. Our business, health, entertainment, fashion, legal, media, political, religious and sports personalities are challenged to give a unique visual representation of what they see in the Philippines in the New Millennium.
Last Thursday, July 31, 2008, Inquirer Lifestyle staged the rousing, filled-to-the-bleachers (despite the heavy rains and flooding) curtain-raiser to its Lifestyle Series of events with “Fitness.Fashion,” a catwalk team-up between some of the country’s top designers and best-selling activewear brands, at the Rigodon Ballroom of the Peninsula Manila in Makati City.
Co-presented with Samsung, along with Shokubutsu Hana and Systema Tooth and Gum Care, it drew guests who cut across the fields of fashion, business and commerce, arts, media and entertainment. With the support of HSBC and Peninsula, the show had 12 sought-after designers melding their creations with the latest brand collections: Kipling with Vic Barba; Fila with Lulu Tan-Gan; Nike Golf with Anthony Nocom; Speedo with Louis Claparols; Adidas with Patrice Ramos-Diaz and Rhett Eala; Marks & Spencer with Arcy Gayatin; Aigle and Oxbow with Rajo Laurel; Bench with Joey Samson; and Puma with Ivarluski Aseron and Randy Ortiz. (Read the fashion report in this Friday’s Lifestyle Fashion and Beauty.)
The 2015 edition that adding features the kids and teens apparel from Hobbes and Landes, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, Mothercare, Gingersnaps, Chicco, Cotton On Kids and Big and Small. Followed by the casual pieces from: XOXO, Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Warehouse, Tint, Carbon, Eterno, Paul Smith, American Eagle, Cotton On, 7 for All Mankind, Via Veneto, Onitsuka Tiger, Asics, Kikay, Dune, Kate Spade, Diesel, Zara, Replay, Steve Madden, Bratpack, Adidas, Muji, AC+632, Firma and Penguin, as well as the latest collection from our very own local designers: Religioso, Albert Andrada, Azucar Clothing, Myth, Joanna Preysler, the latest pieces and designs were unveiled from Escada Sport, Van Laack, Michael Kors, Furla, LeSportsac, Massimo Dutti and Jewelmer, the menswear collections of designers like Sassa Jimenez, Herbert Custodio Ulysses King, Avel Bacudio, Regine Dulay, Dennis Lustico, DO.SE, Anthony Ramirez, Jerome Ang and M Barretto and the latest collections of top foreign labels including Topshop, Mango, Cotton On, Giordano, Marks & Spencer, and Zara.
The exceptions of the articles about the INQUIRER Lifestyle Series: Fitness.Fashion with Samsung fashion show from the said newspaper was:
“Personalities like Senator Pia Cayetano, Waterfront GM Marco Protacio, jewelry designer Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez and socialite Amparito Lhuillier were among the big names who gamely participated in the event.” – from “A dynamic, eclectic 2008”, Apples Pickings by Apples Aberin Sadhwani, published in the December 26, 2008 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“Fitness.Fashion” also scored a coup with the runway debut of fitness enthusiast and sports advocate Sen. Pia Cayetano. Other guest models were Akiko Thompson, Amanda Carpo, Rina Go, Paolo Abrera, Phoemela Baranda, Svetlana Osmeña, Jeena Lopez, Enchong Dee, Ruby Gan, Fely Atienza, Trishan Cuazo, catwalk queens Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez and Apples Aberin-Sadhwani, and Inquirer’s own Tessa Prieto-Valdes and Leica Carpo.” – From “Style statement: Sporty”, published in page E-4 of the August 3, 2008 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
In attendance were Paolo Araneta; Jose Cuervo’s AA Arquiza; twinkle-eyed beauty Abby Binay; golfer Charlie Carmona; Bench’s Ben Chan; Louie Chuidian; WhereElse’s suave Marcel Crespo; Monique Banzon Daez; Illac Diaz; Joji Dingcong; Patxi Elizalde and Sofia Zobel-E.; Malou Francisco of Store Specialists Inc.; Amanda Griffin; Lisa Gokongwei; Haresh Hiranand; and super eligible Mike Huang, Bea Jacinto; Lucia Jacinto; Angel Jacob; Patricia Javier; pretty, pretty Angelu de Leon; gourmet and wine connoisseur Alex Lichaytoo; lady of different faces Margarita Locsin; brilliant columnist and that miss with the four B’s, Celine Lopez; vivacious Bing Loyzaga; Cutie del Mar; DJ Mumph; The Body who makes ladies sigh, Marc Nelson; PR genius Keren Pascual; Miguel Pastor; Dave and Berna Puyat; Jaya Ramsey; New York City boy Patrick Reyno; Miguel Rosales; Cherrie del Rosario; Robin da Roza; Carmina Sanchez; Hans and Carol Sy; Joel Tantoco; the belle of any affair, Bea Zobel Jr. (she recently had café society’s jaws dropping with her witty answers in a candid interview with Karen Santos and Gina Tambunting Roxas featured in PEOPLE Asia’s fantastic March 2002 issue), Charlie Carmona; vibrant “Breakfast” Show host, Angel Jacob; the pretty faces behind Luna, Annie Cacho and Manet Dayrit; Zed’s pride, Fenee Amparo; dapper Jojo Manlongat; interior designer Miguel Rosales; well-loved designer, Pepito Albert; The Philippine STAR’s Tim Yap; exuberant Tina Tinio; exotic Thelina Nuval; and Maurice Arcache, bench/ endorsers VJ Amanda Griffin; John Prats; celebrity son AJ Eigenmann; Mickey Randall, Aubrey Miles and Francis Ricafort, studly lover boy Jon Hall and E’s gorgeous playgirl Lana Asanin, former sexy star Assunta de Rossi, bench/ long-time endorsers Wendell Ramos and Jomari Yllana, Marc Nelson, Aya Medel, Diether Ocampo, Amanda Griffin plus the Antonio Aquitana open the curtain call for the 100-plus models in the BENCH during its “One Night Only underwear and denim show in July 2002, Ces Oreña-Drilon and her hubby, renowned artist Rock Drilon; Agot Isidro and Manu Sandejas; searing beauties Dina Bonnevie and Ara Mina; Hans Montenegro; directors/actors Rowell Santiago and Gina Alajar with son Ryan Eigenmann; former “Studio 23” VJ’s, Southern gent JM Rodriguez and charmante Cutie del Mar; and Fil-Am superstar Paolo Montalban.
The Inquirer Lifestyle Fitness.Fashion with Samsung Concert held on Friday, August 1, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. at the Ayala and Makati Avenues after the fashion show on Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rigodon Ballroom of the Peninsula Manila in Makati City. Guest performers during the said concert are Karylle, Tootsie Guevarra, Gino Padilla, Lana Asanin, Nancy Castiglione, Radha, Aliya Parcs, Jed Madela and the Dye Vest Band.
“Led by TechnoMarine Philippines’ chief executive officer Raffy Florencio with wife Kat, the event was a visual spectacle, bringing to life the sights and sounds of the ocean. Filled with a dazzling display of lights and colors, the room was illuminated in hues of blue while guests relaxed. Host Karen Pamintuan greeted guests and celebrities who wore their favorite TechnoMarine timepieces. Among those spotted wearing the watch brand were MTV Philippines VJ Maggie Wilson, Divine Lee, Camille Villar, Mons Romulo-Tantoco, Zanjoe Marudo, Jake Cuenca, Victor Basa, Priscilla Meirelles, Kristine Hermosa and Chris Tiu.”
On its first anniversary — held at the same venue on July 31, 2009 — their major guest stars were Bianca Araneta; Julia Clarete; Cheryl Cosim; Daphne Osena; Pia Guanio; Kenji Marquez; Derek Ramsey; JM Rodriguez; and Audrey Tan-Zubiri. But they managed to give away prizes to the live audience — mostly refrigerators. The high point of the event was when the cast members released doves — plenty of them. The second anniversary was even less memorable and nobody remembers it practically.”
However, Arroyo’s fortune turned around in 2009 when the gruesome Maguindanao massacre happened.
The following year, Sen. Benigno Aquino III won the presidential elections. In a bid to reach a convenient outcome for their case, some members of the Ampatuan family opted to cooperate with the Aquino administration, which was building an electoral sabotage case against Arroyo.
“Then, in June 2010, it put into power the son of democracy icons that ignited the 1986 People Power Revolution. While the country enjoyed relative economic growth and the administration enjoyed record approval ratings, it faced lingering problems concerning corruption, a communist rebellion, insurgencies in Mindanao, and prevailing criminality.
Five years since the disaster unfolded, our collective memory of it remains fresh, thanks to blow-by-blow coverage by Japanese news networks. From our TV sets and on the Internet, we saw buildings and homes buckling and crumbling in the intense 8.9 tremor, followed by a wall of water that inundated whole towns and cities. To make matters worse, it triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that sent radioactive material leaking into the air, ground and sea.
All in all, the triple disaster took almost 16,000 lives, injured more than 6,000 and left over 2,500 people unaccounted for. The disaster took a toll on the ailing Japanese economy at a cost of $249 billion.
But the media coverage also showed us how steadfastly disciplined and organized the Japanese remained amid the catastrophe that hit their country. There were no instances of looting, even as business establishments, government offices and individual homes were abandoned. Even sushi that was left in a food cart at Sendai Airport remained untouched.
Less than 24 hours after the disaster, emergency services and the Japan Self-Defense Forces quickly mobilized to rescue survivors and provide temporary shelter and relief. Even the Japanese crime syndicate, the Yakuza, helped in maintaining order in the aftermath of the disaster. A global relief effort quickly went into motion, sending billions in food, water, emergency shelters and supplies to the affected region.
In designated evacuation centers, floor space for affected families was partitioned equally. There were designated areas for eating, sanitation and waste management. In the few business establishments that were left standing and open, queues of people hoping to buy basic needs were orderly.
Five years later, however, more than 174,000 people remain displaced by Japan’s triple disaster, majority of which were forced to leave their homes by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Many still live in temporary shelters, uncertain if they will be able to ever go back to their homes. Others have decided to permanently relocate to other Japanese cities. The Japanese government estimates that the cleanup in Fukushima could take 40 years, considering the extent of the radioactive leak.
Still, despite the lingering problems, Japan’s rapid recovery from the triple disaster that rocked it was unprecedented. None of the debris left behind by the tsunami can be seen; only the empty lots indicate its existence. New roads, schools and homes have been built, while airports and seaports have reopened.
There is definitely a lot to be learned from the Japanese on how to cope with and respond to natural disasters, and most importantly, on how to prepare for such events.
In 2011, former Maguindanao provincial administrator Nonie Unas testified against Arroyo at a joint Comelec and Department of Justice probe. On Nov. 18, the Comelec in full session favored the results of the probe and filed charges of electoral sabotage against Arroyo and her cohorts at the Pasay City regional trial court. Judge Jesus Mupas immediately issued a warrant of arrest against Arroyo, who was arrested while on her way to the airport for a medical check-up abroad.
But the biggest bone of contention that Corona’s SC threw at Aquino was its Nov. 22, 2011 decision ordering the distribution of 5,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita, the prime sugar estate in Tarlac owned by the Cojuangco clan. According to the court, the stock distribution option implemented by Hacienda Luisita Inc. was not in line with the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Incensed at the apparent defiance Corona’s SC has shown, Aquino found his voice and began lashing out against the chief justice.
On Dec. 1, 2011, the President questioned the SC’s decisions at a speech delivered to the Makati Business Club. Four days later, he publicly lambasted Corona, who was present at the First Criminal Justice Summit. In an effort to appease the President’s wrath, the House of Representatives moved to impeach Corona.
On Dec. 12, 2011, 188 House members signed the eight Articles of Impeachment, based on allegations of graft and corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. With two-thirds of the House having signed, the Articles of Impeachment were immediately sent to the Senate. On Jan. 16, 2012, the Corona impeachment trial began.
Of the eight Articles of Impeachment, the trial mostly centered on the second article, wherein Corona allegedly betrayed public trust and violated the Constitution by not disclosing the entirety of his wealth in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) from 2002 to 2010. Among the wealth that Corona did not declare included real estate properties in Taguig, Makati and Quezon City, as well as bank accounts in Philippine Savings Bank and Bank of the Philippine Islands. It was Corona’s non-disclosure of these properties and finances that ultimately convinced 20 senators to convict and impeach him on May 29, 2012.
Since her arrest, Arroyo has remained in hospital arrest awaiting the court’s verdict. Last year, the Pasay court granted her a P1-million bail, which the Court of Appeals has affirmed. But Arroyo remains in hospital arrest for a different non-bailable case.
“The annual grand gathering also saw a rare opportunity where the stars from the three leading television networks in the country together in one occasion to uphold a good cause — education, finance, health, lifestyle — by honoring the teachers, students, doctors, our unsung heroes. Among those who participated in the event are — Anne Curtis, Judy Ann Santos, Marian Rivera and Jodi Sta. Maria, Martin Nievera, Pops Fernandez, Jolo Revilla, Ogie Alcasid, Richard Gomez, Edu Manzano, Bianca Manalo, Ryzza Mae Dizon and hunks Rocco Nacino, Hideo Muraoka, Daniel Matsunaga, Vin Abrenica, Victor Silayan and John James Uy.”
“Meanwhile, were on hand at the finish line where a neon street party was held graced by celebrities Gretchen Ho, Robi Domingo, Bianca Gonzalez, and Phil Younghusband.”- From “Dela Cruz, Bacalan rule Rexona Run to Your Beat”, published in the October 24, 2013 issue of Manila Standard Today.
“The four Technomarine ambassadors are TV host Bianca Gonzalez, basketball player Kiefer Ravena, soccer player Phil Younghusband and actress Heart Evangelista.” – From “Diamonds meet plastic in watches of ‘unconventional luxury’, published in the September 20, 2013 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
These scenes are in stark contrast to how Filipinos respond during disasters. In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, widespread looting was reported in Tacloban City, the epicenter of the disaster. Survivors weren’t able to rely on local emergency services for help because the deluge devastated them as well. Hospitals were unable to cope with the huge number of injured patients because the storm surge had washed away most of their equipment and they had no backup power. Unidentified bodies lay along the side of major roads, with some burying their dead right on the spot. First responders from the government arrived only a day after the typhoon made landfall. And with the more than P1 billion in foreign aid given to the Philippines, survivors were given flimsy, wooden, temporary shelters that would not withstand the elements.
When it made landfall on Nov. 8, 2013, it had an estimated one-minute sustained winds of 315 kph. With such power, it created storm surges as high as six meters that inundated coastal communities in Eastern and Central Visayas. Among the most devastated was the regional center of Tacloban City and the coastal town of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
It was the deadliest typhoon in Philippine history, killing at least 6,300 and, according to the United Nations, affected about 11 million people, many of whom were left homeless. In the aftermath of the typhoon, dead bodies lay unburied on the roadsides in Tacloban and other parts of the affected region. Thousands lived in temporary shelters provided by the national government and various aid agencies.
The catastrophe exposed the unpreparedness of the local and national governments to respond to a calamity of such scale.
While the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) warned affected communities of the typhoon’s strength and potential storm surges, many communities seemed to have underestimated these warnings.
Some locals claim to not understand the concept of “storm surge” and ignored it, hence, the huge death toll caused by the rampaging seawaters. Most of the families evacuated were transferred to areas that weren’t able to withstand the storm and the accompanying storm surge.
Government disaster response was painstakingly slow and inadequate. The relief goods it prepositioned in the affected areas quickly ran out. If not for the outpouring of foreign aid and volunteers who helped pack and distribute relief goods, the humanitarian crisis that the disaster created would have lasted longer.
Once the relief and rehabilitation efforts gained momentum, it was all uphill. Roads were cleared, bodies collected and buried, temporary shelters were built and water and electricity restored. By the middle of last year, everything seemed back to normal. The speed of the recovery was even praised by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Nevertheless, various problems and issues persisted, such as the politicization of aid and corruption. Many local communities complained that they were denied relief because their leaders were not allied with the ruling party. Agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was questioned over issues of misuse and malversation of foreign aid.
The issue of corruption in the aftermath of the typhoon remains unresolved and speculative, and was a bone of contention during last May’s elections and even up to today.
Typhoon Yolanda taught the nation many lessons on disaster preparedness and response. It taught us the value of greater awareness, coordination and cooperation during such calamities. Once more, it brought out our sense of bayanihan, when it encouraged many of us to donate financially and in kind, as well as take in evacuees flown to Metro Manila from the affected areas.
But we have many more lessons to learn. This is particularly crucial for local communities that are vulnerable to different natural disasters but do not have disaster preparedness and response plans. In a country visited by at least 20 typhoons in a year, we have at least 20 opportunities for learning and practice.
Indeed, in any kind of situation, the one thing that spells the kind of outcome we want is our response to it.
“TechnoMarine recently introduced its new product endorsers along with two new collections. Carla Abellana, Tim Yap, and Allison Harvard of “America’s Next Top Model” join Heart Evangelista and Xian Lim as the brand’s newest ambassadors.” – from “Watch brand has new endorsers, collections” published in the May 30, 2014 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“Stars who modeled included Richard Gomez, Dingdong Dantes, Diether Ocampo, John Estrada, Rayver Cruz, Jon Avila, Bea Alonzo, Phoemela Barranda, Tweetie de Leon-Gonzales, Apples Aberin-Sadhwani, Marina Benipayo, Patty Betita, Annette Coronel and Suyen Chi.”
“The celebrities will be led by the so-called “Magnificent 7”—Richard Gomez, Lucy Torres, Ogie Alcasid, John Estrada, Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, Dingdong Dantes, and a “surprise guest” whom Ortiz will not name. Guest models include beauty queens Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup, and actors Rayver Cruz and Daniel Matsunaga.” – from “Randy Ortiz show could be the biggest for 2013” by Joselito O. Tolentino, published in the September 27, 2013 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“McDonald’s ambassadors Xian Lim and Jessy Mendiola, and athletic brothers Jeron Teng and Jeric Teng gamely put on their running shoes to join the race. Others spotted during the McHappy Day Fun Run were Chesca Garcia-Kramer and kids Kendra and Scarlett, Dimples Romana and daughter Callie, and football players and brothers Anton and Armand Del Rosario, along with McDonald’s commercial talents Einar Ingebrigtsen, Paulo “Kuya Pao” Pingol, Kenneth Cruz and Vince Ferraren.” – from “The 2013 McHappy Day Fun Run – a successful and memorable day for families!”, December 16, 2013
“Balloons, inflatable clappers and flags added to the campus cool vibe, while college “it” boys and girls made special appearances onstage, including hosts VJ Chino Lui Pio and VJ Joyce Pring, the UP Street Dance Club, Kylie Padilla, Kiefer Ravena of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, and Jeron Teng and Arnold Van Opstal of the DLSU Green Archers. The UP Pep Squad, Philippine All-Stars, and Billy Crawford energized the crowd with their performances. Coleen Garcia, Epi Quizon, Nikki Gil, Elmo Magalona, JC De Vera and Gerald Anderson also walked the runway for popular homegrown brands.”
“But apart from the free breakfast, McDonald’s also delighted customers by inviting celebrities to join the event. Among the personalities present in different McDonald’s stores during NBD were Solenn Heussaff, Lovi Poe, Rocco Nacino, Alden Richards, Drew Arellano, Matteo Guidicelli, Enrique Gil, Alex Gonzaga, Xian Lim, and Bianca Gonzalez.” – From “McDonald’s celebrates 3rd National Breakfast Day”, March 10, 2015
“They also included for the 2015 edition are Councilor Anjo Yllana, wife Jackie and kids Mikaela, Andee, Jaime and Nathan, Axel Torres and Jacob Benedicto, Xian Lim, Jessy Mendiola, JC de Vera, Rafael Rosell, Rayver Cruz, Martin del Rosario, Troy Montero and Ryzza Mae Dizon, Amy Ahomiro and Ella De Jesus of the Ateneo de Manila University Women’s Volleyball Team, Carl Guevarra and Kylie Padilla for Skechers, Louise Delos Reyes for Merrell, Shy Carlos and Matt Evans for Guess, Wilma Doesnt, Karyn Ann Johnston, and Luanne Dy for Mags, Marc Abaya and Iyan Tayao for Rogue.”
Now there are people clamoring for a return to authoritarian rule and impunity under the convoluted premise of instilling discipline in a society allegedly made corrupt by its democratic principles – as if our current problems are the result of our freedom to choose, instead of our flawed choices. With these developments, one must ask: “Have we, as a nation, really come of age?”
Today the show turns 37, a feat, indeed. “Eat Bulaga!” is the country’s longest-running noontime program on television and the bond created within their circle has made it possible for them to stick it out through the years.
“We enjoy each other’s company, dabarkads eh, it’s the true meaning of dabarkads na one family kayo, na hindi mo napapansin ang trabaho while you’re at it,” said Vic.
From a small group of five hosts when it was launched, “Eat Bulaga!” grew to a family of 18 whose members see each other six days a week with the goal of putting a smile on the faces of its viewers.
“We cater not just to the entertainment needs of the viewers but generally to the need to make them happy, make them complete,” said Jenny Ferre, the show’s creative head behind the phenomenal “Kalyeserye” segment.
If there is a formula to it, T.A.P.E., Inc. President and CEO Antonio Tuviera credits the show’s endless pursuit to keep up with the ever-changing taste of the viewers.
“We always try to be relevant to our audience,” he said. “Every time we try to do innovations, it’s not really something original. Akala mo (lang) parang bago pero it’s something na medyo at the back of their minds, ‘Parang kilala ko ‘to, pero parang mas masaya na siya ngayon, parang bago.’”
One might think the emergence of digital technology (with online downloads and webcasts galore) would mean bad news to mainstream media. But for “Eat Bulaga!” it’s good news. Social media has made it possible for the program to widen its reach beyond “mula Batanes hanggang Jolo” to the far corners of the world. The record-breaking 41 million tweets on AlDub, the accidental love team of heartthrob Alden Richards and dubsmash queen Maine Mendoza, for its “Tamang Panahon” special attests to this.
To accommodate more live audiences, the show will soon move to its new studio in a 3,000-square-meter property in Cainta, Rizal.
Here’s one more secret to their success.
“While the others are entertainment shows disguising themselves as public service programs, ‘Eat Bulaga!’ is the opposite: it is – and has been – a public service program disguising itself as an entertainment show,” Tuviera said. “Everything that we do, every new segment we introduce is always created in the light of public service.”
“Mr. T in control”
Antonio P. Tuviera, president/CEO of T.A.P.E., producer of the long-running, still top-rating Eat, Bulaga! for more than three decades: I don’t want to retire because I think I will really get sick since it’s in my system already. And frankly speaking, I still enjoy everything.
Floor directors warm the audience up, dancers take their positions onstage, the hosts wait for their cue and when the clock strikes 12, the studio becomes a world of its own, rolling out what is to be a two-and-a-half-hour noontime show overtaking television sets in the archipelago “Mula Batanes hanggang Jolo, saan ka man ay halina kayo.” At the backstage, producers are glued to the monitors, production assistants either run from one end of the studio to another or write idiot boards on sheet after sheet of manila paper.
Then he enters.
In a measured gait, he walks from one monitor to the next, watching the show closely: Giving a nod, pursing his lips while listening and letting out a heartfelt laugh over a joke the hosts made on-camera. Staff members, hosts and guests alike who happen to pass him by say an almost uniform greeting, “Hi, Mr. T!,” to which an acknowledging smile or wave is returned.
“I’m here every Saturday,” shares Antonio P. Tuviera, T.A.P.E., Inc. president and CEO, also the unbelievably shy man behind the country’s longest-running daily noontime television program Eat, Bulaga! “Lakad lang ako nang lakad. Titingnan-tingnan ko kung ano nangyayari, magsa-suggest lang ng kaunti.” Walking seems to be therapeutic for Mr. T, as he is fondly called, saying it relieves him from being nervous, “If we’re mounting something, lakad ako nang lakad. Titingin lang ako sa monitor sandali tapos lalakad ako. That’s my way of parang releasing tension.
His weekly studio visit though began only recently, when he deemed his staff more than fit to run the daily show on their own. “I have very good people that’s why in the last, probably I would say five years, I was able to relax a little bit already,” says Mr. T. Still, he makes it a point to be on top of everything that’s happening.
“Even if I’m not here, I always monitor,” Mr. T ensures he catches Eat, Bulaga! whenever he could, wherever he is. “If I’m not out of the country, as much as possible in the car or wherever. Kung hindi ko man makita nang live, at least sa gabi, re-review-hinko.” He then makes his calls, cites points of improvement or stuff he didn’t like, matters that will be part of the team’s agenda come their weekly meeting.
While working from outside the studio was a luxury he couldn’t afford in the early days of Eat, Bulaga!, it nevertheless gave him an experience he wouldn’t trade for the world.
“In the first 15 years, I was here every day,” recalls Mr. T, saying it wasn’t only the job that inspires him to report for work daily but the companionship formed with the people of Eat, Bulaga! “It was our bonding time, magkakasama kaming kumakain, every day noon nasa Channel 9 pa kami.” Eat, Bulaga! debuted on July 30, 1979 via its original home, Channel 9.
“We have this (unspoken rule) na kahit ano’ng mangyari, huwag mong gugutumin ang mga tao,” adds Mr. T. “As much as possible talagang ‘yung pagkain ang No. 1.”
Joey de Leon, the one-third of the Tito, Vic & Joey (TVJ) trio that Eat, Bulaga! catapulted to stardom, agrees with his old friend Mr. T saying, “AngEat, Bulaga!naging extension na ng mga bahay namin. Actually to be exact, extension na ng kusina namin dahil kain lang kami pagdating dito. Noong araw dalawa lang ang tanong mo rito pagpasok mo sa pinto eh: ‘Ano ulam?’ o kaya eh ‘Ano latest?’”
These same people who share meals together grew from a group of eight to become a company of 200 over the years, some of them being with Eat, Bulaga! for more than half of their lives.
“Most of our employees have been with me for 20, 15 years,” reveals Mr. T. “They enjoy working with the company.” When asked why, Mr. T only has this to say, “I guess because they are treated like family.”
Even if T. A. P. E. had a rough start as a business, people chose to stay, even if it meant delayed salaries and zero receivables.
“When we were in Channel 9, almost every day I was at the office of the finance officer,” recounts Mr. T. “Nakikiusap ako to allow us to go on the air because hindi kami nakakabayad at ka-cancel-inna nila ‘yung programa. Tapos magdadala ako ng tseke kahit kaunti lang ang amount and then I tell them: ‘This is all we can give right now.’”
“We had to start not from scratch but from below because may utang eh,” referring to the garnished company Production Specialists, Inc. which first produced Eat, Bulaga! before T. A. P. E.. “That’s why for the first 10, 12 years, we were really having a hard time. Parang we were just trying to recover. Kaya we went through I would say a lot, and probably that was the reason also why we really stuck together.”
The mainstays were not spared from the rocky beginning. “Like for example Tito, Vic and Joey, hindi sila sumusweldo ng six months, hindi sila umaangal. Basta kung ano lang ‘yung mabigay namin.” TVJ took it all in stride together with their old friend Mr. T. “So iyon siguro ‘yung ‘pag nagsasama-sama kayo sa hirap, parang talagang isa nang pamilya, sa hirap at ginhawa magkasama tayo.”
“We were like a family already. Our producer was like a brother to us,” describes Vic Sotto of Mr. T. “We enjoy each other’s company, dabarkads eh, it’s the true meaning of dabarkads na one family kayo, na hindi mo napapansin ang trabaho while you’re at it.”
It’s one thing to be part of a show for 37 long years, but choosing to be part of it is another, as described by Tito Sen.
“The camaraderie, it’s the relationship, it’s like a family,” begins Sen. Tito Sotto. “Ganun ang nangyari between the four of us eh, Tony Tuviera and the three of us (TVJ). A lot of people do not realize it and are not aware that from day one, after our contract expired for one year sa Eat, Bulaga!, we never signed another contract,” discloses Tito Sen. “It’s a gentleman’s contract.”
According to Mr. T, their goal was for Eat, Bulaga! to last for only a year, “Okay na kami kung mag-last kami ng ganun. That’s why it’s really a gentleman’s contract.” The same thing applies to most of their talents. “A lot of other talents that we have,ngayon na lang kami nagpapa-sign ng contract pero pagkatapos nun wala na rin eh. Kaya kung gusto kaming iwanan, then fine.Kaya lang we’re very lucky and we’re very blessed hindi naman kami iniiwan,” expresses Mr. T.
This same gratitude, Mr. T shares, for his employees. “I would say we are very lucky because we have the brightest people in the industry and they’re very passionate about their work. It’s not a matter of ‘Sumusweldo naman ako,’ o ‘Basta gagawin ko lang ang trabaho,’ hindi sila ganun. Masyado silang dedicated sa trabaho.”
He attributes this to Eat, Bulaga!’s strong familial atmosphere, “It’s like a family kaya parang anything namako-contribute ng bawat isa, we listen.”
Like any family, Mr. T makes sure everyone’s motivated and rewarded for their good work.
“For example, we make it a point sa mga host na at least twice a year, we go out of the country. Minsan mga 41 kami na umaalis, minsan 25, ganun,” he says. When Eat, Bulaga! mounts shows overseas, everyone gets to go. “Kasi hindi naman kami pwedeng umalis ng ‘yung parang nucleus (core group) lang because when we do a show abroad, binubuo namin dito sa Manila so pagdating namin doon it’s a full show.”
When asked the million-dollar question as to until when he sees himself doing Eat, Bulaga!, Mr. T stoops and shrugs, “I really don’t know. I sort of become emotional when that is asked of me because honestly ah, I don’t want to see in my lifetime Bulaga(going) off the air.”
“I don’t know how long, I said I don’t wanna really retire because I think I’ll really get sick because it’s in my system already; and frankly speaking, I still enjoy everything.”
Yes he does enjoy it all: The colorful variety show, the guffaws from the hosts both in the studio and in a remote location, the excitement of the audience, the staff who are on their toes.
More than a producer, Eat, Bulaga! is blessed to have a father in Mr. T who bashfully says of himself, “Makulit pa rin ako, nakikialam pa rin ako kahit paano, and I enjoy. I never saw myself really doing anything outside of television.”
So for countless Saturdays more, the studio halls will be waiting for Mr. T to take his signature walk.
“Mother Lily marks 77th birthday with surprises”
The most moving moment (yes, the highlight) of Regal matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde’s 77th birthday last Friday, Aug. 19, was the loving hug and kisses the Birthday Lady planted on the cheek of her husband, Remy Monteverde (fondly and affectionately called as simply Father Remy by the industry guys).
Assisted by Stephen Tan, husband of the couple’s daughter Meme Monteverde, Father Remy was admittedly not in his San-Beda-star-player form, slightly bowed by the years, two years his wife’s senior. As cameras clicked, Father Remy broke into a weak smile after the kiss that launched a thousand sighs among the well-heeled well-wishers from showbiz, business, sports and politics.
All were accounted for at the Regal Events Place on Valencia St., Quezon City, owned and managed by Mother Lily.
There were some surprises, one of them the P1M Mother Lily donated to the MOWELFUND after Boots Anson Roa-Rodrigo presented her a plaque of appreciation on behalf of the group that has been helping the less-privileged members of the industry.
“The check is not post-dated,” MOWELFUND officer Boots said in jest as she expressed “our profound gratitude.”
“I am rich,” Mother replied also in jest, “I have a lot of money.”
Three more groups gave Mother Lily their own plaques of appreciation, from the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), Enpress (Entertainment Press) and SPEED (Society of Philippine Entertainment Editors), each of which also got a P100,000 donation from Mother Lily who called the movie writers, “my unsung heroes.”
“Without them,” she stressed, “there wouldn’t be a Mother Lily, there wouldn’t be Regal Films.”
There was food aplenty. Between numbers during the program first hosted by Ai-Ai delas Alas, featuring songs by Janella Salvador, Derrick Monasterio, Laarni Lozada, the Koro Tomasino group, and movie writers Leo Bukas and Oghie Ignacio. Dressed in sparkling mini-skirt, comedian Atak (best friend of the late director Wenn Deramas) brought the house down with his performance.
Raul Sunico capped the program with renditions on his piano.
Among the star-studded guests were Susan Roces with daughter Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Eddie Gutierrez and wife Annabelle Rama, Donna Villa and husband Carlo J. Caparas, Sen. Dick Gordon with Philippine Red Cross governor Nesty Isla, Fil-Am mixed-martial artist Brandon Vera with wife Jessica, Ali Sotto, Tirso Cruz III with wife Lyn Ynchausti, Billy Crawford, Kean Cipriano and wife Chynna Ortaleza, Albert Martinez, Derek Ramsay, Lance Raymundo, GMA executives (Joey Abacan, Gigi Santiago-Lara, Redgie Magno, Lilybeth Rasonable and Marivin Arayata), ABS-CBN COO for Broadcast Cory Vidanes, ABS-CBN president/CEO Carlo Katigbak, TAPE’s Malou Choa-Fagar (with friend Lawrence Tan), Regal-honed directors (Chito Roño, Mel Chionglo, Joel Lamangan and Joey Reyes), Anjo Yllana, Daiana Menezes, director Mac Alejandre and MTRCB chief Toto Villarreal (with members Mario Hernando, Joey Romero and Marra Lanot with husband Pete Lacaba.)
The party went on after the program.
According to the Chinese calendar, Mother Lily is actually 78 years old (baby is considered a year old at birth, with months in mom’s womb counted as one). She will be 80 years old next year, as per the Chinese calendar, and will skip 79th (age ending in 9 is considered “not good” by the Chinese).
Same time, same place, next year, Mother Lily!
After MLM’s birthday they proceeded to the Family Appointment with El Shaddai on August 20 to 21, to coincide with the premiere of “Miracles are Forever” directed by Carlo J. Caparas. This year’s theme: “32nd annual celebration of Faith, Love and Unity.”
No less than the President Rodrigo Duterte was the guest of honor during the event, he was joined by Vice President Leni Robredo, former Presidents Benigno Aquino III, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Fidel Ramos, former First Lady Amelita Martinez-Ramos, former First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo, sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abellada, Viel Aquino-Dee and Kris Aquino, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Speaker of the House of Representatives Pantaleon Alvarez, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, associate justices Antonio T. Carpio, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita de Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, Jose C. Mendoza, Bienvenido L. Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr., Presidential Legal Counsel Chief Salvador Panelo, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Presidential Management Staff Head and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar, National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Ernesto Pernia, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael V. Mariano, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez, Finance Secretary Carlos Domínguez III, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr., Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo , Trade and Industry Secretary Ramón López amd Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, Malabon City Mayor Antolin A. Oreta III, Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco, Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon T. Gatchalian, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, San Juan City Mayor Guia Guanzon Gomez, Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita Abalos, Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, Pasig City Mayor Robert Eusebio, Makati City Mayor Mar-Len Abigail Binay-Campos, Taguig City Mayor Lani Lopez-Cayetano, Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III, Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, Las Piñas City Mayor Imelda Aguilar and Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi.
The mass was celebrated by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal G. Tagle and Manila Archbishop-emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales, con-celebrants Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Kalookan Bishop-emeritus Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr., Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias, Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, Paranaque Bishop Jesse Mercado, Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, Antipolo Bishop-emeritus Crisostomo Yalung, Imus Bishop Reynaldo G. Evangelista, San Pablo Bishop Buenaventura Famadico, San Pablo Bishop-emeritus Leo M. Drona.
Caparas is now a convert of El Shaddai, who claims that it was Bro. Mike—his neighbor in Ayala Alabang—who first inspired him during a turbulent time in his life.
“Tuwa at pag-asa ang nakikita ko sa bahay ni Bro. Mike. Laging may mga ngiti sa mga labi ang mga tao. Na-inspire ako kaya ako nandito,” the controversial director was quoted as saying by an El Shaddai member who saw him along with his wife Donna Villa, and some of the cast members of Miracles are Forever, namely Yassi Pressman, Assunta de Rossi, and current showbiz bright spark Alonzo Muhlach and his dad, the original “Child Wonder” Niño Muhlach.
Comprised of a trilogy of true stories, Miracles are Forever will have Yassi portraying a confused youth; Assunta as a suffering mother who had planned to murder her own brood; and Richard Gutierrez as the lone SAF lone survivor of the Mamasapano debacle, who had said he survived because of an El Shaddai handkerchief his mother gave him the night before what is now known as the infamous SAF 44 Massacre.
Velarde, who says that these miracles of faith are all documented in the film, will also have a part within the trilogy as himself.