quaint little rutted bucket

Monday, August 08, 2005

A great statesman

- "A Minority of Many" - Manolo Quezon's 'eulogy' in "The Long View", his column at PDI
- "A good man" - Conrado de Quiros recalls how a good man led his life

This person ran on a genuine party platform of sustainable development.

As early as September of 2003, he was already making the case for a temporary easing of our debt, even for only half a year's worth of payments.

Before cancer got to him, he was ranking among the top bets for the 2004 Presidency. He was often the target of political "demolition jobs" and smear campaigns.

Born Raul Roco, he was the second eldest of ten children. A Bicolano near-prodigy, he voraciously read and studied, even after completing formal tertiary schooling. A successful individual, he finished his law studies at San Beda College with honors, and went on to have a fruitful career as a practicing lawyer for local corporations, and soon thereafter, joined local politics.

MLQ3's eulogy describes him as a "wolf", akin to many of the previous political luminaries and statesmen that we have had: Juan Sumulong, Claro M. Recto, Raul Manglapus and even Jovito Salonga. These men had vision, conviction and the passion to swim against the tide of conventionalism and traditions. They ran for the highest public offices but lost. Whether it was due to their difference, or perhaps their alien nature to the system, they lost believing and standing firm in whatever they believed in.

Truth be told, seeing Raul Roco lie in state for the last time brought tears to my eyes. I believed in that guy. If not for his tenure as the Secretary of the all-too-important Department of Education, that department would not be where it is now under Butch Abad's leadership. Bearing the true mark of a servant-leader, it is only now that he is past his mortal existence that he is finally getting the accolades he deserved.

My final paper in ENGLONE made the case for a Roco presidency. I still believe in those. Here was a person who never titter-tattered (unlike GMA) and actually did what he said. If only people voted on the basis of platform and issues over popularity and name recall, then we may not have to experience the things this country is going through right now.

Raul Roco tried to present and make himself more palatable to a voting populace who is more keen to buy a candidate's celebrity endorsers rather than his actual merit. He did this in stride, beaming gleefully, in his distinctive, colorful hula-inspired floral shirts. But even this did not succeed. People viewed him with skepticism, and some even find him too egotistical for his own good. Nevertheless, that was the very limit of what he will do for the population's votes... if he will not win that way, then he will not be adapting to the conventions of Philippine politics.

And Roco's magic did work, for a few months while he was riding the crest of his campaign. If not for his prostate cancer, Roco would've likely won, despite having a fairly unknown Vice President and Senatorial bets.

But win he did not. Whether it was the failure of his campaign, or the lemming-like attitude of some Pinoys, Raul Roco will join the ranks of fine men, whom we shall always say, the great Presidents this country never had.


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