F. Sionil Jose's passing mourned; hailed as 'a true Filipino'

Published January 7, 2022, 12:52 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang is one with the rest of the country in mourning the passing of National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose, saying he was an example of a true Filipino.

F. Sionil José (Photo by Noel Pabalate)

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement after the Filipino novelist’s family confirmed his passing on Thursday evening, January 6. He was 97.

In his press briefing on Friday, January 7, Nograles extended President Duterte’s condolences to the bereaved loved ones of the national artist.

“Nakikiramay po kami sa pagpanaw kagabi ni F. Sionil Jose, Pambansang Alagad ng Sining para sa Panitikan (We are one in mourning the passing of National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose last night),” he said.

“Sa kanyang maybahay na si Ma’am Tessie at ang kanyang buong pamilya, mga kasamahan, at mga mahal sa buhay, ang aming panalangin (To his wife Ma’am Tessie and to his family, colleages,a nd loved ones, our prayers),” he added.

According to Nograles, Jose was more than just a novelist.

“Hindi lamang isang alamat na manunulat at storyteller, si F. Sionil Jose ay isang tunay na makabayang Filipino (He’s not just a legendary writer and storyteller, F. Sionil Jose is a true family),” he said.

In October last year, Malacañang agreed with Jose about press freedom being alive in the Philippines. The said post was made after the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to award the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.

In his post, Jose said Ressa did not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize and that “the Philippine press is alive and well” not because of her.

“I have criticized Duterte but not on press freedom. The Philippine press is alive and well not because of Maria Ressa. No writer is in jail. There is no censorship. Duterte hasn’t closed a single newspaper or radio station,” the National Artist wrote on Facebook.

“The real test for journalists was made during the Marcos dictatorship when he imposed censorship, closed all media, and jailed journalists,” he added.