Choosing Presidential Lieutenants

The forum hosted by HSBC the other day about the Benigno Aquino III Presidency: Noy or Nay reminded me of man named Venegas and Bismark.


Back when the the Philippines was ruled by Spain. There was an enterprising person named Manuel Estacio De Venegas. A Captain in the Spanish Colonial Government and the Secretary of Governor General Diego Fajardo – religious man who conversed with God daily by praying. He was so busy with this that he left the running of the country in the hands of his secretary Venegas.

Venegas unchecked and unsupervised grew in power and wealth. Through bribes, coercion and even poison it is said that Captain Venegas was able to build a stately mansion at Plaza Armas.

The Citizens of Manila were infuriated but they could not do anything for fear of what Venegas would do. On mere suspicion they could be put inside the dungeons of Fart Santiago where they would die horribly while waiting a decision from Mexico and Madrid.

It was a long wait. And the delights of the dungeon led to a horrible demise.

So, it was no surprise that the citizens gave in to the caprices and schemes of Venegas.

But Fate is a mistress who changes her mind as soon as the Sun’s set. And for Venegas changed in the form of an old Conquistador would come. On that fateful day Venegas came upon a set of wood, stone and mortar to be used for the house of the old Conquistador. Venegas though he could get the wood, stone and mortar fpr himsef or at least get something out of it.

But the Old Conquistador stood his ground and arguments led to further arguments and it eventually led to fight between the Conquistador and the men of Venegas -who were all slains and as for Venegas ran towards the nearest outpost. The Old Conquistador fled to the Cathedral to seek sanctuary. Inside the Cathedral the Old COnquistador found allies – people who were abused, cheated and there also those whose kin were killed at the hands of Venegas.

Among those present was the Confessor of Governor General. And it was Angelus. The Confessor went to see the Governor Gemeral. And before thr end of the day Venegas and his prople were placed under arrest.

Venegas died at the dungeons of Fort Santiago. He was awaiting the judgment form Madrid and Mexico. It is said he died horribly in the dungeons. His propety was confiscated by the Spanish Colonial Government. And his mansion at Plaza Armas became the new Governor General’s Palace.


Otto Von Bismark was a junker or landed nobility from Prussia who was appointed by the Hohenzollern King William to be his Chancellor.

A pragmatic, wily and strong individual Bismark was able to unify Germany under the Prussian King and formed the German Empire.

This was one of those instances were an edited official new release led to the Franco-Prussian War. Leading to the defeat of France and leading to the rise of Prussia and unification of Germany.

The original dispatch:

The Ems telegram (a report of the King’s last meeting with Benedetti sent to Bismarck by the foreign office official accompanying the monarch) is as follows. Note the King’s irritation (line 4 ) and his fateful recommendation that the matter be made public:

His Majesty the King has written to me(namely, Heinrich Abeken, of the Foreign office)
“Count Benedetti intercepted me on the promenade and ended by demanding of me in a very importunate manner that I should authorize him to telegraph at once that I bound myself in perpetuity never again to give my consent if the Hohenzollerns renewed their candidature. I rejected this demand somewhat sternly as it is neither right nor possible to undertake engagements of this kind [for ever and ever]. Naturally I told him that I had not yet received any news and since he had been better informed via Paris and Madrid than I was, he must surely see that my government was not concerned in the matter.”
[The King, on the advice of one of his ministers] “decided in view of the above-mentioned demands not to receive Count Benedetti any more, but to have him informed by an adjutant that His Majesty had now received from [Leopold] confirmation of the news which Benedetti had already had from Paris and had nothing further to say to the ambassador. His Majesty suggests to Your Excellency that Benedetti’s new demand and its rejection might well be communicated both to our ambassadors and to the Press.”

The edited version Bismarck released to the press without first informing the French government) was clearly designed to goad the French to war by the almost contemptuous tone the telegram inferred the King had adopted toward the ambassador. Its effect, as Bismarck noted, was like “a red rag to the Gallic bull.”

“After the news of the renunciation of the Prince von Hohenzollern had been communicated to the Imperial French government by the Royal Spanish government, the French Ambassador in Ems made a further demand on His Majesty the King that he should authorize him to telegraph to Paris that His Majesty the King undertook for all time never again to give his assent should the Hohenzollerns once more take up their candidature. His Majesty the King thereupon refused to receive the Ambassador again and had the latter informed by the adjutant of the day that His Majesty had no further communication to make to the Ambassador.”

The Ems Telegram (1870)

He also devised treaties that would ensure the balance and counter-balance of power in Europe, to Germany’s favor. And inside Germany he legislated policies that would ensure the survival of Hohenzollern dynasty. And often times he woud be at odds with his King and eventually Emperor or Kaiser. In the end though Bismark – The Iron Chancellor would win. And that was until he was sacked by Kaiser Willhelm II.


Aquino likes to say during the campaign that there are two roads that can be taken. A nice bit of propaganda. In fact there are possibly an infinite number of roads that can be taken by Mr Aquino. Winning the election as a symbol and not on skills, the symbol should pick his Lieutenants with care – considering competence and skill. And once having chosen one learn to listen and take heed as well.

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