This is a touching tribute to the late former President Benigno Aquino III or PNoy from a “shooting buddy,” Gen. JV Javier. I had the chance to talk to him the day PNoy died.

“We are all saddened by his untimely death. My friend Eric Gutierez called me to ask if I heard about the latest from boss (we fondly called him “Boss”). I called one of the security detail and learned he was rushed to the hospital (Capitol Medical) and was being revived until I learned he had died. The shooting buddies started calling each other for additional news until we learned it was confirmed.

We called our group the “Saturday Group,” with 20 to 25 members. It is divided into two groups. PNoy personally named the two groups into Ever Ready and Consortium. He headed the first group, the Ever Ready group, while the other group, the Consortium group, was headed by Sir Bodet Honrado, former NAIA general manager. We found ourselves competing with each other every Saturday even early in his incumbency as President and even after his tenure until the pandemic hit us.

During PNoy’s incumbency as president, we gathered at the PSG firing range and later transferred to Scooby’s firing range, owned by Jonathan Yu, in Del Monte, Quezon City.

PNoy with shootining buddies

The Saturday group came into being when Bgen. Jun Caparas (Ret) was playing billiards with PNoy one Saturday where the former lost and said “daanin na lang sa firing.” So BGen. Paras started recruiting Pnoy’s close friends and some military personnel.

Some of the members of the Ever Ready group are former Secretary Procy Alcala, Rep. Egay Erice, Leo Mangubat, Manny and Eric Dimaculangan, Raul Ang, Gen. Larry Dela Cruz, Bgen. Chito Dizon, Commisioner Kim Henares, Rear Admiral Raul Ubando, and other military officers, mostly composed of the major services of the AFP during that time.

I belonged to the Consortium group, which is composed of Sir Bodet Honrado, Eric Gutierez, former LRA director Galland Diaz, Gov. Boy Umali, Rear Admiral Loumer Bernabe, Lt. Col. Gerry Bahia, to mention a few.

We called our group the “Saturday Group,” with 20 to 25 members. It is divided into two groups. PNoy personally named the two groups into Ever Ready and Consortium. He headed the first group, the Ever Ready group, while the other group, the Consortium group, was headed by Sir Bodet Honrado, the former NAIA general manager.

PNoy looked forward to our Saturday gatherings. It was his stress reliever. We would receive text messages from his security every Thursday or Friday to get ready for Saturday. He was a superb shooter. There was a time when seven members of the Consortium were competing against only PNoy and he would win against us. We saw how happy he was every Saturday afternoon.

He wanted to compete always with Sir Galland Diaz and yours truly. We would do silly things like wearing wigs, doing a dance, or cheering a chant before we competed in firing. You could see how he enjoyed those afternoons. He avoided talking about work or politics whenever we were at the range. Even after his term, whenever we were at the Scooby’s range, he never talked about politics.

Whenever we were at the range, he was not a president, he was a friend. Of course we treated him as a President, with due respect. You could see, however, that he only wanted to be treated as a friend. He loved to tell jokes. He was his true self in the range. You could see his true personality, a simple, kind-hearted person, thoughtful, honest, and respectful. Mahihiya po kayo gumawa ng mali sa harapan nya. Likas ang kabutihan ng kalooban niya (You would find it embarrassing to do anything bad in his presence. He was a good man at heart.

After firing, we normally went out for dinner. Aside from steak, he would crave for anything crispy (chicharon), sisig, chicharon bulaklak, hamburgers (beefy), and Chinese food, and tuyo. He would painstakingly find time to teach his security personnel what he knew about firing. He treated his security detail like family.

The members of his close-in security were Lito Africano, Msg. Pablo Domingo, Tsg. Balderama Solomon, Ssg. Jeonard Soriano, Ssg. Joseph Tabiloh, Ssg. Rico Seno, Ssg. Ferdinand Reyno, Sgt. Michael Calar, Sgt. Jeffrey Aranil, Pcms. Garry Orozco, Psms. Ronald Vargas, and Psms. Jeffrey Africano.”

Like Jv Javier, we will surely miss PNoy, a friend and our president.

PNoy is in a happier place now, his younger sister Viel told us. The sisters Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris will miss him, their “Kuys,” but they are comforted by the knowledge that their father Ninoy, mother Cory, and brother Noynoy are all together now.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/06/25/a-tribute-to-president-pnoy-from-a-shooting-buddy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-tribute-to-president-pnoy-from-a-shooting-buddy)