No grudge vs. Marcoses, but don’t revise history
by Jon Joaquin
Photo courtesy of the office of the Vice President
Is it possible for victims of the Marcos dictatorship to reconcile with the family of the man who had caused them so much pain? If I were a victim or were related to one, I would probably have a hard time doing that. How does one make peace with Imelda, Imee, Bongbong, and Irene knowing that their patriarch had directly caused the death, torture, or disappearance of a loved one?
But the son of Edgar Jopson — the activist who was killed by Marcos’ soldiers on September 19, 1982 in Davao City — is actually willing to reconcile with the Marcoses — on one condition. Noy Jopson, now a triathlete and who has a family of his own, wrote this on his Facebook account on November 18, the day the Marcos family surreptitiously buried the late President at the Libingan ng mga Bayani:
“Personally, I’m very open to reconciliation and I don’t hold any grudges against the Marcoses. I even pray that all the money they got from the people will someday be put to good use. That was the fight of our parents, a fight they paid for with their very lives.”
Noy, however, says he cannot accept the fact that the Marcos family is trying to rewrite history and erase the abuses Marcos had committed.
“But they insist on revising our history, and that I cannot accept. The real heroes are turning in their nameless graves.”
For those of you who do not know him, Edjop was the “grocer’s son” who met with then-President Ferdinand Marcos in Malacañang in 1970 — at the age of 21! — and demanded that the dictator sign a document pledging not to run for a third term (at the time Philippine presidents served for four years and could run for re-election only once). Macoy’s response was typical of the despot he was:
“Who are you to tell me what to do! You’re only a son of a grocer!”
Edjop joined the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) after martial law was declared in September 1972 and went underground soon after. He was arrested in 1979, managed to escape, and again went underground. Soldiers in Davao City killed him on September 19, 1982.
The burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani opened up a lot of wounds, including that of the Jopson family’s. Edjop’s sister Doty, who is a good friend from my college days in UP Diliman, wrote this on her Facebook account also on November 18:
“I feel ill with what’s happening in the Philippines right now. It’s so wrong. Edgar Jopson is my brother. He and thousands others are the real heroes.”
If you want to know what sacrifice is about, there is an audiotape on Youtube of Edjop and his wife Joy talking to their young son, whom they had to leave in order to fight the dictatorship. You can’t listen to it without shedding a tear, or without your anger being reawakened at how the Marcos dictatorship not only destroyed the country but also tore families apart. (You can listen to it below.)
“The audio in the tape,” Doty says, “is a very sweet message to his young son, telling stories and singing to him in an attempt to stay connected to his son, somehow, who he had to give up being with in his fight against the injustices of the dictatorship.”
May we never live to see the Marcoses return to power. #NeverAgain #MarcosNotAHero
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the original author, and do not necessarily represent those of the Pilipino Express publishers.