I was already alive but still very much young to care when the name GRINGO HONASAN became a household name all over the Philippines.
I remember the name very well but never quite understood what it stood for at that time and never did I forced myself to find out the nitty gritty of things during and after the world famous EDSA REVOLUTION.
I was even too young to label him bad or good, and I guess the nation was too, because he remains to be what film-makers would call as a ‘gray character’ in the Philippine political arena.
But who is really the man that people have called by many titles, and is now aspiring for the second highest position of leadership in the land?
Who is Gringo Honasan?
When asked to describe himself – Mr. Honasan would simply say that he is a GOOD SOLDIER.
GRINGO HONASAN or Gregorio Ballesteros Honasan II is a Filipino soldier who attained the title of BARON of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 71 – the highest leadership award that the institution can bestow a PMAer.
Let’s go take a closer look at his early life and political career:
- Born on March 14, 1948 in Baguio City to Colonel Romeo Honasana and Alice Bellesteros
- Studied at San Beda Manila and the Dominican School in Taipei (Elementary)
- Graduated with Honors at Don Bosco High School in Mandaluyong
- Took up BS Economics for two years at UP in college before deciding to enter the Philippine Military Academy
- Aside from being a decorated soldier who served in Mindanao, he also finished a Masters Degree in Business Management at AIM (Asian Institute of Management) in 1981
- He was also recognized as one of the Ten Most Outstanding Young Men by the Philippine Jaycees
- In 1986, he was one of the key players of the EDSA People Power revolution that ousted former President Ferdinand Marcos
But Gringo Honasan’s claim to fame (for lack of a better term) would probably be the August 1987 coup d’etat attempt that he led together with the members of the Reformed Armed Forces Movement or RAM during President Cory Aquino’s administration.
Honasan was able to escape but was later captured only to escape once again after converting his captors to join his cause.
Then President Fidel V. Ramos granted amnesty to Gringo Honasan and was urged to bring the reforms that he wanted for the Philippines on the legislative table by running for the Senatorial race.
He became the first independent candidate in Philippine history to have won a seat in the Senate in 1995.
He was re-elected in 2001, 2007 and again in 2013. He is now on his fourth term as a Senator of the Philippines – 45 years of public service as a soldier, a rebel and a senator.
And now he is fighting probably the biggest fight of his public life as the Vice Presidential bet of UNA together with VP Jejomar Binay as President.
What are his chances of winning? Well, that will most definitely depend on the Filipino people voting in May of course.
A week ago, I was able to finally meet and talk to Senator Gringo Honasan and asked him a couple of questions with regards to the reason behind his decision to run as VP of the Binay camp and the platform of government and programs that he adheres to.
I think that it’s better if you hear it from the Senator himself, who gamely answered all our questions. Below is a Youtube playlist of the videos I’ve taken during our interview and some captions to help introduce each topic.
The playlist includes the following discussions:
- How to deal with the china conflict
- Why is he running with VP Binay and what he feels about it
- Why is he running for the 2016 VP election
- PH Presidency is most powerful in the world according to Senator Honasan
- Honasan calls on all 2016 candidates to discuss a common national agenda
- Honasan will manage Peace and Order when elected VP in 2016
- His thoughts about political ambitions and the other VP candidates
- Honasan said Philippine problems needs serious solutions from serious leaders
- Honasan on Partissan Politics, PDAF scandal and Trial by Publicity
- Honasan on employment, education, population and traffic
- Honasan on achieving national unity
- Long-Term National Goals and VP Priorities
- Honasan on program continuity and addressing public safety and order
- Honasan on politics – not personalities but platforms and programs
- Views on foreign investments and disaster risk reduction and management
- Honasan on FOI, Cyber Policing and Public Health
When asked why people should vote for Gringo Honasan as their next VICE PRESIDENT, the good and firm senator said that he has, “more yesterdays than tomorrows” – and instead of commenting on the qualifications and capabilities of the other Vice Presidentiables, asked a general question (with pun intended).. “During EDSA (People Power Revolution), HO, NASAN ka? (where are you?)”
The May 2016 National Election is just around the corner, and as a blogger or online chronicler, it is my duty to my fellow Filipinos and most especially to first-time voters to give them a background on at least one or two people that are running for public office this year regardless of their political affiliations.
Aside from Senator Gringo Honasan, I have already featured in previous articles two Senatoriables and will be featuring next a Presidential candidate.
I thank friends who gives me the opportunity to meet and talk to these people.
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