The never were

    JUST LIKE the martyred Ninoy Aquino before him, Raul Roco – it was so lamented – was the best president the Philippines never had.

    It seems like every field of endeavor, politics primarily, is peopled with never weres. Meaning those who could have made a hell – or a heaven, more likely – of a difference, but for some twists of fate or turns of destiny did not.

    The erudite Estelito Patdu Mendoza of Bacolor – once Pampanga governor, assemblyman, secretary of justice, solicitor-general all at the same time – would have most assuredly been the best senator of the country, law being the very essence of, well, his being.

    Bar topnotcher Lorenzo “Lolong” Timbol could have been the best elected mayor Angeles City ever had or Pampanga’s best representation at the Batasang Pambansa.

    Gentleman Abong Tayag would have given Lolong a run for his law books on the best-mayor-Angeles-never-had title.

    The charismatic Cicero J. Punzalan would have made the best elected governor of Pampanga, the best congressman of the third district, the best re-elected vice governor of Pampanga, the best vice mayor of San Fernando.

    The regal Cielo Macapagal-Salgado without doubt would have been a shoo-in too as best governor of Pampanga. Ditto the late Virgilio “Baby” Sanchez who could also have made a best City of San Fernando vice mayor, circa 2004.

    Andrea Dizon Domingo, the brilliant immigration commissioner and one-time congresswoman, would have most certainly made best City of San Fernando mayor. Didi’s son, Doc Eric, best third district congressman.

    Of course, perennial vice mayor Ely “Tiger” Lagman could have contested Aling Didi’s best mayor title, being a breath away from the mayorship for the longest of time.

    Sometimes, no, oftentimes, things that happened just were not meant for some people. Lost opportunities and untapped potentials being as much integral in economics as in politics.

    Alas, poor Don Pepito Mercado, we can only find solace in that elegy of Thomas Gray: “Full many a gem of purest ray serene, The dark unfathomed cave of ocean bear: Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness in the desert air.”

    Indeed, Atty. Arlene Buan, as one forgotten poet wrote: “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these ‘it might have been’.”

    Might have beens. Never weres. Still, hope springs eternal. Ang umaayaw ay hindi nagwawagi. Ang nagwawagi ay hindi umaayaw. So said Manuel Uy, he of the charity sweepstakes ticket of yore.

    Thus, No Retreat, No Surrender for Anthony Dee. No matter Boking Morales’ unprecedented, unbelievable, unmistakable, four, er, five consecutive terms in the town of Mabalacat. Ay, Dee dropping to vice mayor this 2010, not surrendering to Boking but spiting him by partnering with Boking’s own daughter running against him.

    Thus, Dinan Piñon Labung trying to be Bacolor mayor this time, after being third district congressional also- ran, first losing to Dr. Rey Aquino then to the galloping Dong Gonzales.
    Thus the intellectual Chito Bacani back to the hustings in the first district, not so much on the platform of a gravity train or fixed fare for the Angeles-Manila commuter, as for the damnation of the energetic corruption of the young. 

    No matter, the supreme optimists that they are, for the also-rans the best is ever yet to come.

    (Originally published under my column Free Zone in March 2007 in the now-defunct Pampanga News, with minor additions to make it more current). 


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