Jesse is dead. He is gone. That is the harsh reality of things. He was gone too soon. Naga will feel his loss more than anything else. And not just in the upcoming Penafrancia Fiesta where he won’t be joining the voyadores. He will also be missed in the upcoming elections as Naga starts to feel the dread of what will happen to his legacy.
When he left, it wasn’t clear to whom he passed his baton to. We hoped he will somehow be our leader for a longer time. We had faith in his reforms in the national government. We saw him as a beacon of light – a shred of hope in the hopeless Philippine political situation.
Yet now, we can only pray that the current political line up of Naga will follow through Jesse’s legacy. We can hope. But what if they don’t? Already, “epal” tarpaulins are on the streets. And a lot more similar messages. Already we know of vultures waiting in the fringes for the right time to swoop down and get their spoils. It seems they saw their opening now with Jesse gone.
The real dread has just begun. Perhaps it’s not as clear now since we are all wrapped up in grief and in strangled cries of continuing the legacy he left. But to what will this amount to when 2013 rolls in? When the vultures begin their descent? When political ambition overpowers selfless public service?
Yes, Jesse set an example. He showed leading a town to prosperity was possible without resorting to traditional politics. Yet he was able to do so because he was not greedy for either power or riches. He was not after his own personal ambitions. He was after genuine service to the people. He really was there to serve. Can we say the same to those in power we have now? Honestly, I doubt it. I’ve had my close encounters with them and none came close to what Jesse would have done had he been alive and in the same situation.
Do not blame me for the bitter tone in the middle of everyone’s sweet memory. I am but basing my opinions on experience. I fear for my city just as I’ve always feared for my country. I can’t help the skepticism that flows through me now.
Yet I dare hope. I take a step of courage as I write this, hoping it springs some sense into our public servants. I try to be brave as I seek to call out the glaring inconsistencies of public servants’ practices with the oath they swore and the legacy they vow to continue. I pledge to remain vigilant in observing their actions.
For me, hope is no longer enough. I’ve hoped for such a long time. Now is the time for action. Jesse may be gone but he set the bar and example for everyone. And if I have to suffer dire consequences for my vigilance, then I’m afraid democracy would have failed us and Jesse’s memory would have been nullified.