Only one Joker, when comes such another? | Inquirer Opinion

Only one Joker, when comes such another?

01:20 AM October 13, 2015

HE WAS super when he put his heart into a cause. A fearless freedom fighter. A peerless point man of human rights. And a selfless friend. Especially during the dark days of martial rule.

That was Joker Arroyo to me.


When finally freedom came to our land, we began to see things from marvelously different perspectives.

He differed from my sophomoric views of advancing the common good.


He was more profound. Or so, he sounded. Anyway, mainly from his silence.

In any event, by sheer grit and talent, he eventually took the plunge into the mystifying electoral arena of partisan politics.

‘Tale of Two Cities’

And the people rewarded him with a seat in the Senate for two terms.

We met there in one of those terms.

To describe how it was, I am tempted to quote the opening lines of the Tale of Two Cities.

But I won’t.


Let me just say that Joker did his utmost to promote his side of the partisan political debate. I tried to do as best I could from my end of the political spectrum.

The resulting atmosphere could have suffocated the lung-lines of our friendship—but for the ineluctable fact that the ties that bound us were not forged on earthly anvils.

They were forged in heaven.

And two ladies in our lives, Fely, his wife, and Bing, mine, helped to elevate the mundane level of our friendship to the supranatural.

Hard to justify in detail

Thus, I continue to see my friend Joker through the biased lenses of fraternal idolatry.

That’s hard to spell out in words. Or justify in detail.

But from the innermost chambers of my heart and the deepest recesses of my mind, I proclaim to the whole wide world that there was only one Joker Arroyo.

When comes such another? I would not know.

But now that You, O Lord, has taken him to the Great Beyond, kindly bless his soul, give him his just rewards in Your eternal embrace.

(Editor’s Note: Pimentel was elected mayor of Cagayan de Oro City in 1980 and, with the help of Arroyo and other lawyers, fought off attempts by poll officials under dictator Ferdinand Marcos to oust him. After Marcos was overthrown in 1986, Arroyo served as executive secretary and Pimentel as minister of local government in the Aquino Cabinet. Arroyo and Pimentel later became colleagues in Congress, serving as senators in the 11th and 12th Congress, from 2000 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2007). With a report from Inquirer Research

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