(Statement on his arrest by Gen. Fortunato Abat)

I have been arrested. By order of a President whose legitimacy is clouded in doubts, and carried out by one who acts and talks like he has forgotten he is not a fascist but one charged to champion law and justice.

Why have I been arrested? Because I dared to heed the longing cry of 85 million Filipinos for a man who would lead them out of the tyranny of corruption and deceit and incompetence of the present Administration.

I am an old solfier. I have served my country for over 50 years. As a teenaged guerilla fighter, as a soldier who fought in the jungles of Mindanao, as leader of the nation’s army, as ambassador, as a peacemaker tasked with bringing the torch of peace and reconciliation to our Muslim brothers. And if it means anything at all, I lost a soldier-son in the field of battle, a loss I grieved deeply and in silence consoled alone by the thought that my son gave up his life for a worthy cause.

I am now in my sunset years. Yet I dared to act in this hour of need of our country. Where are our youthful leaders? We of the old generation shed tears and blood to gain for our country honor, fredom and dignity. All the young to whom we have bequeathed these gifts are called upon to do is to stand in active vigilance that they may not be robbed of these gifts. But where are they?

Many of them stay in the sidelines unmindful of the plaintive plea of our people for a change, making sport of my age, jeering and ridiculing and pompously urging throwing me in jail and those others who out of genuine sense of patriotism have chosen to act.

But I have not given up all hope for our young. In time, goodness and love of country will again pulsate in their hearts. They will waken and act according to what their hearts dictate and not in the manner convenience or fear or the keepers of power unlawfully tell them to. In time.

The night is darkest before dawn. But come it will, the dawn.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

(Published as a full-page paid advertisement in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on December 20, 2005)

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