Former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Jesus Enrique “Jess” Martinez died last Wednesday afternoon at the Makati Medical Center after a bout with cancer. He was 60. He is survived by wife Che, children Michelle “Mikki”, Monica “Tweetie” and Jesus Gian Paolo III “Chu-chu,” daughter and son in law, and grandchildren the eldest of whom is Nikka, Mikki’s daughter. After Tito Jess’ remains were cremated, friends and relatives came to offer sympathies to the bereaved family at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque. Although Jess had been suffering an illness more than a year ago, and had been undergoing cancer treatment, his passing on was not expected. According to the family, Jess had been in the hospital for three days and was scheduled to go home that Wednesday afternoon. In a talk before friends at the wake, Jess’ daughter Tweetie said they were all expecting their dad to be back home in their house in Paranaque that day. He appeared upbeat to come home, she said. Little did they know that their dad was going back to a different, more peaceful home. We have been longtime close friends with Tito Jess (as I called him) and family, even during the time when they were living in Dumaguete. Daughter Mikki was a classmate since kindergarten. Recently, Tito Jess was dragged unfairly in the so-called Legacy mess at the tail-end of his stint at the Securities and Exchange Commission. I know for a fact, he had been very determined to refute the charges against him. But many in Dumaguete remember Jess to be that highly spirited and eloquent debater and speaker at Silliman. During his younger and active days in politics (he was former Dumaguete vice mayor), he used his debating skills in fighting the the Marcos dictatorship in rallies, and over the airlanes. I had a phone conversation with Tito Jess exactly a week before he died, which I never thought would be our last. And I will not forget his last words to me over the phone, which were: “God bless you more….bye.” What a way to say goodbye. But we know it isn’t goodbye, really. He merely went ahead. Rest in peace, Tito Jess.