The Law of the Sea

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

Crime by Association

My father’s association with Marcos was a “crime” he had to pay much for. He accepted to be Vice President of Marcos in the snap-election, 1986. To many people, his teaming up with Marcos meant he was endorsing his policies. In other words, giving his blessing to what he had been so openly criticizing for so long.

Ironically, nothing could be further from the truth. Yet even now as I write this I can honestly say he suffered from that association although all he wanted to do was to serve his country and Filipino people better.

One thing people over looked or did not consider. All his speeches during the campaign were about the future, of what he intended to do if he was elected. He said, even in his acceptance speech, after his nomination as Vice President, and in the presence of Marcos, that he will continue to be an opposition in the administration.

In a private conversation between Marcos and my father, he was promised to share the duties of Presidency, and he saw this as his last opportunity to Presidency. He missed his chance with the Nationalista party in1964 when he was in his prime. Marcos needs a VP who can take over in case he has to step down. My father said, “he needs only to turn the wheel and let the future President continue turning it”.

Tolentino had a dream he carried for almost half a century, for the Philippines and the Filipino people; that died with Wenceslao Vinzons during the Japanese occupation and with my father recently, August 2, 2004.

When he was alive and active in the Philippine politics, he mentioned to me several times – “people’s memories are very short”.