The Weekly Inquirer Philippines

Aug 12,05


By A. S. Agcaoili

The best President the Philippines never had had died. From the time of the Marcos regime that assured us of forgetting to the last presidential election, this honorable man Raul Roco taught us how to become good citizens. With his death, could it be that the last of the politicians with integrity and self-worth is gone forever?

We do not know. We pray that there are still small redeemers left.

We can only hope that the situation in the homeland gets better before it gets worse. As it is, the rambunctious ride in the rough seas remains the same—juvenile, enthused, and rowdy. We can only dream of political maturity here. At times, we ask, “Have we been visited by a plague that has made us a nation infatuated with a perpetual backward motion?” Paurong is an apt term here.

For the past weeks, the oppositionists and their allies have grown desperate in their concerted effort to love the country ever more with their unique and curious brand of loving. They want us to believe them—that they offer us the panacea to our social problems. Now the administration opportunists trapos are joining the fray—and here comes the peacetime for those who have served only themselves.

The tragic thing in us—the irony of ironies—is that when the oppositionists lash at the administration and its trapos, we have a huge problem. When they join hands to plot of their next moves to perpetuate themselves in power, we have the same huge problem the solution of which seems to be indefinable.

We speak here of a pack of wolves ever ready to devour us all—and we can only watch in horror of the familiar scene. This is not bad luck. This is plain bad taste and callousness. This is not a lack of mind. This is a lack of soul.

This is where we locate the legacy of Raul Roco. He has gone ahead into the great beyond, resisting for some time to end up in limbo but kibitzing and acquiescing with the oppressors. He has the intellect to see how we are to see ourselves, how to define our problems, how to draw up our alternatives, and from there move on collectively. There was much courage, boldness and daring in all these that he did for our land— and now, we lost him.

We can only wail as we watch the good men go and leave us to our own devices. Nevertheless, Raul Roco has left us a life story that covenanted with our history of national redemption. In the dark days of the many regimes that made us miserable, he stood his ground. In the stormy nights of our bruised life as a people, he was a beacon of light, faithfully flickering on a hillside, the raging waters lapping at the lonely lighthouse warning us of other storms developing into super typhoons. In EDSA 1, he was there with us. In EDSA 2, he was there with us. Even as he has left us to ponder our next political moves to reclaim our power as people, we know he breathed life into our sordid, bleak lives.

We call this a grand imagination that goes with the building of a nation. For in the task of building our nation from our own resources, imagination counts. Raul Roco had given us much imagination with his bold act of resistance—a resistance we cannot any longer trace with those who walked with him in the past. We know who they are—we know their names, and we know which side of the fence they are standing now.

With Raul Roco’s passing, we invest on his memory by remembering his gracious and generous gift of resisting our forgetting of our dark present and our equally dark past.


James said...

Raul Roco lost a great chance in '98. Back in '98, I was so hopeful he would win. Unluckily, many people chose Erap for fear that de Venecia might win. Though I hoped again that Roco's campaign would gather steam last year, his ill health dashed all my hopes and I had to choose a trapo over a naive movie star. When I was at ICRI, I thought our country would become better. I was wrong and may never be right in my lifetime about our country. Good luck.

rva said...

nandito ka pala, pareng james, hehehe!

mula senator hanggang presidential, binoto ko rin si raul. sayang talaga at di nabigyan ng pagkakataong maglingkod bilang pangulo.

the best president we, unfortunately, never had.

ariel said...

hi james,
kumusta na? balitaan mo kami. si roco, malaking sayang--

James said...


Do you have an e-mail address? Is it right to post my info here?

Congratulations! You had many achievements during the last few years.

I finished my MA major in English literature last March. My thesis focused on the Palanca-winning short stories of Butch Dalisay in the 1980's. I communicated with him via e-mail.

Began teaching world literature and English grammar in Letran last June.