QUE SERA, SERA!
("What Will Be, Will Be")
A Play by Alberto Florentino.
A Fictional Drama written in 1994, four years before (then) Vice-President Joseph Estrada was elected in 1998 as President of the Republic of the
First book publication in 1994, as a reprint under the title "A Class In Politics," in ERAPtion: How to Speak English Without Really Trial.
(© 1994 by Reli German & Emil Jurado, Publishers/Writers,
Co-edited by Alberto Florentino & Ben S. Medina, Jr.
ERAPtion was a book of "'Erap' Jokes," attributed to Pres. Estrada, now the bestselling Filipino book in Philippine history that sold 280,000 copies from 1994 until it was stopped in 1998.
First publication in a newspaper: The Manila Chronicle, ca. 1994.
BACKGROUND: In 1951, Joseph Ejercito [Estrada] was an 11- or 12-year-old pupil in the Ateneo de Manila High School on Padre Faura, Ermita,
"Que Sera, Sera" was written and published six years ago today (four years before he was elected President of the Republic of the
This is a piece of dramatic fiction about an 11-year-old pupil at the Ateneo who dreamt of being a President of his country. He dropped out of Ateneo high school in 1952 to become, 40 years later, the most popularly elected Philippine President from 1946.
On Nov. 10, 2000 Reli German, one of "Erap's" classmates (and now a columnist in The Manila Times Online Edition), wrote in part in his column German Cut the following in a piece titled "A Class Act":
Among the 120 members of the Ateneo de Manila High School "Class of 1955," are the following, who served (or still serve) in top positions in President Estrada's government:
Jun Siazon (as Foreign Affairs Secretary)
Mario Tiaoqui (Energy Head)
Paeng Buenaventura (Central Bank Governor)
Tong Payumo (Subic Bay Development Authority Chairman)
Boy Ampil (Customs Commissioner)
Tony Lopa (Philippine National Oil Corporation Chairman).
The others who served (or still serve) in various capacities in different departments, agencies, and government-owned or -controlled corporations appointed before and during the administration of Pres. Joseph Estrada: Fil Joson, Ducky Paredes, Cary Sevilla, Leny Albar, Art Parcero, Nonoy Alindogan, Frank Puzon, Susing Pineda, Mike Barretto, Jimmy Valdes, Ric Lacson, Tad Bengzon, and Willy Cruz.
A.F.'s Notes: In different times, under other administrations, these members of the Class of 1955 assumed top positions in major government offices and in the private sector:
Butz Aquino became Senator after the E. de los
Jun Cruz became head of Philippine Airlines, The Manila Hotel, and the SSS
Reli German headed the
Joseph Ejercito Estrada became Philippine President after being Vice-President, Senator, Mayor of San Juan (a town in Metro Manila), a movie actor (from bit player to lead role player and superstar).
Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino, Jr., became a Senator and was a contender for the Presidency during Pres. Marcos' term, but after declaration of martial law was arrested, exiled to the U.S. , and---while returning to Manila---was assassinated under mysterious circumstances.
Patrick Hilton, who was involved in an altercation with classmate Joseph Estrada, left Ateneo and went abroad. During Pres. Estrada's inauguration he was expected to attend as an honored guest. After a nationwide (and US-wide) search, Hilton was either not found or refused to attend the function.
Emil Jurado, in five decades, was a working journalist and columnist for print and media and headed the KBP and the MOPC.
Reli German had been a public relations man for Presidents Marcos, Aquino, and Estrada.
Crispino "Babes" Reyes hosted the 45th anniversary reunion of the Ateneo High School Graduating Class of 1955 in
annotations by A.F. and quoted from other sources
PLACE: SCHOOL ROOM. ATENEO DE MANILA. PADRE FAURA, ERMITA.
The members of the class (all boys, 11- to 12-year olds) are in short-sleeved shirts and dark-blue short pants. The English teacher (Emil Jurado) in white, long-sleeved shirt and tie.
EMIL JURADO, 23
The Class of 1955 (Some are members of the English class under Emil Jurado, and some are members of the whole Ateneo Graduating Class of 1955):
JUN (ROMAN) CRUZ
JOSEPH EJERCITO [ESTRADA]
Emil Jurado: (calls the roll, reads from a stack of cards) Butz Aquino?
Butz Aquino: Present, sir!
Emil: Roger Asuncion!
Roger Asuncion: Present, sir!
Emil: Paeng Buenaventura!
Paeng Buenaventura: Present, sir!
Emil: Morris Carpo!
Morris Carpo: Present, sir!
Emil: Jun Cruz!
Jun Cruz: Present, sir!
Emil: Willy Cruz!
Willy Cruz: Present, sir!
Emil: Joseph Ejercito!
Joseph Ejercito: Present, sir!
Emil: Reli German!
Reli German: Present, sir!
Emil: Patrick Hilton?
Patrick Hilton: Present, sir!
Emil: Tony Lopa!
Tony Lopa: Present, sir!
Emil: Ed Ocampo!
Ed Ocampo: Present, sir!
Emil: Ducky Paredes!
Ducky Paredes: Present, sir!
Emil: Boy Reyes!
Boy Reyes: Present, sir!
Emil: Nick Santiago!
Nick Santiago: Present, sir!
Emil: (as he puts his class cards away) Good morning, class.
Class: Good morning, Mr. Jurado.
Emil: Class, today we'll talk about the future: the 90s. That's some 40 years from today. You will each tell the class your dreams and ambitions. Who wants to start?
Jun Cruz: (rises) I, sir!
Emil: Jun Cruz, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Jun: Sir, I want to work for an airline company.
Emil: As a flight steward.
Jun: No, sir.
Emil: Don't tell me you want to be an aviator. A commercial pilot.
Jun: No, sir. I want to be President of our national flag carrier.
Emil: President of PAL? The Philippine Air Lines?
Jun: Yes, sir.
Emil: A flight steward's job is more like it, Jun.
Jun: Sir, I also want to work in a major hotel.
Emil: Which hotel?
Jun: The Manila Hotel.
Emil: The Manila Hotel! The "Queen of Philippine Hotels"?
Jun: Yes, sir.
Emil: As what? As a bellboy? A doorman?
Jun: Oh, no, sir, I'd like to be the President, or the Chairman!
Emil: What?!?! Have you ever heard of a Filipino heading a five-star hotel in the
Jun: I also dream of being a ladies' man.
Emil: You want to be all of these?
Jun: Yes, sir. I'll marry the prettiest girls in town: the movie stars, the socialites!
Emil: Looking at you now, I can't imagine what the girls will find in you.
Jun: You'll be surprised, sir. There will be so many of them---the best-looking in the country!
Emil: But you can't marry them all at one time, unless you convert to the Moslem . . .
Jun: Don't worry, sir, I'll have them. One after another.
Emil: Good luck anyway. Next!
Butz Aquino: (rises) Sir!
Emil: Yes, Butz Aquino.
Butz: Someday I will be a Senator.
Emil: A Senator? How about your Kuya, Ninoy Aquino? As I see it, he has a better chance. I doubt you'll even make it as a councilor. Sorry, Butz. Next! How about you, Joseph Ejercito?
Joseph: (caught by surprise) Yes, sir?
Emil: Who's your role model?
Joseph: What you mean, "roll the model"?
Emil: (shaking his head) I mean, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Joseph: (now gets it) I want to be like Leopoldo Salcedo.
Emil: Leopoldo Salcedo? Our greatest actor?
Joseph: I want to be like him: always with beautiful actresses and starlets.
Emil: Joseph, you don't look a bit like him. How can you attract girls?
Joseph: I'll be an actor like him.
Emil: An actor? With your looks?
Roger: Are you tall, dark and handsome?
Paeng: Maybe you'll be a bit player, or a villain.
Joseph: No, I'll be a leading man, for LVN Pictures, or Premiere Productions.
Morris: Maybe a gang member; you know, (mimicking) a "low-waist gang" member.
Willy: Yes, with one line of dialogue!
Emil: Class, class! Quiet, please! Go on, Joseph.
Joseph: I'll be a leading man, an action star, a superstar. I'll be the heir to Fernando Poe.
Emil: Oh, you mean, Fernando Poe, Junior.
Joseph: No, sir. Fernando Poe, Senior!
Emil: What will his sons, Ronald Poe and Andy Poe say to that?
Joseph: I'll do better. I'll romance all my leading ladies.
Emil: I can't imagine you seducing even one starlet.
Joseph: But I'll marry one woman and be faithful to her till death to us part (he goes on and on about grrls, grrls, grrls).
Emil: (aside, in a stage whisper) Why are these boys obsessed with grrls, grrls, grrls? Is it because this is an all-boys school? Will this class of '55 be all "palikeros"? (cuts Joseph short) Joseph, stop dreaming! Let's get real, shall we? Again, who's your role model?
Joseph: Actually, sir, Ramon Magsaysay.
Emil: The former mechanic?
Joseph: Now our secretary of National Defense. He rose from humble beginners.
Tony: (corrects him) Beginnings.
Joseph: . . . from humble beginnings. Someday he'll be President.
Emil: Magsaysay is no handsome mestizo like Pres. Manuel L. Quezon. He can never be President.
Joseph: Sir, he will be. And I'll stimulate him.
Ed: (corrects him) Emulate.
Joseph: . . . I'll emulate him. Like Quezon, like Magsaysay, I'll be President of the
Emil: Joseph, I told you once, and I tell you once again: I don't see you becoming President of the
Joseph: You say I'm not handsome, but a President doesn't have to be handsome.
Emil: Joseph, you can't even speak correct English!
Ducky Paredes: Or even Arrneow English!
Boy: You always get caught speaking Tagalog in class or on campus.
Joseph: But what's wrong with Tagalog? We should be proud of our own tongue.
Nick: . . . And you always get punished.
Roger: . . . Always made to do calisthenics under the sun!
Paeng: . . . See, you're always sunburned!
Joseph: One day that ruling will have to go. Nobody should get punished for speaking his own language.
Morris: You want to outlaw Arrneow English?
Joseph: No, but I won't outlaw our own language, on campus or anywhere else. To become a President, why does one have to speak good English, or even "Carabao English"? Hundreds of great presidents in Asia and
Emil: Stop that debate now. Back to our subject!
Joseph: All right, sir; when I grow up, I'll be mayor of a town!
Emil: Which is . . . ?
Emil: . . . Win the first time you run for any public office*?
Joseph: Yes, sir. Then I'll seek reelection and win again!
Emil: . . . The second term?
Joseph: Yes, sir.
Emil: (sarcastic) Why not run for four terms? Like President
Joseph: Sir, two terms only.
Emil: Why only two terms?
Joseph: After being mayor for 17 years . . .
Emil: Two terms? 17 years? You don't even know the arithmetic of politics!
Joseph: . . . I'll run for Senator!
Emil: . . . And again, win the first time?
Joseph: Yes, sir. In a landslive!
Joseph: Landslide then.
Emil: And again run for reelection?
Joseph: No, sir. You see, sir, my final goal is not to be San Juan Mayor, or a Senator, these are only stepping rocks!
Reli German: (corrects him) Stepping stones.
Joseph: . . . Only stepping stones to a higher position.
Emil: You still want a higher position?
Joseph: The top, sir.
Emil: Which one?
Emil: Let him alone, class. Let him say it.
Joseph: The Presidency. I want to be the President . . . of the
Emil: (incredulous) Joseph Ejercito! Running and winning . . . as President of the
Joseph: Yes, sir.
Emil: The first time?
Joseph: Yes, sir.
Emil: Quiet, class!
Joseph: I don't mean now, sir.
Emil: Of course not, you're only 11-years old!
Joseph: 12 years old, sir.
Joseph: I'll be President in 1992. Or 1998. Or 2004.
Emil: 2004! We'll all be gone by then! Joseph, you're killing me! Really! Don't give me a heart attack!
Joseph: Okay, sir. I'll settle for Vice President.
Patrick: Right. You could be in charge of vices!
Joseph: I'll run for Vice President and win!
Emil: . . . The first time?
Joseph: Yes, sir.
Ed: (holding his sides as he laughs)
Joseph: As Vice President, I'll rid the military of bad elements.
Joseph: . . . I'll eliminate erring police officers, kidnappers, smugglers!
Joseph: I'll clean up . . .
Emil: Stop it, Joseph! Stop it! Do you realize what this means?
Joseph: (repeats) What this means what?
Emil: (turns to the class) You don't realize . . . that in every presidential election, people actually elect . . . not one, but two Presidents. One President to assume office right away. The other President, to take over right away in case the President goes. Everytime the people elect a President and a Vice President, they're also electing another, a second, the next President.
(The class is strangely quiet)
Emil: Class, I know this is taxing your brains too much, but let me explain. (emphatic) A Vice President is one heartbeat away from the presidency.
Joseph: (turns to Reli) What he means "one heartbeat away"?
Emil: Look! (demonstrates melodramatically) Let's say, a President suffers a heart attack (clutches his chest, feigning a heart attack). Or is assassinated in a coup d'etat. Bang! Bang! Or killed in a plane crash. BOOM! Or chokes on his food (sounds of choking). Then you're IT! You, Joseph Ejercito, elected only as a Vice-President, God forbid! (makes a sign of the cross) becomes President of the
Class: (in unison) Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
(Joseph is quiet)
Emil: Joseph, did you get it?
Joseph: Get what, sir?
Emil: You understand what I mean?
Joseph: No, sir.
Emil: Hah! Since you'll never win in any election, I hereby appoint you "the least likely to succeed" in your Class of '55. Now, sit down!
Emil: Joseph, how can you even think of it? You can never be President or even Vice President! And that's a fact!
Joseph: (pouting) Why can't I? If a woman can be President . . .
Emil: What did you just say, Joseph?
Joseph: I said, a woman President . . .
Emil: A woman President? Of the Phlippines?
Joseph: Yes, sir. (addressing his classmates) This could happen in the future, in our time, in our generator.
Nick: (corrects him) Generation.
Emil: Maybe, a woman president . . . of a bank or a corporation . . . is possible. Maybe, somebody . . . like Pacita Madrigal or Carmen Planas . . . will run as President, . . . but will they win?
Joseph: Sir, this woman presidential candidate could be a school teacher, or a housewife.
Emil: A housewife? Without any political experience?
Joseph: Yes, sir.
Emil: She won't even be a city councilor? Or a municipal mayor?
Joseph: It will be her first job. She could run for, and become, President.
Emil: (sarcastic) And win on her first try at public office?
Joseph: Yes, sir. In a landslive!
Reli German: I said, landslide.
Joseph: . . . in a landslide, sir.
Emil: A woman can't win . . . as Congressman! or as Senator!
Joseph: But it could hapen, sir. First, we'll have the first woman Congressman.
Emil: That's why in the Constitution it's called Congressman. How do we address her, Congresswoman?
Joseph: Then we'll have the first woman Senator!
Emil: And address her "Her Excellency"? Can you imagine
Joseph: All these are possible in the future, sir.
Emil: Joseph, before that happens, we'll probably elect a gay President! Or a disabled President! Or a mongoloid President! But a woman! A female of the species? As President of the
Joseph: But, sir, I'm talking, not of today, but of the future, of the '90s, when people from all walkers of life . . .
Nick: . . . all walks of life.
Joseph: . . . from all walks of life may be presidentiables.
Roger: (corrects him) . . . Presidential candidates.
Joseph: (corrects him) Presidentiables!
Reli: What's a presidentiable?
Joseph: In our generation we will elect as Congressmen or Senators those who don't come from political families or dynasties. Like actors.
Joseph: Or singers. Actresses.
Emil: Singers? Actresses?
Joseph: Or basketball players.
Emil: Basketball players?
Joseph: Even radio announcers!
Emil: Radio announcers?
Joseph: Yes, sir, they don't have to be "trapos".
Reli: "Trapos"? As in "basahan"?
Joseph: "Trapos": traditional politicians. (continues) Candidates can be coming from NGOs.
Ed. What NGOs?
Joseph: MNLF. ABB. COCAP. NIChood. Los Enemigos. APCET.
Emil: Joseph, what's all these gibberish you're saying? You're daydreaming! Hallucinating! Wake up! Get serious! Get real! SIT DOWN! GO HOME! GET LOST! GO JUMP IN THE
Emil: Now, Reli, your turn.
Reli: I'm not too ambitious, sir.
Emil: (smirks, under his breath) Don't I know that?
Reli: But when I grow up, I'd like to manage our
Emil: (under his breath) Another Malacañang aspirant!
Reli: Sir, if Joseph runs for President . . .
Joseph: (corrects him) When.
Reli: . . . When Joseph runs for President, I could be his campaign manager, and if he wins . . .
Reli: . . . When he wins, I will be (corrects himself) . . . he may appoint me to a good position: press officer, executive secretary, . . . (Joseph nods like a sage, winks at Reli) "Take your pick, Reli!" (Joseph gives him a "high five." Reli instinctively returns his "high five.")
(Suddenly, the class quiets down, perplexed by what the two had just done: a "high five". They start to imitate the two and soon the whole class is giving each other a "high five.")
(Emil is most perplexed)
Emil: (an aside, in Tagalog, a stage whisper) When I see these 11- or 12-year-olds, malakas ang kutob ko. Kinikilabutan ako. Ano nga kaya? Bakit ba si Rizal, isang paslit lang noon sa Ateneo, naging national hero? Si Bonifacio, isang bodegero lang, naging national hero din! Si Mabini, isang lumpo, naging "brains ng Katipunan"? At kung sakali, si Magsaysay, isang mekaniko lang, baka nga magkatotoo. Who knows? (shouts over the din) Class! Class! Quiet! Quiet! (The class quiets down)
Emil: Class is dismissed.
(The rowdy students pour out of the room, still giving each other a "high five.")
Emil: (calls out) Joseph Ejercito!
Joseph: Yes, sir.
Emil: Reli German!
Reli: Yes, sir.
Emil: Stay after class! I want to talk to both of you. (under his breath) Mabuti nga siguro, ngayon pa man, medyo . . . dumikitdikit na, who knows? (Unseen, Reli steps forward and overhears Emil talking to himself in Tagalog.)
Reli: Aha! Gotcha! You're speaking Tagalog inside the classroom!
Emil: But I'm your teacher!
Reli: You have to set a good example. Sir, you are hereby sentenced to squat for an hour under the sun.
(Joseph comes forward, with a presidential poise and a deep voice)
Joseph: Don't worry, Sir Jurado. You're hereby granted a presidential pardon from the President himself!
Emil: Thank you, Your Excellency! You may choose any cabinet position of your choice.
Joseph: How about the DECS? DOT.
Emil: DECS? DOT?
Joseph: Just stick with me, sir.
(Reli and Joseph, one after another, give Emil a "high five" which the latter returns with gusto. Then the three shout in unison: "HATAW NA!")