Why does a hero have to die when things are going so well?
When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the idea of democracy in the US was becoming a way of life.
When Ramon Magsaysay died in a plane crash, the people of the Philippines were learning to live a corruption-free lifestyle.
When Mario Okinlay was killed in an ambush a few days ago, the Municipality of Impasug-ong was enjoying an uncontested political leadership that went back several terms. And not because he was a tyrant or a dictator, but because nobody seemed to want to break his EXCELLENT track record.
I met Mayor Mario a few years ago. At the time (2008), it was Julie, his wife, who was the incumbent Mayor, but Mario was the brawn behind her seat. Star Cinema was making a film called Love Me Again and their main location site was in Impasug-ong. Our meetings were brief but were enough to make a lasting impression.. well, on my part at least.
First, he didn’t dress to impress. When we went to do a courtesy call, both he and his wife sported simple polo shirts tucked into worn jeans tucked into signature cowboy boots, topped with signature cowboy hats. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought they were just a couple of cowboys come to audition for the movie.
Second, everything that was requested – a rest house, highway-to-location-site roads, electrical service at a remote location site, 100 extras, tractors to pull vehicles out of the mud, fire truck water hose props, and a lot more – was provided, most of the time for free (the extras were given free lunch).
Third, wherever we went – within Impasug-ong or even traveling between their municipality and Dalwangan in Malaybalay – we felt secure, though we never really saw who our security detail was or where they were stationed.
Last but not least, he was down-to-earth and easily approachable. And he had no qualms about filling in to carve the sumptuous lamb, a treat that came from no less than his own flock. Again, for free.
So why would somebody want him gone? What sick reason was strong enough to justify taking his life? There are just some things in this world I will never understand.
Mayor Mario T. Okinlay.. May he peacefully rest in eternal glory forever.