A Dagupenos’s odyssey to greatness
By Jun Velasco
“Behold, you desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart,” Psalm 51:6
HAPPY New Year!
Happy New Year?
Come to think of it. There are things we say and do without meaning it or without knowing why.
Maybe it’s a force of habit; custom, practice, tradition.
Has it occurred to you that you might want some change in the way you do certain things?
Change? Yes, if what you’ve been doing hasn’t done you any better.
With this in mind, allow us to greet you now, with confidence, Happy New Year!
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Btw, there were two words we used in our last column that were inadvertently changed. (Boss Ermin, pls. advise the proof-reader!)
The word “muster” became “master.” When we wrote “Happy New Ear” to caution against those who recklessly play with “paputok” – as the R1MC has warned, the pun was edited to “Happy New Year!”
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We smell – with a newsman’s nose – a looming, massive support for Senator Grace Poe gunning for the presidency, what with the Supreme Court’s grant of a TRO and Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista’s downplaying the issues on her citizenship/residency as an “honest mistake.”
We feel that in spite of the ongoing excavations of her parental origin, we go back to a gut-feel that she might be related to vice presidential bet Bongbong Marcos.
We are not saying the country is marching to the music of Bongbong’s drums, but the Ilocano’s flute has the sound of “This Nation Can Be Great Again!”
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We attended the glittering 80th birthday bash of former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., at the Sampaguita Pictures Garden on December 28.
It was a fitting celebration for a man who seems to have surpassed his life- goals.
Hundreds of stellar guests from all over the world’s who’s who list including the omnipresent FVR and Mayor and former President Erap.
O, yes, our partner at Club Filipino, Atty. Amado Valdez, was acknowledged by JDV as a “possible justice secretary under a Binay presidency.”
JDV, in case you don’t know, now transcends partisan politics.
We had warm handshakes with Mark Cojuangco who spoke after (or before) Toff, the artist-substitute of Congresswoman Gina in the 4th District.
While chatting with Mark, cumpadre Roy Macanlalay, former Mayor Jaming Libunao introduced us as the brother of Espino’s spokesman Butch Velasco, Irene Libunao and Mark’s vice gubernatorial team-mate Mark Macanlalay smiled.
It was our reunion of sorts with Manila congressional re-electionist Benny Abante. We also conversed with PDEA’s czar Gen. Dionisio Santiago, a candidate for senator: German Moreno, an old friend in the National Press Club; former Vice Mayor Pepe Siapno, our fellow Congress consultant Jack Castaneda, BFAR’s Dr. Westly Rosario, Dale Cabrera, Manny Aoanan, and the couple Rudy and Socorro Ramos who graciously located seats for us.
As JDV spoke, with the effort of an 80-year old and zeal of a “ forever young idealist,” our thoughts went back to our first meeting in 1964 at the Manuel L. Quezon University.
We were being initiated into the Kappa Gamma Phi (Knights of the Golden Fleece — exclusive scholars Fraternity) by our masters, Gino de Vega, Leonardo Quisumbing, Bert Nanquil and Augusto Macam when a clean-cut junior Law student from Dagupan came into view.
That meeting would span 40 years of friendship with JDV who became our inspiration, boss, model and later uncle (after we married his niece the former Catherine De Venecia-Gaerlan-Bernardo).
We led the 2nd District youth movement for JdV, with Alex De Venecia, to help JDV in his first congressional try as an independent; he lost.
In his next run, he clobbered re-electionist Jack and former Rep. Angel Fernandez.
When Martial Law was upon the land, he formed Landoil and named us head of his Asia Research Systems, Inc. He also let us co-head his scholarship program, then chief of staff and many other odd jobs he thought an inveterate newsman could handle.
We shared a lot of ideas including Communism that landed us in jail! Against risk to his security, he visited us along with fellow detainees Nestor Pulido, Tony Hombrebueo and the late Manny Cornel at Camp Aquino
When Guia Macmod, president of the Pangasinan Muslims’ association (PMA), noticed JDV’s kindred spirit, we said “his humility is A-1, his brotherhood, A-1, his Intelligence quotient (I.Q). A-1, and vast knowledge, A-1, and his concern for world solidarity and peace incomparable.”
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We pored over his and Gina’s 2-page Yuletide message containing their thesis of a globe threatened by turmoil, global warming, nuclear war, our “war” with China, and other gargantuan problems. The same document contains their heroic effort to help significantly solve the problems thru a mechanism they initiated – the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) and other allied groups — to convert conflict into peace, friendship and development.
No right-thinking communist or capitalist would dispute that creed and faith.
A grand salute to a great Dagupeno, a world leader for peace.
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