IT seems like only yesterday
That Joker passed away
A year ago.
HIS strict instructions against a Senate necrology or any public display of grief spared me giving the eulogy that I could not have written and given.
It was a loss beyond words.
I don’t think I even said goodbye on Twitter or Teditorial.
At least I don’t think I did. I might have gotten angry at suggestions to defy his instructions, but I know they meant well.
Anyway I don’t want to remember.
Even he could not say goodbye though now it seems to be the reason he insisted that we dine and drink before he left for Stanford, never to return. We talked about this and that.
Given the limited choices at the bar, he said, the smart option is picking the most expensive wine.
We talked about the time we worked together but hardly ever about current events.
Even in the previous administration, I read his sentiments in the papers but he never expressed them to me.
He was the gatekeeper of the first president, she who restored democracy.
He was ever zealous to keep her above reproach.
For therein lay her only protection against enemies.
He was always alert to frustrate attempts to meet so-called national emergencies when the solution suspiciously cost plenty of money.
It was a contentious Cabinet.
But the fight was between men and women of high intelligence and unimpeachable integrity no matter which side you were on.
It would be the last time there would be serious discussions—quarrels even—over opposing principles held by strong personalities.
After that, I don’t know. I never served in government again.
But that’s not all the Joker I knew: the man who defended the famous and the not-so-famous detainees.
In the second case, he was in Crame instantly—clothes thrown over pajamas—before permanent damage was done to those he made clients on the spot.
He was never openly angry, never publicly outraged, and yet he defended with every ounce of his being every good cause coming his way. But he was always careful never to show his true feeling because among those who have none a show of emotion, an outburst of passionate conviction is a sign of weakness to be exploited by inflicting worse treatment on their victims.
That was the Joker style, to handle your case with a smile or a smirk and a flippant remark before pouring heart and soul into the fight.
He left the Palace just a year after he set the presidency on its feet.
But every day after that, to the end of her term, it seemed as if he was still there, pulling all the strings.
That is a kind of permanent tenure in the office he redefined in the best way.
For the Executive Secretary stood in place of the President to take the bullets flying her way.
People can and will make mistakes but never could she.
Now, when hearts are healing
Is the time to remember
A man in his late November
Fighting with all the energy of Spring,
Now is the time to say goodbye—
Or maybe never.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.