Perils of the job

By Dr. Jun Ynares, M.D.

“We are worried for your safety.”

That was the gist of the many texts and private messages I got a few days ago.

Several friends had gone out of their way to express their concern in the wake of the recent deaths of two heads of local government in what appeared to be well-planned assassinations. The first was Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili. The second was General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote.

“Is killing mayors today’s fad,” another friend asked.

I understood the worry. After all, our two colleagues in the local government sector were killed within days of each other. The perpetrators of the assassination appeared determined to end the lives of the local government heads. They seemed to have made sure Mayor Tony and Mayor Ferdie would not survive.

Regardless of the allegations and speculations surrounding the assassination of the two, we decry that dastardly act and express our sorrow and outrage over their deaths. We pray for their loved ones bereaved by their untimely demise. We hope that they would obtain the justice they deserve.

When we responded to the call to serve our constituents at the local community level, we accepted the fact that the elective post we vied for had inherent risks. There are built-in perils in the job. There are evil elements and interests directly opposed to the public welfare and well-being we champion. It is expected that these elements and interests would want us dead – by the bullet, if necessary.

We came face to face with this reality nearly five years ago.

It will be recalled that we shared with our readers the assassination plot hatched against us and the discovery of this plot that could happen by what we called “Divine Intervention”.

Here was how we shared this story with our readers in September 15, 2013.

“Really, I don’t know if elected public officials who are almost in their 40s are still entitled to being watched over by angels.

What I am certain about is that God does intervene in human affairs, and if we let Him be in control of the events in our lives, things will turn out for the better. I have always held on tight to these words of the Bible: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”

These words found new meaning in our lives recently in the light of events that shook our family. I received word that there is an assassination plot against me.

At first, I wanted to dismiss the news as mere gossip. I wondered who would want to kill someone as insignificant as I am. But reality stared me in the face – the news was not a hoax. The source of the information was a person who once held the highest office of the land and now governs the Capital of the country.

As the details of the assassination plot was explained to me and my father, I was filled with silent anger, much fear … and a sense of awe that God had indeed intervened and saved my life and that of my father.

The discovery of the plot began with the visit to a wake by a councilor of the city of Manila. He was a caring public servant, so when a constituent was reportedly killed, he made sure he visited the wake to express his condolences.
As the Manila councilor looked at the body of his constituent, he wondered why the dead man’s body was riddled with so many bullet wounds. What happened to him, he asked the widow. At that moment, she did not wish to speak about the killing of her husband. She was trembling with fear.

A couple of days later, she called up the Manila councilor and told him the details of her husband’s death. He was shocked by what he heard. Immediately, he called up the Vice Mayor of Manila, his former boss. The latter was similarly shocked.

The Vice Mayor of Manila then decided to bring the matter up to the Mayor of his city who happened to be my father’s close friend. The Mayor insisted that we meet him personally so he can explain the details of the assassination plot.

On the day of the meeting, the widow came. My father and I were shocked beyond belief by what we heard.
The widow related that her husband and three others were commissioned to undertake a “kill” mission. The target: my father and I. The price for the completion of the job: P100 thousand per hired killer, or a total of P400 thousand. Advanced payments were made, guns were supplied, and detailed information were given.

The widow told us a detailed story of how her late husband and his three companions attempted to shoot us down. We were shocked by her narration and at how accurate the details were of our movements, our schedules, our whereabouts. The plotters had excellent intelligence gathering.

According to the widow, her husband told her that they were set to do the kill on two occasions. Except for a couple of hitches – I did not show up on those two occasions. For one reason or another, the two occasions they chose to pull the trigger on me were the two occasions I failed to attend.

And for one reason or another, after the two failed attempts, her husband started to have second thoughts and expressed his intention of backing out of his kill mission. A few days after he backed out, he was killed. For some strange reason, he had made sure his wife knew the entire story before he was gunned down himself.
Divine intervention? I believe so.

Only Divine Intervention could have moved the Manila Councilor to care enough to visit a dead man’s wake and be so concerned about his fate. Only the hand of God could have moved him to care enough to relay the widow’s story to his former boss, the Vice Mayor of Manila. Only the soft whisper of God could have made the Vice Mayor of Manila care enough to bother the Mayor of the Country’s Capital about a kill plot that did not even directly involve them.
Only the gentle touch of God could have moved the Manila Mayor to make a call to my father despite his busy schedule.

Maybe, I and my father are alive and well today because a widow and three officials of another city cared enough. In my language, only the Grace of God can make that possible.”

May our Lord who divinely intervenes watch over us and our loved ones always.

A blessed Sunday to all.

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