Posts Tagged ‘eduardo araullo’

pop goes the world: in memoriam: ed araullo

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  24 January 2013, Thursday

In Memoriam: Ed Araullo

Eduardo G Araullo How do you honor the dead?

Last January 19, lawyer Eduardo Araullo succumbed to a massive heart attack after his morning tai-chi exercise. He was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

He was an activist in his younger days, struggling against Martial Law during the First Quarter Storm. Throughout his life he remained involved in social causes that required a keen legal mind and a passion for truth and justice.

I first met him in 2010 when he was corporate secretary and, later, also compliance officer of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The night before he died – a Friday – he gave me reminders for Monday. “Don’t forget!” he roared. “I won’t, sir,” I said, hastily backing out of his office, eager to get my weekend started. “’Bye, sir!”

His sudden death the next day was a shock.

Life takes unexpected turns. Why don’t we appreciate the people who matter to us while they are still around?

* * * * *

I was privileged to have interviewed him in July 2012 about his experiences during the FQS. He invited me and two of his fellow lawyers to merienda at a restaurant beside Manila Bay. It was a gloomy, rainy day. I took his photograph against a background of shades of gray – sky, clouds, sea, puddles on the concrete pavement. His arms are folded as he looks sternly at the camera. The hem of his white short-sleeved barong floats in the wind.

Ed Araullo, Dek Porciuncula, Reena Yason

Lawyers Ed Araullo, Dek Porciuncula, Reena Yason. Manila Bay. July 2012. Photo by Jenny Ortuoste. 

He was a student at the University of the Philippines’ (UP) College of Arts and Sciences, taking Political Science, and later Law, when he became involved in the student movement. He joined the Left; he was on the UP Student Council and a member of the Kabataang Makabayan and Sandigang Demokratiko ng Kabataan.

He became politically aware, he said, “in the summer of 1965, after I graduated from high school. I took summer classes at UP. Then came the Vietnam War. It was 1967.

“I stopped praying in 1968. The existence of God is a non-issue to me. Ang importante, nakakatulong ka sa tao.

“I became most active around the age of 20. I went underground when martial law was declared. I was placed on the Order of Battle because I was active in school, mobilizing people and conducting rallies. When I was arrested by the Metrocom for acts of “subversion,” I was taken to Camp Crame, where the Metrocom beat me with bats. Sinuntok ako at hinampas ng bat sa dibdib. I saw now-senator Ping Lacson there at the Metrocom office. Bagong lieutenant pa lang siya noon.

“Then I was taken to Fort Bonifacio, then to the Youth Rehabilitation Center (YRC). Yung kulungan na iyon, showcase. We were well-treated there. Kasama doon mga delegates sa Con-Con. It was open to international inspection, kaya masarap ang pagkain.

“My father visited me in the center. He asked me, “Kaya mo?” “Kaya ko,” I answered. Matagal na akong missing sa bahay noon. Sa UP dorm ako nakatira.

“Prison was boring. We were in a one-story structure like a school. It was for the schooling of the military. We’d wake up, clean our cell, eat breakfast. We played basketball and Monopoly games that lasted for hours.

Ed Araullo in prison

Ed Araullo (second from right) in detention during Martial Law. Photo courtesy of Ed Araullo.

My family visited twice a week; my mother brought food. Puro sermon hanggang matapos. I was released six months later.

“After I was released I went underground again. Raising funds and whatever was needed sa bundok. Ang ka-grupo ko sila Nelia Sancho. Nasa Malabon kami. One day, naiwan ako sa safehouse doon. BInabantayan kami kasi ang tiyo ni Sancho nasa Intelligence. That night, ni-raid iyon, dalawa ang pinatay. Ang katawan nila, dinaanan ko pa, nasa munisipyo nakabalot sa banig.

“There was a time I was ready to join the New People’s Army under the name “Ka Glenn”. The week after I went to southern Tagalog to join them, I was caught. The others proceeded. They were all killed by the military.

“Why the name “Glenn”? Sa gupit ng buhok ko, kamukha ko ang artistang si Glenn Ford.

Sino si Glenn Ford? I-Google niyo.

“I withstood it all because our attitude at the time was willingness to sacrifice for the country.

“I never considered myself weak, but I had weaknesses. Those years made me stronger. Mature. I learned that I am not afraid to die for what I believe in.”

* * * * *

What I wanted him to tell me about during that interview were his feelings, not only his actions. What was it all for? Why did he fight against martial law?

“Because it was wrong.”

What else aside from personal freedom had he been prepared to give up?

“I was ready to die.”

Would he do it again?

“Yes.”

What did he learn?

“Stand up for what you believe in. It’s worth it.”

It was hard to elicit much from him beyond cerebral responses.

I asked, “What did you feel?”

Attorney Ed replied, “It was an intellectual exercise. I don’t get emotional about these things.”

Much remained locked inside him. I could go no farther; he would not let me in behind the barriers he had erected to keep the feelings in.

I took my leave of him and waited by the curb for a ride. He followed me and whispered a few words.

“I still grieve for them, for those who died. I always remember.”

* * * * *

A few days later I wrote a version of that conversation for this column. The newspaper grazed Attorney Ed’s desk as he read it in his office.

He put it down with a rustle. “I like it.”

“I’m glad you do,” I said.

“I didn’t know you heard what I said about grieving for them.”

“I did.”

He nodded, pleased. For that short sentence was his homage to the fallen, in it all the other words he could not say to honor dead comrades who gave their lives in the struggle for something they believed in, something they believed was worth dying for.

              * * * * *

His daughter Sarah kindly let me choose from the collection of books he kept at the office. So I have a knee-high stack of books to remember him by, as well as an old Waterman fountain pen crusted with dried black ink.

The Ed Araullo I knew was a strong man – he had a strong voice, strong opinions, strong convictions. He was also curious. “Why?” was his favorite question. He didn’t judge, he just listened; if I was stumped for a reply, he would urge me, “Think!”

We honor the dead by remembering them.

I will honor his memory by thinking.

Let his words on this page be my tribute to him – lawyer, activist, thinker.   *** 

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pop goes the world: anthology

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  5 July 2012, Thursday

Anthology

Last week I received a final “call for manuscripts” notice from University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication dean Dr. Rolando Tolentino, who is collecting critical, personal, popular, and creative non-fiction works for an anthology called “The Ballads of Malakas and Maganda: Marcosian and Imeldific Essays.”

This is a sequel to the “Mondo Marcos” volumes, published in 2010 and edited by Tolentino and veteran journalist Frank Cimatu.

Such a collection would be a significant addition to the histories and memoirs written about the period, a time of struggle and pain, a time that many young people do not know about.

If the stories of that time are unknown or forgotten, how will generations to come benefit from the lessons learned during that time?

Imelda Marcos’s 83rd birthday rolled around last July 2, with a concomitant barrage of posts on social media of pictures of her in the bloom of youth. The comments were mostly flattering, referring to her beauty and singing voice.

At the height of their power, she positioned herself as the semi-divine Maganda of Filipino creation myth, with Ferdinand Marcos as the counterpart Malakas.

Musician David Byrne, who in 2005 recorded a two-CD rock opera with Fatboy Slim called “Here Lies Love” revolving around the Imelda story, has blogged about Imelda’s deliberate assumption of this persona.

Having seen portraits of the Marcos couple in Malacañang, Ilocos, and Leyte, he wrote about their depiction as the “ur-couple of the Philippines…the strong man and the beautiful woman,” with Imelda cast as a “nurturing goddess.”

Many from Generation Y, the millenials, have never even heard of the Marcos couple, except as names in history books. Imelda is still a congresswoman, and even launched a fashion line in 2006 using her recycled belongings; she is known to the youth mostly as some sort of celebrity. Her legacy and that of Ferdinand – Martial Law – is shrugged off as a historical tidbit.

Those who were at the forefront of the struggle during the 1970s will never forget what they endured during Martial Law. One of them is lawyer Eduardo Araullo, who in his student years at UP was a member of the Left. He fought against the dictatorship with blood and bone and life and love laid on the line.

Imprisoned for acts of “subversion”, he recalls being doused with water from cannons, beaten by the military with bats and truncheons, hauled off to detention centers in handcuffs. He tends to downplay his experiences, saying he knew what he was in for.

He was twenty and in the underground when he was arrested by the Metrocom and taken to Camp Crame, where his father visited him. He was asked, “Kaya mo?”

“Kaya ko,” he answered.

Prison was boring, Attorney Ed recalls, and the inmates filled their time with games and sports – basketball, table tennis, Monopoly. He was not released until six months later. He went underground again, and later became a labor lawyer.

Why did he fight against martial law, I asked.

“Because it was wrong.”

What else had he been prepared to give up?

“I was ready to die.”

Would he do it again?

“Yes.”

What did you learn?

“Stand up for what you believe in. It’s worth it.”

It is hard to elicit much from him beyond cerebral responses. I ask, “What did you feel?” Attorney Ed replies, “It was an intellectual exercise.”

Much remains locked inside him. I feel I can go no farther. He will not take me there.

I take my leave of him and wait by the curb for a ride.

He follows me, and whispers, “I still grieve for them, for those who died. I always remember.”

This and similar stories of those years should never be forgotten, because too much went into the weaving of them. Too many lessons were learned that need to be graven in our hearts. Too many people suffered and died for their legacy to be ignored.

If it takes books for us to remember or learn about those years, then we look forward to the publication of Tolentino and Cimatu’s forthcoming anthology.  *** 

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