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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An Open Letter to Harvey Keh

Dear Harvey,

I read with interest your letter of despair which has spread throughout Philippine cyberspace. I am sure many of us sympathize with your frustration. Certainly, the 7 events you mentioned may give rise to you emigrating from the Philippines. Those events should certainly give pause to all of us who bleed for our motherland.

But I must disagree with you on your decision to leave. Instead, let me be the first to tell that the seven events you stated should convinced you all the more to fight the good fight!

Unlike you, I am now 44 years old, 17 years older than you. Unlike you who at 27 years old was already an achiever, I was just about to finish my studies at the Ateneo Law School and pondering how it meant to be “a man for others” in the legal profession.

At 27, I have not sent anyone to school nor set up a foundation for indigent but deserving students because I was one myself - a recipient of the hard work that my parents went through to put me and my siblings to school. At 27, I have nothing equal to your accomplishments.

But there lies the difference between us – I was a martial law baby exposed to the abuses of power and naked display of arrogance by the Marcos regime, I was a martial law baby inspired by the towering figures of the Opposition who stood up for 14 years against the tyrannical rule of a dictator and whose evil days seemed to have no end in sight and I was a martial law baby who stood shoulder to shoulder with hundreds and thousands of Filipinos in that hallowed avenue during 3 glorious days in February of 1986 which gave me and the rest of the world what it meant to hope.

Yes, Mr. Keh, we must hang on to hope.

The Marcos years were darker in every respect compared to this administration which seemed to have forgotten that People Power enthroned her where she is now.

The Marcos years were more unforgiving to those who crossed the dictator although the ruthless, ungrateful recipients of People Power in this administration are trying to, and quite successfully, I might add, approximate the vile venom of vengeance against those who opposed them.

The Marcos years were more sinister than the seven events you enumerated which will compel you and a host of others to leave our country for peace and stability.

But in all these, I never lost hope because I have seen and witnessed more sinister days than what we have now. Perhaps, owing to the fact that you were only 6 or 7 years old when the EDSA Revolution took place and perhaps, you only heard from your siblings or forebears what it was like living in fear under the Marcos regime that you feel that all your current efforts are laid to waste if the Filipinos put to reality your seven deadly fears. Trust me when I say this and I do so without disparage, the seven events are nothing compared to the fearful 14 dark years of Martial Law.

Believe me, Mr. Keh, your seven deadly fears should not cause you to lose hope. Rather, it should all the more convince you of the necessity of improving and expanding your service to the education sector. That what you are doing now is to plant seeds to the Filipinos you cross paths with and in the true meaning of AHON, the foundation you set up, tide them over from darkness to light, from pessimism to optimism and from despair to hope.

And even as we speak, there will certainly be Filipinos, like the towering opposition figures during the Marcos regime, who will not give in to bribery, who will not bow down to greed and avarice and who will not cower in fear. For every Filipino who you know can be bought, there will be two or three Filipinos who will stand up for what is right and just. And for every Filipino who will give up on the country because of the hopeless political situation, there will be Filipinos like Leah Navarro who came back because she loves this country too damn much to be left to political opportunists who care for nothing but enrich themselves.

What do we need to do?

As you rightly put it, “Manindigan naman tayong lahat para sa ating Kinabukasan at para sa Kapakanan ng ating Bayan!”. And beyond these midterm elections, we need to shrug off our shroud of apathy and indifference. Getting involved is not only getting the right people to the Senate and to Congress. Getting involved means getting indignant at the evil that the administration does and acting on that indignation. Because to continue allowing ourselves to wallow in indifference, we will find ourselves in a situation similar to the time Marcos run roughshod over the country. Some people say we are already in that conundrum. But even then, people who sacrificed their comforts fighting a dictatorship stuck to this country, never gave up and never left.

Have hope, Harvey, and do not leave. Remember the last thing that came out of Pandora’s box was Hope. It may well be our only weapon against the coming night.


Blogger lateralus said...

Kudos for writing this letter. To be honest, I never liked Harvey Keh's condescending letter.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

I heard Mr Harvey on the radio last Friday. I do not think he literally meant the part about leaving the country if certain events do happen in the Philippines. Rather, it is poetic license used to emphasize a point.

I've met Harvey and while I'm not as familiar with him to call him a friend, I do not think he is the type to give up on the Philippines.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Kanoko said...

Very well said, sir. If one loses hope now, that goes one point to the political opportunists. What the previous commenter, Charles, said makes sense though. It's actually the first thing I thought upon reading Mr. Keh's letter.

Rest assured, this one person whose comment you're reading right now will always hang on to hope - and she hopes that her fellowmen also do the same. This letter you've written is a great eye-opener, a wake-up call to all Filipinos.

1:07 AM  
Blogger design addict said...

Two things:

(1) His email was not meant for public consumption. He emailed it to his friends, and the tone of the writing was meant to be appreciated by people who knew him.

(2) He did not literally mean he was going to leave the Philippines, he merely used the line to try to drive a point

10:56 AM  
Blogger Deany Bocobo said...

Aw c'mon, let him leave already!

9:43 AM  
Blogger mama_aly said...

all it takes is a letter like this to rouse the eloquent from slumber. glad to have dropped by to see that you are blogging again.

write more, brother!

7:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

KKK - Kalayaan Katarungan Katotohanan

Ang taong masaya sa katimawaan ng kanyang mundong kayamanan
Ay di matuturing mayaman dahil sa mga naimbak niyang kasaganaan
Iparis mo sa ibang dukha na may sapat lamang makakain sa araw araw
At sa pananamit dala hanggang sa kanyang puntod,
Na kahit ang ating Diyos ay makakayang maihandong.

Ang bunga ng lahat ng pagdadahas at pang-aapi, pagnakaw at pagdaya
Ay isang mabagsik na kamandag na kamatayan sa sinuman.

May mga mayaman na dalisay at may mga malupit
May mga dukha na mabait at may mga masama
May mga matalino na dakila at may mga dahas
May mga mangmang na marikit at may mga mabagsik

Saan tayo papanig, sino ang ating maasahan at pagkakatiwalaan !!
Di ba’t sa ating wagas na paniniwala sa banal na kaugalian.
Itong banal na paniniwala at walang kupas na tunay na katotohanan
Na tayong lahat na may paniningdigan dito ay di magbabago
Ng kahit ano man katumbas ng mundong kayamanan at kapangyarihan !!!

Ang taong may dalisay at banal na paniningdigan sa buhay at sa kapwa
Ay di kailanman magbabago at mababago ng kahit anumang bagay
Ngunit ang mundong kayamanan at kapangyarihan ay laging nagbabago
Sa mga taong huwahawak at sumasaklaw nito sa araw araw.

Lahat tayo ay mga anak ng Diyos, at lahat tayo ay may karapatan
Na mabuhay sa munting mundong hinadong ng ating Amang Diyos.
May mga sinilang na mayaman at may mga sinilang na maralita.
May mga naging mayaman at may mg naging maralita
Dahil sa takbo ng buhay na punong puno ng kapalaran
Kapalaran na lahat tayo ang may kagagawan mabuti’t masama man.

Kung ang nais natin matamasa ang katahimikan at kasaganaan.
Dapat magsamasama tayo’t magtulungan para sa lahat ng kapakanan
Walang mayaman o mahirap, walang matalino o m~ngm~ng
Walang kapangyarihan lakas, walang panglilinglang, dahas o pang-aapi.
Mag-samasama tayong lahat ilabas ang ating Gintong-Puso at kadakilaan
At iahon natin ang buhay ng lahat sa lahat ng sulok ng Pilipinas at daigdig.

Kung ako ay Mayaman tutulungan ko ang mahihirap para guminhawa sila
Kung ako ay Mahirap gagawa ako ng kabutihan para bawas ang kasamaan
Ang pagkakamkam ng kayamanan ang dahilan ng kahirapan sa buhay
Ang paglaganap ng dukha ay paghiwatig na lumalaganap na kasamaan.

Tayong Mayayaman,
paginhawain ninyo ang mga dukha nang lumaganap ang kabutihan
Tayong Mahihirap,
Gumawa ng mubuti sa lahat ng kapwa at sa lahat ng panahon
Tayong Lahat,
Magmahalan tayo at magmalasakit sa isa’t isa

Ito ang tulay na matatawid natin patungo sa katahimakan
Ito ang bangkang magtatawid sa atin sa pangpang ng kasaganaan.
Ito ang sanggalang magkakalasag sa lahat ng kasamaan.

Diyos ang ating Tagapagtanggol
Ang Alab ng Kanyang AWA ay umaagos na
Mabubuhay ang mga TAPAT sa KANYA
Maglalaho ang mga SUWAIL sa KANYA

Nasa DIYOS ang AWA
Nasa tao ang gawa


11:34 PM  
Blogger Blog to America said...

Hey Edwin,
Very well-written letter. I am one of the founders of a new site called Blog to America. I think your unique Philippine perspective would be a great addition to our site. Our goal is to find individuals like yourself to help increase global awareness and create a greater understanding of the way the United States is viewed across the world. Our site allows people to write a letter addressed to the United States telling the world how they feel about any and all topics relating to the U.S. Perhaps you can write a letter like this one addressed to the United States :)

If you are interested in writing a letter to the United States or simply interested in reading letters written by others from across the globe, please visit our site at


Thank you for your time and I look forward to reading your letter.


Blog to America

2:04 PM  
Blogger Teci Pulido said...

thank you, thank you :)

thank God that you are so much filled with hope, and determination to fight the good fight. :)

God bless you and the rest of our dear Philippines :)

12:47 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Many of us have differing opinions. I think that Edwin's letter is a bit too "wise". No one really knows everything. What did you really try to say? Nothing wrong with being ideal, it keeps the heart alive. How were you when you were 27, Edwin?

12:30 PM  
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