WHEN less than a decade ago, serial delinquent Joavan Fernandez virtually went wild in Talisay City and his father Socrates “Soc” Fernandez was city mayor, the talk was how the mayor could allow his son to violate the law that the father of the city was duty-bound to enforce.
Joavan’s acts were then mostly petty: abusive conduct of the scion of the chief executive, but they soon escalated into bigger crimes. Joavan had brushes with the law that each time landed in the papers and talked about on radio because he was the mayor’s son and the mayor would protect him each time. What eventually put Joavan away was illegal possession of firearm and explosives during the election gun ban. Thank God he didn’t use the explosives to blast anyone to death.
Any other father who was the mayor would’ve banished him from Talisay, if he couldn’t send him to jail.
Jesus Sievert, a blogger who then posted his opinion pieces under the name Quierosaber, wondered how Mayor Soc, a.k.a. Brod Soc, could be “both a symbol of righteousness and stupidity.” As a Catholic evangelist and defender, Brod Soc would explain lines from the Bible and espouse God’s teachings on television and other forums even as Mayor Soc he bent the law, infuriating a number of Talisaynons for being complicit to Joavan’s rampage.
In one blog, Sievert wrote, “Either the mayor starts shaping up his adopted son to get over his dilemma or somebody else will get it over for him someday, for good.” In another post, Sievert said “Mayor Soc’s cross is Talisay’s scourge.”
The focus then was on Soc, because as mayor he obviously chose his son over his city. He didn’t care about setting the example of law enforcement and obedience to authority.
Last week the news media announced the Oct. 25 decision of the Sandiganbayan finding Councilor Soc Fernandez guilty of obstruction to justice, meting him the penalty of a fine of P6,000 and perpetual disqualification to hold public office. The penalty would be shattering to a young politician but maybe not anymore to Soc who had been councilor and mayor and is now back in the City Council.
The news brought back the memory of a son whose iniquity made the father suffer, stretching over a long period of time, wreaking havoc on a city with the failure of a father to discipline his wayward son. At the time, Joavan was no longer a child; the delinquent was not juvenile. Joavan, still in jail, is 34 now.
Joavan is suffering the consequences of his acts. And Soc must now face his. After all, he too had his iniquity.
While loving one’s son is not a crime, if a father violates the law in showing his love, he cannot complain that he is being punished for his son’s sin.
That episode in the city is saddening. Yet it also brings back the memory of the fury of many Talisaynons who watched their good mayor then being destroyed slowly, inexorably by the son’s misconduct and the father’s own breach of public trust.
One news story quoted Brod Soc telling the police who wanted to stop his access last June 4, 2010 to a vehicle they seized from Joavan and took into custody: “Unsay problema, do. Ako ning sakyanan. Way makapugong nako. Mayor ko!”
It was not simply obstruction of justice. It sounded a lot like arrogance of power. The love for his son may mitigate but not justify it.