Wenceslao: Anol

·3 min read

It has been days since my friend and former colleague Emmanuel “Anol” Mongaya passed away. I have decided to write about him only after the emotions have died down so I can be more objective about him and the friendship we built for years. That friendship spans both the political and personal aspects. When Anol died, he had plans for what would have been a continuation of the campaign efforts we had in the last elections.

A few days before he had a stroke, he asked me to accompany him to Argao. I told him I could only travel if one of my sons accompanied me. That was the rule imposed by my wife after I had a mild stroke weeks before. I am still under medication, thus the family has been extra careful in allowing me to go back to my normal routine.

That trip was cancelled and he asked me to join him in another activity set in the city. I still was hesitant about it and chose to stay home. A day after, I heard about Anol being rushed to the hospital. I messaged his wife Doris and was told he was in a coma. That was when I thought that could be it for him.

My friendship with Anol started when we both were swept by the second wave of student activism that hit the country in the late seventies and early eighties. I say it was the second wave because the first one happened in the late sixties and early seventies. In Cebu, the names associated with that wave were now retired judge Meinrado Paredes and lawyer Democrito Barcenas.

Anol was then a student of the University of San Carlos and I was with Southwestern University. I had organized then the campus group called Positive Thinkers Society or Posts, and formed a core group of five schoolmates mostly from Mindanao. They got so aggressive that their talk eventually revolved around procuring firearms. In one indoor activity we attended, the speaker was the late lawyer Jose W. Diokno. Our group decided to have an audience with him.

After his speech, I wrote him a note asking if he would have an audience with us in the retreat house where he was staying. He agreed and so our group got onboard the car of one of our members. Anol insisted on joining us even if we barely knew him. Days after, we heard stories about our group being monitored. By whom, we didn’t have any knowledge about. We eventually got suspicious of Anol.

In return, we tried to get more information about him. It was then that I found out that we were virtually neighbors because we both lived on B. Rodriguez St. (our house was on B. Rodriguez Ext.) Our suspicions were eventually replaced by a friendship that, for me, extended even to when I worked in the media. Anol was among those who were behind my transfer to SunStar Cebu from The Freeman.

Anol was the first to plunge into traditional politics and build connections that I never could have. I only did so after I retired from my journalism work and I naturally sought his guidance by collaborating with him in some engagements. It’s sad that he passed away early.

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