“AS STUDENTS and professionals, where are your eyes focused? Are they just focused on things ephemeral, temporary joy or happiness? If this is true to your life, I tell you are missing a lot. You are missing the greatest undertaking under the sun. You are missing the path to your prepared great destiny.
“When I was a kid, I had a vision… to be a lawyer and at the same time a doctor. I wrote it on the wall of our house using charcoal (uring), I was even scolded by my mother because that writing destroyed the beauty of the wall in my room. It seemed impossible for me to attain that vision because we live in a far-flung area. My father finished only grade 3 and my mother finished only 2nd year high school. They are both farmers. However, that vision pushed me, moved me and energized me.
“Immensely blessed, I graduated as magna cum laude with a degree in Political Science and then law, leading batch 2002 and law class 2006 graduates of Northwestern University. I managed to do well in academics even as I served as president of the Supreme Student Council. I reaped the bounty of my toils which made my family so blissful of my academic achievements.
“I am in the graduate program to soon earn a doctoral degree. I have my own business and a job. I am telling you this not to say that I am intelligent, but to tell you that there is indeed an equal opportunity for everyone. No matter who you are, your family, status, or the educational attainment of your parents, you can succeed.
“When the opportunity knocked on me, I grabbed it. I tell you, opportunities had been knocking on to you and are still knocking on to you even this time, grab it now and for sure you will all become prosperous and successful.”
What you have just read are excerpts of a speech Eddie Gregorio delivered before an audience of students and young professionals two years ago.
I have never met Eddie although he is a law partner of my dear cousin Erme Labayog with whom, together with a few other lawyers, Gregorio had his last supper. Going through his blog entries, however, I safely deduce that he was a decent man with grand dreams and a big heart.
Above all, he was a believer in equality. He had faith in education which, coupled with hard work and good intentions, spells success to both man and woman, famous and unknown, millionaire and pauper. He believed in the power of reason, the soundness of arguments, and the rule of law.
It’s the height of irony then that his life would end rather senselessly with a brand of inequality brought by two bullets fired by a coward accompanied by another coward. He was 28.
It is quite one of life’s cruel jokes that it takes too much to sustain a human life—from a helpless baby in a womb to a full grown person—and just a couple of bullets to end it.
The irony levels up to tragedy when the victim is young, brilliant, decent, and successful, not exactly the kind of villain that humanity is better off without.
But then manslaughter is a dark reality that humanity has faced since the time of brothers Cain and Abel. Eddie will not be last person to be murdered in this world that hates people who speak of the truth and who stand for their principles, especially today when it only takes a few thousand pesos or a couple of bottles of gin to get the services of a hired killer. But should you now fold up and live in the shackles of fear? Yes, but only if you are a chicken.
Socrates, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Edgar Jopson, Ninoy Aquino, Marlene Esperat, Roger Mariano, Jimmy Chua, and Pepoc Pastor are names that will continue to be revered by every human being who believes that social change is not a chance but a choice… a costly, costly choice no murderous cowards dare make.