By MANUEL L. MORATÓ
In Memoriam †
For a great actor and a friend, Eddie Garcia, I can do no less.
I went to the wake of whom others in the film industry call “Manoy.” But I always called him Eddie. That was last Saturday evening. I could only stay for about 15 minutes for I had a hoarse voice and could not talk to all the actors and actresses present that evening. I greeted some of them but over a decade had passed since I was the Chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board from 1986 to 1992, for the entire term of President Cory.
I honestly made an effort to go Saturday evening at 9 P.M. to pay my last respects to the great actor and a good man, and a friend to extend my condolences to his beautiful, kind, friendly and good wife. After a minute of prayer, I bade them all goodbye. I had to because I got wet by the rain the day before that caused the hoarse voice and could not really talked with so many of Eddie’s friends in the industry who were present. When I came in, oras pala ng eulogies. I managed to go to the wife to extend my deepest condolences and to excuse myself in between speakers.
Allow me to say how much I respected Eddie when I was MTRCB Chairman from 1986 to 1992.
The so-called Concerned Artists of the Philippines turned against me for imposing the law against those films that violated the law. I won’t mention their names anymore. What they wanted was: Freedom of expression, total freedom in all the films they make. I could not because I had to follow the law guiding the MTRCB. May mga bawal talaga. There were many rallies against me in my first two years, but soon later, many film producers learned to follow the law. The rest of the four years of my term were kind of peaceful; the laws were followed and as Lily Monteverde told me when I left the MTRCB: “Your term Manoling was our golden years in the film industry. We all made money. Yes, you were strict but we made more money when we cleansed the movies; and we did not spend anything.” I really never accepted anything in return. Hindi ako tumanggap ng lagay. Never; and Mother Lily Monteverde can attest to that.
Tinanggap ko mga tokens such as fruits, cakes for Christmas – small things, just gesture of appreciation. But I can honestly say that I never ate any of them for I sent them to the families of the 10 bodyguards assigned to escort me during those “heated days” of rallies. I did not ask for said security escorts, but Malacañang (the MTRCB is under the Office of the President) thought it best to have them. But when the film industry started behaving and accepted the guidelines and laws the MTRCB had to impose on all film-makers, producers, directors including the films shown on television, we were friends again.
God bless you, Eddie. You were one of the few who never joined rallies against me. You never insulted me for being too strict. You were just kind and friendly to me.
Rest in peace, Eddie. Thank you too for being kind to me. You were a great actor and a kind person; and a law-abiding citizen of this great country we call ours. You gave your part that a great country can only be if we all stand united. You, Eddie, deserve to get the National Artist award.
Lord, please receive the soul of Eddie in heaven with open arms. We all commit mistakes in life, but many are not intentional nor premeditated.
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