COMMENTARY: Jovy Salonga: Man

MARIKINA CITY (MindaNews/12 March) — The media called him “Senator”, “Patriot”, and “Statesman”, “Super Lawyer”, “Wonderful Preacher”, etcetera.

Indeed, he was all of that.

But, to me Jovy was more than all the hallelujah’s that were thrown his way.

He was a human being – subject to the flights of optimism and to the depths of pessimism which ordinary mortals are heirs to.

I was privileged to witness that optimistic quality of Jovy’s persona one turbulent night while we were on a small plane flying back home to Manila from a political sortie in the Visayas in 1992.

As the plane was zigging-and-zagging through the dark clouds, I heard Jovy who was seated in front of me whistle a happy tune from one of Mozart’s famous concertos.

Obviously, he was trying to make our spirits soar above the mortal concerns we had with our flight safety that was being threatened by the environmental turbulence buffeting our plane. And I believe that to some extent, he succeeded in calming down our apprehensions in that regard.

Also, I personally saw Jovy’s exhibiting signs of despondency, at least, on one occasion in the privacy of his home office in Pasig.

Informed that some of his important political allies had abandoned him for better pastures, Jovy’s already shrunken shoulders – from the injuries he suffered in the Plaza Miranda grenade bombing in 1971 – shriveled even more.

Happily, Jovy was not one to allow sorrow to cramp his active life of service to our people for long. Hence, after prayer, he bounced back and resumed his leadership role, although, no longer in the political arena, but in the wider and more challenging field of spreading the word of God as a layman.

That was Jovy to me: an ordinary mortal whose head knocked at the clouds but whose feet were firmly planted on the ground. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. of Cagayan de Oro City was OIC Local Governments Secretary in post-EDSA Philippine, served as Senator and later as Senate President).