i wonder how leloy claudio feels to find that his essays painting ninoy aquino red were widely posted and shared on facebook by pro-marcos peeps on ninoy’s 35th death anniversary. in his place i would be soooo mortified. imagine. wittingly or unwittingly, giving credence to ferdinand’s charge that ninoy was a communist-coddler.
can it be that claudio does not know about, and therefore has not read, the book? or did he choose to ignore it because he would have had to rethink his sophomoric conclusions re ninoy’s alliance with the left?
NINOY AQUINO: I am not a communist. I have never been one. I have never joined any communist party. I am not — and never have been — a member of any illegal and/or subversive organization, or even a front organization.
Yes, I have met with communist leaders and members of subversive organizations both as a newspaperman and as a public servant as far back as 1954. In fact, the government awarded me the highest civilian award precisely for what my pacification parleys with rebels and subversives had achieved.
President Magsaysay made use of my services as a negotiator not only with the communist-led dissidents in Central Luzon but also with Muslim outlaw leaders. Indeed, I consider my ability to communicate with the leaders of the various dissident movements as well as my understanding of their causes as one of my special qualifications for high office.
I have been a student of communism, especially the Philippine communist movement, for the last two decades. I have written many papers, delivered many lectures on the Huks, who later became the HMBs and who, still later, became the CPP/NPAs, their aims, their inner dynamics, and motivations, both in the Philippines and abroad.
If I had planned to seek the Presidency in 1973, it was because I sincerely believed I had the key to the possible final solution to the vexing dissident (communist) problem.
I was first exposed to communism as a young teenager shortly after the war, in 1945, when my hometown of Concepcion was literally occupied by the Hukbalahaps. Our town mayor, an avowed Huk, was appointed by the dissident group.
In 1950, I was assigned by the Manila Times to cover the UN police action in Korea with special emphasis on the participation of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK). I witnessed the brutal massacre of innocent civilians by fleeing communist forces. Barely 18, I learned firsthand from North Korean survivors how the communists governed and regimented their people, how all freedoms were suppressed, especially the rights to peaceful assembly, religion and free speech. Some of my most poignant early newspaper stories dwelt on the grimness of existence under communist totalitarian rule. [pp 14-15]
… I have been a student of theoretical Marxism. I have followed every twist and turn of our local communists. I have read practically all the published works of our local Reds. Whenever possible, I interviewed communist intellectuals to get first-hand information.
This, however, does not mean that I have embraced communism, much less joined any communist or subversive organization. On the contrary, I would like to believe that I convinced some of the dissidents to return to the fold of government, as in the case of Mr. Taruc.
I have never advocated the overthrow of the government by force and violence, much less the establishment of a totalitarian regime. Or worse, placing this country under the domination and control of an alien power. [15-16]
… In my speeches, both in and out of Congress, I advocated a more humane approach to the dissident problem. I denounced the use of para-military units, like the Monkees, who summarily executed barrio residents suspected of NPA links. My exposes brought me into a collision course with Mr. Marcos and his military subordinates.
In May 1966, barely five months into office, Mr. Marcos branded me a “Huk coddler and sympathizer” when I, as governor of Tarlac, denounced the massacre of farmers in Barrio Culatingan, Concepcion, Tarlac, by a group of Monkees led by a PC Ranger. It is indeed an ironic twist that while I stand today charged with communist subversion, Mr. Marcos is adopting some of my recommendations in 1966: a liberal program of amnesty for returning dissidents, resettlement and a vigorous land reform program.
…Many of our countrymen have been conditioned to automatically believe that the dissidents, be they Huks, HMBs or CPP/NPAs, are not only communists or communist-led, but are evil personified. I do not believe they are per se evil. Assuming they are evil, they are a necessary evil.
Were it not for the Huks, President Magsaysay would never have pushed through Congress the landmark Rice Tenancy Act, which provided for tenants’ security of tenure and the itemization of the division of produce. Known as the 70-30 Rice Law, that law for the first time gave the tenant the sole option to remain a tenant or become a lessee. 
… And when Macapagal, a son of Central Luzon, was elected President, the country witnessed the enactment of the first comprehensive Land Reform Code in the Philippines, seminal though it was. Congress passed it in 1963; but only after President Macapagal had called the reluctant Congress to several special sessions, wearying the landed interests in the Senate and the House until they gave in. This is the Land Reform Code now being implemented by Mr. Marcos.
Indeed our wealthy Filipinos have yielded only under mounting social pressure — never of their own volition. Without the Sakdals, without the Huks, without the NPAs, our toiling people would still be serfs in a kasama or land tenancy system as feudal as in any feudal state.
The dissidents, I concede, have committed many acts of murder and depredation. Many have already paid for their crimes with their lives or with long prison terms. But it must be equally admitted that because of their unremitting struggle, our society and our people’s social conditions have improved. 
… let us not forget: This Republic was founded by rebels and insurgents who were hunted down like mad dogs in their own time. My own grandfather was one of those hunted men. Some of our greatest heroes — Frs. Gomez, Burgos and Zamora; Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio — were all executed for treason. Yesterday’s traitors are today’s heroes!
… If I have gone out of my way to meet with insurgents, if I have given them shelter and medical aid when they came to me, bleeding and near death, it was because I was convinced these dissidents were freedom-fighters first — in their own light — and if they were communists at all, they were communist last.
… They might have been dissidents. But to me they were brother Filipinos who deserved the right to be heard. My intention was to prevent them from becoming hopelessly desperate — and to give them a feeling of belonging. By lending them a hand and a sympathetic ear, I wanted to hold out to them the hope for a better future. 
… I believe that freedom of the individual is all-important and ranks above everything else. Every citizen must be given the equal opportunity to self-fulfillment, to better himself. While it is true indeed that not all men are equally endowed, I believe that every man should be given the equal opportunity for advancement through free, universal and quality education.
Confidence between the majority and the minority, between the government and the governed, is indispensable to the vitality of a democracy. There can be no confidence where established rights are destroyed by fiat.
… The supreme value of democracy is freedom, not property. The democratic world will meet the communist challenge if it upholds and unites on the issue of freedom as the fundamental element of human survival.
… A free media is indispensable if a democracy is to function efficiently, if it is to be real. The people, who are sovereign, must be adequately informed all the time. A reasonable case, reasonably presented, will eventually win the hearts of the people. But the people must know the facts if one expects them to decide correctly.
I believe democracy is not just majority rule, but informed majority rule, and with due respect for the rights of minorities. It means that while the preference of the majority must prevail, there should be full opportunity for all points of view to find expression. It means toleration for opposition opinions. Where you find suppression of minority opinion, there is no real democracy [30-31]
The basic flaw of capitalism is its primary concern for political liberty; it cares comparatively less about social and economic equality. Communism, on the other hand, aims at social and economic equality but ruthlessly opposes and destroys political liberty.
I believe in a Christian Democratic Socialist ideology that will harmonize political freedom with social and economic equality, taking and merging the best of the primary conflicting systems — communism and capitalism.
… I believe in evolutionary reform and I regard all human life as equally priceless, regardless of circumstances. I hold individual freedom most sacred, because it is God’s gift. I cannot accept any form of dictatorship, whether of the left, the right or the center. 
… I adhere to an evolutionary program. This must always stand the test of national approval as expressed through periodic elections, plebiscites, referenda, which will ensure that the program is implemented — and will continue to be implemented — only with the consent of the majority freely expressed. 
bad enough that the marcoses continue to revise EDSA history. worse, that claudio, wittingly or unwittingly, has given the marcos camp ammunition to shoot down ninoy yet again. claudio should be apologizing to nation for irresponsible “scholarship.” the same goes for his editorial team and academic consultants.