Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sen. Gringo Honasan: On Edsa, Coup de etat, Politics and Beyond

“During the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, all of us were ready and willing to die…but were not willing to kill.” That was one of the most profound words I heard from the statesman who have withstood dozens of battles of military combat and politics alike, for more than 30 years of his life.

I was very fortunate to be invited to a small group gathering where online media met with Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, a prominent Edsa icon who has been serving the country as a member of the Senate for 12 years now.

The gathering was held at Cravings, Katipunan and while food was being served, so did the roll of questions start being thrown on the table. The topics for discussion were anything under the sun. We discussed Sen. Honasan’s views about politics and coup de etat as well as his love life and family to the most mundane subject matters such as the local entertainment scene and show business chismis.

It was my first time to meet him up close and spend quality time in a pep talk where the questions were not the usual ones we hear from the usual TV interviews. One quality I noticed about the senator was how he answered questions. He is not a “man of few words” because he never failed to expound his thoughts on any subject matter. Oftentimes, I’d find myself seeing his wisdom behind the things he talked about, even when it comes to the seemingly “dull” topics.

On a lighter note, I was surprised to discover that he finds fulfillment in simple pleasures such as reading and spending time watching movies. Once in a while, in the midst of his busy schedules, he even finds time to relax and interact with friends in social networks like Facebook and Twitter. A funny side of the senator was revealed when he shared to us one of his special abilities when relieving work stress which is how he isolates his mind from his body. He explained that, like in a trance, his mind leaves his body in an autopilot mode and the rest of his being will retreat in a virtual quiet place where he regains strength from all the bureaucratic monotone of parliamentary rules and procedures and from boring law makers with their fanciful empty speeches. 

Sen. Honasan further shared with us his legislative priorities for the 12th Congress which include: The Land Use Act – an Act providing for the national land use policy and planning network and the implementing mechanism. Clean Water Act - an Act providing for a comprehensive water resource policy and water sector development, creating the water resources management commission and for other purposes; and An Act Declaring a National Peace Policy - creating the Commission on Peace and for other purposes falls under the Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation.

One word I can clearly describe him with is that he’s a patriot. Even in the early years of his career in the military, all of his achievements were attributed to his principle of serving one’s country and its people. Now, at age 63, with two grandchildren giving him delight, he said retiring, for him, doesn’t mean leaving everything behind. Instead, he wants to mentor young leaders who share the same passion to transform this country to a certain degree of greatness. I sincerely wish him well in that area and all the other endeavors he’d still want to pursue in the future.

*Thank you Jeman of for the invite and the pics :) More photos of the event can be found here
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