ninoy’s letter to senator tanada, 4 april 75


7: 30 p.m.

My dear Senator Tañada:


As I told you this morning, I’ll take the final plunge the moment I am pushed to the limit. They’ve done it. The Commission members reversed themselves. And in spite of my fervent pleas to be given a few days to submit a written memorandum and be able to go to the Supreme Court, I was summarily refused.

I’m writing you this note while I still have strength. I would like to thank you for everything you’ve done for me, most especially for your solicitous concern and your fatherly affection.

I have always believed that we human can make things better, but we can never make them perfect. “Better, yes; perfect, never.” You have definitely made my life better. I cannot ask for more.

Life at best is second best-a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible and through effort and difficulty, ideals sometimes struggle to realization. We have struggled hard for our ideals through endless difficulties and I have no doubt, soon, these ideals will become realities.

It is true, the road has been most difficult and from the outset I vowed to you that I will try to endure all sufferings within the limits of my human frailty. You inspired me no end, making my task easier.

You are unflappable, unshakeable in your faith in freedom and democracy; unswerving in your devotion to truth and you possess the courage of the pure of heart and the “laughter of the unafraid.” You have been my guiding star.

Your understanding and concern continuously rekindled my dying embers of hope. Time and again, you infected me with your optimism, infused me with renewed courage and restored to my humorless existence the easy laughter of the unafraid.

Solzhenitsyn said: “We crave for freedom x x x but we wait for this freedom to fall to our lot like some sudden unexpected miracle that will occur without any effort on our part.” This is true not only in Russia, but also in our land.

The dice of fate has been rolled and each of us has been assigned a role to play. Ours is to keep lighting the beaconlight of freedom for those who have lost their way. Ours is to articulate the fervent hopes of a people who have suddenly lost their voices. Ours is to adopt the solid stance of courage in the face of seemingly hopeless odds so that hope no matter how dim or distant will never banish from sight.

My elders never tired to tell me that “to whom much is given, much will be asked.” Nobody forced me into public life, in fact, I forced myself on our people. My covenant was clear-to serve them not only when the going ws good, but more especially when the going got rough. I cannot deny our people who pampered me with their affection as proven in four elections. During this time of crisis, when leadership is sorely needed, we have to pass the test of leadership.

We must teach our people to respond, not merely to react. We must tell them, to the point of being repetitious-we must criticize to be free, because we are free only when we criticize.

We must tell them to be not mere objects of history. They must be history’s creator. We must remind them of the constant need for their martyrs if we are to create ever better tomorrows.

We must not only preserve yesterday’s heritage, fight for today’s ephemeral interests, but die, if need be, for tomorrow’s hopes. Human liberation is the result of man’s participating responsibility and of responsible participation.

I no longer know the limits of our shrunken constituency. Perhps, it is now limited to those handful who will not give up the fight for freedom. But I am confident, that with the coming dawn, this constituency will become larger-as the timid evacuate from the shadows of fear and start asserting their rights in open sunlight. And when that day comes, we shall have served our purpose and there is no longer any need for us.

At the risk of being immodest, I dare say, ours have been a good team. We succeeded to fuse the enthusiasm of youth with the sobriety and maturity of the old. You are a giant among pygmies. I was a pygmy among giants. I had the vigor of the young, you the wisdom and temperament that is priceless because like excellent wine, it has been mellowed by age.

But now I must say goodbye. In one more paradox, the young fades away ahead of the Old. Why? Because what this nation needs is not muscles. It needs sobriety and brains!

Please extend my love to your wife and children, and to your sons my eternal gratitude.