LEAN ALEJANDRO | They've made songs for - and named their children after - the slain student leader
The online news portal of TV5
Twenty-five years after his death, Lean Alejandro lives on among his admirers, even among those who only knew him from afar. How do they remember him? Let us count the ways.
They sing songs about him
Gary Granada's Lean, The Musical is about the student leader who rose to national prominence in his struggle against the Marcos dictatorship.
When he died, the father of Gonzalo "Bong" Bongolan Jr., a university student councilor when Lean was chair, wept.
The elder Bongolan, a military reservist, said Lean would often visit him at home in Proj. 4 and they would spend time talking. “Pino,” a fine young man, was how Bongolan Sr. describes Lean. Occasionally, father and son would play the CD of musical that starred The Jerks’ Chikoy Pura and Cookie Chua, as Bayang Barrios voiced for the CD.
(Note: Copies of the CD are available at the Lean L. Alejandro Foundation Inc., 34 Matiyaga St. Quezon City, telefax 925 3036, mobile nos. 0922 879 6722/0917 880 0410, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
They name their children after him
Nora Salazar-Lopez, 49, accountant, only has one encounter with Lean. They both attended a memorial for the Cordillera hero Macli-Ing Dulag. She and husband Daniel agreed to name their youngest son Gabriel Lean “not only to remember Lean, but also so that my son would have a good role model.”
“He was a great propagandist, student leader, and mass leader,” says Nora, who was once “konting aktibista (some activist) at the Socio-Pastoral Institute, which gives seminars to priests and nuns on social transformation, including the Theology of Liberation.
Although he has not seen a picture of Lean, Gabriel Lean, now 9, knows of the man he was named after because of the stories she and Daniel tell. Once, a teacher in his school in Cabuyao, Laguna asked the young Lean if he was named after the young martyr, “Opo, sabi po ng ina ko,” was the boy’s reply.
Like Nora, Senator Loren Legarda did not know the slain activist personally. Like many, the senator knew of him only from the media.
She was studying at the Defense College of the Philippines when she became pregnant with her youngest son. In keeping with the family tradition of naming her children with names starting with the letter L, Legarda chose Leandro because Lean was for her an inspiration who epitomized what the new generation should be.
From the media, she learned that Lean was a “man of integrity, a young man with a vision for the country, and who could have been a good national leader.”
Legarda’s son, now a student at Yale, does not know a lot about who he was named after. But the senator resolves to give her son more details about the young activist so that he may be inspired to discover the “great leader in him.”
“He may have died young, but he left an imprint and an example for the youth to follow,” she says.