“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” ALBERT PIKE
Sometime during the 2007 legislative and local elections, former Solicitor General Frank Chavez invited me to a breakfast at Hotel del Rio in Iloilo City where he explained why he did not run anymore for the senate after a hearth-breaking setback in the 2004 senatorial elections.
“As long as (former First Lady) Imelda Marcos is alive, I can never win in the national elections,” he volunteered.
Atty. Chavez said Mrs. Marcos hated him so much that she was willing to purchase a round trip ticket for Chavez’s journey to hell. He accused the wife of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos of orchestrating a move to sabotage his candidacy by “sponsoring” a “nuisance” candidate by the name of Melchor Chavez.
Although they have different first names, Atty. Chavez said the other Chavez created confusion in the ballot and “swallowed” his votes during the actual canvassing.
Mrs. Marcos has refused to comment on Atty. Chavez’s accusation but the other Chavez, who ran as independent, swore he was a serious aspirant for the Philippine senate. Melchor Chavez, who ran and lost again in the 2007 senatorial contest this time under KBL party of Marcos and garnered 843,702 votes nationwide, even dared Atty. Chavez to a debate which the latter rejected.
As one of the founders of the Brotherhood of Nationalistic, Involved and Free Attorneys to Combat Injustice and Oppression (BONIFACIO), Atty. Chavez fought the Marcos dictatorship, thus he became closer to the Aquino family who lost Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino during the final years of the hated regime.
He left a lucrative law practice as founding partner of the Chavez Laureta & Associates law office after being appointed as solicitor general in 1987, a year after Mrs. Corazon Aquino was swept into power via EDSA Revolution.
It was not hard to converse with Atty. Chavez because we spoke the same dialect. He was born in Brgy. Bateria, Sagay, Negros Occidental and was fluent in Hiligaynon.
Before he left the Office of Solicitor General in 1992, I first met Atty. Chavez at the office of the late Ilonggo human rights lawyer, Atty. J.T. Barrera, who was already rooting for Atty. Chavez to run for the senate.
He was fire-spewing and always reminded people “not to forget” the dark episode of our history during the Martial Law which he witnessed as a young lawyer.
When President Marcos declared Martial Law in 1971, Chavez has just finished his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines as cum laude. He was admitted to the Philippine Bar the following year.
In the middle of our conversation, Atty. Chavez stopped talking upon seeing Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez who passed by the hotel’s dining area.
His remarks were not good to the ears of Gonzalez’s supporters who were in the hearing distance. He disliked Gonzalez as a cabinet official under President and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but held the former justice secretary in high esteem as a colleague in law profession.
According to reports written after he died of stroke at age 66 last Wednesday night, Atty. Chavez was the youngest bar examiner at age 38 when he served as examiner in remedial law during the 1985 Bar examinations. He was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the country for his achievements in his chosen field of law and human rights in 1986.
He was cremated.