NEW YORK – Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio, Jr. whose given name is of Spanish and Latin origin, means “battle,” has written his first book Shaking The Secret Underworld of the Unjust and will be launched on July 13 at the Philippine Center in Manhattan at 6 p.m.
Subtitled The Glitter of 30 Pieces of Silver, the book is a memoir of the life experiences he has had growing up in Manila, his career during the Marcos era, his coming to America and his battles with corruption and injustice.
Forced to resign from his work with the government, he decided to come to America for a new life with a mere $53 in his pocket. He vividly remembers that on his arrival in New York City on Nov. 23, 1973, he immediately grabbed an available job at that time – a seasonal sales job at a Manhattan department store.
Today, he owns a thriving consulting business, Gonzalo Policarpio Consultants, LLC, located in downtown Flushing in Queens, NY, the publisher of his book.
Imbued by his Christian upbringing, Policarpio stood firm on his beliefs when he worked at the Philippine Immigration Bureau and the Department of Foreign Affairs. He took the same stance when he worked at the then-US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and the political ‘bigwigs’ of the Republican Party in his district where he lives.
“The unjust – the corrupt beings – always do their ungodly ways in secret places, most of them in positions of power, always undercover,” he said. He found it a challenge to fight them until they were exposed and uncovered.
In an interview, he told the Philippine Daily Mirror that the book’s message is that the Just wins — like in the biblical account of the Battle of Armageddon in the Book of Revelation. Policarpio’s book is not about religion or politics but about how corruption destroys the core values of man. To emphasize his beliefs, however, Policarpio makes references to scriptural passages such as in the subtitle of the book “…30 pieces of silver.”
His book, he said, is “almost like a testimony of faith based on actual experiences. Familiar problems of dealing with cheating, stealing, lying and killing of people for “30 pieces of silver,” happen in this world.
But he never loses hope. “There’s victory in fighting for justice,” he said. “The God of Justice will prevail in the Final Conflict. With God nothing is impossible.”
The book, which is an easy read, has 105 pages. What took him years before deciding to write it was transforming his memory bank into words that would effectively communicate a message he wants to impress upon his readers. He had to go to the Catskills and the Pocono Mountains before completing the first draft in about two months.
Although he is now in his 70’s, he says that “his physical and mental age is in the 50’s.” He and his wife, Edelwina, have eight children who are all financially independent and married. Absent from the community for many years, he said he devoted more time to his consulting business to recover financial losses he incurred with his two unsuccessful runs for Congress. “I did recover and [am] on the way to more financial successes,” he said.
When asked why he stopped writing his column, From the Barrel of My Pen, in the Filipino Reporter, he said, “I was too conservative for the publisher. My words were like spears that hurt the publisher’s circle of friends and supporters.” He added, however, that to the best of his recollection, he “stopped writing when he joined the INS.”
Shifting to politics, he said he campaigned for Rudy Giuliani for Mayor against Democrat David Dinkins in the late 80s. He had to resign from a municipal hospital in Manhattan as a department administrator to work fulltime in the campaign as Chairman for Filipinos and Co-chairman for Asians. When Giuliani lost, he joined the INS where he had a heart-breaking experience of corruption and injustice. Anecdotes of his experiences are mentioned in his book.
In his first run for US Congress in 2003 against popular Democrat Gary Ackerman who had been in office since 1980, he had to resign from INS due to a restriction as a federal officer. However, he was not endorsed by the GOP because they wanted him to run instead as a New York State Senator against a Democrat. “As a warrior at heart, I ran as an independent with a very slim chance at winning,” he said.
At his second attempt in 2007 for the same position, he was not endorsed by the GOP again. Instead, they “plucked a non-Republican to run against me despite the fact that I have been a Republican for so many years,” he said. The “injustices” he experienced are revealed in the book.
When asked to comment on current political events, he believes there is no change in the political climate nowadays compared to his time.
“In America, it’s always a war of ideologies – conservative versus liberals,” he said. “Trump’s approval rating is rising despite the Mueller probe described as a witchhunt. NoKOR [North Korea] Summit is a success. Unemployment is way down. [There’s an] economic boom.” With all these factors, Policarpio predicts the GOP will win the midterm elections.
With regard to Filipino Americans who intend to run for office, he said they should “use their own funds like Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump [did]”. Obviously, it is very unlikely that potential candidates have yet the financial resources that these businessmen/politicians have.
Policarpio’s book, which is sold by Amazon, “pierces a person’s heart and mind” in exposing corruption and injustice. As lawyer Gabriel S. De La Merced said, “Jun has been uncompromising in his stands and principles. He can be your friend and advocate, but can also be a fearsome adversary to his opponents. A straight shooter who says what he thinks in no uncertain terms.”