Nap Rama: Philippine Journalism Oral History
Subject: Napoleon G. Rama
Date of Interview: November 20, 2000
Interviewers: Marie Roselene Pua and Aislinn Joy Tee

PUA & TEE. Please state your name and the newspaper that you're working with right now.
RAMA. Napoleon G. Rama, publisher of the Manila Bulletin which is the leading newspaper in the country; and the oldest newspaper. It's one hundred years old. In February, it will be one hundred and one. So, it's as old as a century. It's the second oldest English newspaper in Asia.

Q. Did you start out as a reporter?
A. I started out like you, as a writer for our school organ. That's how I started.

Q. Sir, was that in San Carlos?
A. San Carlos. Of course, I worked as a teacher for high school, and then I worked for the Philippines Free Press.

Q. Sir, so, can you describe what circumstances led to your present employment with the newspaper?
A. You know, I was a lawyer doing quite well in the profession. Also, I was a writer. My father was a writer. My father owned the newspaper with the biggest circulation in Cebu, in Bisaya.

Q. Sir, what was that?
A. "The Bagong Kusog". It used to be a Spanish newspaper "Nueva Fuerza". Then after the Spaniards left, my father discovered it's better to have a Cebuano newspaper, so that more people would be reading. And more people read it! It was the most successful newspaper in Cebu. It had the biggest circulation outside Manila. So I had dreams already of becoming a writer. Though I was young at that time, I decided that well, my father was a writer, I might as well be a writer, you know. I had that feeling that I should be a writer.

Q. What was your father's name?
A. His name is Senator Vicente Rama. Because of his newspaper, he was very powerful. Even at that time, a newspaper with a big circulation in any part of the country exercised a lot of power. You have a lot of power, particularly, if you have a newspaper. If you run a newspaper that has a lot of integrity and reputation, that's very important. As a matter of fact, he started as a councilor in the City of Cebu. And then, he became a leader of the opposition. Quezon and Osmena, the two most powerful politicians then, were the leaders of the party in power.

Q. During the time of the Marcoses?
A. Before the war. And then, he became the leader of the opposition. He was elected congressman. Later, he was appointed mayor of Cebu City, the biggest city outside of Manila. Then, just before the war, he was elected senator of the Philippines.

Q. So, was writing for his newspaper your first job as a reporter?
A. I was not very good at the vernacular but they were translating some of my articles in English into Cebuano. Later after the war, I was writing for the local newspaper. Then I wrote for the Free Press, which was the number one magazine in the whole Philippines. They liked my articles. I was already a lawyer then.

Q. So, you were writing and practicing law at the same time?
A. Yeah. Because it's something that you can do at the same time. Okay, let me tell you, when I finished my high school, I had a problem. I said, I'm at the crossroad--I will have to make a decision whether I should pursue like you do, a journalism profession, or pursue a lawyer profession. So, I was weighing these things. Some of my friends like [Max] Soliven, they were saying,"I'm a writer so I'll become a journalist!". But I had a different kind of thinking. I was thinking, look, if you're a writer, whether you like it or not, whether you've got education or went to journalism school, you already have that talent in writing. As a matter of fact, the school couldn't improve it that much. Therefore, I said, if went go to journalism school, I really couldn't improve that much but if I went to a law school, I'd be a better journalist because I was a lawyer and I'll be a better lawyer because I was a journalist. I had two professions. So, I became a lawyer.

Q. Sir, so you first worked with newspapers in Cebu, right?
A. I had a syndicated column. They liked the idea, because I syndicated it among provincial newspapers. And then the Free Press asked me to write some articles on politics in Cebu. So they [Press Free] sent somebody to Cebu to entice me, to invite me to join the Free Press. The Free Press normally didn't do that. You had to apply. But this time, they went out of their way because they liked somebody. So I accepted this invitation because at that time, the Free Press was the biggest, most influencial newspaper in the whole country. One of the oldest.

Q. When was this? more or less?
A. This was late 50's, 60's, 70's. Before and after the war, the Free Press was great. Okay? It was owned by an American. It was a non-nonsense newspaper. It was crusading. At that time, when you ran a story for the Free Press, that was already great. That's a reason for celebration.

Q. Can we get your journalism experiences?
A. One by one.

Q. The year, newspaper and your position (reporter, editor, or columnist etc).
A. First, I became the editor of The Carolinian, that is the publication of San Carlos University. Then I became a syndicated columnist. They liked my columns, syndicated around the country and provincial newspapers. And then, I was asked by the Free Press to come join them. I became a political reporter of the Philippines Free Press. Fortunately, after my first year of journalism, of writing, in Manila, in the Free Press, I won the highest journalism award, which is the "Journalist of the Year Award".

Q. Sir, when did you become a political reporter? When was this?
A. From the late 1950's...Then, I was also an exchange journalist of the Smithmunth program of the U.S. State Department. I was assigned to the Philadelphia Bulletin. I was writing, and then I was training.

Q. Before you became a political reporter for the Philippine Free Press, you were an exchange journalist, or was this after?
A. I think that was after. So that was the situation. In 1971, there was a move to amend the constitution. My friends told me, "You, Nap, you are always criticizing the government. Now is your time. You become a delegate to the constitutional convention that's authorized to change the constitution. So, I went there. When I went there, I said, many at that time said that Marcos was so powerful. At that time, the President [Marcos] was not entitled to re-election. No third term was allowed. That's why he batted for a bill proposing for the formation of a constitutional convention so that he could, through his tutas in the convention, amend the constitution to allow him to extend his term beyond his second term. So, what I did during my first few weeks there, I filed a resolution. Ang resolution ko, "Ban Marcos from running for a third term". What I wrote to make it fair was that no former president could run under this new constitution for president nor their wives as proxies. So, it covered all. Of course, Marcos, he was so mad because it became the most popular resolution. He drew the line. Now, those who were pro-Marcos didn't sign it, and those who were anti-Marcos signed it.

Q. So during this time, sir, were you still writing for the Philippines Free Press?
A. I was still writing for the Free Press despite the fact that I was already with the Constitutional Convention, but I was writing part time lang. But they liked my writing. So, they begged me to continue writing. So, when that resolution was about to be passed, nagalit si Marcos. There were already so many delegates who signed it, and we were able to get the majority already. He could not stop it. What he did, he decreed Martial Law. Alam mo, the first guy that was picked up was me. Together Ninoy Aquino and I and nine others [these included Jose Marie Velez, Ramon Mitra, Jose Diokno, Soc Rodrigo Max Soliven, Chino Roces. The other three names were forgotten by Mr Rama already.], we were put in the same prison cell and were prize prisoners of Marcos.

Q. Could you tell us more about your experiences during Martial Law?
A. I was picked up 2 hours after Martial Law was signed. There were some soldiers who came to my house. They said that they were sorry because they have an order of arrest. They cannot do anything because they were only following the order. Martial Law is frightening because people would become robots. They were saying, "I'm sorry, we don't think anymore. We have this order to have you arrested. We don't like to arrest you but there's an order. We become robots". That is Martial Law. We were there with Ninoy. We were released because we asked the International Press Institute to help us. They're western newspapers, so they came here and asked Marcos why we were in jail. They were told that it was because we were writing against Martial Law. But for heaven's sake! When we were writing, there was no Martial Law yet. There was no law against writing against Marcos. Marcos promised to release us in October. November came, nothing happened. So the newspapers around the world carried editorials against Marcos, forcing him to release us except Ninoy [Aquino] and [Jose] Diokno who was a senator at that time. All of them had died except me and Max Soliven. All my nine prison mates had died, all great people.

Q. After you were released, did you continue to write?
A. I couldn't write, nobody would accept me. We weren't allowed to write.

Q. So, you were unemployed then?
A. No, because I was smart. You know why? Many of my friends like Max Soliven didn't know what to do with his writing. Ako, I was a lawyer. I should be a lawyer to survive. I said, I had made the right decision.

Q. So when was the time you resumed writing?
A. Soon after the EDSA Revolution, the biggest newspaper at that time was the Manila Times. They got me as one of the editors. But after twenty years of Martial Law, people had forgotten the Manila Times. Later, the Cory Administration said that we needed a new Constitution. Then they had the Freedom Constitution which is a revolutionary constitution, meaning, a constitution made by the revolutionary leader, without approval of the country. So, we needed a formal constitution approved by all the people in a plebiscite. So, what happened was that fifty people were appointed to form the Constitutional Commission, and I was one of them. I was elected floor leader. After three months, we redid our constitution. That is the constitution now.

Q. This was in 1986, sir?
A. 1986-1987. Under the present Constitution, it's so hard for the president to decree Martial Law. We need the approval of Congress, and the Martial Law decree could now be contested in the Supreme Court.

Q. So, after becoming editor of the Manila Times, you transferred to the Bulletin, or did they hire you?
A. Yeah, after the Constitutional Commission, the owner of the Manila Bulletin said, "Nap, could you come over and be publisher?". Sabi ko, "Of course, if the price is right!" (Laughs) But Manila Bulletin was already the biggest newspaper that time eh. It was partly owned by a crony of Marcos, so it was boycotted by Cory Aquino. Pero when we took over, we became a normal newspaper. Then it became great.

Q. Do you still remember what year they took you as publisher of Manila Bulletin?
A. 1987, soon after we wound up our job in the Constitutional Commission, they got me.

Q. So, you did not really stay long in the Manila Times?
A. I was there for three months when there was a labor strike.

Q. So, do you have any memories, best memories of being a writer?
A. One of the memories I have is when I went to the seminary. In the seminary, I didn't get to see girls. I was in 7th grade. I stayed there an intern for 5 years. I was very shy. Then I said, it's not my vocation. I was a favorite of the director, so, he would send me out to get our mail.....etc. It's a funny seminary because in front of the seminary was the "Immaculada Concepcion", that was the "Assumption" of Cebu, just in front of our dormitory. So what I did, when they [the girls] were out at the end of classes, I'd go out also, kunyari to get the mail. Pero I'd go around to see the girls from that school. So later, I went to school in San Carlos University, a coed school. But when I was in coed school, I was so shy. I could not look at a girl in the eye. So, ang sabi ko, I had to get out of this cocoon of shyness. I had to get out of this and do something. But what could I do? Ah! I would write a love poem. That was successful. When I wrote a love poem for our school organ, everybody liked it. It was a beautiful poem. Do you know the title? "How to make your love life lovely". A very good title. It began this way, "If you must love at all, love well and completely/ Do not love with your right ventricle and loathe with your left/ Do not invite with your eyes and repel with your lips/ If you must love at all, love well and thoroughly/ Let every bit of you feel devotion/ Let every atom in you say I love you." It was a great poem! All the girls were saying, "Wow, what a poem!" So, I became popular and then I became love counselor. After that, I became the editor. I began to interview the most beautiful coeds like you and put them in the school newspaper. That's one of my very nice experiences as a writer. So, I found out that the pen was very powerful. So you should start writing yourself. You can acquire the ability to write by writing and writing, and reading and reading, and rewriting and rewriting. You should do that. Aren't you writing already?

Q. Yes, sir.
A. You do already?

Q. After you've gone out of college, did you start writing for your father's paper?
A. No. Unfortunately, my father's paper was killed by the war. You know what the Americans did? They burned everything because they thought that the newspaper would be very valuable to the enemy, the Japanese. So, to prevent the Japanese from using the paper, they burned everything and all effort and lifetime savings of my father went up in flames. He couldn't get over it.

Q. How old were you when your father's paper got burned?
A. I was near the 20s already.

Q. So, did you get a chance to have some stories published?
A. Unfortunately, we should have done that eh. But my father was so sentimental. He said, "That's my lifetime work," and he couldn't bear to start all over again. Because, if he started all over again, he said he's not young anymore. He didn't want to burden the family. Anyway, he was a senator. So, you need another experience as a newspaper man?

Q. Yes, we need to know the early years, I mean, your early experiences as a newspaper man.
A. Well, ah! How did I become the number one journalist after first year of writing? Well, ah, that's interesting. I hope it will give you an insight of what kind of newsmen we have. I was covering Congress, ok. I was a reporter for the Free Press. One evening, they were distributing the report of the Reparations Commission. The Reparations Commission was the commission in Japan that was authorized to get money from Japan and give it to the Filipinos in reparation of the damage that the Japanese did. Meaning, either in cash or in kind, there was supposed to be $400M ha, $400M that Japan was supposed to grant. But as usual, a reparations commissioner got into some racket, but had to render a reparations report to the country-- he had to report what he did in the Reparations Commission and what he got for the Philippines, etcetera, etcetera. You know, I have an analytical mind. I was analyzing. Number one, many of the awardees were not the soldiers, or veterans, nor the orphans. There were big businessmen eh, some racketeers, and they were getting the reparations goods, ships, machines, etc., and a lot of money went down the drain. And they were also buying unnecessary things like trainee planes. We had the military bases to get trainee planes from but they liked the kickbacks from reparations planes. So, one evening, they distributed this Reparations Report in Congress, and the Congress Press Club didn't want to give me a copy because at that time I was considered a provincial newsman lang ka eh.

Q. So, you were just writing for the provincial syndicate?
A. For the syndicated column, oo. Sabi ko, nevermind, bigyan mo na lang ako ng isa. So, I was able to get one. I could not get in the newsmen gallery. Probinsyano ako eh. I was writing for the Free Press pero beginning pa lang so I got the copy. Itong mga fellow newmen ko, they got a copy and then they went to the night club and threw away the book. Ako naman, I got the book and because I'm a lawyer, I bothered to read it. Then I found all the anomalies there. There, I found out that we were getting as reparations the wrong things through their favorite businessmen. The Japanese Reparations became a big racket so I wrote about it. I ran a series of articles but it was based on the official report of the Reparations Commisssion, a copy which was furnished to everybody, ok? So, I won and found out later that my fellow newsmen got scolded by their publishers and editors. "Bakit si Rama? He's a new guy. Everyone of you was given the reparation report. Why is it that you didn't bother to read it?"

Q. So, you were the only one who bothered to write about it.
A. I read it and studied it.

Q. That won you the award.
A. I won the "Journalist of the Year Award"!

Q. After one year!
A. Yes! Some people, some of them newsmen, they've been newsmen for 30 years and have never won the award. Sabi ko, "Because you were not dedicated to your job." Those are the things. And many other thing is that, it's very dangerous to be writing. These are called the "muck-raking" stories, noh, "racket-busting" stories. That was my expertise. Pero I never got threatened, I never got sued. Very simple. I try to be as fair as possible. I did not write out of spite or because I was hired by the other party or I didn't like that guy. I wrote it because I felt it was my duty to protect national interest and to protect what is good and what is right. Many of my friends got sued for malice but no one ever sued me for libel and I'm proud of that.

Q. Sir, let's go back to the syndicated columns that you wrote before..
A. I was the first syndicated columnist. I was also the officer of the Provincial Newspaper's Association. What is your question?

Q. So, when you say syndicated, it's like you write and it gets published in a lot of newspapers. Did you have an office for this or do you just gather...?
A. No. I just wrote. I was then supporting Magsaysay. We needed a reformist and he was a very good reformist, Magsaysay. There was, at that time, the communist movement and Magsaysay was fighting the communists and fighting corruption. So, I supported him because we needed a good leader. Unfortunately, he died.

Q. When you write your articles where do you submit these?
A. I submit it to our branch, to the members of the Association of Provincial Journalists, Association of Provincial Newspapers.

Q. So sir, you have an office for that?
A. Ah no, just my law office.

Q. Sir, could you tell us more about the Philippines Free Press, in terms of its facilities. Diba, you worked there as a reporter and you go there to submit your stories?
A. Yeah. I had an office there. It was a weekly. What happened was that, in the Free Press, the Free Press was the most powerful newspaper before the war and after the war. The reason for that, it was a crusading newspaper. It was against graft and corruption in the government and then it was crusading in defending the rights of the people, especially the poor. Now, this Free Press was founded by an American who was a soldier, McCullough Dick. He was a good writer, so much so that even during the American administration, he incurred the ire of the Americans themselves. He wanted a government that was honest, a government that represented the people. He became very famous. He hired the Filipino writers. So, the Free Press built a reputation of crusading a no-nonsense newspaper, It was the most influential, most powerful newspaper. It could make and unmake a president.

Q. Were you able to meet him?
A. Yes, but he was already old at that time. He would sometimes write to me, congratulating me. But he was quite old so it was the Filipinos who were running the show. Ang mga Filipinos adopted the principles, adopted the dedication of the Free Press.

Q. Where was the Free Press located?
A. The Free Press at that time, a long time ago, was in the Intramuros. Then, in transferred to Rizal Ave., then to Pasong Tamo. Up to now, I think it's there. Ah, you know, I think they have changed venues. It was a prestigious newspaper and if you read the old Free Press copies, ah, there is a book on the Free Press. You can read some of the articles there.

Q. At that time, were you already using typewriters?
A. Yeah, up to now. (Laughs).

Q. Up to now!
A. Because I've been so used to the typewriter, I love the clicking sound of the typewriter. Yung computer walang clicking sound eh. So, it doesn't make much difference to me because I could still use it. Old writers still use the typewriter. Of course, the electric typewriter. (Laughs).

Q. Were the buildings big enough?
A. Which building?

Q. The Philippines Free Press' building?
A. Yeah, it was one of the biggest newspaper buildings.

Q. Is it still there in Intramuros?
A. It is there but they sold it to the Manila Bulletin and they had another building na ngayon wala na sila eventually. It was only great at that time, I am telling you, because the best writers, the great writers , some of the great writers like Nick Joaquin are no longer there. I am no longer there, Greg rillantes (short story writer) is no longer there. Of course, the Locsins are there but they are just owners, they are not the Free Press.

Q. Sir, could you describe the building and the office equipment that the Philippines Free Press used at that time?
A. Anong...

Q. Did they use offset printing, offset printers or letterpress?
A. Yes! At that time, they were already using offset. During my time, they had already shifted to offset.

Q. During that time, you alredy had an office there? Or no, you were just a reporter?
A. I had an office there. After one or two years, I had an office. Because they couldn't help it, I was "Journalist of the Year".

Q. Was the place properly ventilated?
A. Yes!

Q. They had aircons already?
A. Yes, they had aircons.

Q. How many storeys?
A. It rose two stories at that time. In the Free Press, we had a separate building for the machines and for the office.

Q. Sir, could you recall any memorable editor or publisher or colleagues that you've worked with before?
A. Yeah, one of the greatest writers we have is Nick Joaquin. He is still alive. You should interview him. He is the genius when it comes to writing. Unfortunately, sometimes he wrote commercial biographies. But if you read his articles on history and national issues, he's a great writer and a very great poet. I think he is the greatest poet the country has ever produced. And then, we have [Greg] Brillantes. We were a very prestigious group, feared and admired.

Q. Sir, any memorable editors?
A. Editors? Our group was great, including Locsin [Teddy Locsin, Sr.]. Locsin was the chief editor at that time. We were the staff members. Staff members wrote about what's happening in the government, we wrote about graft and corruption, about great events and historical events.

Q. Locsin was your editor at that time. Was he very strict in terms of the grammar aspects of news writting?
A. Yeah, he was quite strict but we were already an excellent group that he didn't have much problem with us. He was just correcting, occasionally correcting us up. We had our associate editor who was an American, and he wanted to prove something. He was criticizing us because he was appointed primarily because he was an American. Sometimes, he overcorrected.

Q. I think we covered it all.
A. Ah.. You want to know about my love life?

Q. Ah, after na lang.
A. Ah after this. (Laughs) Because what's important is that you should realize that writing is important in this country. Why? Because of the circumstances now. So many people are writing when they shouldn't be writing. About 80% of columnists are writing but they shouldn't be writing because they don't have the ability to diagnose the problem. They don't have the ability to pinpoint the issues. For instance, very few of them, I don't know anyone of them, could pinpoint the issue in this Erap thing. They say, like, many in the opposition think that Erap should resign because Erap is getting money from jueteng, because he's got several wives. That's not the main reason why he should resign. The main reason is that Erap has destroyed the economy. And when you destroy the economy of the country, you make people poor. You know how many people are poor now? This is a very big crime! You go to Roxas Boulevard. People there are squatting on the sea walls. Now, if you have a president who is destroying the economy and making people poor, he's got to quit. He can be jueteng king and still manage to protect the people by protecting the economy. If you destroy the economy and therefore making people poor, that's unacceptable. But that is what many people do not understand. All they write is "Erap quit!" because he has several mansions. That's not the main reason. The main reason that he destroyed the economy, the nation itself. He cannot perform his duties.

Q. Sir, are you still writing now?
A. Ako, yeah. I'm writing every now and then. But because I'm publisher, I can't do that sometimes. I write, and sometimes, I don't write, depending on my mood.

Q. Sir, but you still practice law?
A. Yeah, but I choose mga 7 to 10 cases a year. Because I don't want to forget my law naman. My father spent much money for my law schooling. Ikaw, what do you want to do when you graduate?

Q. Not sure, maybe study again.
A. Study again? What will you study?

Q. Graduate school.
A. For what? Journalism?

A. Ah, that's nice. You know, it's nice you have this kind of interview. Because not too many peole understand the problem of the country. It is the media, basically, that influenced the thinking of the people. Diba media is very important to you. Now, if the media is crowded with people who are poorly educated, then the country is in trouble. Now, some of the media people are corrupt. They are like a jukebox. You put money there and they sing a song. One of the reasons why we have corrupt media is because, unfortunately, they are not well paid. Because, we have a peculiar problem with this country. This country can afford only 3 newspapers. But we have 22. So there you are. When you have 22 newspapers, something is wrong somewhere. Our newspaper [Manila Bulletin] makes money legitimately. We make half a billion every year but we pay well. As a matter of fact, we pay 3 bonuses a year.

Q. Sir, would you say that at the time you were employed with the Philippines Free Press, you were poorly paid?
A. We were the best paid at that time. And the reason for that is that the Americans were virtually giving the Free Press to the employees. Eto namang employees, they're getting this for themselves, they might as well distribute the earnings among themselves. The owner was so nice and was so dedicated to journalism and was not greedy, so he would allow 3 to 4 bonuses a year. We were highly paid. And so, we could resist temptations. Unfortunately, in our days, our newspapermen are so poorly paid and sometimes, there's a dilemma and a moral issue. Sometimes, they needed money for a sick child or what not. They succumb to temptation to survive. Q; Sir, could you tell us how much you are paid?
A. Ako, I pay 1 million pesos in taxes. Taxes pa lang yan a.

Q. Back then?
A. Ah, in the Free Press, I was paid like half a million pesos now.

Q. Equivalent to half a million pesos now?
A. Yes, equivalent to half a million pesos now.

Q. So that's per month?
A. No, that's for the whole year. Because at that time, that was the standard pay. Now, I pay for my taxes lang 1 million pesos. So, you could imagine how much I get paid. That's it.

Q. Sir, one last question. Could you tell us more about your experiences when you were detained in Camp Crame? What did you do there?
A. First, we were picked up early in the morning. And then, we were sent to the gymnasium in Camp Crame. We were there, about 500 of us. And then, Ninoy [Aquino] was there. Everybody in the opposition was there. And sabi ni Ninoy, "Well, we can be shot." And then, after a while, there was a general who called out our names. There were 11 of us there: Ninoy Aquino, Chino Roces...the top [the others that Mr. Rama remembered were: Jose Mari Velez, Ramon Mitra, Jose Diokno, Soc Rodrigo and Max Soliven]. So then, in the afternoon, we were out in a bus, from Camp Crame going to Makati. Si Ninoy, he was a very jolly guy. When we were at the corner, I think, of Shaw Boulevard, the people were all looking at us because we were all in a tourist bus. And Ninoy had a very sharp mind. He said, "Nap, look at our people. They know that we are fighing for their rights and they know that we sacrifice for their sake. And look at them, they're just watching. They are not doing anything. They know in Martial Law, there is dictatorship." So, I told Ninoy, "You are so right but we expect so much from our people. They are not really very well-educated." Sabi ko, "They are helpless before Martial Law." And then, when we were going to Buendia, sabi niya, "Nap, if we turn right, we're going to Luneta to be shot." One of the guys with us, Max Soliven, he was very nervous. He said, "Why do you make that joke?" Fortunately, we went straight and were deposited in Fort Bonicacio. There were three gates of maximum security. We were deposited there, 11 of us. I said, "Ninoy, why are you always cracking jokes? You know Max Soliven is getting peeved." Then Ninoy said, "You know, I just took a shower there." I said, "Why did you take a shower Ninoy?" Then he said, "So, when I meet my creator, I'm clean." So, Max Soliven said, "Why do you kid and joke?" So, I told him, "Why are you kidding Max Soliven, he's a nervous wreck." He [Ninoy] said, "I'm still happy because there's still eleven of us. One of these days, I'll be alone, and that's going to kill me." And true enough, he was able to predict an accurate prophecy of his own doom. After 3 months, after 4 months, siya na lang mag-isa. Terrible for him because he's the kind of guy who will not survive without people around him, without anyone to talk to. So, it happened.

Q. Eh ikaw, how did you feel when you were picked up?
A. You know, I felt that it was very unfair. It destroyed a part of my life. Because I was already the vice president of the Con-Com [Constitutional Commission] and people wanted me to be a vice presidential candidate of the country. That was all destroyed. Martial Law destroyed the dreams and future of many. Imagine, 20 years [Martial Law], 1972 up to 86, 14 years! So I see myself born in the wrong time. If I were born in the right time, I could be great.

Atty. Nap Rama was born on July 27, 1932, in Cebu City, and studied at University of San Carlos. His career in journalism, which began in the 1950s, was interrupted by martial law and resumed after the EDSA Revolution. In 1986 President Aquino appointed him to the Constitutional Commission. At the time of this interview, he was publisher of the Manila Bulletin.