“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” –Theodore Roosevelt
I first met Police Major Marlon Tayaba in 1998 when I witnessed him frisking suspected criminals on the La Paz Bridge as head of the Iloilo City Mobile Group. He was close to Sun Star Iloilo police beat reporters Ednalyn Belonio-Diamante and Ruby Silubrico, along with other reporters, and was tough and swashbuckling when dealing with criminals yet meek and mild-mannered when in the company of Iloilo reporters, who admired his low-key personality.
Tayaba only raised his voice on ruffians and rascals while on duty, but spoke to anyone he met like a school teacher when off duty. He was one of the most courteous and soft-spoken law enforcement officials to serve the city and province of Iloilo. If not for the police uniform, he could be mistaken for a college student or Mormon missionary.
The police official was not hungry for publicity. He was the silent-type and seldom opened his mouth in conversation. His accomplishments only became known because he had lots of friends in the media and was a darling of the press because he treated them like friends and classmates.
While other Philippine National Police (PNP) officials longed for publicity in order to expedite promotions, Tayaba never kowtowed to anyone in the press. The more positive remarks he earned from the press, the more he would isolate himself in order for the friendly press to avoid follow-ups and prolong the plaudits.
I lost track of Tayaba when he and other PNP officials visited the United States for “schooling” in 2000. However, we reconnected when he sent a “friend request” on Facebook seven years ago.
All I heard and read about him thereafter was his sterling exploits as “Col. Marlon Tayaba” and director of the Iloilo Provincial Police Office, where he earned the trust and confidence of then-Iloilo Governor Arthur ‘Art’ Defensor Sr., father of incumbent Iloilo Governor Arthur ‘Toto’ Defensor, Jr.
I learned that he passed away over the weekend at Iloilo Mission Hospital after a long bout with colon cancer, the second most deadly form of cancer after lung cancer.
He was 52 years old.
Based on his accomplishments and performance, his death is a big loss to the PNP. Rest in Peace, Colonel.
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Alex P. Vidal, who is based in New York City, used to be the editor for two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ