TEDDY P. MOLINA: Bar top Pablito Sanidad now Narvacan, Ilocos Sur mayor

Pablito Sanidad, 1967 Bar topnotcher, progressive, human rights activist, impeachment prosecutor vs. Erap, former Cabinet exec, political actor: Where’s he now ?        Good-looking and brilliant, sought after by girls as a dashing bachelor during his youth and by big-time clients in need of his legal acumen, Pablito Sanidad made waves in courts of trial  or off-court.This columnist haven’t seen him for quite some time, save for a brief encounter in the campaign trail three years ago in his hometown of Narvacan in Ilocos Sur when he ran for and won as Vice Mayor, in tandem with Ilocos Sur political kingpin former Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson who beat his rival for mayor handily.Previous to the 2019 election, I recall that the last time I was in regular contact with him was when the late President Cory Aquino was in power. Pablito was serving in her Cabinet as Labor Undersecretary, albeit short-lived.I remember I was ahead of our media colleagues in announcing his departure from the Cabinet. I was then writing for the Inquirer.That was about 34 – 35 years ago!He’d always been outspoken, but, that time, he kept to himself his reason for resigning, perhaps in deference to the lady president whom he had aggressively supported in 1986 in his capacity as VP for Northern Luzon of the Cory Aquino for President Movement.Those who knew Sanidad believed he quit when his principles clashed with certain policies of the government.Before Mrs. Aquino formalized her presidential bid, Pablito was a a key and top leader of the UNIDO, then Vice President Salvador “Doy” Laurel’s political machine precisely set up for his 1986 presidential bid.But as it turned out, political brokers prevailed and consequently the Aquino-Laurel tandem was born with Doy Laurel sliding to VP.

Fast forward 2022. What’s Pablito busy with nowadays ?

Over lunch at a popular Quezon City restaurant somewhere in Timog last Sunday, poet, book author anthropologist, lecturer and double Palanca awardee Arnold Molina Azurin and this columnist had a great time with Pablito reminiscing the good ol’ days.About two weeks earlier though, I had a one on one with him at his office where we happily shared memories of yesteryears.      At our lunch meeting, he was with his son Pablito Jr., also a lawyer and Dean of the University of Baguio’s College of Law. He succeeded his Dad who had to drop everything – law practice and the deanship- as a consequence of his election and, subsequently, assumption as Mayor of Narvacan beginning June this year.Pablito Jr. who is fresh from “graduation” as a three-term Board Member of Ilocos Sur, is now in charge of Mayor Sanidad’s clients.It was a reunion too with Pablito Jr. whom I first met in 2013 at the onset of his first term as provincial board member.What’s the Mayor busy with? From the courtrooms that used to be his battleground, Mayor Sanidad now has his hands full serving his constituents and their needs.It’s payback time for this successful Narvacaneo who had made a name and fortunes in Baguio City where he established an illustrious law career spanning about five decades now.He has also trained his sights on writing the history of his hometown. Thus, he authored the trailblazing “Narvacan Naisangsangayan”,  a glossy and hard-covered coffee table book that came out last year, and published by Twin Pines Publishing.In his preface to the book, then Narvacan Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson said : “‘This book has been long overdue. I had always hoped that someday, someone would write about Narvacan and narrate it’s rich history for present and future generations. This book answers that need. Narvacan is grateful to the author.” Pablito was the vice mayor when he wrote the book. He candidly acknowledged that the book is not complete as his access to materials was limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic.Now he’s targeting a second edition of “Narvacan Naisangsangayan” as the Covid restrictions are easing up, if not fully gone.Knowing Pablito Sanidad’s tenacity and passion over everything he does, and with more authorities on the culture and history of the Ilocos like Prof. Arnold Molina Azurin willing to be engaged actively into the book project, I’m certain the second edition will follow suit.