UNPAYABLE IOU

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UNPAYABLE IOU

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mercado-thumb“Black Maria” prison vans hustled  us  22 journalists from our detention cells  in Fort  Bonifacio and Camp Crame to the Supreme Court building on Taft Avenue.That was  a couple of days after the Marcos dictatorship clamped on martial law under the  rigged Proclmation 1081.

People in the streets stared at us — and looked away.. Led by the polite Col Generoso Alejo, we were hustled into the Court where defense  Joker Arroyo and other defense counsels, like Sedfrey Ordonez,  were gathered.

Joker was our counsel probono.  Defendants  included, among others, Teodoro Locsin, Sr. Joaquin “Chino” Roces, Napoleon G. Rama, Maximo Soliven,  Amando Doronila, then of the Daily Mirror, Luis D Beltran, Benny Esquivel and others.

I will never forget what Joker  whispered to us just before the Marcos supreme court filed in to  hear our petition. “Look at those characters. Fat chance for justice. there”

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“But if you maintain your petition, you will at least keep something , on the record. Not  much but it is  better and nothing. Up to you.”

We did — and lived to see the day when Cory Aquino fired the Marcos justices  when people people power  erupted.

Joker kept in touch over the years. He showed up at our 45th wedding anniversary in Cebu, the wife sniffles.

Some IOUs you can never pay. Still, we  say ” Salamat  Joker. Your passing  leaves a void in sky” ### (By Juan  L.  Mercado)

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