The Law of the Sea

Arturo M. Tolentino: I wish people will remember me for The Law of the Sea

Tolentino Bids for the President

Going back when he had the chance to run for Presidency under the banner of the Nationalistal and Marcos was in the Liberal party (opposition), he met with us and asked our opinion or “blessing” because he knows as the president of the country we might be neglected in some ways. We all gave him the blessing to go for it and so he announced his bid for Presidency. That was really his time. He was in his prime but the party needs money from each candidates.

June 20, 1964, the official announce of his attempt to run for Presidency appeared in Philippine Herald. He cited his twin objectives to serve the country and save the Nationalista party.

His announcement for the Presidency was not exactly unexpected in the Nationalista Party circles, it had been known he had been toying with the idea for a long time, and had been constantly prodded by friends and admirers to take a shot at it. He was considered the most highly qualified among the old time Nationalista’s for the post.

Money or lack of money, has often joined forces with fate in directing my father’s career. He was respected, popular, incorruptible and played the political game according to his own self-imposed code of ethics and morals. But then, as now and always, money played an important part in Philippine politics.

Marcos change party from the Liberal to the Nationalista Party, knowing that his chance of bidding for Presidency against Tolentino is a lot better than if he had stayed in the Liberal party. Unlike most people think that Marcos got his money as president, it’s very untrue. He was rich long before he entered politic and that got him to the presidency against Tolentino when the Nationalista party was in need of money that Tolentino can not afford to give.

The official breakdown of monies and the sources of these moonies used by the five Nationalista candidates at the convention in 1964 was as follows:

Marcos1.5 million pesos mostly contributed by usual admirers
Lopez1.0 million pesos from his own pocket
Pelaez1.0 million pesos the bulk from friends
Tolentino0.9 million pesos from a friend
Puyat0.3 million pesos from his various firms

There was an agreement among all of the candidates that they would not spend money to influence delegates of the convention, apparently everyone was doing it anyway.

If they wanted a highly qualified person to be the Presidential candidate – it would have been Tolentino but instead the Nationalista got Marcos. I believe that the Nationalista party wanted Marcos as Presidential candidate over Tolentino because Marcos was capable of getting money into the party.

I remember my father saying to me:

“No matter how much I want to be the Presidential candidate, I can only get so much from the sale of my property….and that won’t even be half of what the party needs.”

Deep in his my father’s heart, he knew that once Marcos becomes the president, he would be in Malacanan for a long, long time. The next time there was an opportunity to run for Presidency, he (my father) would be too old.