Philippine history would tell us that the 12th President of the Republic of the Philippines was Fidel Valdez Ramos also fondly called by his name initials FVR, who actually didn’t know him, you can’t move on to your next school level if you can’t fill in the blank of your exam paper who the 12th president was.
But what was so special with this man famous for his gurkha cigars? Other than his programs that revitalized and renewed the international interest towards the economic recovery of the Philippines – after it slump bottom following the fall of the late Dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the many coup d’état attempts to overthrow the Presidency of the late Icon of Democracy, Corazon Aquino – it was during his presidential election in 1992 that I first exercised my suffrage and the only president that I get to see up close and personal.
For any common ‘Juana dela Cruz’ seeing someone of his stature during that time was a great honor. I remember he went to a breakfast meeting with our boss in a country club I used to work here in Davao, it was an intimate meeting with few big time and ‘kidnapable‘ people on the table, there were several Presidential Security Guards and a lot of people in ‘Barong’ as if there was a wedding. But since we’re in house and have done the prior protocol check-ups we were then allowed to pass back forth the room to do our thing. There were only 7 of them on the table and I was in charge of handing in a lot of papers for signing etc. and towards the end of their meeting, all the staff , the 4 of us, were called and asked to sit along with him on the table, I remember he said ‘I drank the coffee you made, you should by now not feeling nervous anymore’ … gosh, we were all the more sweating and shaking, but he started to talk about just about anything and then his gracious wife, Ming came with all these Davao orchids in her hands and started to talk amazingly as if it was her first time seeing all those vandas, eventually the talk shifted to ‘how to take care of those orchids’ and eventually to ‘Piso for Pasig River’ campaign … we forgot they’re the most powerful people in the land during those times.
That morning talk ended when one of his PSGs came near bringing that old cellphone, telling him something near his ear I can’t even hear a thing and handed him the phone, we were then asked to leave. Few minutes after I saw them getting into one of the black cars that lined along the club house lobby. The next time I saw him was on TV and now hardly ever.