The greatness of Congressman Raul Veloso del Mar

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 23, 2020 - 12:00am

The biggest tribute ever paid to the memory of Congressman Raul del Mar came from the most senior member of the House of Representatives from our premier province of Cebu, the distinguished gentleman from the 1st District, the truly honorable Eduardo Rivera Gullas. He called the late Raul del Mar a great leader. No Cebuano will ever disagree with that.

But many among us may perhaps disagree on the reasons why Congressman Raul del Mar was great. Some would point out the long years he served in Congress and the many Congresses he served as active members of many important committees, and as deputy speaker a number of times. Others may cite his durability having survived the rise and fall of many political upheavals, during the times of presidents Cory Aquino, FVR, Erap, GMA, PNoy, and Manong Digong. Of all the many reasons for Congressman Raul's greatness, I have chosen three most important ones for me and for many others; untarnished integrity, conscientiousness without fanfare, and deep humility and goodwill.

On untarnished integrity, I submit that not even his most vehement political rivals could put up a credible story linking the name of Congressman Raul del Mar to any controversy involving corruption. The reason why he could not be defeated in any election, not even by a popular actor, high-priced product endorser and matinee idol, or a former actress with a husband, son and daughter in showbiz. He held an enviable record of invincibility. And the reason for that is that he was distinctively and consistently honest. He never dipped his fingers into the public funds. His opponents could concoct all sorts of mischiefs against his good name. But since he was impeccably clean, nobody could put a good man down.

Another mark of congressman's character was his consistent conscientiousness without announcing his hard work to the media. Perhaps, next to Congressman Eddie Gullas, the late congressman Raul has a perfect attendance in all plenary sessions, all committee hearings and in all important investigations in aid of legislation. Although one might observe that Congressman Raul was not as eloquent and aggressive in assembly debates and committee hearings as retired congressman Pabling Garcia, Raul was always there in the plenary hall and in the committee rooms and he did participate in his own low-key and humble ways.

But what did strike me the most in his character is that Congressman Raul was truly a humble man, and a very grateful one too, friendly and approachable, not in the political and show-off ways, but in the genuine ways of friendship and goodwill. In the airport and in the lobby of the House, or in the cafeteria and even aboard planes and buses, he always engaged in small talk with small people. He greeted folks regardless of their stature in society. And he always said “thank you” and “please” and “I'm sorry". These to me are not only marks of a well-mannered, well-cultured man of fine breeding, but also as a truly good man. I hope the rest of the members of the House from Cebu could imbibe the good manners of both Congressman Eddiegul and the late congressman Raul del Mar.

It may take us many, many years, before we could find another leader worthy enough to hold a lamp to the memory of the great Raul V. del Mar. It seems that they do not make congressmen as great as Pabling Garcia, Eddie Gullas and, of course, the one we are missing so much now, the good old Raul. May the Lord welcome him to the house of the angels and the saints.

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