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THE age of political and intellectual dinosaurs is passing. They are slipping into surly extinction, to form that great part of national memory and history. Few remain and may be counted by our fingers as they fade in advancing age. The new generation unaware such Filipinos did illumine and walked the halls of public service e.g. Senators Helena Benitez of Philippine Women’s University, Dominador Aytona a CPA and Bar topnotcher etc.
On June 30, the towering figure and mind of Juan Ponce Enrile retires and will no longer add to the needed intellectual quotient of the August Chambers. This week, Ernesto Maceda, another light in the political firmament once, a bar topnotcher, has rested from entering his service for country. We will be poorer reading him, nor hearing his stories or wisdom.
He was then Executive Secretary of President Ferdinand Marcos; one of two candidates for the Nationalista Party senate line-up that squeaked into a tight eight slot-seat after the Plaza Miranda bombing. Manong “Ernie” as fondly called, was known as “Mr. Expose”. Among anomalies he uncovered was the “Borloloy Building” in the palace. He later became Senate President. I first met Manong ‘Ernie’ in 1981 when he visited Salvador “Doy” Laurel’s historic Home/library.
He was bringing a message from President Marcos requesting Doy not to proceed as Unido Candidate for President against him. “President Marcos is willing to come here personally to convince you not to run…He remembers what the Laurels have done for him, and he does not want the blood of the Laurels on his hand”. Doy asked, “What about Gerry Roxas?”.
“He is malleable, according to the President,” Maceda answered. “Ninoy?,” Doy continued. “They will take care of him, was the reaction”. In 1987, Manong Ernie, gave a friendly word to my dad, “Rene you should win again as Senator first, before you criticize Cory”. The last times I remember of Senator Maceda was working with him for President Erap’s re-election and my having invited him to my TV program (Republika, Tuesdays, 8 p.m. Destiny Channel 8, Sky Ch. 213). My deepest condolences to the Maceda Family. (Erik Espina)