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APRES and the fake priest

This writer lost two close friends in the last two weeks.

First to go was Pandan municipal engineer Danilo Ibloguin, who was also in charge of distributing the Tribune in the poblacion. A godfather to my eldest son, Danny laid on a feast for me and DPWH Gil Balmadrid when we passed by Pandan during the vesper day of the town fiesta in 2019.

On his 10th day of confinement at the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital two weeks ago, he had sent a text message confirming that he had contracted COVID-19 and was on assisted breathing although he was not intubated. Two days later, succeeding messages to his phone went unanswered.

The second, which came as a complete shock, was Architect Mario Alberto, who once headed the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) chapter in Catanduanes.

Mar often came to Virac without prior notice on very short vacations, coming here usually on a Friday and going back to his job on the next flight out on Sunday.

As such, he often dropped by our house, bringing either a bottle of whiskey or a gift in return for thirty minutes of gossip about local happenings. The last gift he gave me, which I still use to this day, was in 2019: an original Coach men’s shoulder bag.

Sometimes, cases of good people who die early, regardless of cause of death, make one think that God must have needed them badly by His side.

Anyway, since no one knows when he or she will be called, perhaps all should do good, enjoy life and be in the company of their loved ones.

*****

During the recent special session of the Pandan Sangguniang Bayan on the WTE issue, Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Solutions, Inc. (APRES) president and CEO Esberto B. Eubra Jr., also known as Rafael-Javier Eubra, did not exactly say that he was the fake priest, identified as Fr. Xavier Eubra de Borja, who was the subject of a February 24, 2021 advisory of the Bishop of Virac.

The advisory addressed to local clergy cautioned them not to allow the fake priest to celebrate Mass at the island’s churches or chapels.

In his reply to PBM Edwin Tanael’s query, Eubra blamed the advisory and the subsequent negative public reaction to politicking and described it as an attempt to ruin his integrity.

Stating that he never introduced himself as a priest when he came to Catanduanes, the APRES boss nevertheless inferred that he was once the fake priest when he said that no one is perfect.

“Who in this room has done nothing wrong in the eyes of God and man?” he pointedly asked when the PBM commented that the issue has something to do with morality.

Considering the hot political temperature in Pandan, it remains to be seen whether the $200 million WTE project would get the people’s nod as the SB has yet to dive into the details of the project.

*****

Lost in the aftermath of the three typhoons last year was the good news that came out of the 11th Asia CEO Circle of Excellence Awards 2020 in late October.

There were two Catandunganons in the so-called Circle of Excellence awardees for Global Filipino Executive of the Year: Rawis native Gil G. Chua, who is chairman and CEO of advertising firm DDB Group Philippines, and Eclaro president Dr. Patrick Alain Azanza, who is in the Catanduanes public’s eye as one of the three contenders for the presidency of the Catanduanes State University.

While heading Eclaro which is an IT-Business Process Outsourcing company and academic institution headquartered in New York, Azanza was also conferred the Global Education Award as one of the most outstanding CEOs in 2021 by the Asian Council of Leaders, Administrators, Deans and Educators in Business (ACLADEB).

*****

THE PROMISE. A couple had been married for forty-seven years during which time they had raised 12 children and been blessed with 24 grandchildren. When asked the secret of how they managed to stay together for so long, they said: “Years ago we made a promise to each other: the first one to pick up and leave had to take all the kids.”

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