Monday, July 26, 2010


Make My Day – Hilarion M. Henares, Jr.

The Philippine Post – August 6, 1999

There was a time when Raul Manglapus and Emmanuel Pelaez, both prominent Ateneans, strode into the political arena together, sometimes in partnership, sometimes in rivalry. Manny Pelaez was not a wartime hero as Raul Manglapus was, but during the Occupation, he spent hours at home singing ‘God Bless America." During the war, Raul Manglapus fought in Bataan, was incarcenated and tortured by the Japanese, made a dramatic escape from the Los Banns POW camp, and participated in the Liberation of Manila. After the war Manny, a bar topnother, became a special prosecutor in the People’s Court. He was with Magsaysay and the NP along with the Rah Rah boys of Raul Manglapus. Manglapus composed the famous campaign song Mambo Magsaysay, and tutored Magsaysay in oratory, specially the famous Moises Padilla speech that ushered Magsaysay into the presidency. He served Magsaysay as Secretary of Foreign Affairs. After Magsaysay died, Manny and Raul ran for the Senate under the Grand Alliance (PPP+disgusted LP’s and NPs), and lost.

In 1961 as an LP, Manny Pelaez became Vice President under Diosdado Macapagal, in whose Cabinet I served. Manglapus topped the Senate race, and distinguished himself with the sponsorship of the Land Reform Act. Manny wanted to be president, but with Macapagal eyeing a second term, both he and Marcos left the LP to join the NP. Marcos won the nomination, and Pelaez drifted back to the PPP with Manglapus as presidential candidate.

"When I come back from Cairo, I’ll campaign for you." Pelaez told Manglapus in 1965. Pelaez never showed up ; instead he ran with the LP (and Macapagal) and on TV asked the voters not to waste their votes on Manglapus.

In 1969, Pelaez was back with NP, campaigning for Marcos whom he once called a "most dangerous man". In 1972, martial law was declared, and three senators were immediately ordered arrested – Ninoy who was imprisoned seven years, Pepe Diokno in prison for two years, and Raul Manglapus who escaped and was in exile for 13 years. Pelaez became Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and defended Marcos from the attacks of Manglapus in Hawaii as late as 1980. And stayed with Marcos till he was ambushed by persons unknown after which he laid low, while the rest of us were fighting the February Revolution. I never saw him in a public rally.

Manglapus was to be Ambassador to the USA, but somehow Pelaez ingratiated himself with Cory and got the appointed instead. Manglapus was elected into the Senate. Eventually Cory appointed Raul Manglapus as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and as such he negotiated with Americans on the US Bases, and did his best to promote, protect, and defend Philippine interest in the face of his boss President Cory Aquino’s determination to accommodate the Americans. A majority of 12 senators led by Jovito Salonga, Wigberto "Bobby" Tanada, and Erap Estrada opposed and rejected the Bases Treaty.

Raul Manglapus accepted the position of chairman of the Philippine National Oil Co., in the administration of President |Fidel V. Ramos, and spent many time playing with his Executive Band with First Lady Ming Ramos as pianist, and once with US President Bill Clinton as saxophonist when he was here on a visit.

During Erap’s term, Raul Manglapus retired, contracted throat cancer, and passed away peacefully.

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