Goodbye Papa…

By December 10, 2018In memory of..., News

By FarahDecano

Today, I let go of my father. Atty. Hermogenes “Genes” Senting Decano joined our Creator on December 7, 2018 at 3:06AM succumbing to pneumonia complications at the UST Hospital. 

Papa had always been the silent yet sturdy and reassuring constant in our life. His voice was always of reason, compassion, and amiability. I grew up going to court with him. How he loved to take long drives through the mountains with a view of the sea and the sky in our old, rickety family car while telling me funny stories that were actually meant to teach me life skills. 

Papa was a dedicated and passionate protector of his clients’ legal causes. He served his paying and pro bono clients with the same degree of professionalism and quality service. I don’t remember any case that Papa shortchanged his clients. Mama’s former Legal Ethics students would remember her classic test question on how to balance family duties with lawyer’s ethics. The case involved a man who forgot his wife in the delivery room because a client urgently needed his legal services. To date, Mama ribbed Papa about that incident.  

Papa was a lawyer’s lawyer. His erudition was extraordinary and a trailblazer in carving Philippine jurisprudence. As a small child, I had to conquer my fear of half-bodied mannequins that lined the stores leading to his old law office at the old Dagupan City Public Market. Even back then, I witnessed Papa patiently mentored lawyers through the art of lawyering. Young and old members of the legal profession picked his brains and sought his counsel on extremely complicated legal issues. Yet, Papa never spoon-fed Clarence and me on our challenging cases. Instead, he grilled us on relevant laws and jurisprudence so, on our own, we arrived at a sound legal strategy. 

As we were growing up, my siblings and I learned to share Papa with other people. He held many positions that took him away from us. He was the IBP-Pangasinan Chapter President who used his own resources and contacts to further the organization. As National YMCA President, he led the organization from bankruptcy. In that same capacity, he steered YMCA from the effects of the 1991 earthquake. He also served as Rotary President of Dagupan. He was a leader and fierce defender of the Methodist Church.

But Papa is not remembered for these positions. He is remembered for his wisdom, calm demeanor, and humor. His closest friends had their share of reading his ridiculously-written eulogy. He wanted them to know how he intended to fondly make fun of them after death. Anybody who had long conversations with him felt the serenity that his presence and words bring. So, no wonder he was sought after even on Sundays, holidays, and evenings. 

I am letting go of Papa. I take comfort in the knowledge that a part of him continues to live and thrive in the hearts of the people, families, communities, and organizations he unselfishly and unconditionally served during his lifetime. 

Atty. Hermogenes Senting Decano is survived by (Ret.) Judge Alicia G. Decano and children, Atty. Clarence and Mrs. Shiela J. Decano and children, Dr. Portia Decano-Monreal and Architect Lito Monreal and children, Dr. Blanche Decano-Orpilla and Voltaire Orpila, CPA, and children, Hermogenes G. Decano, Jr. and Mary Jane C. Decano, Atty. Farah Marie G. Decano, and Blas Amado G. Decano. 

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