This ranks as one of life’s supreme ironies: that someone as wealthy as Richard King should be shot to death for a measly P30,000.

I saw pictures of the gunman on television. He looked normal, no different from the men you rub elbows with everyday. And there lies the danger; you don’t know which one of them is a deranged person who will have no hesitation to kill you for the slightest-–or cheapest–reason, if at all.

The arrest of Richard’s gunman, Paul Dave Molina Labang, and his confession on the price that he was paid for committing the crime sparked a very interesting discussion with industrialist and philanthropist Dr. Norberto B. Quisumbing Jr. at breakfast at the Marco Polo Hotel yesterday.

Most people have healthy bodies, the man they call NQ said. Their minds are a different story altogether. This aberration manifests itself not only through murder but through other deviant behavior and decisions. Thievery in government is a good example. Plunder, we both agreed, would have been a meaningless concept if our all people had “quality” minds.

How to grow and develop quality minds is a huge challenge that the government should not alone address. Business, big or small, should make it their advocacy, NQ pointed out, because they benefit from it. His Norkis Group of Companies has been into it for some time now through their Punla Foundation but NQ says that their efforts are not enough, more people should invest in cultivating quality minds.

They should if only to stop the mass production of the Labangs of this world.


A couple of weeks ago, a female tourist died, presumably from drowning, after the inflatable boat that she was riding capsized while on a white water rafting run in the Cagayan de Oro river.

I shuddered when I heard the news because 11 years ago, we did exactly the same activity in the same river. I still remember how heavily I breathed when I stepped onto the cold water before climbing onto our assigned raft.

There were about 20 of us, all from Gothong Southern, on board five inflatable boats. Before we descended to the river, Bob Gothong gathered all of us to ask if we had called our families and whether our life insurance policies were current. “This is not called Mambuaya river for nothing,” he said.

I knew that he was testing us–we were on a team building exercise--but the sound of the rampaging waters in the river that we still had to see was so intimidating that if someone had dared back out, I would have immediately and without much thought followed suit.

Unfortunately, everyone pretended to be brave and so to the river we went. I was overcome with a sense of foreboding as I trod on the trail. By the time the water and I came into contact for the first time, my body was shaking all over. It took me about five attempts before I could clamber up onto the raft.

The first two rapids were really terrifying but after that, exhilaration took over. Some of us became so cocky we stood up when our guide told us to raise our paddles after navigating another rough stretch. After some five hours, the adventure ended with a graduation jump from a rock.

I’m not sure if I would have joined the exercise if it had taken place after someone had died in a capsizing accident. But I cannot blame those whose sense of adventure overpowers any fear of risk of injury or death. There are many of them; just look at the zip lines that have grown in number over the years.

Maybe, it’s because they know that death stalks us everywhere even while we’re having dinner with employees and friends. Look what happened to Richard King.