I was not really fond of Cerge Remonde when I first knew him. He was a critic of Marcos and a close friend of my father during the early 80s. But he did not share our radical cause (then) for an overhaul of the system. What can I – a young man working closely with members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) – expect from somebody identified with the Associated Labor Unions?
Thus I did not expect him to be sympathetic with my plight when he and my father came to visit me late that evening on the day I spent a night inside the Metrodiscom stockade together with eight student leaders way back in January 1985. Defiant as to what I got myself embroiled in, I stuck to the agreed line about spending a post-Christmas getaway with female student leaders (hehehe Doris was there) in a small hut in Gun -ob, Lapu-Lapu City.
Cerge and my father asked what were we doing there. I only admitted the truth — I led an underground discussion group for student leaders on conducting mass campaigns — some years later. Nevertheless, I also learned only recently that the two spent the next long hours trying to get us out of jail.
Well, we got out the next day all right. Fr. Rudy Romano (I called him up about what happened that day) and Inday Nita Cortes-Daluz created such radio noise the next day. My father and Cerge appealed directly to then Metrodiscom chief Col. Angan. While an uncle of a fellow political detainee also exerted some influence.
I am thanking Cerge again not primarily for helping to get us out. I thank him for keeping my father company during that harrowing episode with the dictatorship.
Looking back through the decades, I admit I only met Cerge a few times. But those few times were significant moments.
When my father died on December 2, 1994 for example, Cerge was the first person my brother Nonoy and I turned to for help and advice. I was then new as managing editor of Superbalita.
Shortly after Cerge joined President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he helped my brother Enrico get a permanent item inside the Bureau of Customs. Later, he became one of the sponsors in Nonoy’s wedding.
Last year, he was the guest of honor of Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal when I received my second Catholic Mass Media Award (Camma) for Best Editorial in Cebuano. I last saw him when he invited us members of the National Press Club Cebu for lunch at his office in Malacanang.
Thank you Cerge. I know nagkuyog na mo ni Papa in heaven.