Monday , May 21, 2018

Libre: Bobby and Chuck

FOR Christians, the Holy Week is the most sacred as the suffering of Jesus Christ is recalled and reflected upon. It reminds us of our mortality and that we are merely passing through this world. While there are many who seek longer lives, note that we will not be judged by how long we’ve lived but on how we’ve served our fellowmen through our life journey.

According to Leo Rosten, “I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”

Two gentlemen I knew who made a difference to others died during the Holy Week: Roberto “Bobby” Aboitiz and Victor “Chuck” Machacon.

Bobby Aboitiz was the driving force of the construction business of the Aboitiz Group of Companies. Among my first assignments as auditor in the ‘70s was with Metaphil, Inc that was established from the acquisition of Hi-Speed. I came across Bobby, a down-to-earth executive whose amiable personality kept everyone around him at ease.

Bobby empowered women in the entities that he led, appointing them to managerial and executive functions. But I guess, it was in his work in the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) that he touched the lives of many people. The foundation became the channel for foreign aids during calamities; established programs that promoted education and livelihood; and recognized institutions and individuals that contributed to the betterment of society.

Bobby and his wife were kidnapped by NPA elements when they visited a project beside Fort San Pedro but were released within hours, which could be because his captors realized that the two were humane, pro-poor and socially-conscious.

I came to know the name Chuck Machacon while I was taking the CPA review at the University of San Carlos in 1977. The results of the CPA exam had been released and the number 2 spot was unnamed. Speculation was that a brilliant student from Cebu Central Colleges (now University of Cebu) could have taken the slot.

While preparing for the exam, the student (Chuck) became the mentor of his classmates. He was hired by SGV, given a scholarship in the Asian Institute of Management and made a manager. Later, he became a partner in the rival firm, Joaquin Cunanan. He was among the first to give me unconditional support when I sought the national presidency of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants. When I last met him two years ago, I still saw his brilliance and humility though he could barely walk without help.

The resurrection of Christ gives us hope that beyond our temporal existence is eternal life. I believe in God and in life everlasting. I believe good and humble gentlemen like Bobby Aboitiz and Chuck Machacon fulfilled their life-purpose and should be in the company of God forever and ever.