Verily, (what is) from God to Him returns.
If there are men I admire most and gain my respect, one of them is Monib (Hj. Abdul Rahman) Abbas also known as Ronquillo.
I have known Ronki, as we are used to call him, at time I could not clearly remember when. Perhaps, it was in the height of the “Ikhlas” movement of which we are both members that led the Marawi Uprising of 1972 just exactly after a month of Martial Law declaration by then strongman Ferdinand E.Marcos.
The Uprising was not only a failure; it was condemned by some sectors accusing it was done without coordination with Muslim revolutionary leaders like the late Senator Domocao Alonto, the late Congressman Sultan Rashid Lucman, and others.
The Uprising was believed by many of being instigated by locals who were facing charges in the government service.
When I returned home in 2003 after decades of seafaring in many places, I founded Ranao Star — now The New Ranao Star.
Among those who earlier joined me was Ronki. He joined me to edit the newspaper’s Maranao version and took care of the paper’s illustrations. He drew caricatures and cartoons on our opinion page.
Ronki’s cartoon series was about the story of two ants talking about present-day issues in light conversations. Entitled, “Bitiara Masukat,” it dealt with contrasting opinions on any arising issues of the day of human interest.
But the one that drew heated controversy was the sketched captioned “Rah IRAha IRArah.” It is a corruption of Muslim creed, “Laa ilaaha ilallaah” which means “There is no God but Allah.” The implication of “Rah IRAha IRArah” was interpreted to mean that the true creed was changed when the Ulama joined politics.
Radio frequency communication forum overplayed the said caricature and we, in the Ranao Star, were accused of anti-revolutionary and anti-Islam to the extent that it reached leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Lanao.del Sur.
Thus one day, the younger brother of the late Aleem Abdulazis Mimbantas (forgive me if I could not remember his name) visited Ranao Star’s office in Bangolo.
Ronki and all of us who were around in the office were surprised of the visit although everybody believed there was nothing to be alarmed of.
Of course, he did not come to reprimand us.
“No, no, no,” he stressed. “I came to express the kodus of our vice chairman Mimbantas to Ronki and to all of you for boldly telling the truth.” He left the office with a smile on his face.
It is well known that Ronquillo’s brothers and sisters are well-off and mostly professionals. But not everybody knows that he is among the 300 Mujahideen, the so-called Oksa, who trained in Libya and was honored as valedictorian in the Sea Diving Course.
Now to conclude the eulogy, I am proud to say that, above all, I have never ever heard of any person saying negatively against Ronki. Indeed, therefore, my brother comrade Monib (Hj. Abdulrahman) Abbas is a good man.
And may he be among those who are accomodated in the highest level of Jannah.
(FROM MAS YAHYA and THE RANAO STAR FAMILY)