Lopez Group Chairman emeritus Oscar M. LopezAs Filipinos marked the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law last month, Lopez Group chairman emeritus Oscar M. Lopez (OML) observed that the country is now in “a new and well deserved era of political and social change.”
Speaking at the launch of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s autobiography “Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir,” OML spoke about the importance the lessons of the past, especially those that extracted a steep price in their learning.
“The lessons of martial law must be continuously taught, nurtured and never forgotten,” he said.
“I know what most of you are wondering about as you listen to me now. What is the patriarch of the Lopez family doing here appearing chummy with the implementer of martial law? Why did ABS-CBN publish his autobiography when the network was the earliest casualty of the martial law regime?
“I know it is not easy to understand. Even for me, I most likely wouldn’t have thought this day possible. Perhaps with the passage of time… all 40 years of it… I try to view things from as many perspectives as possible. And I have realized that it helps to see, as well, the humanity of those of us who lived through that horrible time including those from the opposite side of the street…
“Johnny wrote that even he was a victim of the Marcos dictatorship… He also wrote about how his life was placed in danger as a military clique under General Ver plotted to assassinate him weeks before People Power finally erupted in 1986…
“Still, I have not answered why this Lopez would even want to have anything to do with the martial law administrator of Mr. Marcos. Not too many of you know that Johnny and I knew each other way back when we were both students in Harvard in the mid-‘50s. Johnny was working on his master’s at the Harvard Law School and I was also studying for my master’s in public administration at Harvard’s Littauer School, now known as the Kennedy School of Government.
“We knew and appreciated each other as ordinary human beings, way before we had taken our respective roles in our country’s political and economic life. I suppose that makes a difference because we can go beyond the caricatures the public may have of who we became later in our lives…
“As to why ABS-CBN is publishing Johnny’s book, I know Gabby made that decision in the exercise of a media entity’s obligation to present as many sides as it possibly can, on matters, events or anything that is of public interest…”
To read Oscar M. Lopez’s full speech, click here.