Playing with Fire

Al Fernandez, statesman

By Gonzalo Duque


PRESIDENT Digong’s SONA continues to amaze people.

He is the first President to go down in history to face the bunch of rallyists, the likes of Renato Reyes.

You can imagine how his security felt, with the boss bravely facing the detractors.

How about Joe-ma Sison? Naging idol natin yan noong kabataan natin. His treatises on nationalism were our favorite read.

But that was before! Sabi nga ni Bob Dylan, “the Times they are a-changin.” Digong’s mantra is also “Change.”

Nakakatawa at nakakatuwa. Noon kalaban natin ang komunista. Ngayon best friends tayo. But the NPA of Joe-ma are not changing, or if they do, it’s for the worse. Mga tulisan na ang karamihan. No more ideology. Kaya ayaw na natin diyan.

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno was in town yesterday, not as a leader of the judiciary, but as supreme commander of the Knights of Rizal.

He knighted the local patriots here led by our two friends, Jun Velasco as commander of KoR Dagupan chapter, and former PNP Regional Director Sonny Verzosa as commander of Pangasinan Chapter. We belong to Dagupan as adviser.

We admire these knights. In spite of their twilight years, they continue to propagate other-centeredness, a mark of greatness. They are patriots, nationalists.

We were touched by the displayed wisdom of former Mayor Al Fernandez when he came out in the open to endorse the transfer of the old city hall.

Al’s support has effectively dashed the ratings and the negative politics of the opposition to smithereens. BTF couldn’t be luckier. Mayor, e-blowout moy Al!

We think no mayor of Dagupan has been so popular and disarming as our coffee drinking partner at Pedritos. With him by Belen’s side, the forward movement for a new city hall in Dagupan has come closer to reality.

O, yes, we are for a new government center, not just city hall. But the ongoing debate will suffice. Just don’t kill a great idea, please!

Speaking of Sir Al, maybe we were still in short pants when we became friends, he being a buddy of our elder brother, the late Dr. Ado. We found him not only the pogiest guy in town, he too was the heart throb of chicks.

Dagupan life was simpler then, and being a decade older Al was looked up to as the “idol,” the James Dean of Dagupan, but he represented the more acceptable icon. Then came the Jaycees where, along with the late Eddie Crisologo, Al Fernandez was an icon.

Over cups of coffee (it’s a series) at Pedritos, we would swap, debate, analyze, concur, and chew and grind current events like they were the latest tsismis in town, but nonetheless relevant and profound. We always treat Al’s – or Kuya Al’s – easy-does-it tidbits in the breakfast sessions as lightly discussed guideposts to meaningful living in our dear city and the republic of Digong.

Mabuhay ka, Sir Al.

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