NOW IT CAN BE TOLD. Elizabeth Raquel, president of Gumil Filipinas, was “Mark Limon.”
Two years ago, a news article supposedly written and contributed by one Mark Limon appeared in this paper. The news article, headlined ““University of Hawaii prof calls Quezon stupid,” was obviously a tirade against Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili. In good cheer, Agcaoili called the late president Manuel Quezon “stupid” during a Mother Language Education forum held at the MMSU College of Teacher Education. He felt that Quezon’s ‘one-nation, one language’ policy was an eighteenth-century measure that led to the decline of Philippine languages other than Tagalog. Limon’s news article said many participants, including teachers and students, were offended by the remark.
Limon’s piece prompted Agcaoili to write a lengthy Letter to the Editor which attacked, in a scathing manner, Limon’s grammatical flaws and minor factual errors. Not mincing words, he even said, “Maasiak kadagiti adalan daytoy a maestro a din sa met nakasursuro.”
In a column on this issue, I expressed my suspicion that this is just a microcosm of the large-scale intramurals between rival groups Gumil Filipinas and Timpuyog Dagiti Mannurat iti Iluko. Limon was an elementary teacher in Currimao where Raquel is DepEd district supervisor. Raquel, let me remind you, is president of Gumil Filipinas while Agcaoili is one of the brains behind TMI.
I was right, but only that the real scenario is even more shocking than my conspiracy theory. In an interview with your karikna, Limon revealed that his name was used by Raquel without prior permission. In fact, Limon, who was not even present in the affair where Agcaoili made the ‘stupid’ remark, was only told by Raquel about the falsely bylined news article when it was already published.
But why is Limon now coming out in the open? It is because, dear karikna, he is no longer under the supervision of Raquel. Limon has been recently hired to teach at the MMSU College of Teacher Education. When he was still working in Currimao, teacher Limon was frequently used by supervisor Raquel as encoder.
Some folks in the Iluko writing circle have long shared the suspicion that everything is Raquel’s machination. The proof? The terrible English employed in the article is the same problematic English Raquel is patently known for.
Disgusting. And I’m not talking about Raquel’s English. I am disgusted because how can Iluko as a language thrive and grow with all these mindless bickering amongst writers? It would have been a joy if they would argue on theories and ideas, not on pettiness. God knows how much I love debate.
How can Raquel, a teacher, initiate and perpetuate a lie? How can Raquel, a writer, use the name of another person without permission? Where is ethics and common courtesy? Why did Raquel use The Ilocos Times for her own sinister agendum, i.e. discredit a fellow writer? This paper, which was gracious enough to print the news article, did not deserve to be betrayed.
People may perceive Agcaoili as proud and boastful, bordering on the harsh sometimes, but at least he is neither a liar nor an impostor. Close friends say he is good-natured and kind. Besides, the socio-cultural contributions of Agcaoili, a multi-awarded writer and cultural activist, outweigh, the way a full-grown elephant outweighs a kitten, that of Raquel.
In an interesting development, Limon has recently called up Agcaoili to explain and apologize. Agcaoili was gracious enough to accept the “sorry.” Though happening two years late, this is justice served in its own sweet time.
You see, dear karikna, there are no permanent friends and permanent enemies, and this is true, as Elizabeth Madarang Raquel would now learn, not only in politics and show business.