Coach Yeng on surviving the '70s: 'Sobrang hirap ng martial law para sa amin'

Apr 2, 2022
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Yeng Guiao with a pink face mask during the Ginebra series (left) and at a VP for Leni outreach in Paranaque, together with his fraternity
PHOTO: (From Left) PBA Images; Courtesy of Yeng Guiao

IT MAY already be decades in the past, but Coach Yeng Guiao will never forget the day martial law was declared.

“On the first day of martial law, ni-raid ang bahay namin, September 21, 1972. I was twelve or thirteen years old,” he said in an interview livestreamed in the Team Leni Robredo Facebook page.

Soldiers poured into the house, looking for his father, Bren Z. Guiao, who had been among those who worked in the Constitutional Convention just the year before. The senior Guiao and the rest of the opposition bloc had opposed a move to extend the term limits of the president, and early the next day, was among the 11 delegates who found themselves behind bars.

“Martial law victims kami,” Yeng Guiao declared. “Ang tatay ko, on the second day of martial law, hinuli, kinulong.

“E nagtataka ako kung bakit sinasabi na maganda raw yung martial law? Walang kasalanan yung tao, tapos ikukulong mo na lang because he was political opposition? Ibig bang sabihin, pag magkaiba tayo ng politika, pwede mo na akong ikulong?”

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In the interview, the outspoken Road Warriors coach turned emotional.

“Nakulong ang tatay ko, ang nanay ko ang nag-alaga sa amin. Housewife lang siya, pwersado lang siya magtinda sa palengke habang nakakulong yung tatay ko para mabuhay kami. Actually, naiiyak ako pag naalala ko yun e,” he said.

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“Sobrang hirap ng martial law para sa amin.”

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    Yeng Guiao is actively campaigning for Leni Robredo

    This formative experience may be one of the reasons why Guiao is openly campaigning for vice president Leni Robredo in the lead-up to the presidential elections.

    But beyond his bitter trials at the hand of the father of Bongbong Marcos — currently the frontrunner in pre-election surveys — Guiao also believes that Robredo is the right candidate for the job.

    Yeng Guiao at a VP Leni outreach program in Purok 1, Silverio compound, Paranaque.

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    In a text message to Spin.ph, Guiao likened Leni to a trusted player on the hardcourt.

    “Kung naging basketball player si VP Leni siya yun tinatawag na 'take-charge player,’” he said. “Pag binigay mo ang bola sa kanya, alam mong tama ang gagawin niya, mahusay at mapagkakatiwalaan.”

    Keen-eyed observers in the Governors’ Cup (where Ginebra booted out his team in four games to punch their ticket to the finals) may have noticed the pink face mask that Guiao constantly wore to games. But off the court, the veteran mentor is also tirelessly campaigning for his favored candidate.

    Together with his university fraternity, he has been hosting outreaches in the vice president’s name.

    “Hindi lang iboboto. Talagang kinakampanya ko siya,” said Guiao during the livestream.

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    Yeng Guiao with a pink face mask during the Ginebra series (left) and at a VP for Leni outreach in Paranaque, together with his fraternity
    PHOTO: (From Left) PBA Images; Courtesy of Yeng Guiao
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