Public Service, the Villahanon Way

by City Prosecutor Ruperto Bardaje Golong

(The author is Atty. Ruperto B. Golong, Jr., City Prosecutor of Tacloban City, a law professor, a management consultant and guest lecturer at the University of the Philippines-Tacloban College and Leyte Normal University.)

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So throw away the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbors,

Catch the trade winds in your sails, Explore, dream, discover-”  (Mark Twain)

These immortal lines from Mark Twain present a vivid picture of my life and ushered me to where I am now. After graduating at the top of our class at the Leyte Normal School, now the Leyte Normal University, with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEED) in March 1971, I was invited to teach at the Sacred Heart School English Department) and stayed thereat for three (3) years. The following year I taught at the Villareal Elementary School, particularly at Brgy. Lam-awan.

After a year and a half of teaching in a barrio school, I reassessed my priorities and decided on a new career-path. I moved back to Tacloban City and joined the Commission on Population Regional Office VIII under the leadership of Leo Rama, Regional Director, as Supply Officer IV . While working at POPCOM, I decided to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer.

In June 1977, I enrolled at the Leyte Colleges, College of Law and completed a law degree, cum laude in March 1981. While studying to be a lawyer, I moved from POPCOM to the Ministry of Human Settlements as Project Officer II. After four years, I moved to the Regional Command 8, to take up a civilian employment as a Research Analyst. In November 1981, the same year I graduated from the College of Law, I took the Bar Exam and fortunately passed.

Immediately after I took my oath as a lawyer, I opened a law office in Tacloban City with the Dean Jose Cusi, Dean of the Leyte Colleges, College of Law as my partner. Law practice was not that lucrative at the start so I accepted a teaching job at the Leyte Colleges, College of Law where I was designated as Asst. Dean, College of Law.

After the EDSA Revolution in 1986 the career service opened a lot of opportunities for lawyers in the country. Judges, Prosecutors and heads of government offices were asked to tender their courtesy resignations to pave the way for new appointees of the Aquino administration.

I was among the first appointee as City Prosecutor of Ormoc City, an appointment made possible through the efforts of Cirilo “Roy” Montejo, then Civil Service Commissioner and later Congressman of the 1st District of Leyte. In September 1991, when the position of City Prosecutor of Tacloban was vacated with the promotion of City Prosecutor Francisco Aurillo Jr. as Regional State Prosecutor, I was appointed City Prosecutor of Tacloban City, a position I hold up to the present.

To prepare myself for other job opportunities both in government and the private sector, I obtained a Master Degree in Public Management at the University of the Philippines, Tacloban College and a Ph. D. in Management at the International Academy of Management and Economics (IAME) in Makati City.

My modest accomplishment in government service is a product of Divine intervention, persistence, hard work, good public relations and a lot of inspiration from my parents MR. & MRS. RUPERTO GOLONG, SR., my ever loving wife MRS. Daniela Kempis Golong, my children, Carl Jeffrey, Joanne (General Manager, SOMERSET Makati, an international chain of hotels) and Jason, my brother and sisters, my teachers, classmates at the Villareal Elementary School batch 1963 and at the Holy Name Academy High School batch 1967. Among my classmates who did very well are Susan Latorre Belez, Tito N. Geli, Jose B. Romano and Carol Conise Mendiola- all successful entrepreneurs based in Manila, Ramon Castillano, a trading mogul based at Villareal, Samar, Teddy Varela, a Senior Officer at GSIS, Manila, Oscar Mendoza a State Auditor assigned at the Post Office, Manila, Oscar Ricalde, a Mall Supervisor based in Guam, Milagros Isaac, a businesswoman based in the USA,Belen Enverzo Nagpacan, Corazon Fabilane Gilbuena, Ofelia Geli de los Reyes, Letecia Golong Araza, all Master Teachers of the Departmentof Education.

I believe that whatever we have in this world are but fleeting fancies. But a good name will always stand the test of times. Allow me to share one of the guideposts in my life, the words of the famous poet Horacio Alger:

If I Would Have My Name Endure, I’ll Write It In The Hearts of Men

By Horacio Alger

I write my name upon the sand,
And trusted it would stand for age;
But soon, alas, the refluent sea,
Had washed my feeble lines away.

I carved my name upon the wood
And after years returned again,
I missed the shadow of the tree,
That stretched of old upon the plain.

To solid marble next my name,
I gave as perpetual trust;
An earthquake sent it to its base,
And now it lies overlaid with dust.

All these have failed-
In wiser mood I turn and ask myself,
What then, if I would have my name endure,
I’ll write it in the hearts of men.