October 25, 2019
THE other morning, I was among those asked to deliver a eulogy in honor of Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., to his family and other golden friends gathered that day in the Senate. There I once toiled, returning to pay tribute to Nene in his sort of final sentimental journey home. But, what else could I say that had not been said since he left last Sunday for a world without traffic gridlocks, no power and water shortages, no cussing, etc.?
Nene I first heard of in 1971 when his fellow Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) delegate Bobbit Sanchez, my Pasig townmate, spoke of him as a gutsy comer, a rising star from Mindanao.
In Pasig, “Nene” was a name given to girls. I was to learn later about fighting Nenes in the ring, including El Nene from Latin American countries, even South Africa. Gutsy fighters. And of course, there is Nene Hilario of the Houston Rockets in the National Basketball Association.
Nene Pimentel voted No! on the 1973 Constitution; awed, I was hooked as a fan. Fellow Con-Con delegate Pepe Nolledo called the 1973 Consti “siopao.” On Jan. 17, 1973, barangay (village) assemblies were asked: “Sino sa inyo ang may gusto ng siopao?” Natural, taasan ng kamay. “O, ilagay mo, 90 percent voted ‘Yes.’”
Nene voted No! in 1973, the same way he voted No! with us on the bases, on Sept. 16, 1991, despite the appeal of one we cherished and admired, President Corazon Aquino, who otherwise we would follow and go to the ends of the earth for.
Ano pa nga po? Maybe I should sail in a less traveled uncharted sea. I read about Nene’s and Bing’s love for music. Nene taught for some years in the finest law school along the entire length and breadth of Mendiola. Some years ago, San Beda Law recognized him at Club Filipino, where I joined him in singing a song indicating our ages. From the American Gis, who came back in 1944 to 1945, we learned these lyrical lines: “The other night dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamt I held you in my arms, but when I awoke dear, I was mistaken, so I hung my head and I cried.” Pregnant pause. “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you made us happy, when skies were gray, you’ll never know dear — my pal — how much we loved you — and always will — please don’t take my sunshine away.”
And once more, Wordsworth, the poet: “What though the radiance which was once so bright, be now forever taken from [our] sight, though nothing can bring back the hour, of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower, we shall grieve not, rather find, strength in what remains behind… and in years that bring the philosophic mind,”
Nene was our client in Cebu when he was charged with rebellion for allegedly giving a hundred pesos to the New People’s Army. I argued for him one late afternoon in the Supreme Court in late 1984.
Jailed several times in 1973, 1978 and 1983, etc., Nene was absolutely undiscourageable. Raw courage personified.
No Nene without Bing. No Rene without Dulce. I recall that Christmas Day 1981, after dinner at home, I slipped out quietly to visit briefly Pops Baskiñas, an April 6 Liberation Movement detainee out on furlough just hundreds of meters away. When I got back, Dulce was crying softly and asked, “Pati ba naman pasko, wala kang panahon sa amin?” Right here. Poignant. The lot of our kin in our lonely constant struggle.
For us in Mabini, non sibi, sed patriae. Not self, but country. Focused on serving our people, and our kin understood and supported us in our mad adventures. Bing and family, I know the feeling. Thank you for unselfishly sharing Nene with a grateful nation. Goodbye Nene, Godspeed and one more thing: when you meet my darling Dulce, kindly tell her that since she left this vale of tears, I haven’t looked at any other woman. Wink, wink.
We appreciate the Prez’s going to Nene’s wake last Tuesday. We’d like, though, to have some real medical doctors look at him and confirm the supposed “unbearable pelvic pain.” Caused by what? His tardy decision to go conceivably created protocolar problems for the hosts, which could not be remedied on very short notice. Tokyo is not Davao City. Relegated to second billing could really create unbearable pain. But, the Japanese could be protocular to a fault. And what is the medical background of Sal Panelo and Bong Go anyway, with all due respect?
“Bearable” naman pala, after all, if the Prez could go to a wake. But, again, we wish him well; we must for the country’s sake. Unbearable pain affects judgment. But, he does need to make certain mid-course corrections with only 977 days left of his presidency.
Another patriot we can say goodbye and TY to is Justice Tony Carpio, who steps down this weekend after an illustrious stay in the Supreme Court. We are with him on the West Philippine Sea on which we see and appreciate his prodigious and outstanding efforts to educate our people for their own good. He worked with the team which won in international arbitration, which victory China, the clear loser, refuses to accept and recognize, a check on its irredentism. Had it favored China, it would have accepted and grabbed it, a no-brainer.
We now see our Prez in alleged constant pain, due to one cause after another. It pains him that Veep Leni Robredo would succeed him should he step down now, which I don’t really look forward to at this time. What I do hope to see, is for him to change and make mid-course corrections. But, he says he doesn’t care for human rights and inflicted Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido on Bacolod, who deserves better.
Digong prefers Bongbong to succeed him, for possible protection.(?) But, from where I sit, Veep Leni has clearly won so Bongbong delays the proceeding, which so far has only increased her margin, reportedly. Bongbong was a Marcos ordered on July 15, 2003, to return billions of pesos of ill-gotten wealth. We cannot have another kleptocratic Marcos for Prez.
The next Prez has his work cut out for him. Aside from traffic, today, at the height of the rainy season, we are told to brace ourselves for a water shortage. For crying out loud. I dread to think of how it would be come summer. Quality of life sinking.
Bakit po yata lahat ng kamalasan inaabot natin? So, we pray to the one who commanded “Thou shalt not kill.” All kinds of personal crises and national ones have been occurring during the watch of a lesser god in the Palace, who commands Espenido “Thou shalt kill!”
There is a better way to reduce our population.
Finally, we congratulate Chief Justice Dado Peralta and wish him well, for the sake of the Rule of Law. His father, Manila CFI Judge Elviro Peralta I remember as a competent jolly folksy good fellow. And Dado had the good judgment of marrying a Bedan lawyer, Court of Appeals Justice Audrey Lampas-Peralta.
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