Oct 01, 2015 Thanking Rod Garcia, who supported me on the path. 1954-2013. The show must go on
Tonight I took a look at my Facebook feed, and saw a sad happy birthday posting on my friend and fellow lawyer Rod Garcia’s page from one of his relatives. A few keystrokes on Google revealed that I had learned almost two years late that Rod had died around fifty-nine.
I hesitated at first to call Rod a friend here, because how would a friend not know for so long about the other’s passing? We had been out of touch a few years, not out of intention, but it can happen. However, even when out of touch awhile, we would pick right up where we had left off when one of us contacted the other. I had been in touch during these two years with others who knew Rod, but maybe they had just assumed I knew he had passed away.
I reserve my blog for only a limited number of tributes to those who have passed away. Rod merits such a tribute. No matter how challenging were the storms of my trial battles and the snappiness that arises in some opponents, Rod was always a rock of support, encouragement and stability when we spoke with each other. His voice and manner were calm and consistently optimistic. I imagine that Rod would have been a model of civility had he ever been my opposing lawyer, which did not happen, because he was not a litigator.
We first met by phone over twenty years ago, introduced by a mutual acquaintance who knew of Rod’s recently starting out as his own boss and my own plans to do the same. Then we interacted through the local Philippine American Bar Association, which I was invited to join, as the group welcomes those with and without ties to Philippines. A few years after Rod’s presidency of the group, I left in 2006 not wanting to remain a member of an organization that took no action on my calls for the group to make even a mild call for human rights protection to then-Philippine president Arroyo who regressed to Ferdinand Marcos tactics in turning water cannons on demonstrators, imposing martial law, and in the process arresting critics and having at least one critical newspaper raided.
Rod graduated from my law school several years before I. I read that he helped finance his law school tuition by playing the guitar locally during that time.
Four years before he passed, Rod wrote in the local Manila Mail of his then-recent stroke, and the need for the fundraising performance he had organized to proceed. Rod underlined: “My limp is not quite gone at this time, but there are still many Filipinos in the Philippines hobbled from worst things than a mild stroke: Poverty, lack of education, lack of shelter and lack of medicine and nutrition. That’s why the show will go on.” That was the essence of Rod.
Unfortunately, Rod had a total of three strokes before he passed two years ago.
Some people I praise for having inspired me to more advanced heights. I praise and thank Rod for being there as a friend, always supporting me on my path. If all lawyers were as kind and civil as Rod, the law practice would be all the more enjoyable.
Rod garnered many friends and fans during his life as a family man, lawyer, entertainer, supporter of the Filipino community, and pro bono practitioner. One of Rod’s children posted on Facebook shortly after his passing that the church seats were very full at his memorial service, even on a weekday.
Deeply bowing to and thanking Rod Garcia.