[This blog has a new domain: http://philippineaffairs.com/]
I never called him sir although he was my college instructor. He was about five or six years my senior but he actually looked younger than me. Some people even mistook him as a high school student. Even his demeanor was very unassuming and awkwardly naïve. He was the stereotypical bespectacled nerd. He was a brilliant computer science student, but was also a very good writer and chess player. When he was a student, he represented our school to different programming and chess tournaments. Although I was a biology major student, we were acquainted through our school’s official college publication, the Pillars. He was once an associate editor and later became the adviser of the said publication. He usually spent his idle time at the Pillars’ office, playing guitar or simply fooling around. Hence, Pillars’ staff fondly called him “tambay ed.”
When I joined the campus publication as a literary and associate editor, Ted Palacio was already the adviser. Ted was my mentor but he was also my friend. When Ted left his teaching post in Ateneo de Naga, I never heard from him again. I thought he went abroad for a better paying job or perhaps established his own computer school. But I was wrong. Just yesterday I saw Ted being interviewed on TV. However, it was not the Ted I knew. He was not wearing his eyeglasses. He looked haggard but confident. He was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of denim “puruntong” shorts. He was being interviewed because he was a captured NPA rebel. The news report stated that he was leading a band of rebels when they had a gun battle with a bigger group of police and military men somewhere in the mountains of Sorsogon. An ArmaLite M-16 riffle, grenades, bullets, subversive documents and a communist flag was confiscated from him. I was really shocked when I heard his name mentioned and saw his face on TV.
Ted Palacio was good in programming computers but he was not a military leader. He even had himself excepted from ROTC training in college because of asthma. He was the last person I expected to become a communist rebel commander. When I was in college, Ted never participated in any rally. He was a religious person and was even active in campus ministry as a guitarist during mass. I really do not know what pushed Ted to become a rebel.