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MORE THAN a generation ago, idealistic young members of the Philippine military had formed groups like the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and the Young Officers Union (YOU) and rushed out of the barracks to defy their commander in chief, strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos.

“SHOULD I fail, then remember me with pride and understanding. Please do not disown me or my memory. I have lived a good and full life. I have seen the world and experienced its pains and pleasures. My only regret is that I have not served you as much as I should have.”

LATE evening last Feb. 4, Friday, a long-time source suddenly called. Would I be free for brunch the next day, he asked. He wanted to consult me on something important. We met the next day and he bared his purpose: Angelo ‘Angie’ T. Reyes, the former Armed Forces chief of staff and Defense secretary, wanted to see me so he could tell his story to “an independent journalist” – would I want to interview him? The source happened to be a senior trusted associate of Angie for the last decade or so.

DRIFT and confusion. Some pockets of transparency but most everywhere, a predilection for opaqueness and more barriers to access in place. This is the access to information regime that lingers in the Philippines nearly a year after Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III came to power on a “Social Contract with the Filipino People,” which he said would be defined by transparency, accountability, and good governance.

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