THE world won’t be the same anymore for the family of Dr. Ricardo Rotoras.
That world changed abruptly for them when he was killed outside his house at 1 am last Saturday. I told his wife that was an act of desperation for the mastermind behind his killing.
Cases can be settled through mediation. Or through the court which may take years and decades.
Frenemies can be civil with each other and tolerate each other’s presence since there is always hope for the living. Damaged friendships and relationships may never be mended but as long as people can be civil, then, the world will remain at peace.
That world should now regret the day guns were invented. Add to that the levelling up of guns to bombs, nuclear weapons, and even improvised explosive devices.
Killing with guns and weapons of mass destruction is man’s desperate attempt to make everything instant. Instant coffee. Instant noodles.
I was on my way to the assembly place for a Christmas party last Saturday morning when I heard Rotoras’ name on the radio. I thought it would be more good news about him. His achievements at a young age, not only as university president but also in organizations he joined, had almost reached living-legend level.
Thus, the word “gipusil” had me staring into space for a long time. There are no words, shocked is not enough to describe that. At first, I thought he survived, but Cosmo was mentioned—Cosmopolitan Memorial Chapel. Suddenly, nothing mattered anymore, not the traffic, not the early morning wakeup call for the Christmas party, not the rushing back and forth before leaving the house in order to reach the assembly place on time.
We, the living, have to deal with life’s daily inconveniences such as the slow internet connection which had PLDT texting us with, “Sorry for the inconvenience…”
Spotify stops playing a song when the internet is slow. Then, we wait for PLDT’s “sorry” text, and we’re not even surprised if that doesn’t arrive.
I wonder if Rotoras’ killers would dare tell his family, “Sorry for the inconvenience.”
What an inconvenience, leaving his family with an unanswered why. Death is a permanent inconvenience, with the dead not given the chance to tell his story.
Elton John says, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word.” But from the unremorseful who has no plans to make amends, sorry is the easiest word—the sorry that doesn’t echo from the heart. PLDT texts, “Sorry for the inconvenience,” and they send the same text the next day, and the days after. Where’s the sorry there?
And then, there’s that person who believes you should be the one saying sorry to her, when it should be the other way around. But that’s another story.
While at his wake on Monday night, I told a friend his killers or the mastermind could be right there, listening to us and the other mourners who were there. Scary. Or this could be the result of too much TV, with our fears based on plots of TV crime shows.
But this was reality, not merely a script, with a real plot that was probably planned for months. But then, what do we know?
This we know—Rotoras’ family now has to face the aftermath of his death. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation-Northern Mindanao to investigate. Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno has offered P1 million to anyone who could reveal the mastermind and hired killers. And all these have put this thought bubble above our head: that our suspicions are not simply a result of too much TV.
Rotoras was instrumental in greening the Rotary Club of CDO Centerpoint’s presidential citation for Rotary Year 2016-2017.
I was then their assistant governor who wished that citation to be green, instead of red, since Elmo Lagrosas, their club president for RY 2016-2017, only had that one year to lead, he won’t be president again unless he wanted to be reelected. So, better have that citation from the Rotary International president than regretting not having that as one of his achievements as club prez.
Rotoras was, by then, one of their past presidents, and their club chair for The Rotary Foundation (TRF). It was his help and his encouragement for the club members to contribute to the TRF that finally turned their citation to green. And for that, I was, I am, and I will always be grateful to him.
His sudden death is profoundly felt by those who had met and known him. He was a man of action, and that’s evident in everything that he did—from university president, to Rotary club president, and all the other endeavors he focused on.
Sir Ric, thanks so much for making this world a better place.
For now, though, we mourn.