JULY 9, 2000, my late elder brother early morning went to my house and told me that our dad is having seizures. I immediately packed up and brought my wife and daughter to see my dad. When I arrived at our ancestral house, I saw an Augustinian friar giving the last sacrament to my father while my mother was praying the rosary at the bed side. He expired late morning of that day.
My father was not the ideal father one wants. He was not an achiever during his early school years. He used to escape classes as he would help his mother in selling clothes at the “bloque.” His passion for military life made him an officer of the Reserved Officers Training Course (ROTC) in college. He was also one of the student leaders of the UNO College of Commerce. He took up commerce as was set to continue their family business him being the eldest.
As an adventurous young boy, he worked as a cleaner of canals. He also worked as a street cleaner and as a helper in the road construction in Silay. However, all of these remained to be stories of his father and his sisters because the local government could not see his name in the names of casuals. He was then a minor and the law prohibits the children to work and so they were only paid with “Suhol.”
Upon stepping into college, he thought of entering the seminary but he did not have the guts to tell his parents. He ended up following the wishes of his parents and enrolled at the University of Negros Occidental (UNO) and graduated in 1962 with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Commerce.
After graduation, he pursued his passion for the military and volunteered as tactical officer of the ROTC of La Consolacion College – Bacolod. There, he met my mother, Ms. Carmen Infante, a Biology teacher at UNO-Recoletos. They got married and had us, their three offsprings. He then, worked in La Carlota City engineer’s office as clerk.
After a few years, the family transferred to Bacolod. My father was accepted at the Provincial Assessor’s Office under the leadership of Mr. Manuel Escalante, who was not only his mentor but was also his bestfriend. Soon, he was recommended to then Governor Alfredo Montelibano, Jr. to be the Provincial Jail Assistant Warden, a post he dearly loved. He respected the prisoners as human beings but he was very strict to his guards. He was an obedient gentleman to his superior, the Jail Warden and the Governor. When the top ranks changed, he still was appointed to his position. Soon, it was his turn, he was appointed warden but did not accept the position rather he stayed as OIC warden for years.
Then Governor Coscolluela saw the need for a warden and appointed a warden and recalled back my father to his previous post. He was obedient and did his duties. But on June 12, 2000, he suffered multiple strokes and was rushed to the ICU. He recovered but he could no longer speak or move. He expired on July 9, 2000.
He was one government official who did not become rich and we even had a hard time getting his benefits because of government red tapes. Thanks to the late Governor Joseph Maranon for fast tracking the release of my father’s benefits.
So, I take off my hat to this great man who brought me into this word and taught me the value of discipline and honor. I salute you, Captain Eduardo Legaspi, my father.