September 23 and other stories

Manuel L. Quezon III
2 min readSep 24, 2023

It’s been a good week explaining

This week featured three discussions on three topics. Have watch or have a listen!

I. September 23 Redux

Headstart: Historian Manolo Quezon weighs in on remembering martial law 51 years since its declaration.

On September 23

Martial Law and Parental Guilt

Time bandit

II. The missing Middle

When Ninoy Aquino returned to the Philippines from three years of exile in the United States in 1983, he did so in part on the advice of then-senator Soc Rodrigo, who told him he was needed back in the country to lead “the democratic center.”

This anecdote is striking and will make one wonder: Where is the democratic center in Philippine politics today? Does it still matter? In the context of a definite rightward shift under Rodrigo Duterte and the ongoing rehabilitation of the Marcos name, what is the role of the democratic center — whatever and wherever it is?

In this episode of “In The Public Square,” veteran journalist and Rappler columnist John Nery talks to historian, columnist, and explainer-in-chief Manuel L. Quezon III, who has written insightful pieces about the democratic center in Philippine politics. Quezon served past administrations in different capacities, including as undersecretary and later officer-in-charge of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office under the Benigno Aquino III administration.

John Nery: “Trying out something new: A ‘mini-series’ on 1 topic, to allow a deeper dive. Today’s episode, the 1st of 3, asks whether the political center, the middle path, still matters. Come for the Explainer’s brief on Marcos as Nixon 2, stay for his view on Jr as the new center.”

New middle class

ANU PSC Seminar Presentation: Restoration is a hard act to follow: The Philippine Fifth Republic at the crossroads

Rotary Makati Presentation: From the Fifth to the Sixth Republic? The 2022 election in context

III. Malacañan Matters

First built in the 1700s, the Philippines’ seat of power has seen a lot of history transpire. But how much of the Palace have we seen? On a new What’s AP?, Manolo Quezon shares why we should bring Malacañan’s history closer to Filipinos:

As the country’s seat of power, Malacañan Palace is built on centuries of culture and tradition. Who better to ask about it than Manolo Quezon? The prolific writer who has worked for two presidents shares the history of Malacañan, and why we need to bring its colorful story closer to the average Filipino.

Malacañan Palace: A Quick Guide

Malacañang as Prize, Pulpit and Stage

Originally published at



Manuel L. Quezon III

Columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer. Editor-at-large Views strictly mine. I have a newsletter, blog, podcast, and Patreon.