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