I was getting worried about Sonny Alvarez. I phoned his house to check.
“How is Sonny?” I asked. “Is he safe?”
“Yes,” said his brother.
“Is he staying alone?”
“No, he is not alone,” was the reply, “but he has just phoned that he is safe.”
“You mean to say that he is not in the stockade?” I asked in pleasant surprise.
“No, he is not in the stockade, he’s free.”
I proceeded to call up Ding Lichauco’s mother, “This is Caesar Espiritu, may I know the situation of Ding? Is he safe?”
His mother answered: “He is at his house.”
“You mean to say that the military has not taken him in?”
“No,” she repeated, “He is at his house.”
“I am very happy to hear that. Please give me his telephone number.”
Mrs. Lichauco dictated Ding’s number to me, then said, “I am going to be there in 15 minutes. What’s your number?”
I gave her my telephone number.
“Thank you very much for your concern. I will tell this to Ding.”
I told Julio Ozamiz at the session hall that Ding Lichauco was not in the custody of the military. Ozamiz told me that he had just received a phone call from Sonny Alvarez. We were happy to learn that neither of them is in military custody.
In the meantime, rumors have spread that Mayor Estrada has been shot by Metrocom troopers. Erap shot? But he cannot die; he is not supposed to. He wins every gun battle in the movies, doesn’t he?
Activist UP pastor Jim Palm and Asia World Student Christian Federation Sec. Moonkyoo Kang appeared at the gate. They invited me to join them for coffee with Louise Palm and Pastor Dave and Cory Sobrepeña over at the Nordik Restaurant.
Dave recalled, as we sat down at the Nordik, that Cecille Guidote was crying while watching the dance at the Cultural Center with them because Cecille was preparing to appear on TV very soon with Joseph Estrada. She said that “Erap” has been shot and is dead.
We were quite grim. Jim’s usual levity was gone.
We moved for dinner to the Taza de Oro. Upon our arrival at the Taza de Oro, we saw (former Governor) Wency Vinzons, Jr. who told us the same dreadful news: Joseph Estrada is dead! Wency also said that he had heard from his sister that Soc Rodrigo, who had earlier resisted arrest, died that afternoon at the hospital.
There were all sorts of rumors. Grim ones.
We were in gloom. Soc Rodrigo was a good man… or lay brother, if such a one could exist. Didn’t Mabini say that the true man of God is not only he who wears a soutane?