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Holganza – prominent leader of Cebu’s anti-Marcos forces – passes away

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita January 26,2015 - 09:53 AM





Ribomapil “Dodong” Holganza Sr. – one of the leading lights of Cebu’s opposition forces that resisted the Marcos dictatorship – passed away yesterday morning due to complications after he suffered a stroke a week ago.

Holganza, 79, was taken to the Chong Hua Hospital two Saturdays ago where he was confined until he passed away at 5:05 a.m. yesterday, his daughter, Rosemarie Holganza-Borromeo told Cebu Daily News.

His remains were taken to the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes in barangay Lahug in Cebu City  for public viewing. Interment  is set on Thursday, Jan. 29 at the Cebu Memorial Park.

Holganza has been based in Bantayan Island since his wife, Rosie, died in 2009.

Holganza lived up to his name when he became a prominent figure in Cebu’s anti-Marcos movement along with the likes of the late Nenita “Inday Nita” Daluz and former congressman Antonio Cuenco.

His name, Ribomapil, is a portmanteau of the names of Filipino heroes: Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini and Marcelo del Pilar. But in the parliament of the streets and to friends and family, he was “Dodong”

Holganza, a devotee of the Sto. Niño, was in Cebu City as he was supposed to join the solemn foot procession last Saturday.

Rosemarie said her father would usually come home on the Thursday or Friday before the procession, but they were surprised to see him home earlier, on a Tuesday.

“We asked him why he was home early and he told us daghan daw sya dapat ipasalamat sa Santo Nino,” she said.

He was resting at home in barangay Basak San Nicolas when he suffered a stroke.

Rosemarie said they were preparing to go to the Sto. Niño Basilica to attend the novena mass. As they were about to leave, one of Holganza’s children called out to him that they were leaving, but there was no answer.

“Wala gyud sya nanaog. And pag-check namo sa iyang kwarto, we found him already slumped near his bed,” Rosemarie recalled.

Rosemarie said her father had suffered from a mild stroke two years ago, but he managed to fully recover.


Christmas detainees
Holganza and his eldest son, Ribomapil “Joeyboy” Holganza Jr.,  a former member of the Cebu Provincial Board and president of the Federation of the Association of Barangay Councils, were widely known as the Christmas Day detainees.

Holganza together with Dr. Filemon Alberca – were co-hosts of the popular radio commentary program hosted by Inday Nita – and Constantino Loyloy would spend more than two years in detention after they were arrested in a violent Christmas Day raid in a house in Lopez Jaena St. where opposition leaders were having a meeting. They were freed in 1985 after they were allowed to post bail.

In 2010,  through the efforts of a group of Filipinos, Weslaco City in Texas state in the United States  proclaimed September 30 as “Ribomapil Holganza Day” in honor of his role in bringing back freedom and democracy to the Filipino people.

“On Dec. 25, 1982, Mr. Holganza and his eldest son were incarcerated during the dark years of martial law for fighting fearlessly against the abusive regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos – an event that served as one of the precursors of the bloodless Edsa revolt which brought back democracy and freedom to the Philippines,” the resolution passed by the Weslaco City council stated.

A Philippine News Agency report said Holganza was not expecting that his short visit to Weslaco City would turn out to be his most memorable experience.

It was only when Holganza and his family attended a session of the city council that he was informed that he was being honored by the city by having a day named after him.

Weslaco City Mayor Miguel Wise presented a Certificate of Proclamation to Holganza and thanked him for showing the world the value of freedom and called him a “hero and a patriot.”


Holganza’s death was mourned by many local politicians and personalities.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama recalled growing up seeing Dodong and the Holganzas since they are neighbors in barangay Basak San Nicolas.

“I have always been looking up to Dodong with respect. He is a seasoned public servant. At a certain time he was involved as city administrator and city secretary, he was also in support of former mayor Alvin Garcia. Talking about his untimely loss, we will be missing him,” Rama told CDN.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said he hopes Dodong’s efforts will be remembered by people.

“Pare Dodong will always be remembered as one of those who vigorously fought against the dictatorship while many others who claimed to be liberators sought refuge and enjoyed comfort in the land of milk and honey, so to speak,” Labella told CDN.

“I fervently hope students of Philippine History will always remember his name alongside the likes of  Inday Nita, Sen. Diokno, etc,” he added.

Human rights lawyer Democrito Barcenas, who was also a Marcos political detainee expressed sadness at Dodong’s death.

“I am saddened by his death. He was a good friend and colleague. In the 1980 election, when he ran for governor as opposition candidate, I also ran as mayor of Carcar. Together we fought the dictatorship,” Barcenas told CDN.

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TAGS: democracy, martial law

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