Remembering Joey Gloria

by Marivic Raquiza

The email from Becky said, ‘All I have is bad news.’ And then she said that Joey Gloria--- our Joey!—died that morning of a stroke.

There was something surreal, unreal about it. Joey, so full of life, always so irreverent, laughing, smiling, was gone?

The last time I ‘worked’ with Joey was when I needed someone to provide a community development training to the San Roque community association of Ka Teody and Edwin Nacpil. The first person that came to mind was Joey Gloria. After one phone call to him, everything was set. He would give the training, and provide the venue of the training—free of charge. So one day in October last year, if I remember correctly, there we all were in PRRM, the community members of San Roque listening to Joey do what he does best—provide inputs on how to build grassroots communities.

I didn’t see Joey much across the years. But whenever I needed someone to provide advise on Mindanao, or give an input from a grassroots community development perspective, Joey was just a phone call or text away, and without question, he would always, always be there. And, well, I just assumed that this would be the case for a long, long time.

One other thing about Joey. He could, would always cut through the bull in a deadpan sort of way. If anyone said something shaky (malabo), he would give that gaze as if to say, ‘eh ano ngayon?’ He could see through people, and the way things really were. And he used his irreverence to great effect; it could cut, demean, insult without being confrontational. But his irreverence was also a great source of joy and laughter for many, always welcome respite from the work.

Politically, I always saw him as a kindred, which is saying a lot given how contentious our brand of Boy Morales politics is. But I always felt that he truly understood, and that I could always count on him to stand with us politically, even when, or especially if, the going got rough. Somehow, in the back of my mind, I always found comfort in knowing that Joey was with us politically, and that one could always count on him. He was such a heavyweight!

It is only now, with Joey gone, have I realized how much I had counted on him to be there for me and my projects, political and otherwise, and how precious he was/is to me.

I will miss you terribly, Joey. Thank you for all that you have done for me, for us, for the movement that you helped create and devoted your life to. Isa kang tunay na dakila, isang tunay na kasama at kaibigan. Mahal na mahal ka namin.

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