“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough in me to confess my errors and to retrace my step”
In the remaining days of his life on earth, he fought tongs and hammer to clear his name from some of the graft charges he faced in the Sandiganbayan to no avail.
The cases involved millions of transactions undertaken when he was in public office first as congressman in the second district of Iloilo, and second as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
His wife, ex-solon Judy, was his co-accused in some of these cases for violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Did they really steal?
Others think they did; some of both their critics and supporters believe otherwise given the legitimate wealth they amassed before they joined the government.
For those who are in the twilight years of their life, facing criminal cases and the prospect of landing in jail would be equivalent to hell.
Thus we can only imagine the tribulation and sorrow Secretary Syjuco went through while he was battling the illness that took away his life while undergoing treatment in Singapore (where his body was reportedly cremated on January 13).
Secretary Syjuco probably didn’t realize many of those cases (he was convicted in some of them and made a guilty plea in another case) would outlive him.
God bless Buboy Syjuco’s soul.
There are public servants who are arrogant and onion-skinned. Indi mo ma-criticize sa media.
As a community journalist since after the EDSA Revolution, I knew a lot of them in the local and national offices.
In fact, I have crossed the paths of some of them and they proved to be menacing but unreasonable and irrational, to say the least.
If they won’t threaten to harm us physically, they will sue us for libel. We know that it’s only a form of harassment, a plain and simple act of intimidation in order to silence us or avenge their “hurt” and “embarrassment.”
They are aware that a libel case against a journalist will never hit a home run.
Freedom of the press and expression remains to be the solid bedrock of democracy.
These overbearing type of public officials who run after those who criticize them only want to show who’s the boss.
Others live—and want to be treated—like kings and queens.
And many of them are thieves; they take advantage of their positions and influence to enrich themselves while in office.
They didn’t know or they probably forgot that in every penny they steal there is a repercussion; everything on this material world is governed by the Karmic Law.
We reap what we sow. What comes up must come down.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)