Imelda Marcos’s Presence Too Much for F. Sionil Jose


National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose reportedly walked out of the recent tribute to Lucrecia Kasilag at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. In the following email, which we reproduce from the Philippine Star that first printed it, Jose explained to CCP bigwigs Emily Abrera, Nestor Jardin and Chris Millado why he did what he did. In a nutshell, the multi-awarded and prolific author siad he couldn’t stand the fact that he was in the company of Imelda Marcos.

Permit me to tell you of my regret and anger the other day when I was at the CCP for King Kasilag’s necrology. Before the start of the service, I was ushered to the backstage — a departure from the usual manner by which we honored our departed National Artists. After I had offered my bouquet to King, I walked to my assigned seat and was surprised to see Imelda Marcos before me. Had I known that she would be there, I would not have attended the necrology anymore. But in deference to King, who I loved dearly, I decided to suffer her presence. Then she mounted the podium and started bragging about herself, how Chairman Mao welcomed her in China. That was too much, so I decided to leave.

I have known King since 1948 when she was the piano teacher of the girl I married. I regret that I had to leave her last presence with us.

Enclosed is the article I wrote years ago on Imelda (for the Philippine STAR). I hope that you will remember. May I beg of you this one favor. In the future, please do not honor Imelda in any of the CCP activities. In ostracizing her and denying her honor, you honor the memory of Ninoy Aquino and the thousands upon thousands who were unjustly jailed, tortured, killed or salvaged by the Marcos dictatorship.

In honoring the plunderers of this nation and letting them off easy without any punishment (like Erap) we not only condone their infamy; other rapists of this nation will also feel redeemed, convinced that they did no wrong. Then, they pave the way for future criminals to do the same, sure that, like Imelda and her gang, they will not be punished and that after their foul deeds, they can even preen in the limelight before a people without memory.

The Marcoses were in power for more than 20 years — they gave patronage with the people’s money to many. These recipients of their patronage are grateful. I can very well understand that, but keep in mind that the evil that they did far outweighs the miniscule good that they achieved, the Cultural Center is one and the appointment of King is another.

The Center and King helped deodorize a little a murderous dictatorship. And don’t you ever forget, it was your money, my money, OUR money that built the Cultural Center — not Imelda’s.

Sincerely yours,
F. Sionil Jose

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One Response to “Imelda Marcos’s Presence Too Much for F. Sionil Jose”

  1. rj benq Says:

    I would not do what F Sionil Jose did. That was not right.
    I mean, it was not enough, just to march out in the middle of the ceremony.

    If I were there I would pay homage to Imelda by doing her the ‘Bush Throw’. But instead of a shoe, I’ll throw right in her face my smelly socks. ( But I really do not know if its her conscience or my socks that is more unbearable ).

    For now, I’ll just keep hoping that I would get this chance.

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