What could have happened if then Bohol Governor Carlos Polestico Garcia did not speak fluent Spanish?
Well, he could not have met and be endeared by then President Manuel L. Quezon.
And he could not be placed under the tutelage of the country’s top politician to write his name in history.
But even if he did speak fluent Spanish, if not for a big political figure in Bohol who died, he may still be nailed to a seat in an obscure province minding its intramural processes.
But the death of Senator Jose Arsenio Clarin, the Senate speaker pro Tempore, and the country’s third most powerful man seemingly opened a way for the Boholano teacher, lawyer, poet, and governor to be starting his shortened way to the country’s top seat, sums up Bohol historian Jose Marianito Luspo.
Professor Luspo was retellingat the radio forum on air the accounts as told to him by fellow Tagbilaranon Jose Maria Rocha, the Boholano President’s executive secretary.
The sudden death of JA Clarin had President Quezon’s executive secretary Jose Yulo (who would later be appointed Justice Secretary) come to Bohol to finalize the funeral arrangements and lay the way for the guests. IT was when he met the governor for the coordination that Yulo noted Garcia speaking impeccable Spanish.
While President Quezon also speaks perfect Spanish, Yulo told the President to just meet the governor and find out, said Luspo, who was invited to the Kapihan on popularizing Caloy.
As the President, also known as the Big Spanish, was so impressed with the guy from Bohol, he accordingly told him to run for Senate.
“While Garcia thought even with the president’s backing, we still could not be that popular to win the elections, the next thing the president did was to declare a block voting in the elections of 1941,” the retired professor and respected historian narrated.
That way, the candidates were not elected per se, it was the president’s party, the Nacionalista which won, and the nationally unknown Garcia along with it.
Already a senator by 1941, the Japanese invasion disrupted government functions and President Quezon accordingly told Garcia to go home to Bohol to help the people carry the hardships of the occupation.
In Bohol, Garcia had other things in mind.
Totally against the Japanese occupation, the former governor organized resistance movements as a guerrilla leader, earning, even more, trust and fame from his co-guerillas and the national leaders who learned of his exploits in Bohol.
By 1953, Garcia was so popular that he was picked to be the running mate of Ramon Magsaysay, who both won in the elections.
By March 17, 1957, President Ramon Magsaysay died in a fatal airplane crash on the slopes of Mount Manuggal in Cebu, which ushered to his eventual ascent to the country’s top seat to lead the country until the end of the remaining term.
By the next Presidential elections, Garcia won with Diosdado Macapagal as Vice President.
Just like that star that sits in the Bohol flag, Carlos Polestico Garcia was destined to shine in his own time, Luspo stated.
He was a man destined for greatness, and like a start that is destined to shine in its appointed time, Garcia, Bohol’s most illustrious became the 8th President of the Philippines and the 4th President of the Third Republic.
VIRTUES OF CPG
Meanwhile, Bohol Second District Representative Erico Aristotle Aumentado exhorts the present generation to instill in their hearts and minds the virtues and traits of the late President Carlos P. Garcia.
On the 121st birth anniversary of Bohol’s Most Illustrious Son yesterday, Aumentado urged everyone to make CPG’s virtues and traits their way of life.
This way, he said, they can – especially the youth – in turn, bequeath these traits to the generations to come.
The solon said the boy from Sitio Luy-a of Barangay San Agustin in Talibon town grew up to be a lawyer and a teacher before he threw his hat into the political arena. From there, there was no turning back for him. As he rose through the ranks and to fame, he remained humble. And was very patriotic.
More than for unity, he pushed for the Filipino First Policy.
By buying Filipino products, the citizenry can help those in dire need. It helps the people create unity – not divisiveness, Aumentado explained.
He said it was the president who had called his namesake father and immediate congressional predecessor Erico Boyles Aumentado shortly before the former stepped down from his position.
The President had asked the senior Aumentado that, should he have the opportunity, to continue his dreams for Bohol: irrigated lands, concrete roads, power and water available for all.
This became the beacon that guided him during his own stint in public service, hence, the Bohol Circumferential Road Project Phases 1 and 2, the Leyte Bohol Interconnection Project Phases 1 and 2 and the Bohol Irrigation Project Stages 1 and 2, among others, that he implemented during his terms as congressman and later, governor.
The younger Aumentado takes pride that the former President was born in Talibon. The town is within the jurisdiction of the 2nd District. (PIA-Bohol with a report from June Blanco)