It could be of small national significance. It might not even be worth public notice. But it certainly has a lot of implications for the ethical fiber of the country.
Among all the presidential candidates in the last national elections, it was only Fernando Po, Jr., who signed a covenant with the Krusadang Bayang Laban sa Jueteng. It was only him who committed his governance to free the country of jueteng when elected to the Office of the President.
He took the risk of getting the ire of the gambling lords. He decided not to accept jueteng payola for election purposes. He was a moral giant not only in the movie world but also before the appreciation of the Krusada.
With a personal note, I came to know the man. He gave me courtesy calls before the elections. But more than that, he also visited me after he was told of his electoral defeat. Big politicos usually make pre-election visits to many people, in many places. But usually as well, they are no longer seen after winning or losing the elections. This is the rule. FPJ was an exception.
I might not have campaigned for him whereas I was not allowed to do so for anybody. I might not have been one of his fans because I am not a movie goer. But all these are irrelevant to what he really was as a person.
The nationwide grief now being felt by people all over the country are personal in nature—not official and wherefore true and sincere. Now that he is dead, the more he became alive in the hearts of many. Now that he is gone to the hereafter and beyond, the more he remains here and now.
He may not be a saint. But neither was he a bad man. He was not learned. But this he know well and humbly accepted. There are those who do not like him even when already dead. All these however do not cancel the fact that he remains the “King” to millions of people from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
May he rest in peace. And may all of those who are still counted among the living remember: theirs is a borrowed life too. This is of particular importance for those who are now in tenure of power and influence. Even these including themselves shall pass away.
And when they are already in their departure mode, all their might and affluence cannot do anything in anyway to make them stay a moment longer.
15 December 2004