WHEN life deals you a bad card, never despair. Fortunes can change.
As Forrest Gump, the main character in the blockbuster movie of the same title, said: ?Mama always said, ?Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you?re gonna get.??
Gump, an endearing character who was a little slow, became a billionaire in the end.
As I was having a glass of wine with Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr. at the driving range of the provincial capitol?s resort hotel last Saturday, I recalled how his life had changed.
It was mid-1998 and President Erap was the new resident of Malacañang.
Espino, a bemedalled police officer who captured New People?s Army chief Bernabe Buscayno, alias Kumander Dante, and communist leaderJose Ma. Sison, was on the chopping block because he was very much identified with Erap?s predecessor, Fidel V. Ramos.
He wanted his term as director of Regional Police Office 1, which has jurisdiction over the Ilocos provinces and Pangasinan, extended for just a few weeks so he could get a ?star,? rank which was already forthcoming.
The star rank, chief superintendent, would never come with his relief.
Director Panfilo ?Ping? Lacson, who was the de facto Philippine National Police chief (PNP chief Bobby Lastimoso was a mere figurehead) didn?t give the high-achieving cop a chance to become a police general.
The Erap camp suspected Espino of supporting defeated presidential candidate Joe de Venecia, FVR?s partymate.
Even after Espino was relieved as Region 1 director, Lacson continued to hound him, forcing him into early retirement.
He went into farming but was not successful at it.
Politics was never on Espino?s mind when he became Provincial Commander of the Year as chief of the Pangasinan Constabulary, Metrodiscom Commander of the Year as Angeles City Metrodiscom commander and chief of Region 1 PNP, which also became PNP Regional Command of the Year.
Director Roberto ?Boysie? Rosales, who was Espino?s trusted subordinate when he was Pangasinan PC commander, told me Espino never mentioned going into politics after retirement.
But while in retirement, people Espino had served so well when he was in the service urged him to run for congressman in a Pangasinan district, of which he is not a native.
Espino won and became congressman for three terms.
Then he was elected governor. This is his second term.
Last Saturday, as we were reminiscing about the good times as well as the bad, I told Spine?Espino?s name of endearment?that if he didn?t go through the biggest crisis of his career and being made a punching bag by the new powers-that-be, he would not be what he is today.
Espino had to be denied the chance to become a general, retire in disgust and go into farming with no success before entering the world of politics because the universe had something bigger in store for him.
There?s a saying that if God closes one window on you, He opens two others.
Holding his glass, the misty-eyed Espino, said he owed Erap and Lacson his present good fortune.