Farewell, my Friend-A A +A
By Mina Paras
Sunday, September 16, 2012
I KEEP thinking, Resty is waiting for me. I picture him in my mind working quietly in the office of his close friend Benny Ricafort, where he was given new life as legal officer for the CDC OP. Always, always, whenever I entered the door of the front office, where no one was supposed to enter, I’d see him and I’d always feel happy. Resty had that quality that emitted a calming aura, so serene it could only have come from deep-down goodness. In a way it was like seeing the Pope, and even when you were hundreds of meters away, amidst a madding throng who were crying out “totus tuus,” you felt the saintly goodness touch your heart. Not that I am saying Resty is a saint, only that he was a calming presence. I have met people like him, and I am all the better for knowing them.
The text from Corporate Secretary Pearl Sagmit came last Thursday at 11:40 a.m.: “Atty. Resty Capulong joined our Creator this morning, September 13. Viewing will be until Sunday, September 16, at the St. Louie Memorial Chapel…”
A wave of sadness comes over me. I am in Manila, unable to go right away to his wake. I plan to come on Saturday but the rains come. The rains that came with super typhoon Karen were torrential Friday night in Makati, where I had spent the night with my cousins. I know that the overnight rains would bring the usual floods in Metro Manila. I worry that I might not be able to go to Apalit for Resty’s wake. The skies cleared, but when we were on our way, my daughter and I, the rains poured again. Hard, Pearl said, over all of the NLEx. It was dark and I thought, it would be wiser to wait until the morning of Sunday. I could almost hear Resty say, “Bukas na kamu munta.”
Resty, one of the most mild-mannered persons I have met, reminds me of my Ingkong Hiro. They have the same manner of speaking. I am sure that Resty, human that he was, was drawn to anger once in a while, but I have never known him to raise his voice. He was very caring, and very much a gentleman. Once, waiting for a meeting to start at the OP, I said I was not feeling well. I had an upset tummy. He said, “Lukluk na kapa ken.” I didn’t know that he sent someone to get a Gatorade. But quicker than a minute, he was proffering the Gatorade, telling me to drink up, and Sky Flakes. I will always remember Resty for that, and for many other things.
Being colleagues at the CDC board of directors, circa late 90s (from 1998 up), I came to know Resty very well as we shared rides (with former EVP Hilana Timbol Roman and the late former director Nick Sicat) going to our monthly board meetings in Manila at the BCDA office, then headed by Babes Singson, then acting in a concurrent capacity as CDC president and BCDA CEO and president. Rogelio ‘Babes’ Singson, as you know, is now DPWH secretary and one of the few really good men of President Pnoy.
He regaled us with stories that made us laugh. He was lighthearted and a joy to be with. One of the things he shared with us was when, as a youth of, what, maybe 20 something, he and his friends who like girls from a neighboring school planned an escapade that was daring as it was life-changing. They asked the girls to go to a birthday party with them. The girls, though hesitant, were persuaded. After all, there were three of them. They felt safe. Only, there was no birthday party, Resty shared. They proceeded to Baguio—too late the girls noticed that Tarlac was behind them already—and there the “elopement” transpired. It was really funny, the way Resty told the story. Some of it slightly risqué. To make the very long story short, all three couples were married when they came down to Pampanga.
“We could have been charged with abduction,” Resty had confided. However, nobody pressed charges. Resty and his wife Lita had been inseparable since then. “I always went home to my wife, no matter where my meetings took me,” he had averred. And that is one of the reasons I admired Resty. He was a good husband and father.
Today (Sunday at 2:30 am as I write this), I will see Resty later. Though he has had close calls with death, I can’t imagine him finally resting in eternal peace. The world will be a lesser place without you, my friend. Goodbye and watch over all of us from Up There.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 17, 2012.