JAMES DAVIDE: a former staff, memories
James Davide served as Davao Penal colony’s chief accountant. And despite the fact that I have an off-and-on assignment in that penal colony, he was always that finance officer I would oftentimes meet through and through. There was nothing personal in our relationship and there was no affection either. Everything that we do was always to be objective, like computing or calculating numbers. We were very careful with government funds because those were entrusted by government for us to be strict and regular about its expenditures.
While I relish with a lot of jokes and sharing it to my subordinate officers, my interaction with James was full of seriousness and solemnity. I had a different facial expression when James was in front of me. Both of us looked like robots!
I am closer to Nora, wife of James, because her mother who, I think , was the first entrepreneur of Dapecol community , would pamper me with attention. I felt her motherly concern when she would assign her favorite transport for my use and safety. She would oblige her children, Nora, included to prime me on Davao’s environs. She would also send over food that would enliven my dreary days as head of the penal colony. This was in 1994 when Dapecol was dimly lit, dusty and treacherous.
When I returned to Dapecol in 2001, and later in 2007, James was already a member of the command staff as Chief Accountant and Nora was assigned in the supply office. Nora’s mother was still there checking on my reassignment. Probably checking also whether I am provided with things that I needed. I was happy for James that he had a great mother in law.
James entered the Correctional service as prison guard. He studied and completed a course in Commerce major in Accounting. After graduation, he took the CPA Board and passed it. He never looked for another job after receiving his professional calling like most passers in the organization. He went about performing as prison guard just the same until he was directed to join the Accounting Office. Years later, he would change his item from custodial to administrative as DPPF’s Chief Accountant.
During my incumbency in Davao Penal colony, he was my finance adviser, fund reviewer, fiduciary manager, treasurer and auditor all at the same time. He handled institutional budget like a wizard and my organizational confidence emanated from his competencies. He was also my economist, analyst and fund forecaster. All the successful programs that Dapecol ventured during my term came directly from how he managed the appropriation of the institution. He was already at the peak of his career and almost an institution when I retired in 2014.
We were both born in the year 1954 but I retired earlier. He was also planning to follow suit and intended to retire and join his kids in USA. There was still a full 2 years more before reaching the mandatory age of retirement and he probably intend to spend it to assist Nora in her task as head of Supply Office. Nora is younger than us and she is doing fine as a logistic officer. James would just coast along instead.
But fate had another agenda. Early morning of Easter, this day, the same day (although different date), 10 years ago, Dapecol would be raided by rebels and its armory emptied; and 10 years later, James ,together with his family en route to an outing, was waylaid by armed groups and his car fired upon. James was hit on the face and breast. He reached the hospital DOA.
I got shocked upon hearing of Jame’s violent departure. James in my years at Dapecol was very fair. I never knew if he figured in any altercation. He would be the last person I would imagine to fight on anything. His principal weapon is abstract thinking and the calculator, nothing more. Whenever he would visit me in my retirement home, it was never to talk about problems but more on sharing the harvest of his sideline in farming. Whenever his mango farm would yield a bounty, he would thoughtfully bring in a big boxful of ripened mangoes right at my doorstep. His entrepreneurial skill would extend even on selling ice cream!
The man lived a full life. He had a prodigious career; had a good wife and all children are professionals; had good businesses; had great friends. The only flaw is his sudden departure.
By now, he must be in Heaven smiling with fulfilment.