[This is the group photo of the UP Law Evening ’79 batch taken along the alley fronting building facade of the Malcolm Hall. From left to right: Ding Dar Santos, Romy Legaspi, myself, Talek Pablo, Joey Osana, Babes Navarro, Jim Nagrampa, Vicky Bataclan, Bobby Lopez, Tony Abellera, Benju dela Paz, Procs Sarmen, Eric Rodriguez, Cel Gellada and Marvz Gonong. Of the FIFTEEN UP Law students then featured in this photo, THREE (3) have passed away; Jim Nagrampa, Bobby Lopez and Eric Rodriguez due to lingering ailments. Those who have similarly expired but not in this photo are: Dionne Laurico and Mar Turingan, both perished due to cardiac failure. With respect to Dionne, we got wind of his death after a year as he reportedly succumbed outside of Metro-Manila; while with respect to Mar, Mar expired after reportedly getting so drained and exhausted (almost swimming the whole afternoon) following an outing with his wife ROSE and their NHA colleagues in an out-of-town resort.]
They were among my TWO (2) best friends from the SIGMA RHO…
One is from far Zamboanga and the other is a BICOLANO;
They’re in fact a naturally smart, funny and jolly DUO- –
One is the first managing partner of our law firm and the other wooed me to be his law office associate TOO!
I truly admired JIM as he was truly so HARDWORKING…
And he likes it best to do pleadings by way of “CRAMMING”;
JIM would say that his mental juice would go into stanchless DRIPPING – –
Especially when the filing deadline is fast and quickly COMING!
I was labelled as the day shift LAWYER…
As we’d usually meet at the car park, following his night shift THEREAFTER;
Usually, it would be around six in the MORNING- –
But he’d still look so fresh, as though he just went SWIMMING!
JIM was so fussy about cleanliness and NEATNESS…
His starch-sprayed barong would show no wrinkles until the hour, when fowl have returned to their NEST;
He became the SEVENTEENTH PRESIDENT of IBP-QC- –
He could pencil-draw scenes and characters just what he did for my daughter, and that’s truly ARTSY!
And the other SIGMA RHOAN, is from far ZAMBOANGA…
Well, his Dad then was General Manager of a sugar mill in PAMPANGA;
We’ve been twice invited to do a staycation at their MANOR- –
And we’ll talk of things, till the wee hours, of happy moments and nighttime sightings that brought as tinge of HORROR and DISASTER!
ERIC was a zealous and ardent Couples for Christ’s OFFICER…
And he’d truly speak like a pastor and that’s how he wants us to REMEMBER;
He asked me to join his Law PARTNERSHIP- –
But wasn’t able to say YES, as it could mar my brother and kin’s work RELATIONSHIP!
Bobby LOPEZ was among us too, and he was some sort of a “TATAY”…
For he was, the most senior and most decent among us all, but I never thought that he’d be the earliest to DIE;
I know that he already holds an MBA, when he went to UP LAW- –
And he is somewhat considered as already made and is with plenty of DOUGH!
But he was even a humble, kind and a true GENTLEMAN…
Was seemingly always so prepped in class, and was SOFT-SPOKEN like DUSTIN HOFFMAN;
He would even be exchanging jokes and would make out a smirk or a SMILE- –
But sometime would even act like a teen, though he’s older than us perhaps more than a MILE!
DIONNE LAURICO is another character who’s somewhat UNCANNY…
He’s one among the FIVE (5) batchmates that I recruited to be a peculiar NHA BUDDY;
The QUINTET was composed of CEL GELLADA, EDWIN SALES, MAR TURINGAN, DING DAR SANTOS and DIONNE- –
It was only MAR who seemed most LOYAL to NHA, as his employer and as a corporate ENTITY!
All of them served as diligent and competent HEARING OFFICERS, on claims of legal residency in TONDO FORESHORE…
For it was, the mark and the qualification that would engender a LOT-AWARD for SURE;
As DIONNE seemed to be the one with a heavy docket of CASES- –
We’d snoop during DIONNE’s hearings from across the hall, as he’d look always angry with his forehead filled with CREASES!
And we’ll make comical antics, while DIONNE prevents a SMILE…
But he’ll thereafter hunt us all, and sort of castigate us, as that’s his usual STYLE;
But nonetheless, he would blurt out a guffaw and a LAUGH- –
And would dart away and out, into another hearing that could turn to NAUGHT!
And MAR TURINGAN, stayed with NHA, for almost TWO (2) DECADES…
I even served as matchmaker to his eventual wife, who was one among my TWO (2) secretarial AIDES;
As I served then as his eventual BOSS in the WORLD BANK-FINANCED TONDO FORESHORE PROJECT THEN- –
Me and MAR, would be at odds, as with legalities we’d CONTEND!
MAR was then my likeable and laudable LEGAL CHIEF, while I was ESTATE PROJECT MANAGER…
But the EDSA REVOLUTION, brought me into a quick RESIGNATION;
I got employed at ALLIED BANK as ASSISTANT MANAGER and LAWYER- –
But MAR became so emphatetic with the TONDO poor, and stayed there until moving to NAPOCOR, following his own NHA ABDICATION!
What I learned from MAR’s wife, my former AIDE, named ROSE…
MAR drastically weaned himself from CIGARETTES and BOOZE;
Realizing perhaps that he has to start thinking about his HEALTH—
The drastic deracination proved fatal, as MAR gained weight, and death snatched him with wily STEALTH!
Let’s all pray and offer masses for all our departed BATCHMATES THEN…
It really is good to reminisce and make some kind of post-elegy for THEM;
For indeed with this PANDEMIC, lots of lugubrious voices can be HEARD- –
Perhaps, by way of a countervailing act, let’s wipe the SAD with BARD and BEARD!
ETERNALLY REST GRANT UNTO THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM!!!!