Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Paalam, Ka Bel!

Today, the country has lost one great leader -- Congressman Crispin Beltran. He succumbed to internal hemorrhage after a bad fall in their home last night.

Ka Bel is one of the leaders I truly admire. Simple, humble, very unassuming.

Even though he was a national leader, he lived simply. Unlike many activist leaders who change when they rise up to power, Ka Bel remained the same.

There are many stories to tell about my personal encounters with Ka Bel. But what struck me most was his simplicity to the very end, and his love for his family. Aside of course, from his passion for the country.

Ka Bel was never pretentious. One time while I visited him at the Heart Center (where he was detained for many months), he shared how he and his family acquired their new home in Bulacan. "Naku, pinangutang ko pa yon." He went on to tell me of his little garden and how it gave him and Ka Osang, his wife, some peace. All the while, the home he was describing seemed like a mansion because it gave him so much joy. Then he goes, "mahal din yon a, mahigit P100,000."

And this was a congressman talking. Something hit me in the heart . My goodness! Here I was complaining at times, yet I was far more blessed than this congressman. I felt so rich that day.

I went to visit Ka Bel that day to encourage him. But I was the one encouraged. My mental picture of Ka Bel will always be the smiling, unassuming, simple leader. A leader that truly serves.

This is such a sad day. We will surely miss you, Ka Bel!

(Thanks to Tonyo for the photo.)

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