Mercado: Max and Lino

First Person

IN THE late ‘60s the most popular and influential newsmen in Angeles City were Max Sangil and Lino Sanchez Jr.

The two usually see each other at the old City Hall and had their presence felt by Mayor Eugenio Suarez who was the alleged implementor of the so-called invisible government in the city and elsewhere.

Max was the fearless radio commentator of the city government. So respected was he by the local police that traffic cops salute him. Lino gets a hand wave but still feared by local cops because of his news photo releases to the Manila Times, mostly sprawled police officers in a shooting incident.

I also hanged out at the Mayor’s Office, particularly at the office of Atty. Fred Pineda with his crew of young lawyers. Pineda was the brain trust of the city mayor. He was ambushed and killed by counter terrorism squad from Camp Olivas three years later.

One day before noon, I was met by a City Hall employee who reported a quarrel between Sangil and Sanchez. Even the personnel osf the city mayor’s office did not know the cause of the contention. Of course it was not due to professional jealousy. Lino is a photojournalist while Max is chiefly a broadcaster and PR man.

A few days later I saw Max garbed with a unbuttoned bus jacket. He showed me what looked like a rusty .25 cal. Pistol. The usual usiseros must have told Sanchez about Sangil’s pistol, a killer relic from his father in Bataan.

The next week I met Lino. From his cargo pants he pulled out what appeared like the starting gun used in track events. Resourceful Lino got it from a US airman. “Mate ku waring alang laban?” Lino explained. Learning of the bad blood, between his boys Mayor Suarez banned the two from carrying weapons of mass destruction inside his sanctorum.


The story of the half a century-old rivalry is a legend and a myth. Underpaid newsmen and orbit players, including the nouveau riche of the new generation frequently argue who between Max and Lino is richer in cash or property. The eternal query can only be answered by the SALNs of the contenders.

Their competition ranged from politics, to media titles, of course to bank accounts, world tours. When Max purchased a home lot at Villa Teresa, Lino got two After Max represented oppositors to the Bataan Nuclear project in Westinghouse USA, Lino got accredited to a brief Farm course at Harvard University, along with Dept. of Agriculture 111 officials. For instance when Lino learned that Max was the protégé of Labor Sec. Ople, he ingratiated himself to Agricultur Sec. Salvador Escudero. He not only found a generous patron with the latter but became a favorite “bata” of DPWH regional officials. This, Max has to surpass.

When Sanchez got back to Angeles City, he was seen wearing a grey Harvard sweat shirt, proudly informing as many people of Pampanga that he finished a course at the famous school. That certainly beats Max’s visit to Westinghouse. People saw that Lino wore the shirt for a week staight

I was looking for Lino at his wife’s store at Nepo Mart “E ya maratun bale manibat dinatang ya Harvard.” “Paruminggu ku neng akakit susulud na ing Harvard U” I said. “Sabyan mu kaya painawan ne pa.”

“Basta papagpag ne aldoldo,” I said.


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