to the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) got stalled in Biñan and were backed all the way to Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
ES came to inform me that we had unintentionally blocked friendly troops. Immediately, we lifted the blockade and the SOLCOM were able to proceed to Camp Crame to reinforce Gen. Fidel Ramos.
My next meeting with ES was inside the halls of Congress. And guess who was in the same batch. It was none other than Commander Gerry Salapuddin who now represented the Congressional District of Basilan.
ES and I met again as both members of the cabinet of President Gloria MacapagalArroyo. ES first served as Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, then Secretary of National Defense and later as Executive Secretary or “Little President”. At some point, he also served as Presidential Spokesperson. Members of the Malacañang Press Corps had a field day regularly ambushing him for interviews.
But all throughout his stint in Malacañan, he was in one way or another, involved in pursuing back channel peace talks with the MILF. This he did together with, among others, Secretary Silvestre “Yong” Afable and Congressman Nur Jaafar.
To me, ES represented the best of what a public servant can and should be.
I had the honor of being invited to his book launch a couple of weeks ago. Summarizing his very colorful career both in the military, in the legislature and in the executive department, the book was aptly entitled:
“Soldier Peacemaker, the Life and Work of Eduardo R. Ermita, A Memoir.” ***** You may email us at totingbunye2000@ gmail.com. You may also “like” us on Facebook at “Speaking Out.