Monthly Archives: November 2016
Finally, there are no more enforced organizational duties to attend to on cue. No more balancing acts. No more enforced commitment. No more desolated nights. I can wake up anytime in the morning although I am a morning person ever since. I wake up at 4AM whether I have work or even on weekends. But this time around even if I have awaken early, there is nothing to indulge with or anything that would push me into rushing. I can smoothly pace around and walk slowly if I want to. No sweat at all.
On the whole, I am in a period of absolute relaxation. I could even afford to be forgetful, dreamy and careless. On a regular basis, I take a nap at any time of the day.
As soon as I am up, there was no compulsion on my part to push myself any further just to dip my whole body in chilling waters. I could take a bath later and stretch to perspire without any obstacle. I can skip heavy breakfast and nimble on crunchy fries before deciding whether a healthy chocolate drink would suffice or consume a round of garlic rice and dried fish.
The daily grind of going to work on time, on meeting colleagues and friends, on reviewing reports and solving administrative problems, on harmonizing relationships and on responding properly on managerial matters, I tell you, it drains a person of all the calories he has ingested for the full week! The pressures, the stressful situations, the burdens of office, the expectations, the tensions, the intrigues, the usual structures, the forces that inhabit every corner of the office, the dehumanizing effect of routine, everything virtually makes or breaks a worker mentally, emotionally and physically. Those were days gone by.
Finally, I am out of work. I have grown old in my profession. I must bow out. So what if I would become jobless, I have been working almost the entire period of my lifespan. I still have a period left to contemplate on what remains to be enjoyed. If I am not in my library enjoying my books, I am out there on the road relishing the delights of traveling.
Definitely, I deserve to have a soft life. I no longer look like a battle hardened warrior in the first place.
As soon as I reached the age of 61, I thought of retiring from government service. I am through with civic duties having reached the zenith of my career in the organizational plantilla. Since my entrance in government at the age of 23 I had accumulated 38 years—35 years of which were devoted as head of facility. Sometimes I wondered whether I have passed through youthfulness at all.
Henceforth, on being fair to myself, I was looking forward to an easy existence and eventually live like a couch potato.
Well, yes, I would rather fold up and give the limelight to the succeeding youth in the organization. The lure of a quiet life is beckoning and within reach.
When I was in my prime, I made some plans. I said to myself, “For the first 20 years, I will be in school. Next 20 years, I will get employment in government. Then another 20 years in the private sector utilizing my skills learned from school and experience in government. On my 60th I will be happily loafing around with my savings.” That was my simple formula on how to live through. There were minor adjustments though because not even the most planned program ever would be followed to a T. But by and large, my exposures were basically along the same route.
Like anybody else, I had my shares of triumphs and frustrations, successes and failures but there is nothing to neither resent nor feel bitter. I am happy with the thought that all my loved ones have reached their maturity and stability in their chosen direction. I never lamented on anything at all.
I chose to fade away in some remote areas, distant and far from the prying eyes of publicity. Where lush vegetation flirt the lungs, where sun shines its pure rays, where food is fresh and cheap, where my resources can be stretched and where nature seduces the mind.
In the twilight years, the rewarding part is the solitude inspired by scholarship, arts and contemplation. It is the thought that for once I was part of anybody’s universe, one who is always conscious of offering assistance if liquid enough and has never been a burden to humanity.
Robert Quinto, from the start, is an extraordinary person. This I learned after a visit to his hometown in Bulacan. His place is not an ordinary one too. It is a relocation site for displaced families, informal settlers and those who are mostly at odds with the law. It is almost a no-man’s-land, a predator’s paradise, the real land of the brave. Those who cannot hold a candle to any threat in that area will have no choice but leave or perish. Only the plucky, fearless and courageous remain as survivors in this corner of the universe.
At a youthful age, Robert was already the chosen leader of this backyard. He was easily the most charismatic person in his place that his organization even sent him as scholar. He was once understood as the savior of the place once he succeeds. His domestic leadership restored normalcy in his town. There were more activities for the youth and less idleness. Vices and criminality subsided even if their qualification to reach the area was dependent on their police records. He made that part of Bulacan synonymous to hard work and creativity. This was the Robert I recall his neighborhood and peers were wont in sharing with me.
He struggled hard to complete his college education and struggled further to seek employment in any pillar of the criminal justice administration until he was admitted in the Bureau of Corrections.
Working in the prison community was natural for him and almost no brainer.
In government at Davao Penal Colony during my incumbency, he was a lowly guard given a subdued assignment as office clerk. But his initiative was very impressive. He would still find time to lead a patrol team ringing the entire prison facility and its environs, maintaining peace and order day and night. And it was an activity which I discovered and which he never informed me. I was smitten with such commitment. So that when the time comes for recognition, it was his credentials which I brought forth.
He was promoted twice during my watch, given a post which traditionally belonged to central office protégé. I haggled for the endorsement so that those in the penal colonies would have equal chance with their central office counterparts. His stars shone brightly until one dreary evening while retiring back home he was felled by a bullet that grazed through his body.
A day later fighting for dear life, he succumbed, leaving behind a sparkling career, a strong commitment and a solid future. His credentials would speak for him. Let it be said that he prepared everything to achieve a bright tomorrow, from being conferred with a doctoral degree to a designation as deputy chief. He was that early a made man.
Such is also the fate of Malcolm X, Pancho Villa, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Leon Trotsy, .….
It is an abbreviation for “ Gun Shot Wound.” It is also the direct cause for an abbreviated life by a number of personalities. We have US Presidents Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and James Garfield, Martin Lurther King, Harvey Milk, Mahatma Gandhi, Park Chung Hee, Atty Robert Kennedy, Music Legend John Lennon, Singer Selena, Benazir Bhutto, Diego Silang, General Antonio Luna, Ceasar Climaco, Senator Benigno Aquino, Jose Rizal, Gregorio del Pilar, Andres Bonifacio, and more.
In my personal sphere in Davao, there was one person who succumbed to GSW—Davao Penal Colony’s Penal Institution Supervisor Robert Quinto and he was still in his prime. And the nature of his death is similar among those assassinated celebrities. He is in good company at a glance.
Robert was my former security officer during my incumbency at the helm of a penal colony, a protégé because of his initiative and loyalty to his institution. Whenever I would return back to my camp in the evening, close to midnight, I would notice a crack platoon checking every nook and cranny of the penal facility and reservation. There was an active patrol and it was headed by Robert, something which I never expected since the fellow was my executive assistant. He should be in bed but no, he was still up and about, supervising the patrol. I was impressed by the audacity.
I pushed his vocation and his peers sponsored his promotion. He slowly rose from the ranks. He was already on the road to an accomplished career. But one treacherous evening in front of his house while he was disembarking from his car, he was shot from behind. He reached for his service firearm but his assailant had dashed off. He got a bullet on the left side of his back and it exited a few inches below his nipple. The impact of the gsw damaged several of his internal organs—- broken ribs, perforated lung, bruised kidney and spleen, ripped intestine and injured vertebrae.
He was rushed to the hospital and for two days he struggled. Dawn of November 17, 2016 he passed away. He was 39 years old, older than Rizal (who died from firing squad at the age of 35), Bonifacio at the age of 34, Gregorio del Pilar at the age of 24. All of them were felled by a bullet, some of them a hail of it.
Such is life. It may be long or short but in our cosmos, in the great universe a lifespan is just a snap. One day we are feted, another day we are reviled. One day we are celebrated, another day we are ignored. One day we are praised, another day we are forgotten.
We only console ourselves that there is life hereafter. That there is Heaven. That life is better after death. That death is merely a gate where one must pass through to meet all those who departed and eventually reunite with loved ones.
We will never know how if there is truth in this or there is another truth out there. We only realize when sickness hounds, when accidents happen, when fate becomes definitive either through senility or gsw.