Oscar Rodriguez's Walk to Fame (Part 2)-A A +A
By Max Sangil
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
OSCAR Rodriguez believes ‘till today that what happened in his life was providential, “as if every episode in his life was scripted by heaven”.
Every difficulty, every humiliation he suffered, he considered them tests of his moral fiber and resolve. Those nights in his youth when he went to bed hungry; the daily barefoot walk of four kilometers from their house to the nearby primary school in San Roque; walking in the dead of a rainy night from Mexico town to their makeshift nipa hut in San Pablo after he was off-loaded from a Pambusco bus when he failed to pay the bus fare (he lost his ten centavos from a forced contribution in school).
The first time he had a taste of a bottled cola was when he was already in high school at the Pampanga High School. There was a promotional program sponsored by the Pepsi Cola Company in the school grounds.
He endured sleeping in a small cot, bothered almost every evening by night pests, but nonetheless managed to get restful sleep for his tired body to help at his cousins' carinderia and sell molasses during his free time to the cocheros.
Oscar was an honor student from grade school to high school. He had a vivid memory how his mom had to knock on doors of relatives and friends in order to borrow clothes and shoes, including socks, for his son Oscar who was graduating as valedictorian. His classmates thought he had a sprained ankle when he walked to the stage limping. His mom was only able to borrow oversized shoes.
All his life, he never had any illusions of getting famous. He never dreamt of getting into public life, though he shared a dream with his father that he would become a lawyer someday. He kept that in his heart and vowed to himself that he won't allow anybody to rob him of his dream. He knew the hardships but he knew that the bright future was reachable. He enrolled at the Harvardian College in San Fernando for his pre-law.
The first time I met Oscar Rodriguez was when he was working as a stenographer for Judge Ceferino Gaddi, and l was young reporter. Judge Gaddi's courtroom in Angeles City was the former residence of the late Renato 'Katoks' Tayag. Oscar was the silent type of thinker and writer who talks less yet always had a beautiful smile curl at far corners of his mouth. His curly hair made him more handsome with his apple shaped face that could have been the attraction that made Loleng fall in love with him. Loleng is Dolores Pineda Pabustan, Oscar's teacher at Harvardian. Their love affair is a different story.
Oscar finished his law studies at the Far Eastern University. He tagged along with Judge Gaddi when the latter was assigned in Caloocan. But just like any first quarter stormer in his student days, he was recruited by the group of Rodolfo Salas, and joined the ranks of Gerry Rivera and Remigio Simpauco as political organizer of the National Democratic Forces (NDF). It was not long though when the military caught up on his activities, and he was picked up by constabulary agents and incarcerated for five months, which gave him the chance to review for his bar examination. He could have made the top 10 if not for his bad handwriting and getting a low grade on his most favorite subject.
In 2005, Oscar Rodriguez was one of the finalists for World Best Mayor. He won't boast of achievements like his performance as a prosecuting lawyer in President Joseph Estrada's impeachment trial and a consistent outstanding congressman. He is mighty proud of his achievements, like sending 70,000 scholars from poor families. He achieved in doubling the income of the city from half a billion pesos to P1.2 billion today, and finishing infrastructure projects close to P5 billion. But what he really feels comfortable and what gives him a sense of achievement was the construction of school buildings within students’ reach. He wouldn't want anybody to walk the long kilometers that he did in his youth.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 23, 2012.