[Photo above shows the VINZONS Hall which was the venue of the 1967 shooting incident where Brod Jamil Lucman figured as gunman. Also, the hall particularly its conference room at its second floor was the venue of the 1970 Pi Omicron election for the hotly-contested Grand Omicron post.]
During the late 60s, there were a lot of lookers on campus; the sexy, gorgeous and enticing ladies like Emma Ruth Yulo, Nelia Sancho, Maita Gomez, Ces Onrubia, Agnes Arellano, Vida Doria, etc. It was nice to hang out at the Palma Hall lobby, killing time thereat, as you would see a lot of those lookers walking like they were parading on a ramp. One windy February afternoon, I chanced upon the sight of Emma Ruth Yulo’s balloon-type of a skirt being blown up to the delight of the eyes of male passersby, including myself.
Danny Purple, a six-footer who looks like the Filipino movie actor Johnny Monteiro, was an ubiquitous presence too at the lobby of Palma Hall. It was bruited about that this Danny Purple was a former intelligent UP student who was sent to some kind of Latin American country for a scholarship program.
He was reportedly mauled however by Latin American studes in that destination and due to that incident which resulted in some concussion on his head, he suffered some kind of mental trauma and eventually became some kind of a weirdo. Another story however has it that Danny Purple got so heartbroken for an unrequited love and that he subsequently suffered mental stress and trauma. For which reason, the story goes, Danny Purple, stopped schooling and contented himself endlessly writing poems day in and day out for his love interest.
Gerry Barican was the UP Student Council Chairman then and among the more popular university councilors was Ericson Baculinao. Brod Jun Olalia (Batch 66) whose father is the eminent labor leader Ka Bert Olalia, was the Grand Omicron then and would from time to time, being a friend of Gerry Barican, attend the UP Student Council meetings.
One of the projects which the council intended to launch was the showing of a movie entitled THE EAST IS RED at the University Theater, a movie about recent happenings inside Red China. Actually, the movie was neither star-studded nor was it an acknowledged blockbuster. However, it was opined that surely it would be something that the Filipino-Chinese community would want to see. Reportedly, it would give the viewers a peek as to what was actually going on inside Red China, after almost two (2) decades of seeming obscurity from the outside world. Mao Tse Tung who rose to power in Red China, and who ruled Red China then like an Emperor, was the darling and the popular idol of the activists in UP having transformed Red China from a feudal backwater into one of the powerful countries of the world, as it stands today.
It was why Brod Jun Olalia (Batch 66) summoned me one day.
Indeed, when Brod Jun summoned me, he asked me: “Walter, di ba meron kang kamag-anak na may imprenta?” [English translation: “Walter, is it not that you earlier told me that you have a relative who operates a printing shop?”
When I answered Brod Jun, affirmatively, he replied to me in this manner: “OKEY, WE WILL HAVE AN IMPORTANT PROJECT.”
As was narrated to me by Brod Jun, Gerry Barican in confidence, conveyed to him a sneaking suspicion that the tickets to THE EAST IS RED movie will be faked and will be sold during the show’s TWO (2) day run, as reportedly hordes of Filipino-Chinese and others of Chinese blood were all raring to see the movie. The suspects then reportedly were certain personalities who were privy to the council’s activities too.
The movie THE EAST IS RED tells the tales of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) history and background, from its formation in 1921 due to the oppression of Chinese laborers by their capitalist overlords, and the War of Resistance against Japan, finally to the formation of the “New China”.
The scenes of song-and-dance are punctuated by silent-film-era displays of exaggerated acting, often involving whippings of laborers by either Western capitalists with three-piece suits and dyed blonde hair with aide from their Chinese collaborators.
Between each scene, a narrator explains the pressing issue facing the Chinese people during the time period the scene is intended to capture – aiding the understanding of the film for those that are less well-versed in Chinese history.
One of the most touching scenes in the movie is when an elderly woman holds the blood-stained shirt of her son, who died at the hands of a group of landlords, dramatically in front of a crowd of gathered revolutionaries.
The Late Brod Gerry Santos (Batch 66), who is a son of a ranking Manila police officer, actually a colonel then; and with two (2) of his elder brothers being police officers too, was sort of what could be termed as the BARAKO type in the vernacular. [Note: BARAKO roughly translated is some kind of a person who is plucky and intrepid] And Brod Gerry was similarly Brod Jun’s confidant. Actually, Brod Gerry was Brod Jun’s predecessor as Grand Omicron of the fraternity.
During the talks, Brod Gerry jestingly suggested: “MAMEKE NA RIN TAYO, KUNG GANYAN BA NAMAN ANG TAKBO EH.” [English translation: Well, let’s make out fake tickets too, if that is the case.] And the jest became a reality.
And that was the first try to fake tickets. However, at the appointed showing date, though indeed hordes of Chinese looking personages were lining up into the UP Theater’s entrance, the theater’s premises was also teeming with multitudes of police officers. Thus, Brod Jun ordered that the selling deal be aborted.
When HAIR was staged by the fraternity, during Brod Jun’s incumbency as Grand Omicron, it was actually Brod Jun who put up the capital which was spent for the production of the musical play. Though it was not openly announced that the fraternity will only be given a gratuity which was never specifically quantified, only the so-called inner circle within the fraternity knew about the arrangement. Others however thought that Brod Jun was just sort of advancing the expenses and that after deducting what has been spent, the whole proceeds would inure to the Pi Omicron fraternity’s coffers.
I was then eyeing the Grand Omicron (“GO”) post, having served as Tyler Omicron, then Chronicler Omicron and as far as I can remember, I was already the Vice GO during Brod Jun’s time.
Brod Gerry hatched a plan to fake the HAIR tickets and it was Brod Oscar “Oca” Badillo (Batch 67) who conveyed the matter to me. Brod Oca said that we needed to raise some funds to eventually “wine and dine” our brods for the forthcoming election, so that, according to Brod Oca, I could be a sure cinch for the GO post. The suggestion enticed and allured me to the hilt, as Brod Oca even pictured a scenario where we will roast one whole calf, ala-Bonanza style [Bonanza, was a restaurant along EDSA then which was serving roasted calf], and would booze up all through the night. There were others who were eyeing the GO post then and the one who was so hot was Brod Victorino “Vic” Quiray, (Batch 66) who was the cousin of our fraternity brod and UP philosophy professor, Brod Arturo “Art” Maggay (Batch 63-charter member). The other was Brod Ernesto “Popoy” Valencia (Batch 67), who eventually became Editor of the Philippine Collegian.
What finally led me to agree was their (i.e. Brods Gerry and Oca) spiel that the HAIR presentation was actually not a fraternity show but was actually Brod Jun’s show, with the help and aid merely of the fraternity and the brods. I sort of defended Brod Jun by telling them that it was Brod Jun’s brainchild and I was convinced that Brod Jun must be the one who should profit from the enterprise. Eventually however, I acquiesced to the plan and there I went to my kin once more to make out tickets for HAIR.
Eventually, our FAKING enterprise was uncovered and after an investigation, and hearing, Brod Jun Olalia merely sanctioned us (i.e. myself and Brods Gerry and Oca) with a stern reprimand while some of our fraternity brods were asking for the extreme sanction of expulsion. In our fraternity, the word of the Grand Omicron is law for all of its members. When the sanction of a stern reprimand was imposed by Brod Jun, Brod Jun drew the ire of those who were adverse to us, the so-called triumvirate of Brods Gerry, Oca and myself.
When the PI OMICRON election came, and the issue about the faking of the HAIR tickets was brought into the open, during the presentation of the programs of action by each of the candidates which was held in one of the conference rooms at the Vinzons Hall, I defended myself anew to the charge of FAKE HAIR tickets.
Nervous and intimidated by dagger looks not anymore coming from Betan Sigmans but from some of my brods themselves, who were adverse to my candidacy for the GO post, I uttered out my spiel. I was sort of embarrassed and disconcerted too that after having been earlier sanctioned, I sort of said to myself: “Here I am, coveting the highest position in our fraternity, what a stain and irony.” But my supporters were insistent.
Actually, during the earlier investigation which was held as directed by Brod Jun Olalia, which warranted the imposition of a stern reprimand, not one of the witnesses said that they saw me actually selling FAKE HAIR tickets. Thus, as I was trying to make out a convincing defense, and thinking that the letter “D” would be more convincing than the letter “L”, I voiced out this utterance: “I DID NOT SOLD FAKE HAIR TICKETS”. And, I uttered this spiel in my speech not only once but THRICE.
When the votes were tallied for the fraternity’s Grand Omicron post, Brod Popoy Valencia won over me with just a single vote.
I think it was Brod Ariel Corpuz (Batch 69) who teased me after that election-meeting at Vinzons Hall, as he said: “Brod, hindi ka naman natalo sa election dahil sa ginawa nyong pamemeke nung HAIR tickets eh, natalo ka kasi, dahil sa wrong grammar!” [English translation: Brod, you did not lose the election because you faked the HAIR tickets, you lost because of wrong grammar.]