Letty and Joker


We all mourn Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc’s passage to eternal life.

In July 1981, when she was fired as Panorama editor (“resigned” kuno), MABINI came out with Occasional Issues No. 10 and 10-A in support of the feisty journalist. Her sin? Writing that “[t]he conduct of the plebiscites before and after martial law and the presidential election itself has been marked by suspicions of connivance, corruption and dishonest counting of votes by the Comelec.”

This fragment was stressed in the petulant letters of Justice Secretary Ricardo Puno, Sr., Comelec Chair Vicente Santiago and KBL’s Peping Rono. Timorous Hans Menzi caved in. No charges were filed.

We never got to assist her as lawyers, unlike say Ceres Doyo, Domini Torrevillas, Ninez Cacho-Olivares, et al. Like Eggie Apostol, she was not even invited by the National Intelligence Board (NIB), which interrogated many women writers with foolish questions.

Letty deserves all the tributes accorded her, including that coming from PNoy, and more
We know what she did in the 80’s in Panorama and Mr. & Ms. to help oust the dictator.
We have to wait for her biography to see what she did in the 70’s.

For now, we just note Malacañang’s effusive reactions in praise of a genuine hero.
And, again, note the lack of same when Joker P. Arroyo passed away. He filed the first challenge against martial misrule and lawyered for Ninoy. Joker and I were asked by candidate Cory to file her certificate of candidacy in early December, 1985. He served as her first Executive Secretary and took many bullets for her. That he later took positions PNoy may not have liked cannot erase what he did for the nation and the Aquinos.

Not that he would have cared. The widow, Fely, dealt with the loss very privately, only with a few friends, and did not agree even to a ritualistic Senate memorial, which is like the French Legion of Honor, said to be a distinction almost impossible to escape.

Let’s honor the two heroes, Letty and Joker, whose next birth anniversary is January 5.


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