THERE is currently an interesting interaction between Sen. Panfilo Lacson and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) head Gregorio Honasan. The two are “mistahs” of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1971, the batch whose members formed the bulk of the Reform the AFP Movement (RAM) that “rebelled” against the Marcos dictatorship decades ago. The issue was over the resignation of a DICT undersecretary, a former military general, over the use of DICT confidential funds.
I don’t personally know both of them, although I once met Lacson for a very fleeting moment in Camp Sotero Cabahug in Gorordo St., Cebu City when he was the chief of the defunct Metropolitan District Command. But I once was in Camp Lapulapu when RAM led a coup against former president Corazon Aquino in the late eighties. Incidentally, the group that “hosted” me there was headed at the time by a “mistah” of both Lacson and Honasan.
Honasan and in a way the other so-called rebel soldiers became popular not only for going against the hated regime of Ferdinand Marcos but also for their perceived ideals. Honasan ended up becoming a senator before Lacson did. Lacson followed a circuitous route to the Senate. And Lacson and Honasan have what can be described as a love-hate relationship. The whispers in the unit I was in at that time was that Lacson often disappeared (for trips abroad) every time RAM staged those coups.
Now Honasan is allied with the Duterte administration while Lacson is independent. The standpoints of the two “mistahs” are again at odds with each other. Duterte, in a way, resurrected Honasan’s political career after his popularity nosedived when he joined senators who aligned with former president Joseph Estrada during the latter’s impeachment trial.
The use of the questioned DICT funds was not subject to Commission on Audit scrutiny because it was supposedly used for surveillance purposes. This should be the reason why former military men are deployed to the department. That could be okay if the purpose is to advance the interest of the people and not the interests of politicians. But can Honasan see the difference?
That, I would say, is how idealism crumbles. Honasan and his group were willing to use arms because of the things they passionately stood for. But once the bullets directed at them were sugar-coated, those ideals crumbled. I remember that when the crowd gathered for Edsa 2 against Erap, Honasan showed up in, if I remember right, a coffee shop where he was booed nevertheless.
Who was it that said something about politics being the devil’s playground? Which only means that even Lacson could not say that he is a politician whose ideals are intact. Lacson and Honasan may have pledged to do good, or be better than the politicians they despised when they were young military officers, but it looks like they are the ones who are slowly being eaten by the system. Honasan, especially, is currently in the limelight for the wrong reasons. Sad but true.