Leads-CEGP 6972, with Elso Cabangon as organizing president, requested for specially prayers for the departed souls of the student leaders who surfaced and perished in the battle for reforms before and after Martial Law. The roster of activists who sacrificed their lives in the mantel of democracy included Tony Tagamolila, Babes Calixto, Jessica Sales, Leticia Pascual, Jack Pena, Evelyn Pacheco, Manuel Bautista. The reunion held on 11-11-11 was and that the reunion was emotion-filled that included performances in poetry reading and singing of patriotic songs.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s activism in the Philippines caught like wildfire in almost every academe, demanding for the reforms in the establishment. Student writers has joined the fracas as the indirect support of Kabataang Makabayan. Jose Maria Sison, with Jose David Lapus, both of the Lyceum of the Philippines was the modern Andres Bonifacio and Apolinario Mabini tandem for democratic reforms. From Intramuros, the wranglings was joined by the Far Eastern University and with a bang moved to the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
Those who figured out in the 11-11-11 Leads-CEGP Reunion included Chito Sta. Romana, Diwa Guinigundo (Ateneo and UP) who is now Deputy Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Ricki Arches (UE Dawn) who just retired as Chair/CEO of McCann Erickson here, Vet Vitug (UE Dawn), Nimfa Sano (Mapua) and Leo Santiago (PCC). Jimi Flor Cruz flew in from Beijing, and Marian Norton (PCC) from Canada. Bob Corrales took the best shots of the get-together held in Quezon City, Philippines.
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The political developments of the country have not changed since the time of student activism.
It will be recalled that then UP Student Council President Fernando “Gerry” Barican pronounced “if you are an activist at the age of 20, you are using your heart. If you are still an activist at the age of 30, you are not using your head.” During my CEG term, Gary Olivar was the editor of Philippine Collegian, very vocal and determined. In the following years, he became a New York-based bank executive and then returned to the country and became the government spokesman.
Thirty years ago, Leila de Lima and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were on parallel careers.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has served as President of the country and Leila De Lima became the Justice Secretary. The Justice department exerted every legal maneuver to prevent the Arroyos from leaving the country to answer the issue against them. The Arroyos twisted their influence, especially the Philippine Supreme Court whose majority members, including the Chief Justice, were appointed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now a congresswoman of her native born province of Pampanga.
The political pawns were caught in the crossfire of power play. Employees at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport cannot do anything with the Justice Department proclamation against the Supreme Court promulgation. The Arroyos were going to any of the three countries – Spain, Singapore and Portugal – where the Philippines do not exercise extradition treaty. Delicadeza has been eradicated from the character of the country. The Philippines and the Filipinos has the government they deserved.