“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.” –Drake
After a month-long “spiritual journey” in the United States, former Iloilo Vice Governor Roberto ‘Obet’ Armada arrived in the Philippines last Thursday, missing the Commission on Election (Comelec) deadline to substitute or withdraw candidacy in the upcoming 2019 midterm elections. Although, even if he had arrived in Manila earlier, he still would not have filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) to replace Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Gallar in the race for Iloilo third district congressman; contrary to the expectations of Armada supporters.
Politicos wanted Armada to run for the seat as Gallar, a provincial board member and former Bombo Radyo Iloilo anchor who was mistaken as a “token” candidate,” faces fellow Board Member Lorenz Defensor, son of incumbent Iloilo Governor Arthur ‘Art’ Defensor, Sr.,
They believe Armada has “strong chances compared to Gallar as he still has vast and solid followers and supporters, particularly in Cabatuan, Janiuay, Lambunao, Pototan, Badiangan, Mina, Calinog, and Maasin.”
Was it intentional?
Did he intentionally “escape” to the US and wait for the Comelec deadline to pass?
When I met with him last November 14, during a meeting in Sheepshead Bay, in Brooklyn, New York, he quickly answered, “No.”
“I have decided, with finality, not to join in politics again next year,” Armada confirmed.
When asked him about post-2019, he just smiled.
The former vice governor said he wanted to “find closure in this chapter of my life,” insisting the trip was “not to escape the heat of political climate in Iloilo.”
A devout Catholic, Armada visited the San Juan Capistrano Church in San Juan Capistrano, California on November 19. It is there where his late “Mommy Thelma” heard mass in 2006.
“It was a beautiful Sunday,” he narrated. “The sunny, but cool, California weather was an ideal time to be outdoors; the place was meaningful to her… and my Dad.”
“This was where she spent the last couple of hours of her life,” he said.
He continued: “I took the road where she traveled from the church and [at] the time Zach, my nephew who lives in the neighboring area of Rancho Palos Verdes, noticed that she was more than just sleeping [in] the backseat of the car. The journey for me was painful; but I’m glad that, at last, I will be able to find closure in this chapter of my life. It took me more than a decade to muster the strength to confront and reconcile with this ‘tragedy.’ I know I was not an ideal son to her, perhaps by any standard I was way below being good, but I have done, in the last score of her life, what I could possibly do to make her happy, however short, when she was alive and well. I hope I have given her, with what I have become, the pride and honor she truly deserved. I hope.”
Armada’s US trip was dedicated to frolicking and visiting America’s historical and spiritual hubs.
He also went on a pilgrimage in Philadelphia on November 17, visiting the chapel where the body of St. John Neumann was placed in glass.
“Neumann died over a century ago,” Armada recalled. “When his body was exhumed recently, it remained intact.”
He was the Archbishop of Philadelphia and made a lot of contribution in evangelizing most of the east coast states,” he added. “Coincidentally, he belonged to the redemptorist order, the fifth saint, along with Saints Patrick; Alphonsus; Gerard; and our school’s patron saint, St. Clement.”/WDJ