Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Brother's Legacy: A Steadfast Stand Against Corruption

My elder brother was a quiet and reserved man.  Unbeknown to many, he was a simple family man , a homebody, who  spent more of his free time singing,  reading, gardening, raising pigs and chicken,  and the most recent was fresh water fish culture (of catfish and mudfish) right in his backyard. He lived a frugal life with less hassles and less words. But unbeknown to us, his siblings and family, he was a  civil servant extraordinaire packed with brilliance and action. He was a silent warrior against ineptitude,  against dishonesty, against corruption in government. These extremes didn't make sense to me. My brother's legacy of a lifetime was his long-enduring fight against corruption.

Among my elder brother's work associates and friends I had contacts with, I was easily remembered by them by a rather long address, "the sister of Ben" than my 4-letter name "Lita". There were times then when I got repulsive, feeling that my identity was being obscured, overshadowed,  and seemingly lost to my brother's popularity. Was he really that popular?

The answer was not elusive. I stumbled upon the answer to that question by accident and a lot more accidents after. He was a relatively new college secretary of Pangasinan State University- College of Education (PSU-CE) in Bayambang, when I got a scholarship grant there for my Master's Degree in Communication Arts, English. In my 2-year stint as a grantee, I learned that my brother was well-loved as an honest fellow, not loud but shy and reserved. And he was gaining popularity for his integrity, ideas, and ideals beneficial to the academe he embraced to be the source of his bread-and-butter. He was a well-respected man.

My Brother Was a Good Man

1. First Major Accomplishment

          He lead the hard-core "Magic 7" comprising of 7 young professors of PSU Bayambang, who ousted the university president for wrongdoings no longer tolerable by the staff. He handed a position paper to the then Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos during his incumbency detailing the prevalence of graft and corruption perpetrated by the university president. The complaint was heard and justice prevailed.

2. Second Major Accomplishment

          He was transferred to one of the university component undersiege of corruption, a remnant condition left by the  ousted university president. He "cleaned up" the mess, and PSU Urdaneta is now known to be a haven of his various novel innovations benefiting staff and students as well. Peace, love, security, and success prevails in this component. Again, justice was served.

3. Third Major Accomplishment

          His loyal associates wanted him to run for presidency so that he could cover all 11 component colleges that need his expertise. He preferred the vice presidency position for Student Affairs. He was based at the main office here in Lingayen. His heart was all-out in support to the welfare of students.

            But he worked hard to put in place a new university president he perceived could clear the colleges of scattered hints of wrongdoings. However, he failed, not once but twice. The first beneficiary of his hard work lost in his second bid for presidency, all because of  my brother's extraordinaire strategy and influence.

           The second one he helped to rise from the ranks as university president, (I had  a long conversation with this guy during the wake of our father when he was being  hotly groomed for the position by my brother), turned his back from his promised war against graft and corruption and in less than a year of his term, corruption  not only flourished, it raged like mad in the main office and several others identified as his bulwark of misdeeds. Justice was muddled, spat upon, trampled down.

4. Fourth Unfinished Business (The Mother of All Wars against Corruption at PSU)

         My brother formed the "F-9", a group of honest, hardworking, competent, die-hard supporters of clean and honest government service. It's much larger in  membership than the "Magic 7".  This started with a few originators,  was  founded on February 9 hence the "F-9" and has been gaining support since. A carefully planned rally happened in the annals of PSU in Lingayen, the first ever in history.  I was there. I rushed to my brother's side for filial support after I got our parish priest's (Fr. Rolando Salosagcol)  blessing on my brother.  I felt the maneuverings of the university president, holding at bay, the approaching supporters from the other component colleges.

           PSU Lingayen was a virtual war zone with the president's private army on the roam. The rallyists had only a makeshift platform and the microphone at the closed gate of the university. And their airing of grievances. Perhaps their only consolation was the media coverage that monitored the activities. It was an orderly rally, a signature mark of brilliant minds and peace-loving civil servants.

           Funny, but as the much-celebrated case progressed, I learned that the beleaguered ( or proud ?) president filed an early retirement. Then not long after, he re-entered the university in a much lower position. What would you, my countrymen, make of this?

5. Unfinished But Still Going Strong

The case has now reached  the Ombudsman,  and the F-9, vowed to pursue justice come what may. Their next meeting according to them, could have been last February 15, a Saturday, 3 days after my brother's 66th birthday on February 12, and after his checkup in Manila.

On February 11, my brother succumbed to complications of diabetes. His condition was put at risk , he contacted pneumonia at the ER for staying unattended for 7 hours. Due to his chest pain , he  was supposed to undergo an emergency heart bypass at the Philippine Heart Center where he went for his regular checkup. His angioplasty lasted for only 7 months. He was being prepared for kidney transplant on April 11.

The sorrowful F-9 group still pushed through their planned get-together through a serenata at his wake. They sang the way they used to do until the wee hours of the morning.

My Brother's Legacy

My  brother, Dr. Benigno Ferrer Castro, Sr. , Ed.D., Ph.D., vice president of Pangasinan State University, Lingayen, Pangasinan, leaves a shining legacy in the portals of education, that it's hard to fight corruption but it is possible to put up a steadfast stand to hold it at bay while the slow grind of justice  moves. I hope and pray that in the end, justice would prevail and the perpetrators of this crime against the people and government would get the harshest punishment according to law.

I'm very proud of my Kuya, my idol, my hero. He made a clean name,  not only for himself but also for his family and us, his siblings,  with his  unwavering resolve to run after the  undesirables, those who enjoyed their perk in government offices, surrounded by private armies and living in ostentatious display of their loot through corrupt practices.

And for a lifetime,  I'm giving more meaning and value to his legacy to me, "the sister of Sir Ben".


  1. An ordinary man with an extraordinary accomplishment. You ought be proud of him, Lita.


  2. Jonathan,
    I'm proud of my brother for all he did in his lifetime. He is a shining glory in the family. Thanks for the heart-warming comment.

  3. A very touching post Lita. People like your brother are rare to find and you are really blessed to have such a fine human being like him as your brother. I am sure that justice would prevail as no sincere effort ever goes in vain and God himself supports those who think and live for common good. My best wishes.

  4. Wow your brother is definitely an honorable man Ate Lita. He deserves my respectful salute!

  5. What a beautiful testament to a beautiful person.


  6. A dignified tribute for a dignified man. Lovely. You often find the most honourable have no need to shout their accomplishments, they simply do what is right, because it is the right thing to do. We are lucky when such people come into our lives. :)

  7. Prathistha,
    Thank you for your kind thoughts about my brother. Your hopes for justice and God's intervention are mine, too. The F-9, even at the demise of my brother, vowed to see that justice is served in the end no matter what.

  8. chubskulit (Rose),
    Thank you. I hope this post will reach out others that I may bring attention to the legal battle of the F-9 orphaned by a good leader, who is my brother.

  9. Laura Avery Brown,
    Thank you. If ever that this legal battle left by my brother under the hands of the F-9 prospers, it's because you and all my blogger friends are helping us, his family and siblings, and especially the F-9 members, move on with optimism.

  10. Ron Cooper,
    Thanks for your latest post about optimism. I just read it and somehow, I'm enlightened to move on. My tribute to my brother eases the pain of his untimely loss.

  11. Rusty Hoe,
    I had only a vague idea about what was happening then because my brother stopped talking about it when the legal battle started. But I insisted and prevailed upon him. It is my filial duty as I'm the nearest sibling living near him. I'm equally thankful to his F-9 comrades for their sharing of their position especially now that their leader is taken away from them. Thanks Rusty!

  12. Violetwrites,
    I just moderated your kind comment about my brother. However, I can't read it here. This problem recently happened in my other blog, too. So sorry about this. You praised my brother for his "legacy of a lifetime". Thank you. God Bless you, dear friend.

  13. Ooooh, this is so moving. Lita, your brother's quiet heroism is awe-inspiring, and it reminds me so much of my father's quiet yet shining ways. I wish to be like them both... I hope that, sometimes, I am. Men like your brother live their love, for love is what honesty and integrity are. Your beloved brother is surely with you, still. I'm certain his soul is glowing with the light of happiness at seeing your own heart filled with love.

  14. Lita, one word: Beautiful. You gave your brother with this post honoring. Your brother was indeed a hero. Not many people are so great. You and your family can cherish him in your heart with love, joy and respect.

  15. What an inspirational brother to persevere under such circumstances and leave such a legacy.

    I hope their hearts cause for F-9 comrades will stay alive in his honor.

    Proud and Blessed to know you and know of him.

  16. Julie,
    Thank you for seeing my brother in your father. A mango tree doesn't bear apples, so even if this is my first time to know you, I feel that you are so like your Dad.

    I like this, "Men like your brother live their love, for love is what honesty and integrity are". Very comforting thoughts about love.

    Thanks for making me feel closer to my beloved brother with your wonderful comment.

  17. Ellen,
    I miss my brother, all of him. But I find comfort when people calls him the way you do, a "hero". I believe that he deserves the honor I give him by way of my humble blog. All the comments here bring back my good memories of him. He lives in my heart, forever. Thank you.

  18. Angelia,
    My brother was really a good man. His undaunted spirit shone for a good cause. As much as the F-9 respect and love him, my feelings for his loyal comrades is mutual, because without their unfailing support, he couldn't have done what he did.

    I'm proud that my brother found allies like the F-9. I join you in silent prayers that may their hearts' cause continue aflame until justice is served. Thank you.

  19. THis is a good testimony about your brother.I think,he left a good legacy behind.Hope you are now happy.

  20. editor,
    His goodness tempers our sadness. I just hope and pray that he didn't die in vain. Thank you for your kind thoughts about my brother.

  21. Such a fabulous tribute to your brother!

    I stopped by to welcome you to SITS! It's great to have you in the SITStahood!

  22. Sandy,
    Thank you so much for stopping by and for the heartwarming comment. I'm a SITStah and am so sorry I'm being missed around there. I do make visits once in a while. Yes, SITS is a great tribe. Happy SITS Sunday!

  23. What an inspiration...

    Welcome to the SITStahood. We're happ to have you.

  24. hotpants,
    Happy SITS Monday SITStah! Thanks for the visit and the comment. From here I'll visit you, too.

  25. What a wonderful tribute to your brother.

    I'm stopping by to welcome you the the SITS family!

  26. Lita- a beautiful tribute to your brother, a good and honest man. The real heroes of this world don't wear funny costumes and scale tall buildings; they're simply truthful,reliable and kind.

  27. What a great story - thankyou for sharing it. Visiting to welcome you to SITS :)

  28. Beautiful words for such an Honorable man.

    Welcome to SITS =)
    Much Luv,

  29. Mimi,
    Happy SITS Thursday! I'm glad to see a SITStah stopping by my blog. Thank you for your comment.

  30. nothingprofound,
    My brother's kindness extends even after his death. A year ago, during one of our traditional family gatherings, he planned some improvement for our uninhabited ancestral home, built next to mine. My siblings come around twice a year for our family get-together.

    Few days after his funeral, her bereaved wife and only child started grooming the old house. Today, the house looks better, painted in and out, new tiles, new shower room to augment the old small bath and toilet, the water system reconnected, the lighting system upgraded, etc.

    Actually, with this new venture, we have no time to grieve, as we are happy doing the improvements. This is what my brother wants. He is that kind. On March 28, we will have mass for the house re-blessing with the whole clan.

    Thank you my dear friend for stopping by.

  31. Rachel,
    Happy SITS Thursday, SITSah! Thanks for stopping by and for the comment.

  32. Karen,
    Happy SITS Thursday, dear SITSah! Thanks for the comment and for dropping by.

  33. Thank you. Nice post. Have a nice day.

  34. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment.

  35. What a beautiful tribute to your brother!

    Welcome to the SITS community!

  36. Queenie Jeannie,
    Thank you and Happy SITS Saturday to you SITStah! I'll take off from here to your site.

  37. What a touching tribute to your brother! Thank you for sharing him.

    Stopping by from SITS! Welcome.

    Cheers :-)
    - CoconutPalmDesigns

  38. CoconutPalmsDesigns,
    Thanks for stopping by and for the nice comment. Happy SITS Saturday, SITStah!

  39. Lita,
    This is a beautiful tribute to a man who seems nothing but worthy of the adoration. Happy SITS Saturday!

  40. gamommy2two,
    Nice to hear from another SITStah. Thanks. Happy SITS Wednesday!

  41. What a beautiful tribute to your brother, clearly a wonderful man. I am so sorry for your loss. You are fortunate to have had your life touched by him, and he is fortunate to have such a loving sister!

  42. Rebecca Hoffman,
    Your comment is very special, but there seems to be a problem here again. I clicked to publish it but it's nowhere here. Please accept my heartfelt apology. I experienced this once and few days later, I found it in another post. I hope it will appear here soon. Thanks!

  43. Rebecca,
    There it is now! A very beautiful comment not meant to be missed here. Really, my brother and I were very close to each other. It's hard to forget the bond too soon. He lives in my heart forever. Thanks!

  44. I like your topic. It's full of wisdom. I'll visit this site often. Continue blogging. God bless.

  45. jojo (Rustum),
    Thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement. I'm very busy nowadays but I'll continue writing soon.

  46. chubskulit,
    Happy Easter too! God Bless you and your family.

  47. That's an extraordinary story. Thank you for sharing about what a great man your brother was.

  48. Dr. Heckle,
    I'd been away for a while, but I appreciate very much your continued visits. Thanks for the comment as well.

  49. Zauzeti,

    Jumped right into your site but I can't make out the language. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment here.

  50. it's very delightful to read some of your post Maam. you truly are one of the rare breed of bloggers.

    i am very much moved by your brother's accomplishment. somehow, banners of morality are still carried by courageous few, and it aint dead yet with the legacy of your brother. Bravo!

    very inspiring =)

  51. totomel,
    Thank you for the accolade. You likewise inspire me.

    My brother's moral legacy makes us, his siblings and family, proud of him. Yes, he belongs to the rare breed of courageous few, and we hope that his initiatives will see light through his comrades he left behind in their fight against corruption in the education sector, in particular. Have a nice day!



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