SPEECHES & INTERPELLATIONS

Speeches

50 YEARS OF MARRIAGE: LONG IN TIME, TOO BRIEF FOR LOVE

Reflections of Nene Pimentel on the 50th celebration of his wedding with Bing on April 30, 2010

I woke up this morning, feeling happily alive and fairly well.    

        And I thanked the Lord that the end of my life had not yet come before the event that we joyfully celebrate tonight: Bing’s and my 50th wedding anniversary.    

How

        Maybe you’d like to ask “How did you do it? How did you make it to your golden wedding anniversary?”

        Frankly, I do not know the answer. Only God in his infinite wisdom could make a fully satisfactory reply. 

Miracle

         But I can venture a guess. It’s a miracle that we and you are even here tonight. In fact, I believe that our lives are miracles from the day of our births and all the way to the day when we take our last breath.

        To give you a human perspective on the 50 years of our life together as husband and wife, let me summarize those years into five-year segments of 10 years each. 

The Years of Bliss (1960-1970)

           The first ten years of our married life were years of unadulterated bliss.

        The children were our source of unparalleled joy, not the money or material things that I made as a practicing lawyer, which were not much anyway, or, even the salary that Bing earned as a teacher that made the quality of our life a little better.   

The Roller-Coaster Years [1970-1980]

        The next 10 years found me in politics. As a family during those years we felt as if we had taken roller-coaster rides – where the ups were rather thrilling and the downs were most depressing.    

        In 1970, our family roller-coaster zoomed up into the heavens when I won a seat in the Constitutional Convention representing Misamis Oriental and the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog.  

        But in 1972 the roller-coaster plummeted down steeply when martial law was declared until it crashed into the premises of a martial law detention center in Quezon City. There I was held on vague charges of rebellion that were never formally filed and much less proven. 

Pattern

        Months later I was released but from then on the pattern of arrests and releases became more or less a regular feature of my life until martial law came to its inglorious end. But that is jumping much ahead of our story.   

        In any case, it was during the turbulent ‘70s that we had our first death in the family. My father-in-law, Dr. Justo de la Llana, died from natural causes. His and our consolation was that practically all members of the family were present at his bedside praying when the end came.

The Years of Trials & Triumphs (1980-1990)

        The ‘80s to the ‘90s were years of political trials that tested the solidity of the foundations of our family life. But those years also saw some triumphs in our family life that strengthened it.  

        The years saw a repeat of my being thrown in and out of prison and of being expelled from my elective positions – as mayor and later, as a member of the Batasan, the bogus parliament of the dictatorial regime.  

        We also had to undergo the pain of the demise of my step-mother, Carmen Vamenta Pimentel, who was the grandmother, our children first saw on the day of their births. My mother had died when I was in my college days.  

        Nonetheless, we also had the chance to savor victories over the bullying tactics of the martial law regime courtesy of the people of my city and from other places. They not only stormed the heavens with prayers but also demonstrated publicly – the first time it was done in the country in defiance of the edicts of martial rule – to assert my vindication. And eventually I was vindicated. 

 

        I got back my position as mayor after several months of my ouster. Later, I was reinstated as an opposition legislator after almost two years of expulsion from the Batasan that started work in 1984.   

Ecstasy

        But the most intense ecstasy that swept us – the people - off our feet came in 1986 in the form of ‘People Power’ – led by Cory Aquino and inspired by Cardinal Sin – that toppled the dictatorial regime.  

Unfamiliar seas 

        Soon, thereafter, I was on my way navigating the unfamiliar seas of national politics.  

        I was appointed Minister of the Interior and Local Government by the Cory government. And a year later, I was elected a senator in the 1987 elections.  

        Midway in my term as senator, my father, Aquilino, died also of natural causes. My regret is that I was not at his side when he died as I was so selfishly absorbed in my work in the Senate.   

The Years of Droughts & Showers (1990-2000)

        My first term as a senator ended in 1992. In that term, even as a neophyte senator, we crafted many laws that even now apply to local governments and many other aspects of governance. And shortly before my term ended, the family had a shot to fame when our son, Koko, topped the 1990 bar examinations.   

        The years that followed 1992 up to 1998 were political drought seasons for me. I lost in the elections in 1992, and, in 1995 through the infamous ‘dagdag/bawas’ operations.   

        Adding to the anguish caused by the electoral debacles, my mother-in-law, Remedios del Carmen de la Llana, died in 1995 on the operating table while doctors were fixing an intestinal complication.   

        Still, the decade was not all that bad. In 1998, another miracle happened in our life. Like April showers that bring back life to grasses starved by the summer heat, I was voted to the Senate again in the May 1998 elections. My six year term lasted up to 2004. And boosting our family pride more directly, Jac, our second son, topped the 1998 national Orthopaedic examinations.   

        When my term ended in 2004, I think I had earned my keep as a representative of the people and had served them to the best of my ability during that span of service in the Senate.   

The Years of Setting for the Port - 2000-2010

        I ran for reelection in 2004 and won a new term that bridged my senatorial stint from that year until this year 2010.   

        That term was likewise filled with much legislative work that not only included the crafting of bills and passing them into law but also the investigation of manifestly massive acts of official corruption and the exposure of several scandalous transactions of government. 

        In any case, at this point, it looks like my legislative work is done.

        I only wish I could truly say that I have the sailed the seas, have kept the faith, and, although the fight for our people’s human rights is far from over, the struggle will continue even as I wind my way to the Port.

 Tribute  

       This testimonial would not be complete if I do not pay tribute to my wife.   

        I would like to say that I would not be where I am now or where I had been in places of honor or survived unscathed in body, soul and mind the harassments I had gone through where it not for the fact that Bing had always been at my side – through thick and thin, in sickness and in health – in rainy or dry season.  

        In the days when I was forcibly kept away from our family, she acted both as father and mother to our children. And from the looks of it, she did it wonderfully and well – with the grace of God and the generosity of our friends.  

Responsible citizens

        Our six, heady and independent-minded children, have all grown up to be responsible citizens of the country and faithful members of the Lord’s flock.  

        Five of the six have also, thank God, married well.  

        Gwen is married to Luigi Gana, a lawyer. Maripet is married to Sonny Brar, a businessman. Koko is married to Jewel Lobaton, an aspiring entrepreneur. Jac is married to Malyn Fernandez, a doctor of medicine. And Inde is married to Alain Borghijs, a doctor of economics. 

Teresa is enjoying her single blessedness.

Own talents

        And in this age of gender sensitivity, I must mention that the girls have their own special talents and distinctive directions in life. Separately, they have individual degrees in Law, Economics, Education, Psychology, and even Masteral Degrees in Public Administration, Comparative Politics, and, Communication, Culture and Technology from local and American universities.  

        Four of our married children have given us seven marvelous grandchildren: Dominique, Trina, AC, AL, Martin, Preet and Aquio. And they are still counting, I hope.  

        For their successful wedded lives, we thank the Good Lord and our in-laws, Benny+ and Chi Gana, Cres and Lina Fernandez, Manny+ and Vicky Lobaton, Avtar and Karkar Brar, and Eric and Jackie Borghijs.  

        But whatever their status in life, in times of need, it was always Bing who was and is at all times available to the children as a caring mother, a ready ear to hear their aches real or imagined, a solicitous friend on whose shoulders they could cry.  

        Despite all the attention that our children demanded of her, thank God she never forgot me who always had her for a friend, an ally, a supporter, a loving wife. 

Anchor

        It must be said that during all the years of the trials in our family life, not once did I hear, Bing, my wife, my angel, my pillar of support, and, the anchor of our family, utter a cry of hopelessness, whimper a moan of misery, or whine a sob of despondency.

        What she did was give me all the reasons why I needed to stay the course of espousing the cause of freedom, justice and peace, for our people.   

        She did all that through prayers, or in direct active support, and, definitely in songs, most of which are included in the CD that is found inside the little memorial booklet that was given you.

Special

        The songs are special to us because instead of shedding tears in our times of distress, Bing composed the songs – lyrics and music together – to give praise to the Lord probably like David of the Old Testament and gather strength from their melodious strains.   

        The wonder of it all is that Bing does not read notes. A number of her songs and music have been recorded by some of the country’s popular singers like Freddie Aguilar, Dulce, Jose Mari Chan, Pinky Marquez, Isay Alvarez, Rico Puno, Bimbo Cerrudo, and, Nora Aunor, among others.   

        Some of her songs and music have been played in public concerts or rendered into stage plays like Huwag Pumayag sa Dagdag/Bawas, Alay Papuri, Buhay Isang Awit, Nasaan si Jesus, Pagibig sa Bayan and Cory the Musical.

        The director for all her musical plays is none other than the multitalented Nestor Torre.

More strong       

        As I end, may I thank all of you, my friends, for joining in this celebration of love between two ordinary people whose minds, hearts and bodies had melded in marriage 50 years ago and through the years with God’s grace their marital bonds have grown stronger despite the wear and tear of age.

        There was no magic involved. If we have surmounted the problems great and small that beset our lives through the last 50 years, it is because of the following circumstances:   

1. We had determined from the outset that whatever difficulties come into our lives, we will keep our marriage intact;

2. Through the years, we have come to know one another better; 

3. And knowing one another better in marriage, led us to understand that everyone needs space to grow, develop one’s talents, and, fulfill oneself as a human being who’s made to the image and likeness of God;

4. And the realization of our individual gifts within the ambit of our marriage vows in turn helped to strengthen our marital bonds; and

5. All this, however, we have discovered, has to be anchored on love, unconditional love, for one another that flows from the love of the creator of life: God, Almighty, who makes all things possible. 

 Unmentioned

         My dear friends, you might have noticed that I did not mention you by name.   

        The reason is that I dread the thought that I might forget anyone of you and affirm that old age has indeed taken over the body, if not the mind, of your friend. 

        Although I know that you know that at age 76, if I remember something from way back, you would probably express in amazement: ‘Imagine, he is 76 and he still remembers that event.’ And if I forget to speak of something even more important, you’d probably hastily excuse it and say: ‘Well what do you expect, the poor guy is 76.’   

        In other words, although I am at that age where I can no longer misstate anything, still I’d rather do things out of caution than out of bravado and in the process forget to mention some of you, my dearest friends.  

Inclusive thanks

        I would, therefore, rather leave our all inclusive thanks to the Lord God who knows who you are and what you have done to make our life complete. It was through you as His instruments who comforted us when we needed it, who gave us light when it was dark, and provided us hope when everything around us looked dreary.  

        With God’s blessings, we would like to assure one and all that we will keep you in our prayers, we will uphold the faith and continue to fight for what is right until we meet again in the abode of the Lord. 

        God bless us all and please enjoy the rest of the evening.

 

 



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