February 12, 2019 at 01:00 am
"I will be here until I write ‘30.’"
Manila Standard was founded 32 years ago. I have been part of it since it came out of the press, first in tabloid form and eventually a broadsheet. My congratulations to everybody at the Standard, past and present.
I started as chairman of the editorial board and I am now chairman emeritus and columnist. I saw the Standard pass from one owner to another, always with the same vision to tell the truth without fear or favor.
It was the late Manda Elizalde who conceptualized the Standard upon his return from self-exile to Costa Rica, of which his friend and former Harvard classmate was president.
Manda moved to Miami, Florida and there called upon Rod Reyes to put up a newspaper upon his return. Manda said he wanted me to be part of the organization. And so I joined Rod.
The Standard’s first office was at the Tanduay Building on Ayala Avenue. How Elizalde returned to the Philippines despite his warrant of arrest, and how he passed through Customs and Immigration without a hitch, is of course another story.
Later on, Manda had to sell the Standard after he also sold Tanduay Rhum to Lucio Tan. The buyer of the Standard was a joint venture between Soriamont, headed by Soriano & Co., and co-owned by Ricky Razon of ICTSI. The late Al Yuchengco partnered with Soriamont to buy out Elizalde. But because of some corporate differences, Yuchengco later pulled out.
Soriamont and ICTSI remained co-owners of the Standard. When the Sorianos decided to divest their interest in the business, Razon, who had put up Solaire gaming casino at Entertainment City, became the sole owner of the Manila Standard.
The publication was joined by now Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin after he sold his newspaper Today. He became the publisher. But his interest did not last long and it became the sole ownership of Razon until Razon decided to sell his interest to the Romualdez brothers, Martin and Philip, sons of the late Ambassador Kokoy Romualdez.
We have had several editor-in-chief: Rod Reyes, Andy del Rosario, Cip Roxas, Jullie Yap Daza, Jojo Robles. The Standard is now under publisher Rollie Estabillo.
One of the reasons I have not left the Standard is that I have always liked working with all its publishers and editors-in-chief.
When I was in trouble with the Supreme Court, who cited me in contempt for exposing a decision that has not yet been promulgated, the Standard stood by me.
I argued that I had no fault because I was doing my job as a journalist. But the court cited me in contempt, anyway, as a lawyer and officer of the court. What a strange decision that was. I also remember that former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who was then only an associate justice, wrote a dissenting opinion on my behalf, where he upheld press freedom.
Nonetheless, the Standard’s support meant a lot to me. And this is also one of the reasons I am still here.
In any case, I am writing my memoirs—The Road Never Ends. I have tried to write as candidly and honestly as I could. It will be a Standard publication with the support of Rollie Estabillo, Adelle Chua, my opinion editor, and Jenny Ortuoste, writer and columnist. I am hopeful that the book will be launched after the midterm elections.
* * *
The final version of the messy General Appropriations Act of 2019 will depend on a lot of things.
First, if President Duterte exercises political will to excuse a lot of insertions by both the House of Representatives and the Senate amounting to billions of taxpayers’ money, all pork barrel and contrary to law, and make the people believe his war against corruption, it would be a big step in the right direction.
However, if the President does not veto those illegal insertions that only reflect the in satiable greed of legislators, his credibility will be at stake.
We the people know only too well that Mr. Duterte has already staked his credibility when he decided to campaign for some of his favorite senatorial candidates, and for candidates from his own party both at the national and local levels. If he were to allow the budget to be approved, then the people will judge the stuff President Duterte is made off.
If he does not veto the insertions, the national budget is likely to reach the Supreme Court. The people are waiting to see what their president would do.
* * *
That incident at the LRT where a Chinese student threw “taho” at a policeman who tried to prevent her from bringing her drink to the train shows how low the Chinese regard our laws.
It was only right that she was apprehended for direct assault of a law enforcer. Can you imagine what Chinese authorities would do if a Filipino were to do the same in China?
Immigration should deport this Chinese woman. If not, then other Chinese will think they can get away with anything here.
* * *
What ever happened to the conflict of interest case against Solicitor General Jose Calida? Just asking.