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FIRST PERSON: Lyndon and me

It is hard to write a eulogy.

It is easy to write about a person.

Lyndon Caña died the other day in a private hospital.

He was 56.

Much of what is being talked about now in group chats and open exchanges on Facebook is his cause of death.

Was it COVID? Was he vaccinated?

Did he die because he refused to be vaccinated? Was he tested negative for COVID? Are the doctors to blame for his death?

Was he to blame?

What I know is this.

Atty. Lyndon was one of the few politicians I had a personal relationship with.

He was a friend.

Among the documents I keep in my files is an endorsement from him in 2011 for the 2012 Asia Journalism Fellowship in Singapore.

He wrote in his endorsement that I have never asked money from him when I was still a radio commentator who interviewed him numerous times during the Gloria Arroyo administration.

At that time we felt civil liberties were being threatened and the public deserved to know.

We had a series of radio interviews about the Garci tapes or the audio recordings between the then president and then election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano that the opposition said proved fraud in the elections Arroyo won.

We would always end the interview with a banter. I would say “preparar lang ang spaghetti (just ready the spaghetti).”

“Fire,” he would reply.

My line about the spaghetti was a joke between us. He once asked me what I would like to receive if I were in jail. “Pasta,” I replied.

We knew we could get jailed.

We joked our way through the fear.

Lyndon seems to know no fear. If he did, he was good at hiding it.

He threw stones at giants; sometimes I was with him.

I came from the Left.

When I landed in the military’s order of battle in 2004 – that list of ladies and gentlemen mostly suspected as Communists, Lyndon became my legal consultant.

We were not ideologically aligned but he chose to help me without question.

Without question. Without any condition.

We – he, me, my wife – fell ill with COVID almost on the same day in October.

I called him on the phone, he said he was being oxygenated. I told him I had bilateral pneumonia. He said he would get me oxygen.

After several minutes, he hooked me with someone who sent us four tanks.

Lyndon Caña is now a public property.

We each remember him in our own way.

Brilliant lawyer. Charismatic pastor. Bright legislator. Civic leader. Prayer warrior.

Lyndon was all these and more.

To describe him as just an anti-vaxxer and a COVID denier is to rob the essence from the life he lived for God, country and fellowmen.

It is hard to write a eulogy.

More so if it is for a friend.

Ready the spaghetti when we meet again, Lyndon.

Rest easy now.

Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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