Last Sunday, I again saw a procession of hearses in Cavite. I concluded that one of my closest friends probably, and yet again, passed this world into the next. My fears were validated.
Yesterday, I heard the news of the passing of Colonel Billy Bibit. If you google his name, there are some online entries about him. I was looking for his photo and not one showed up. Yet, two decades ago, his photos were all over town.
I remember that I was still a college student at the University of the Philippines in Diliman when the bloodiest coup d'etat against then president Cory Aquino happened. Bibit was then with the group of the charismatic Col. Gregorio Gringo Honasan. The soldiers nearly toppled Aquino where it not for that "fly-by" of American fighter planes.
After that, the soldiers vanished into thin air. After a few months, some of them were captured. Others, like Col. Bibit was captured a few years after.
Bibit remains a legend. I still remember one story about him. When young soldiers led by my friend staged the Manila City jail assault, he was one of them. They managed to extricate Bibit from his cell.
After that tumultuous struggle, Bibit was incarcerated. Under the regime of Ramos, a truce was entered into by government with RAM-SFP-YOU. Bibit went on quietly.
Under Arroyo, Bibit was appointed Customs chief of Subic Bay. He was eventually transferred to Cebu. I heard then that he was sickly.
Bibit is a good man, a patriot extraordinaire and like General Danny Lim, an inspiration to all those who seek change in this country. Like Jake Malajacan and all the rest, they hold still hold that dream, a dream that shall never die.
Sir Billy, you may have passed on, but the struggle and the vision that you have provided will forever remain in the collective consciousness of the Filipino People. Mabuhay! We salute you.