Former Senator Rodolfo Gaspar Biazon died last June 12, 2023--Independence Day. In his honor, we are publishing an interview we did of him during a photo shoot in his home in 2022. Senator Biazon's biography Rodolfo Biazon: Soldier, Solon, Statesman, written by Eric Ramos, puts history in the context of this extraordinary man's life. Senator Biazon was a real modern-day hero who lived his life according to his conscience. Here, he talked about his fond memories, principles, and why his story might be an inspiration to people.
Interview by Frey Canja
Photos by Jar Concengco
1. What is the fondest memory you recalled while working on the book?
When I was seven years old, my father died and I ended up helping my mother, who was a
laundrywoman, feed the family. So I sold binatog and broiled corn in the market of Cavite City. During the liberation war, Americans were bombing Cavite City and the Japanese were trailing them with cannon shots. One of the rounds landed in the market, killing 14 people and injuring many others. At that time, my sister, who was three years old was under my care, and she disappeared amid the chaos. What I didn’t know was, she climbed over the fence and went home. Iniwan ako! So, here I was, frantically looking for her when she already climbed over the fence and went home. I am fond of remembering this because it shows the grit of my little sister, who was the youngest among us.
2. You had to support your family at the age of 7. What was the most difficult job you had as a kid?
The difficulty--physically--is almost the same, but the mental difficulty [is different], the worst job I ever had was draining septic tanks. Before, we had to manually use pails to drain septic tanks, and if there is still some left that can’t be collected by pails, somebody has to go down. And since I was the tallest, I would be the one to go down these tanks. My height was my advantage. I would earn an additional twenty-five centavos for this.
3. What qualities should leaders or anyone in authority possess?
The first is attitude: that you want the job, not the perks of the job. You want the job to do the job. Second, 'yung understanding mo kung anong gagawin mo, willingness, dedication etc.
There are many types of leaders, one is who is seeking power and authority and perks. But the other kind of leader is seriously taking a look at what can he or she can do.
4. You had a good track record, a willingness to serve, and an extensive experience in politics and governance, why did you never run for a higher position?
Natanong sa akin ni Cory ang question na 'yan. Sabi niya, “what are your plans, Colonel?” Sabi ko, I do not plan
for myself. If there is any planning I have to do, it is to plan what to do in my present position. I always say this to my platoon leaders, if you are a platoon leader do not try to be the best company commander, because you are not a company commander. Do the best of what you can at your present position, present authority, or present definition of responsibility.
5. What made you want to share your story with people?
A lot of people have been asking me to write and share my story because maybe it can contribute to inspiring young people, lalo na 'yung mga nasa laylayan. For me, if it means anything, it's not because I want to be glorified, it's to be able to tell a story that can tell people, who are hopelessly in the laylayan to try their best because it is possible. If a labandero, tindero ng binatog, and taga linis ng septic tank can get where that labandero was able to go, it is possible.
6. What is a principle of yours that you want to teach to leaders or future leaders?
I always say this to my children, and I’m glad that they get it. Do not be a prisoner of your
ambition, you do your mission of how you can help, and your help can target, an entity or a group of entities. So do not be a prisoner of your ambition, you do your mission.