EULOGY FOR A FRIEND
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, .….