Atty. Luke Espiritu on Frank Chavez

Atty. Luke Espiritu

I suspect that underneath that veneer of a tough, uncompromising, even harsh, man, Frank Chavez is a person with a soft heart. While an exacting taskmaster, who minces no words to rebuke mediocrity, he carefully, almost maternally, cultivates talent. To anyone who underestimates my skills because of my diminutive size or my humble bearing (a misjudgment to which I am perpetually condemned), I can proudly retort: Frank Chavez believed in me. To this day that is the source of my confidence as a lawyer; a legacy from the legend, from the master of the craft that no one can take. 

This dashing, fearsome image of an indestructible fighter, a scourge of corrupt politicians, judges and prosecutors; the one who confronted Dick Gordon at the Senate with a sharp barb, “I would rather be declared in contempt of the Senate than be declared in contempt of justice,” was human after all, not only in passing away but in life. This same warrior was worried for my wedding date that he ensured I would be able to hold the reception at one of the best restaurants. In one of the law firm’s travels abroad, he secretly handed me with something to spend as he knew I had four children to feed. He never skipped on any invitation to stand as principal sponsor at family events and was always the first to arrive. Small things, great personal significance. 

Now the old warrior has fallen, not at the battlefield where he had dedicated his life. No, he was never defeated there. He succumbed to the fate that awaited all of us. I could not but involuntarily shed a tear. It was an expression of something that I wished he knew before he breathed his last --- deep respect and gratitude.

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