The “sorry” we are yet to hear

DR. AURELIO SOLVER AGCAOILI, the University of Hawaii professor who publicly called the late President Manuel L. Quezon “stupid” three months ago, has not apologized for what many felt was an arrogant and irresponsible remark.

I have written about this a moon ago (Brilliant Agca, Stupid Quezon), so let me refresh your memory. Last July, Dr. Agcaoili, a well respected educator and multi-awarded writer, was one of the presenters in the first Mother Language Education (MLE) forum in Ilocos. Held at MMSU Laoag Campus, the activity was attended mostly by teachers from all levels. Students, creative writers, journalists, and politicians were also present.

A week after, Mark Limon, a teacher from the Department of Education, contributed to The Ilocos Times a news article headlined, “University of Hawaii prof calls Quezon stupid,” which prompted Agcaoili to write a lengthy Letter to the Editor which attacked, in a scathing manner, Limon’s grammatical flaws and minor factual errors. He even insulted the teacher, saying, “Maasiak kadagiti adalan daytoy a maestro a din sa met nakasursuro.”

Yet Agcaoili, who demanded a public apology from Limon, never clarified whether or not he called Manuel L. Quezon, a former president venerated by many Filipinos as hero, “stupid.”

Did he?  If he did, why?

Because I was in that forum, I know firsthand that, yes, Agca did call Quezon ‘stupid.’  I am trying to reconstruct what I remember he said, and it goes this way, “The ‘One Nation, One Language’ policy is a stupid nineteenth-century measure imposed by this stupid Quezon.”

In the article I previously wrote, I tried to elucidate the issue and wished that Dr. Agcaoili would eventually clarify what he said and why he said what he said.

We have not heard from Dr. Agcaoili again, and many readers are disappointed, infuriated even, with his apparent lack of remorse.


Virginia Klein, a reader, sent this feedback:

Your column re Agcaoili vs Limon is to be commended.

I  am not at all familiar with  what Dr Agcaoili is trying to promote (in the Ilocos?)  relative to Mother Language Education,  nor what  MLE  is  as differentiated from  Bilingual Education or the old ESL or TOEFL &  the current ELL.  Neither  am I acquainted with the
politics  between   the  writers’ groups,  but  I appreciate  your  message of  rational discourse vs ad hominem arguments.  In my opinion  this way of thinking  can  indicate  an even  higher level of  sophistication  in the world stage more  than  grammatical  skills  ever can. …


Meanwhile, a ballooning number of fellow Ilocano writers are expressing their discontent over Agcaoili’s bashing of both Quezon and Limon. Many of the comments at are too harsh for print, but here are some which represent their thoughts.

“Nagdakes metten ti pampanunot ni Agcaoili. Stupid kunana metten iti maysa a nagpresidente, nakatuknon sa metten ti atang.” (Jeff Jaramillo)

“Napalalo gayam ti panagsasaona ken ni Limon. Nabasak iti insuratna dita Ilocos Times. Imbabana nga husto ti kinatao ni Limon. Awan met ngat ti basol ni Limon ta impadamagna laeng ti imbaga ni Agcaoili nga Stupid ni Quezon. Saan nga dinispute ni Agcaoili ti panangisaona iti STUPID. Ngem inuyawna unay ti English ni Limon ken ti panagsuratna. Kasta ti aramid ni Agcaoili. Saanna nga kayat ti madillaw. Pabainanna ti tao. Mamatiak nga bastos isuna. Isu dayta ti nabatad nga crab mentality.” (Lawagenio)

“Maysaak kadagiti nainget nga fan ni Agcaoili idi sakbay nga sinaona nga ni Quezon ket ‘stupid’. Adda, lakay, ken nalaing nga agsurat ti Ilokano, Tagalog, Ingles ken mabalin nga Espaniol pay siguro! Ngem idi insawangna (mabalin nga saanna siguro nga inggagara) nga ni Quezon ket “stupid”, napukaw ti raemko kaniana. Ngem no saanna nga inggagara ket dumawat iti pammakawan, a, ket mabalin nga agsubli ti ra-emko kaniana. Agingga ita, saanna pay la kayat nga aklonen ti biddutna.” (Berting)

Daytoy saan nga panag-aklon ni Agcaoili ti kamalina, ipakitana ti kinapalangguadna nga tao. Uray no ania ti aramidenna ditan, uray no agpugipugiit payen ditan, napukawen ti raem kaniana dagiti padana nga nalalaing a mannurat. (Igorot)

Truly, dear karikna, it would not make Dr. Agcaoili less of a man if he owns up a mistake. But will he ever?

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

2 thoughts on “The “sorry” we are yet to hear”

  1. I feel terribly sorry to what Dr. Agcaoili told to our former president Quezon and to how he insulted others. I do not know who Agcaoili is, and I do not know what he does and what he is good at. But hey, who is he to insult and criticize his cowriters and to call Quezon a stupid. Well I am not in the position to say something about this professor. But as a Filipino, even if by the term of Quezon I was not yet in existence, I felt disappointed to his seemingly deficiency of remorse .
    On my own opinion, the objective of Quezon when he imposed the “One nation, one language” policy is to establish indulgence to all the Filipino people. Understanding each other is a gateway to unity, and if there is unity there will be peace. Just imagine if the Filipino people cannot understand each other, we will surely be divided. Misunderstandings will lead to greater problems like competition for scarce resources and later on, war. He should know more that I Quezon did a remarkable duty to the Filipino people. And it he’s legacy that is the key to the unification of the Filipino people.
    May be Agcaoili has a point. And maybe he did not mean what he said. I am sure he has an explanation to what he previously uttered and I can’t wait for that time to come. And if that’s the case, he owes us a public apology.

  2. it is really hard to get back what someone have said, specially like when that person speaks in many people. it not only debases your personality but also the institution your representing, if there’s any.
    it is even more harder, for person who holds a higher position, to say sorry for what he have said.
    may Dr. Agcaoili be tough enough to say this.

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daytoy ti bunga ti rimkuas nga iliw ken abrasa dagiti lagip iti selsel met la a nagtaudanna...

Herdy Yumul

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