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And Archie was His Name

I didn’t consider us friends as we only knew each other casually because he was friends with and 𝑏𝑎𝑟𝑘𝑎𝑑𝑎 of my brother and my cousin. But Archie knew me and I likewise knew him. We came from the same town —Dinalupihan, Bataan.

When I entered as a freshman at #Mapúa, he was already in his 3rd year as a Civil Engineering (CE) student. The only decent conversation I can recall with him was the time I saw him with my brother and cousin in the campus. Knowing that I was new, he asked the standard question:

“How’s college life?” 

“Who is your professor in Math 113?” 

Many students then were avoiding a family of “terror” professors named Magtira. Only a lucky bunch of few made it out alive.

“Ok 𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑔,” I answered, “Mrs. Magtira-Paulino.”

He laughed hard and wished me luck. His wish may have helped because I got through that class and two more from the same house of terror unscathed.

I didn’t get to see much of him because our school building (EE) is a bit distant from theirs (CE). And, of course, I’ve made my own circle of friends and study groups later on.

The last time I saw him was during a forum in the gym where the daughter of then president Marcos was a guest speaker —Imee Marcos. He was last of those given the chance to ask the speaker a question. His question drew laughter from the audience that somehow didn’t sit well with Ms. Marcos. After the forum, he was whisked away by the bodyguards in broad daylight, and three days later, was found dead —tortured.

Our young minds were terror-struck.

We didn’t know if more students were taken, as the entire media was controlled by Marcos.

We tiptoed our way to school and back every day.

Will they go after his casual friends, too? His 𝑏𝑎𝑟𝑘𝑎𝑑𝑎?  

News about him in school was transmitted only through whispers. No text messages. No social media.

That was one hellish nightmare we all had to go through as students. None of us deserved it.

Archie, you are remembered. I know how much your family has suffered, especially in chasing that elusive justice for many decades after your brutal death. 

This cup I raise to our casual friendship —albeit shortened.



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