Lila Ramos-Shahani is the daughter of former Senator Letty R. Shahani and the niece of former president Fidel V. Ramos (FVR). In her “Notes from an Insomniac” blog (http://lilashahani.blogspot.com/), Lila is identified as an editor and policy adviser currently living in New York City. Lila is also currently pursuing her doctorate from Oxford University while working as a consultant at the United Nations.
Lila recently posted an Open Letter to FVR dated October 14, 2009 which has stirred a lot of interest and is making the rounds in the internet. She admires and loves her famous uncle, a People Power icon, but also noted some of the bad marks that he had made.
Lila wrote: “I have never felt the need to write you before, although I have always carefully observed your decisions through the years.”
Lila went on to enumerate her own misgivings about some of the controversies associated with FVR — martial law era human rights violations, military logging under the Marcos administration, the signing of IPP contracts after the power crisis (and the high cost of electricity for consumers), the San Roque dam, PEA/Amari, the Fort Bonifacio conversion/privatization program, the VFA, the Centennial celebration, the endorsement of Joe de Venecia and the continued support of GMA until the bitter end.
Lila further wrote: “I have had many questions about your decisions through the years, but none that ever made me feel the need to engage with you at length. To begin with, ours was not a particularly discursive relationship. More importantly, I always felt the need to give you the benefit of the doubt, and trusted that you had the best interests of the Filipino people at heart.”
She added: “The thought of your supporting Gibo (or even a Villar/Escudero tandem, for that matter, in the event that Gibo has become too unpopular since Ondoy) was finally enough to make me put pen to paper. Without a doubt, Gibo is “incomparably competent,” but then so were Joe de V and GMA (Gloria M. Arroyo).”
Lila unleashes the bombshell: “But I think the sweep of history speaks for itself: competent candidates with strong party affiliations are not necessarily going to be good leaders, nor will they necessarily be what the people want. Because they lack a certain basic honesty, and I suspect the people sense that. If Gibo were sincere, why would he stay with Lakas-CMD, particularly now that the merger with Kampi has been honored by the Supreme Court? Surely the ruling party has been discredited at this point, in view of everything GMA has done? There really is no need to enumerate anymore: I think, by now, we’re all pretty familiar with what those things are.”
She continues: “Even Obama was reluctant to have an audience with her, and overseas Filipinos continue to refuse to send money to the Ondoy victims through their embassies and consulates, so deep indeed is their distrust of the government! Moreover, his performance in the post-Ondoy relief effort has hardly been stellar, as you must have already noted.”
She asked: “Uncle Ed? Do you really want to go down in history as the guy who saved GMA after “Hello, Garci” and who continued to hand the country down to its unscrupulous elite from one administration to another? Isn’t the respect of the young — and of history itself — the most important thing, at the end of the day? In my humble opinion, the best way to refurbish the fading Eddie brand now is to do the right thing and heed the will of the people.”
Lila gets to the point: “Noynoy, of course, is less than perfect: we all know that. His record is remarkable only in its lack of remarkable achievements, and he certainly isn’t a particularly brilliant thinker or charismatic speaker. But he has never been tainted by any suggestions of corruption and does not appear to have the propensity to throw his weight around. He is apparently thoughtful, respectful and humble, and we can only hope that his lineage will encourage him to sacrifice for the country the way his extraordinary parents did. Because of this inimitable heritage, he is now the one candidate with the potential to unite the opposition against the ruling party.”
Lila stresses her point: “The point is: the people are clearly tired, not just of the “bickering,” as you say, but of the trapos themselves, and are willing to bet on someone who falls very far outside the standard mold (Noynoy is, if you will, a reluctant Cojuangco, something many respect and appreciate). At any rate, I sincerely hope you will consider my thoughts — the thoughts of a young Filipina who loves her country immeasurably — when you make your decision.”
“I sincerely hope that you place the country over any other considerations and choose the candidate who is really best for the country, and not in terms of who might further consolidate the tremendous power you already wield,” Lila said.
How will FVR react to Lila’s well expressed love for people and country and well rationalized choice for 2010 president? Will FVR opt to continue playing the traditional political game? Or will FVR return to his People Power roots and support Noynoy Aquino, the People Power candidate?