“Don’t be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” Richard Bach
ILOILO City Councilor Armand Parcon was my first buddy from the broadcast media along with Francis Hinayhinay (Pare Arman’s colleague in the defunct dyRP Radyo Tagring), when I started writing for the fledgling New Express in 1988.
When they left dyRP, they became “Bombo Armand” and “Bombo Francis.”
When I was assigned in the Capitol beat during the administration of Iloilo Governor Simplicio “Sim” Grino from 1989 to 1991, fellow Capitol beat reporter Bombo Armand and I were almost inseparable, while Bombo Francis “retired” and dabbled into buy-and-sell business.
In 1991, Bombo Armand and I contemplated on changing our profession. We both took an examination for employment in foreign service supervised by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which was planning to open a regional office in Iloilo. We both didn’t make it.
Back in our Capitol beat, in most of our out-of-town sojourns to gather reports, another former dyRP mainstay Arsenio “Kamlon” Ang, who was then reporting for the now defunct dyXX, joined us regularly.
Soon our number (the working press) in the Capitol beat grew. There were Jojie Tiongco of Panay News, Gemma Villanueva and the late Erla Ojana of IBC-12, Fernando “Nanding” Madero of dyRI Radyo Agong, the late Tony Laniog and Ibrahim Calanao of dyBQ Radyo Budyong, the late Rene Porras of dyRP, Romela Arieta-Sanggalan and the late Joe Sepulvida of Radyo Ng Bayan, Romy Belisario of dyXX.
When we weren’t gathering reports, Bombo Armand, businessman Francis, and I were at the batchoyan kiosk of manang Marlyn inside the Iloilo Central Market and at the Sariling Sikap restaurant on J.M Basa Street, City Proper.
When I was assigned in the City Hall beat after the 1992 elections, it was Bombo Armand’s turn to be assigned in the same beat replacing Bombo Abe Beatingo during the administration of Mayor Mansueto “Mansing” Malabor.
Together with Lemuel Fernandez (Panay News) Wenceslao Mateo (Panay News), Gemma Villanueva and Stanley Palisada (ABS-CBN), Lynon Cortez (dyOK), Art Calsas (dyBQ Radyo Budyong), Joy de Leon (News Express), Jun Lojero, Fernando “Kapid” Gabio, Roger Tamon, and Jun Intrepido (dyRI Radyo Tagring), we organized the Iloilo City Hall Press Corps.
When it was my time to become president in 1998, Bombo Armand was our treasurer.
He was aware that the Iloilo City Hall Press Corps under my presidency “owed” me P5,000, the amount I forked from my own pocket when we ran out of funds during our induction ceremony held at restaurant in front of the Iloilo Hall of Justice.
We didn’t have enough funds because I was the only president who didn’t allow our members to solicit for our induction ceremony.
In his last message to me on Facebook, Bombo Armand said he was looking forward to join me and Francis Hinayhinay when I go back there in our former favorite “watering hole” in the early 90s: in the batchoysan inside the Iloilo Central Market where we regularly discussed so many things about life and our profession and where we solidified our friendship.
Councilor “Bombo Armand” Parcon, my kumpare and buddy during his glory days in the broadcast media, left us on Thursday night after more than a week of confinement at the West Visayas State University Medical Center, according to my kumare Veronica.
He succumbed to pneumonia complications.
Rest in peace, Pare Armand.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)