Even as he emerged as valedictorian of this year’s graduating class of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), Jhon Felix Pascual Jr. is not giving up the dream he has held since he was a child. “If given an opportunity, I still want to pursue my dream of becoming a medical doctor,” said the 21-year-old son of retired policeman Felix and public school teacher Shirley from Iguig, Cagayan.
Pascual and the rest of the 269-member “Tagapamagitan” Class of 2013 graduated on Friday at Camp General Mariano N. Castañeda in Silang, Cavite.
They were automatically given the rank of inspector.
Next to Pascual in the top 10 were Christian Javier from Pandacan, Manila; Davis Dulawan of Lamut, Ifugao; Mohammad Fahad Julwadi of Zamboanga City; Markson Almeranez of Sta. Mesa, Manila; Aiman Jumlani Kamlon of Zamboanga City; Mark Francis Bauya of Abuyog, Leyte; Niño Aquiatan of Taft, Eastern Samar; Aiman Khuzaimah Pantaran of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte; and Zainon Paiking of La Trinidad, Benguet.
Pascual took up medical technology as a premed course at Cagayan State University. He, however, bailed out of school after a year due to his father’s prodding.
“It’s not that they could not support my college education anymore but my father said joining the PNPA would secure my future. I’ve always believed parents want only the best for their children,” he said. Pascual is the younger of two children.
He admitted he was not initially sold on the idea of joining the police academy but changed his mind when his application was rejected the first time after failing the dental exam because of a slight malocclusion.
“I remembered my father cried then. I promised myself I would not fail him again,” he said.
For a month, Pascual and his father stayed with a relative in Manila to follow up his application. They were back in Cagayan when news reached him that his application was reconsidered.
“People back in our place thought I would not make it through the training,” said Pascual, who, as a teen, followed a home-school-church routine.
He was never active in sports and rarely went out with friends, spending most of his time helping in their parish as an altar boy.
His town’s parish priest, whom he only remembered as “Father Langcay,” became his inspiration, an elder he respected and one who he would always be grateful to for helping mold the person he has become.
“I admired his passion and sacrifices. He would travel far even when he was sick to bring services to the people,” said Pascual of the priest.
Pascual requested to be assigned in Western Visayas, “where I do not know anyone, not even their language.” He believed being in an unfamiliar place would give him “an opportunity to learn and grow.”
He said he wished to pursue medicine and someday serve both as a police officer and doctor. After all, he added, their class’ name suggested what they hoped to become: “the mediators between law enforcers and the community.”
“We cannot promise change right away but we promise to bring back the trust and credibility in the PNP. We promise the taxpayers that their money spent on our education is not put to waste,” he said.