Once in the past, the brother of a top police officer who fell short by a hair’s length from being the police top dog, explained why there are men who are bald. “ Only a few perfect heads were actually created,” he said while touching his, a perfect example, ” the rest were covered with hair.”
The vice governor, the mother of many things good that have earned her every letter of an iconic sobriquet, Nanay, must be both amused and flattered at the sight of a grinning familiar face on a bald head on the front page of this paper.
Admiration equals inspiration equals imitation equals award.
The man and mayor, Chris Garbo of Mabalacat City, previously heralded as the New Alabang in these parts, has just been chosen man of the year. He must have done , or copied, something good, then and now. She probably vividly remembers, among other things, how she nearly fell from a misstep, literally, more than a decade ago.
She was towing merrily a Pampanga delegation on her way to a coliseum in China to watch a crucial basketball game between a Philippine team and another foreign team. A victory would be a record , a much-coveted prize, for the Pinoys to improve their standing in the world of hoops.The Philippine team was coached by another man with a perfect head, Yeng Guiao.
Apparently, Garbo was walking abreast, merrily likewise, with the governor so that he was able to catch her before she could fall on her knees, probably even worse. Two things went in different directions that day fateful day. Yeng lost the game ( remember the usual explanation : players win the game, coaches lose them) but Chris saved the day for the delegation. More importantly, he must have felt,too, that he had met a certain destiny.
Destiny meant many things. It meant, for instance, carrying the governor’s bag while in China, maybe even when she got back to the Philippines when the opportunity presented itself. But always, and always, it meant Garbo was at the governor’s beck and call, a default frame of mind. You call it trust by another term. Trust has become a bad habit that, at one time, the governor asked Garbo to do a task the latter thought was beneath his office. “ I’m now a mayor,”Garbo politely reminded her. Of course, he eventually did what was asked of him. It was a rational and practical thing to do. “Blessed the Lord of my soul,” David sang,” and forget not the benefits”.
The governor’s trust was originally bestowed on the other perfect head, Yeng. It goes way, way back from the time when his father became governor during the dreamy Cory Aquino days. Yeng had also endeared himself to her for standing up against a political rival with a perceived Manichean , if not Inquisition-like mindset. She lost the political battle once, but Yeng won the war eventually for her.
Yeng was often called the governor’s son, when the original and now governor, was still in the woodwork. Yeng was he who reminded those in the provincial capitol at the time of a priestly leadership that the road to hell was paved with good intentions. In another place and time, he could have easily been burned at the stake.
But even perfect heads can be imperfect at times. At one time, the governor who slid to second fiddle to give way to the son, called up Yeng’s own trusted man. What has she failed to do for him whom she has treated like a son? There are things that are better left unsaid, especially in public. Politics is murky water while basketball is for straight shooters. To this day, it seems that while one drinks Diet Coke the other prefers Diet Pepsi. The man in the middle settles for ginger ale, which is known to be anti-inflammatory.
Now comes the man of the year, whose political image appears similar to his political patron’s. In the larger sense, that’s the art of the possible, politics. In governance, you go for the doable , the practical, the rubber-meets-the road challenge, so that you don’t scrape your knees or fall, which always precedes the possible, meaning campaigning. In our neck of the woods, the connection seems seamless. In any case, if you succeed in both, you deserve to be named not just man of the year, but a man for all season.
In that sense, Chris Garbo, the mayor of Mabalacat City ,whose time has come, should take a bow. He won’t drink Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi if either is found politically incorrect and distasteful. He would rather abstain from soda, keep his title and his latest accolade as the man. He’s the man. Perhaps, there would be more. If the shoe fits, wear it. Hasn’t the motherly governance been widely hailed, healed thousands, put a smile and on hope many faces on the way to a ripe, old age, and saved many from the wrath of the war on drugs?
Why reinvent the wheel? If ain’t broke ,why fix it?
Meanwhile, eat you hearts out, Boking and company. Tough luck, too, for how things went awry in his political backyard. And , thanks by the way, wherever you are. You’re part of the old story, the undying narrative from where the man of the year emerged. Boking had made a goldmine out of the fable that most of Clark belongs to the kingdom of Mabalacat. He made the stop-by town into a city. In both, he left behind probably the richest local government in Pampanga. He’ll be forever part of the local lore which validated the old saw that all politics is local.
Boking et al must realize that both history and politics have a moral or two to tell on the rear view mirror. Remember your first love or who love your first. Remember the old warning that a lie is a tangled web. The past is impossible to retrieve. The present is more demanding. Extinction is not just a process; it’s a decision, or the lack of it. Time waits for no one, not even the ones with perfect heads.
A story is told of a man at the gallows who was asked about his imminent fate. “ I have learned my lesson,” he was heard saying. It should not be lost on any perfect man worth his salt and deserving of a front-page treatment. There’s also the parable of the prodigal son, a du jour in the soul-searching season of the year.