Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Open Letter to my Employee, Benigno C. Aquino III

All over the country and around the world, Filipinos continue to express their outrage  over last Monday’s hostage-taking episode at the Luneta, which resulted in the death of the former police officer-hostage taker, Rolando Mendoza, and eight Chinese tourists from Hongkong, and injury to several others. The national agonizing over the carnage continues unabated. Today this column blog decided to give way to a young man named Kim Fernando A. Uy, a political science graduate of the UP, who says he obtained “no honors, just proper education.” Uy, who answers to the nickname “KFAU, “ said he emailed this columnist as “ I have been sleepless since last Monday’s tragedy and I feel that I have not done my part as a Filipino to help out during that crisis.” He said that while “it was practically impossible for me to stop hostage-taker Mendoza from his shooting frenzy,” what pains him more is that “as each day of remorse goes by, I feel deeply that I should do something.” He feels that “we have wasted lives but more importantly, along with the Luneta incident were buried alive our national pride and dignity.”

Below is KFAU’s emotion-wrought open letter to President Noynoy that he wrote “as I burst in tears some 20 hours ago.” He said he wrote it in the belief that PNoy should know what his constituents think. This columnist thinks the letter is a typical reaction from many of our countrymen, especially the young. It’s good for them to let steam out via messages such as the one reprinted here. For the President, reading such reactions should be cathartic:

Dear President Noynoy,

When you were inaugurated as my country's president, you said: KAYO PO ANG BOSS KO. (You are my boss.)

In your first two months in office, you have showed me a very dismal performance. I am disappointed.

I never liked you. I never wanted you to become president. In fact, to vote for you never became a choice. But what is more hateful at this point is that you are giving me all the reasons why I should not regret not liking you, not wanting you to become president, and not voting for you.

Personally, I do not think that I should expect a lot from you since you do not owe me a vote. And hence you will doubtless count my criticism and dissatisfaction as dispensable. But how about the 15 million others? Are theirs as dispensable as mine?

I have a lot of questions. And as your boss, I demand that you answer them. No smirking and no excuses. Just clear-cut answers.


Why did you not save that busload of innocent lives when you have all the power at your disposition to do so? Where were your high officials who could have firmly dealt with the situation,? You served the Committee of Public Order and Safety when you were in Congress. Then why did I see neither public order nor safety last Monday?

Why did you not censure the media when you thought that it needs control? Press freedom, I get that. But eight innocent lives, how do you actually explain?


Where were you? If you say you were in a closed-door meeting, why did you take so long? If that meeting was really about the situation, why did it still end in such a tragic manner? While your presence did not necessarily guarantee the resolution of the ordeal, your participation in that drama could have made a different ending. Possibly even better.


Why did you let the rampage result in the bloodbath of 8 Chinese nationals? Are they dispensable to you because you did not get votes from them? Which puts me to thinking, if you can live not rendering the good service deserved by those who voted for you, all the more can you ignore those who did not. So can you definitely ignore those who never will.

When you were inaugurated, 81 countries were represented, with China’s delegation led by National People’s Congress Vice Chairman Yan Junqi. Now tell me, can you still say that you were worthy of attention? If you have been indifferent to a country as big as China, how about the 80 others?


Why did you not take HK CE Donald Tsang's call? What is too difficult in answering the mobile phone of the leader of the aggrieved territory? Or at the very least, what is too difficult in ordering one of your chessboard pawns to assure Mr. Tsang that you will do everything to rescue his constituents from harm’s way, so he does not have to find out from your nosy media men who reported the events blow-by-blow and who must share the blame.

At close to midnight, you finally acted. You showed yourself in front of the entire Philippines and the world and excused your incapable police. Lack of guns. Lack of tactics. But you did not admit your lack of action. On August 24, you declared the next day [August 25] as National Day of Mourning. Why only then? Because HK had already done theirs? To show that "at least" we did commiserate?


You said you were sorry for what has happened. But what reduced it to the worst scenario in the first place? Was it not partly your incapability to delegate your people and employ your powers as president? With a smirk or two you said you were sorry for what happened. But where was sincerity? I didn’t detect it in your pronouncements or in your actions.

You made yourself, your people and the nation look like fools. Now we are the laughing stock of the world. They have called us monkeys, they have called us subservient dogs. But all you do is give them reasons to continue doing so. .

When I was in the UP, I came to know who Plato is. Do you know him? He said:

“Justice means keeping a just order. Everybody should do what he does best and stay out of everybody else’s business. If every citizen does what he is assigned to do, not because he is ordered to do it, but because he enjoys doing it, justice will reign. Citizens won’t harm each other and the state will flourish because, on the one hand, justice leads to harmony and unity, while injustice, on the other hand, leads to sedition and revolution.”

Have you been giving us the justice that we deserve? Are you doing what you do best and staying out of everybody else's business? Are you doing your job as a president not because you are ordered to do it but because you enjoy doing it? If so, then why are people harming each other and the state is not flourishing? Why is there no justice and unity?

Do not get me wrong. I love you as a person (read: I love all persons) because I have been taught to love and not to hate. But to love you as a president is something that is difficult for me to do. I love you as a person so I want you to do something that you do best, something that you will enjoy doing. And being president, it seems, is not what it is.

Do not get me wrong. I love my country because I have been taught to love my family and my neighbors. But to love my country with you heading it is something that is difficult for me to do. I love my country, that is why I am doing this. I am saving it, at least its face, if there is even something left for me to save. I am starting to fear the day when the only reason why I love my country is because this is my country and there’s nothing else.

When you were elected--- let me just remind you--- you embodied hope. With and from the 7,107 islands of this archipelago, you embodied unity. And that is why 15 million voted for you. Have they voted wrongly? Or have the 20 million others who did not choose you voted rightly? Only you can say. But we need not another word from you; we need a lot of [pragmatic] actions.

My last request: Use your position wisely. With that, I mean you should act with the deepest understanding of things--- because when you do not understand what you are doing, that’s when things go astray. If you have to take extra time for that, then do so. Why should not you? You are the person tasked to do that. Just as we had expected the policemen to do police work because that is what they have been assigned to do.

Let not our 7,107 islands remain a mere archipelagic territory they call ‘monkey country.’ Make it a human nation. Let not our 90 million citizens remain subservient citizens. Make them proud and dignified nationals.

Never settle for what is "least" and never excuse yourself by saying "we cannot do anything anymore". A lot of us are already contemplating on what our being Filipino means. Please be reminded that in order for us to live, we need not only the basic food, clothing, shelter, and water.  

WE ALSO NEED OUR DIGNITY AND OUR SENSE OF BEING PEOPLE. Unite us. After all, that was the only thing that I know you promised to do.

I never liked you. I never wanted you to become president. In fact, to vote for you never became a choice for me. But please, prove me and 20 million others wrong. Why? Kasi KAMI ANG BOSS MO (We are your boss).

With all due respect,




As an aside to this columnist, KFAU wrote in his email:. ''Am I being anti-Noy or am I just being who I wanted to be---a citizen demanding the service my country deserves? Some people say I’m being overly critical and employ super-high standards. My take on this is that such reasoning is one crippling reason why we never moved forward: we always settle for what is mediocre, always content with what is 'least' (at least may buhay pa) and to move forward, forgetting the past as we say "we cannot do anything about it anymore" (tapos na eh, past is past, let's move on)."

If you folks out there want to communicate your reactions to KFAU’s letter to P-Noy, 
email him at: kimboyobmik@yahoo.com and send me a copy in my email. Thanks.


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  2. I aggree with KFAU..he should be the first to go there ang talk to Mendoza maybe that incident did not happen.yeah, it's not also good for pinoy like us here in other country when this kind of things happened in our country they're thinking that all pinoy were like that & it made us feel like sh*t..but i just control myself and show them that not all pinoy were like that..we always make sure that we're doing good in our work & befriend to everybody no matter what nationality they had...

  3. where was PINOY during the hostage crisis? maybe he's busy playing computer games with joshua.....

  4. I will have the chance to personally meet the president tomorrow for the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Ceremony in CCP. And perhaps tomorrow, too, I will have a chance to personally give him my letter as a concerned citizen.

    While there were a lot who shared the sentiments of the first letter (above), there was just too much fire in the belly that the President might simply disregard it if he even reads it. And so I restructured it to the diplomatic version you will find below. Why? Because like the hostage-taking incident which I think could have been handled diplomatically, so is the call for accountability. Where there is no "major major" need for an assault, no assault should be supplied. Although it is true that whether the letter sounds good or bad (or something else), there is a clear need for pragmatic results.

    The restructured letter I am going to give him is found below:


    Dear President Noy,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for doing your best as the country's president. Indeed, the presidency is a highly-criticized but less-remunerated work that entails not just being good but requires being good all the time. There are just too many expectations and they could be really high and hard to meet. So for doing your best to meet them, I commend you.

    I hope the next days of your presidency become better, there is just a lot of room for improvement. While a lot may be disappointed at the way things go now, I hope you do not take this as a brick wall for you to push for improvement. I have always believed that we Filipinos are great people. And what do great people deserve? Great governance from a great president.

    The administration has to shape up if it wants to meet the expectations of its people. After all, the government is accountable to the people. The president, to his citizens, to his bosses.

    Thank you for taking a minute from your hectic schedule to read this letter. By doing so, you proved me that indeed the bosses have boses (voice).

    Your citizen (or boss?),


    A learning from a good read, Machiavelli's The Prince:
    It is in the fatal inflexibility of leaders to adjust to changing circumstances that result to an empire's downfall.
    I hope this one adjusts well, and fast.