HE was known to his students as a professor who wore simple clothing yet teaches his craft too well. His first year of teaching is still fresh in my mind. I was in my second year college then. I saw how excited he was to be part of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) family. He felt that it was indeed a great privilege to teach in one of the well-respected schools in Zamboanga, after 16 years of working Saudi Arabia. He goes to school with his lecture notes hand-written in Manila paper. He was not conscious whether his students understood his penmanship or not, his concern was that he was able to deliver his lecture in such a way that his students would comprehend it. I will tell you his secret. His teaching career would not have been a success had it not been for the help of my Mom. Their relationship as husband and wife was extraordinary. My Mom was not only his cook, she was also his great supporter when it comes to his field. It was my Mom who used to type his syllabus for him and also his exam papers. At the time, we didn’t have a computer at home yet just imagine my Mom’s patience to do it with an old typewriter. Yet, she never complained about it.
However, his devotion to teaching History could not equal to his passion for preaching Islam. For after his classes, with cigarette in his hand, you could find him busy preparing his script for his television program. I say to myself, I don’t know where this man gets his energy. He had a very hectic schedule that even on Sundays, which should be a family day for most, it is still a busy day for him, for he would go to Putik to preach the converts to Islam. If not, you will find him doing sermon in a wedding ceremony.
With all these activities, no wonder my Dad though not a politician was familiar to most people, and that is something which I am grateful for. As his daughter, I could say he had lived his life to the fullest. He had enjoyed his youth doing what he enjoyed most, which was music. Then at his mid age, he found the wife he deserved, who is very loving and caring and who truly accepted him including his imperfections. At 60, having been gifted with seven children, most of whom are degree holders, I could say he had it all: fame, fortune and a blessed good life.
With his tragic death, my Dad did not only exit from us, his family. His loss was also a loss to those whose life he had touched in one way or the other. Death is easy to accept but his way of dying was the thing that is hard to take. In Islam, death is not a sorrow but rather it is an eye-opener, that this world is but a temporary abode for everyone. I am sad that at this moment, I am miles away from my family, especially from my Mom. The only way I could compensate is through calling her and telling her to remain strong as Dad would expect her top be.
Nevertheless, what is comforting behind all this pain is the people who came to console and comfort my Mom on the day of his death and up to the present. As my Mom puts it, she never knew these people who came to our house and yet they were full of stories about my Dad. Yes, if there is one best thing that I could not forget about my father it is his generous heart. Giving and sharing what he had was his mantra in life. Modesty aside, this space will not be enough for me to write down those charitable works he had done.
There will never be another RICARDO DETUYATU in this world. No one can equal what he had contributed to the society. More than a father he was my fan, too. No one believed in my talent more than way he did. He was the wind beneath my wings. Now that he is gone, it is about time that I learn to soar high on my own no matter how difficult it may seem.
Whoever is behind the devastating death of my Dad, whatever the reason he has, still he had no right to take away my father’s life. For killing is a mortal sin regardless of religion. To have a great faith and fear of God is what my father taught me. So, I will leave justice to God’s mighty hands. God is good, I know He will not disappoint me and my family in our search for the truth. In His appointed time, we will know all. As for now, I pray that God may accept all the good deeds of my father and accept all our prayers that he may be given a place in His Kingdom. Insha’Allah.
(Prof. Ricardo Detuyatu was shot dead near his residence in Zamboanga City in the evening of April 25, 2008. The assailant remains at large. – Editor)