Garcia: Bohol’s most illustrious son

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Garcia: Bohol’s most illustrious son

Topic |  

PRESIDENT CARLOS POLISTICO GARCIA – 8TH President of the Philippine Republic remains to be the Most Illustrious Son of Bohol. Another streaking star might rise, true- but that is a generation away.perhaps.

Maybe, it was written in the stars. In 1935, the fiery former president, Manuel L. Quezon boldly predicted – that his radar of provincial leaderships- indicated King Caloy was destined for Malacanang. Quezon was attending then in 1935 the interment of a Boholano political great Jose Clarin in his hometown in Loay.

In 1954, CPG was elected vice president to the president Ramon “Man of the Masses” Magsaysay. It has been bruited that the duo’s nationalistic fervor was frowned upon by America’s CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and its doctrine of Manifest Destiny.

On March 1957, Magsaysay died in a commercial plane crash in the Cebu mountains and shoved CPG into the Palace by the River. On November 1957, he was legitimately voted as the new sitting resident over candidate rich man Jose Yulo.


Two events eloquently manifested Caloy’s steely integrity. Faced with impending electoral reelection defeat, the military offered CPG to do a “cheating operation” in Lanao to ensure his reelection in 1961 over LP’s Diosdado “Dadong” Macapagal. Garcia refused and ate humble pie in conceding defeat to the newly elected president.

But no prestige can, perhaps, equal that of being elected by one’s peers as CPG was as the 1971 president of the Constitutional Convention. It was a return bout with nemesis Macapagal.

Stories have it that Marcos” (president then) men approached Garcia to ensure his winning the ConCon presidency subject to concessions centering on parliamentary change.

The embarrassed Marcos henchmen were politely shown the door. But Garcia won on a whisker’s like edge and was installed on June 1, 1971, as president. A few days later, Garcia died.

Garcia’s “Filipino First Policy”, a nationalistic anthem of his administration – placed him among the nation’s foremost nationalist leaders. This came at the time when post World War II treaties like the Parity Agreement and the Laurel-Langley Pact virtually made the country a quasi-colony of the USA and the Chinese (not the Filipinos) were controlling the Retail Trade.

That earned him not a few enemies. of course.


Prodded to asphalt the entire Bohol on a scant national budget, the Statesman in him replied: ” I was elected president of the nation, not of one province.” It was CPG’s political protege, instead, Rico Aumentado who eventually had the whole Bohol Circumferential Road asphalted/cemented.


Garcia, likewise, was a man of action, not just words. He was a distinguished guerilla leader in Bohol versus the Japanese Imperial Army that the latter burned down his entire hometown Talibon as retaliation for Garcia’s military incursions. He certainly faked no war medals.

Being a simple and honest man, Caloy left the presidency in 1961 exactly where he was financially in 1957 when he entered it – not one peso richer (due to shenanigans in office). Truly, there were allegations of graft in his administration but they certainly came not as a consequence of presidential sanction.

CPG was a Thrifty president -doing justice to the allusions of Boholanos being the “Ilocanos of the South” with his administration’s Government Austerity Program.  Finally, he was a Rennaissance Man- steeped in literature, local “balak”. law, philosophy, and sports (chess). 


Some of the most moving, nationalistic speeches in the halls of Congress and the Senate chronicled in the archives of both houses include Garcia’s oratory. His gift of gab, no doubt, also helped Caloy bring the dainty, pretty Inday Lelang of Opon Island Cebu to the marital altar. 

This wonderful alchemy of oratory and brainpower, gritty nationalism (words and deeds), statesmanship and integrity made Carlos P. Garcia – a president for all seasons and climes. It is an honor to remember him in this Editorial on his 122nd birthday anniversary.


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BUT FELLOW BOHOLANOS, we need to honor Garcia more. Today, there are monuments of his unparalleled greatness in Plaza Rizal (Tagbilaran City), Talibon  Plaza (his hometown) and soon at the new Capitol, in fact, called CPG Park. 

Datu Sikatuna and his friendly Blood Compact already has something big going on in Bool sitio. Yet, we are celebrating his welcoming arms to foreigners, thus,  we opine that making perhaps another solid  Garcia monument on the iconic Chocolate Hills area would be justified as he did his work for the Filipino nation- not foreigners.

Propagating the Boholano kind of patriotism – so visitors might know. Besides, how many among the 70-odd provinces had produced a president ever? Not too many,

Especially for those visitors who may skip visiting the Garcia Museum along Tamblot Street, they will be “forced” to familiarize themselves with the greatness of Caloy.

Secondly, we heard from  Inocencio Alfarero Bunjan  ( the Secretary of the Tapok Tapok Mga Bolanon in Manila) that the high monument of CPG along C-5 (country’s longest highway) will soon be demolished to give way to a skyway leading to the C-6. Worse, Taguig Tourism In Charge Zenaida Ignacio disclosed the monument is not even registered with the National Arts Commission.

With that effacement, our local leadership has one option left to keep the “national memory” of the Illustrious Boholano alive- to use its influence to force people to use the name Carlos Garcia Highway or Avenue instead of C-5.

We enjoin the local leadership led by Gov, Edgar Chatto and the three congressmen: Rene Relampagos, Aris Aumentado and Art Yap to initiate how this can be done through the DILG ( in charge of four cities touched by C 5( Quezon, Pasig, Pateros and Taguig) and the mayors and councils of these cities to use the CPG Avenue (instead of C-5) in all their official communications.

Likewise, representing themselves with the mass media requesting for the same will be effective by touching base with the KBP (Kapisan ng Mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas) for TV and radio and the PPI (Philippine Press Institute), PAPI (Publishers Association of the Philippines) and the NPC (National Press Club) for print media. The Transport Groups, as well.

After all, there is already a law naming C 5 after Carlos Garcia.

That is honoring the Great Caloy with authentic efforts for his well-deserved remembrance by all.

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