Eulogy: Blas Ople

In 1986, BLAS OPLE was the guy Ferdinand Marcos dispatched to Washington just before he ordered tanks to try to quell Manila's People Power revolution. In a starched barong tagalog and with an extraordinary baritone, Blas vainly lobbied Capitol Hill that Marcos wasn't all that bad. One day, he admitted to the press what he shouldn't have: that the Philippines under Marcos was in an "interregnum." Blas, a big talker and determined erudite, loved that word.

He was a Marcos Cabinet minister for 18 years, but he wasn't corrupt, and that anomaly—plus the widely admired interregnum comment—led...

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