A few good men

TWO good men and outstanding supporters of sports were lost to our country last week and as we mourn their passing, we are incensed how one of them, youthful boxing promoter Edgar De Castro of Taal, Batangas, who was loved by the townsfolk, especially the poor as they cried like never before over his senseless killing by motorcycle-riding gunmen in front of his Malate home even when he raised both hands in surrender and asked them not to shoot.

Despite his pleas, Edgar was shot in a cold-blooded murder that reflects the inherent incompetence and inefficiency of the police under the Department of Interior and Local Government to not just stop senseless killings by motorcycle-riding gunmen, but to crackdown on illegal firearms in the hands of criminal elements.

Edgar de Castro was a good and decent young man, who by sheer dint of hard work and perseverance, rose from the ranks of the poor to build a future in business, which included his passion for boxing and his desire to help less fortunate boxers in their quest for glory both for themselves and our country.

In partnership with Japan’s Ryuta Kato, they formed United Boxing Promotions International, with gyms in Malate and in Japan and from their ranks emerged potential world champions in super flyweight Warlito Parrenas and flyweight  Adrian Diale, among others.

Many of the vendors, who attended the church service and later the burial spoke in glowing terms of how Edgar always helped them one time asking a woman at the market place how many kids she had and then asking her what the cost of all her produce was. He then pulled out his wallet, bought it all and told the woman to go home and look after her children.

As we stopped by a roadside vendor selling fruits, who inquired where we were coming from and after we told him it was the funeral of Edgar De Castro, he told us he was a friend and a kind and generous person always ready to help the poor.

Edgar’s eldest sister in extolling his virtues and thanking the people who crowded the church and the cemetery to express their grief and their gratitude cried out for justice for her youngest brother, even as hundreds  wearing t-shirts with the message “We  love you Edgar” and “Justice for Edgar” reflected the prevalent sentiments.

Question is, will this government pursue the killers and the mastermind and truly serve the demands of justice or will it be another of the countless murders and assassinations that have been thrown into the dustbin of callousness and indifference?

As we shed a tear for Edgar de Castro, whose fight cards we covered for Viva Sports on “The Main Event” on Pinoy Box Office over Sky Cable, we remember how he, his partner Kato and trainer Warren Evison and matchmaker Art Monis and the boxers themselves  always thanked us for helping build up the confidence and reputation of a new breed of talented young Filipino boxers and the exposure they got from our combined efforts. 

The life of a good and decent young Filipino was brutally snuffed out by a vicious killer. It’s up to this government to right this terrible wrong  and answer the cry for justice, which rang out across the historic town of Taal last Thursday.

The thousands who paid their last respects to Congressman Henry Cojuangco at the De La Salle Greenhills Chapel last Wednesday evening and the unending stream of flowers, reflected a deep down respect and affection for a kind and generous man, who was friend of everybody and an enemy of no one.

Just like his esteemed elder brother, Ambassador  Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, chairman of San Miguel Corporation, Henry loved sports, especially basketball, boxing and of course horseracing.

We last saw Henry together with Boss Danding and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada at special ringside at the Smart Araneta Coiseum, watching ALA Promotions “Pinoy Pride 30,” which starred the longest-reigning Filipino world champion, WBO light flyweight Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and the returning Dinning five-division world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, who both won in spectacular fashion, pleasing Henry and Boss Danding as he is affectionately called by those who know him well.

In years past, we enjoyed the company of the Cojuangco brothers at the World Basketball Club championships in Spain and the historic 1985 victory of the San Miguel Beer team in the 1985  Jones Cup finals, where they beat a star-studded American team in overtime and also the ABC Championships in Kuala Lumpur in January.

Henry had the remarkable capacity to accept defeat with grace and victory with humility that set him apart among the heroes of our time.

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