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I Vote No to This Treaty

I Vote No to This Treaty

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Published by Steve B. Salonga

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Published by: Steve B. Salonga on Aug 28, 2010
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09/28/2010

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I Vote No to this Treaty
Senate President Jovito R. Salonga's speech casting his vote against ratification of the extension of the RP-US Bases Agreement. September 16, 1991
Ginoong Pangulo at mahal na mga kasama sa Senado: Bago ako magsimula, nais kong bumati at magpasalamat sa isang taong lubos kong ginagalang at hinahangaan, isang dakilang Pilipino na nakasama natin sa maraming pakikibaka at pakikipaglaban, sa loob at labas ng Senadong ito,isang lalaking sa kabila ng kanyang karamdaman ay nagkusang magsadya dito upang maging saksi sa makasaysayang desisyon na ating gagawin ngayon.Ang tinutukoy ko ay ang mabunying bayani ng lahi, ang dating 
Senador Lorenzo M. Tanada 
, ang lalaki sa lahat ng panahon - 
the man for all seasons.
Senador Tanada: nais kong malaman ninyo na dahil sa pangunahing papel na ginampanan ng inyong mahal na anak, ang aming kasamang si Senador Bobby Tanada na siyang i-sponsor ng "Resolution of Non-concurrence" binigyan niya ng pambihirang karangalan ang inyong walang-bahid na pangalan.Dumating na ang huling sandali ng katotohanan, at palagay ko, sa araw na ito, ay maaari na nating isulat ang isang maningning na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan.
I recall it was around this time nineteen years ago - to be more precise inSeptember 1972 - when Mr. Marcos imposed martial law and declared that foras long as he was in power, Americans need not worry - US military baseswould stay in the Philippines.There was not a whimper of protest from Washington. Filipinos began towonder - "How about the assurances of American presidents that US bases inthe Philippines are for the defense of the free world and our democratic way oflife?" The need to maintain US bases in the Philippines explains why the USsupported the corrupt, repressive Marcos dictatorship for almost fourteen years.Without US acquiescence, Marcos could not have imposed martial law.Without increasing US military and economic support, the Marcos dictatorshipwould have collapsed after a few years.Today, we have finally summoned the political will to stand up and end fourhundred seventy years of foreign military presence here in the Philippines.
Salonga,
The Senate That Said No
, UP Press and The UP College of Public Administration, 1995.
1
 
To be sure, this decision is not without its cost. There will be temporarydislocations and hardships all around, especially in Central Luzon - but weshould learn the lesson we should have learned long ago: namely, no nationcan become truly free without sacrifice. The trouble is that sometimes we wantfreedom and independence without sweat and without tears. But there is noother way.
Salamat na lamang at hindi tayo nagdaan sa isyung ito sa isang malupit at madugong digmaan.Ang sabi ng ating mga kaibigan - kayo po naman ay hindi nakadanas ng paghihirap. Maawa naman kayo sa amin na mawawalan ng trabaho.
Unemployment is a big problem, indeed and we sympathize. It is because ofour sensitivity to this problem that one of us, Senator Saguisag, on his owninitiative, proposed a three-year phased withdrawal from Subic, so this problemas well as other problems in Central Luzon can be attended to during thatperiod of adjustment which will allow for a smooth transition. But as the nationknows, some of our distinguished colleagues and the Palace shot down thispro-poor proposal, for political reasons. Entirely apart from the Saguisagproposal, what will operate beginning tomorrow (September 17) is Article VII,Section 3 of the Manglapus-Schultz Agreement: .
"Upon the final termination of the use by the Government of the UnitedStates of the Facilities or earlier relinquishment, the United States and theRepublic of the Philippines will take appropriate measures as they shall jointly determine to ensure a smooth transition with respect to custody andcontrol of the Facilities and in order to minimize any disruptive effects of such termination."
Thus, the way is now open to the smooth transfer of Subic from theAmerican military to Filipino hands, so that with the cooperation and goodwill ofthe US, Filipinos can, as soon as possible, service and repair foreign vessels,including American vessels, on a commercial basis.Let me now be a little personal by way of answer to the argument that wehave not experienced suffering.I recall that as a young man of twenty-one, I joined the undergroundresistance in 1942, was eventually captured, then repeatedly tortured in Pasig inthe presence of my father, transferred to Fort Santiago and to three other jails,then sentenced by a Japanese military tribunal to fifteen years of hard labor inMuntinglupa.
Kaya't hindi lamang ako ang hamak na Pangulo ng Senado, ako po'y 
ex-convict
din! 
I was later released during the Foundation Day of Japan -
Salonga,
The Senate That Said No
, UP Press and The UP College of Public Administration, 1995.
2
 
but that is another story.When Marcos imposed martial law in September 1972, I was among theearliest to oppose it openly and publicly. I handled the cases of well-known aswell as obscure political detainees. I was persecuted, arrested and thrown intothe same isolation room where Ninoy Aquino had been imprisoned for morethan seven and a half years of his memorable life. I recall that in the early yearsof martial law we were only a few fighting the Marcos dictatorship.
Ang pinuhunan namin ay buhay--hindi empleo lamang. Hubad yata sa katwiran at katotohanan ang mga patama ng ating mga kaibigan.
Many friends to whom we owe debts of gratitude or are bound by ties of
pakikisama 
have called us or approached us so we would change our vote fromNo to Yes to this one-sided, unjust treaty. To them, I say -
'Malaki ang aking utang na loob sa inyo, at marahil ako y makakabayad din sa inyo balang panahon. Nguni't hindi ko maaaring ipagpalit ang kapakanan at ang kalayaan ngatinglnangBayan.' Maaring kayo'y pro-bases, nguni't tingnan naman ninyo ang kasunduang ito – masyadong api naman at agrabiadong, agrabiado ang bansang Pilipino. " 
I would like to thank the many students, teachers, priests and pastors andnuns and members of NGOs and cause-oriented groups who have come to thisSenate to cheer us up with their parting words - "Stand fast, do not losecourage. Our hope is in you. Do not let us down."I thought we who are against this treaty had only a few supporters but thanksto the mass media - independent, responsible and objective -
mukhang biglang dumami ang mga 
anti-bases treaty. In any case, let me say to all who came-"Thank you for giving us your support. But even if you were in the pitifulminority, which does not seem to be the case, questions of right and wrong arenot decided by shifting, temporary majorities." In the first referendum asrecorded in the New Testament (Mark 15:6-15), given a choice betweenBarrabas and Jesus Christ, the crowd shouted "Crucify him" (referring to Jesus)and there is no indication that our Lord got even one vote in that first electoralexercise conducted by Pontius Pilate.But when we are alone, we ask ourselves: Am I right? Could I be wrong?In the end, we live with our conscience, everyone of us. None of us here inthe Senate, not even the President, can escape the unerring judgment of
Salonga,
The Senate That Said No
, UP Press and The UP College of Public Administration, 1995.
3

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