Dust, heat at Quimonda

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Sunday, March 30, 2014


WHAT'S happening at Southwestern University (SWU)? Or maybe the question should be, what’s happening to Southwestern University?

I pass by SWU’s Aznar Road gate everyday and couldn’t but notice, during the last few days, the presence of vehicles, including a university bus, barricading it. I was told that the other entry points to the campus, as well as the Aznar Coliseum have been similarly shut.

Sources say the shutdown was ordered by one of the two warring factions of the heirs of Matias and Anunciacion Aznar, the university’s founders.

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The couple had nine children who, or whose heirs, are currently locked in a bitter struggle for control of the university.

The two camps have filed charges and counter-charges against each other and at one time, their fight spilled over to the newspapers when each side took full-page ads claiming that they were the rightful managers of the university’s business.

How and when the SWU saga is going to end remains to be seen. Concerned alumni are trying to bridge the two parties so that a permanent settlement can be reached or, failing that, one that would assure that the university’s gates are opened and kept so for the benefit of its thousands of students. I wish them luck.

***
Cebuano basketball fans will surely remember lawyer Eustacio Ch. Veloso. Popularly known as Tasing, he was regional director for Central Visayas of the Basketball Association of the Philippines for a period spanning at least three decades.

It was during Sir Tasing’s watch that Cebu basketball had its golden era, producing superstars like Ramon Fernandez, Alberto Guidaben, Manuel Paner, Yoyong Martirez, Estoy Estrada, Bernard Fabiosa and the Velasco brothers, among others.

Sir Tasing turned 91 yesterday and I am writing this as a tribute to the man whose huge shoes I tried but failed to fill when I took over as BAP
regional director in the mid-’90s. I wished I could say he celebrated his
birthday but according to his daughter, Cebu Regional Trial Court Judge Ester Veloso, he is bedridden. I ask the basketball fan to pray for strength for Cebu basketball’s original Iron Man.

I learned about her father’s condition in Judge Veloso’s courtroom last Friday. I am not sure if the preposition is correct; her “courtroom”, like all the rest at the Quimonda
building, is a cramped open space.

It was my second visit to the building since the Cebu judiciary reluctantly called it home but the first one when I was (I had to be) in barong. It was humid inside; the electric fans proved no match for the scorching temperature outside. By the time I went out, my nose was dripping from the allergic rhinitis that usually works up when I am exposed to dust and/or heat.

Cebu City Municipal Trial Court Judge Oscar Andrino had wryly observed about the dust during my first visit to Quimonda; we were told, he said sarcastically when I asked about the stack of folders scattered all over
the building’s ground floor, not to leave anything behind, including the dust.

Judge Veloso said she, too was allergic to the dust, and had to wear a mask in court. I imagined a masked lady in black robes with a gavel in hand and wondered if at some time, she would not feel the urge to pound the gavel on a misbehaving, barong-clad gentleman’s head. The conditions are really trying.

We have to give it to the judges for working under oppressive conditions to keep the wheels of justice grinding. But must they be made to suffer long? (frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 30, 2014.

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