FROM THE BARREL OF MY PEN
By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio
UNSUNG HEROES OF THE PHILIPPINES?
If ever acting Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Jesse Robredo, would be asked to go by Philippine President Noynoy Aquino, this will remind me of what happened to my late friend, Manoling Maravilla of Queens, New York during the early days of Cory Aquino’s administration in the late 80s. Manoling had a heart attack months after he was dismissed from his position as Officer-in-Charge of a sequestered Marcos government-owned corporation called Philippine Commercial Satellite Corporation or PHILCOMSAT.
I have personal knowledge on how Manoling Maravilla worked hard with then anti-Marcos and pro-Aquino groups in the United States, mainly the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM) then headed by Heherson Alvarez. I even coordinated with this group during my time as member of Mayor Ed Koch’s ethnic advisory body in sponsoring community events calling for the end of martial law in the Philippines.
I observed with my own eyes how the NAM leaders turned Manoling and former New York Consul General, Francisco “King” Rodrigo as their gofers to buy some Chinese food around the corner in downtown Manhattan. I even used his residence in Queens Village where Cory and Ninoy used to stay when I testified before the New York City Council during the public hearing justifying the passage of the Benigno Aquino Triangle Law naming a public park in Queens, New York after the Filipino martyr.
The political tragedy, however, caught on poor Manoling when he mistakenly signed papers, according to an informant, returning some shares of stock to a Marcos crony from the sequestered PHILCOMSAT. Perhaps succumbing to some nudging from self-serving presidential advisers, President Corazon Aquino gave him the boot.
On one occasion after Manoling‘s dismissal, I saw Aida, Manoling’s wife and she confided to me saying with much remorse that after working so hard for the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, her husband did not deserve what he got. Then a few months later, I heard that Manoling passed away.
Isn’t this same thing happened to former Manila Times Editor, Eddie Monteclaro, after working hard for an anti-Marcos group called MOVEMENT FOR A FREE PHILIPPINES, then headed by the late Raul Manglapus? After receiving no responsible position from the new Aquino government, he just went to his old job in Manila as a newspaper copy editor and according to his wife, Rudi, he also suffered a heart attack and later died in grief.
I hope a similar tragic fate would not fall on acting DILG secretary, Jesse Robredo, for appearing too late at the scene of the Manila Hostage Crisis on August 23, 2010.