Gathering of eagles | Inquirer Opinion

Gathering of eagles

TRADITIONS ARE beliefs or practices with symbolic meaning or special significance, passed down within a group or society. The word “tradition” comes from the Latin word “tradere,” meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. While it is commonly assumed that traditions have ancient history, many traditions, customs and practices have been created over relatively short periods of time.

In the Philippine Air Force family, one such tradition has been “A Night with the Air Chiefs,” an annual gathering of former commanding generals of the Air Force and their ladies. It is one of several activities culminating with the celebration of Air Force Day in early July.

Last Wednesday, the current Air Force commanding general, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey F. Delgado, and his lady, Maria Raquel, welcomed the chiefs to their residence in Villamor Air Base for an evening of fine dining with music provided by Air Force minstrels.


This year the dinner started on a somber note as we remembered Maj. Gen. Vicente Piccio Jr., the 15th PAF chief, who passed away a few weeks ago.


For the first time since the practice was started more than 20 years ago, all the living former Air Force chiefs were accounted for. They were joined by Amelia Lapeña and Julie de Leon, widows, respectively, of former Air Force chiefs Petronio Lapeña and Jose de Leon.

To my knowledge, this tradition exists only in the Air Force, although the Army, Navy and possibly the Philippine National Police have their own variations of a similar gathering. Someone said that the strength of an organization can be measured by how the members remember and honor their leaders from the past. The Air Force continues to build on similar traditions that can only bring out the best in the fellowship of airmen.


Political notes

  • If Erap Estrada turns down Vice President Jejomar Binay’s offer for him to run as his vice president, that would be the third strike for Binay. Earlier, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe both declined an offer to be his running mate.

In baseball, after three strikes you are out!

  • It is difficult to understand why Senator Poe’s qualifications for the presidency and the vice presidency are being questioned when only a few days ago, she was being courted to run on the same ticket with VP Binay.

Beware of the spurned lover!

  • Whatever happened to the Mamasapano investigations? Has anyone been charged for the deaths of 44 SAF troopers? What is clear is Alan Purisima will be back on the force by Wednesday, awaiting retirement in November. Since PNP-OIC Leonardo Espina retires next month, it is possible Purisima could return as PNP chief. What else would a four-star policeman be doing in Camp Crame?

Letters from senior citizens

The following letter was referred to me by my editor and it concerns a complaint of Antonio Calipjo Go, academic supervisor of Marian School of Quezon City:

“Last night I sent my niece to buy for me a bottle of Otosol ear drops (P400) at Mercury Drug on 590 Quirino Highway, Bagbag, Novaliches, Quezon City, which did not honor my senior citizen’s card, saying it was not enough. They did not give me the discount (P80) which I feel I was entitled to. Isn’t it that the 20-percent discount is reflected in their sales invoice, which means that Mercury Drug will not be taxed for that amount? When I called them up, the person who answered explained that I should have sent along with the money and my senior citizen’s card, the booklet (which I have lost) PLUS a signed authorization from me PLUS a valid ID of mine! She insisted that Mercury Drug cannot do anything because according to her, it is their policy and they are just following the law. Well, that might be true, but it is a harsh law just the same and it must be modified and made a little kinder and gentler. The law must be made doubly harsh for criminals like our army of thieving politicians (Why are they allowed hospital or house arrest, for instance?) and overly greedy businessmen but not for poor, needy and helpless senior citizens like me.”

My suggestion is that we follow the existing law and procedures. It took some time and much effort to pass the senior citizens law and it would be difficult and tedious to amend it at this point.

Without the safeguards that are currently in place, anyone could use another’s senior citizen card to make unauthorized purchases and this could lead to greater and wider abuse of the privilege.

Another suggestion: Perhaps, it would be good to know the Mercury Drug people in your community so that the business establishment is confident that they are dealing with a senior citizen.

* * *

From a proud mother, lawyer Gloria A. Fortun.

“My attention was called by your article about former PMA Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia who should have graduated Salutatorian of his class and instead passed the written exam for admission at the UP College of Law in Diliman.

“Please allow me to introduce myself which would explain why I got interested in your write-up about him. My husband, former RTC Judge Willelmo C. Fortun, and I had been blessed with six children who all graduated from the University of the Philippines, Diliman; four of them from the College of Law. The second of them, Philip Sigfrid, Class 1983, was the awardee in 1978 as Most Outstanding Corps Commander of the year, the medal pinned by no less than President Ferdinand Marcos at Camp Aguinaldo.

“As a practicing lawyer myself for the last 60 years, I would acknowledge that his military training and discipline contributed immensely to what Sigfrid has accomplished in the field of law. Law as a profession and a lifetime career is not confined to simply knowing what the legal provisions are. The practice of law demands care and meticulous preparation in attending to cases and more importantly, the formulation of legal strategy on how to handle them. I believe there is where Sigfrid stands head over shoulders of the rest.

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“Here is hoping Mr. Cudia will pursue the law course and prove that the loss in the military has turned to be a gain to the legal profession. . .”

TAGS: Military, nation, news, Philippine Air Force

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