I came late to the en banc meeting today, around 11 am. I don’t think I missed a lot as former Chairman Abalos arrived just a few minutes ahead of me.
When I got there, the Commissioners were listening intently to BSA recounting the previous day’s events. There were nods of agreement all around the table when BSA got to the part about giving up the last months of his term for the sake of the COMELEC. Then it was the Commissioners’ turn. One after the other, they had their say. At the end of it all, the sense of things coming to an end was palpable.
That was when copies of BSA’s resignation letter was given to each Commissioner.
BSA’s staff came into the conference room – the young women were crying softly, the men looked kinda lost. BSA truly was a father figure to these people. I have only rarely seen him raise his voice in anger at any of his staff. The few times that he actually did, he was quick to make amends with a joke or a playful flicking of someone’s downcast chin. In fact, he’s that way with everyone he comes in contact with; wit, charm, and a temper that disappears faster than it flares up.
Lunch was served. As always, BSA was pre-occupied with seeing to it that everyone had something to eat, refusing to eat anything himself. He left the conference room and went into his adjoining office, looked around and went back out again. This time, he went to the staff room where he kidded about someone not eating enough or something. I didn’t really catch the joke. Just the laughing. Then he went back into the conference room, shook a few hands. Still smiling.
I tell him he looks well.
He looked out the conference door and saw the media pressed up against the glass of the main door to the Chairman’s Office. One last smile at everyone in the conference room and he went off with a purposeful stride, through the staff room, past the security guards, and into the waiting flashbulbs.
It’s around one-thirty.