“The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.”
It was supposed to be a fine day, at least for me, to celebrate a personal victory when the news broke, much to the shock of not only those who were close to him but also to his colleagues in the legal profession. Atty. Alex T. Cabornay succumbed to heart attack on August 27, 2019 at the age 54.
His untimely demise surely left a black hole in the legal community. He was a good man, probably one who has made not so many enemies in his meaningful career. He was loved, even by those whom he shared differing opinions on abounding matters. He was cared, even until the last petal fell into his grave. As to his family, he was everything everyone could hope and pray for.
Atty. Alex Tuastomban Cabornay, or “Alex” as he was more popularly known, was born in Iligan City, Philippines on May 5, 1965 to Mr. Alfonso A. Cabornay and Mrs. Purificacion L. Tuastomban-Cabornay. He had six siblings whom he shared memorable childhood memories with.
His academic resume was stellar, if not totally impeccable. He finished his elementary years in North City Central School, Iligan City with flying colors. He completed the first two years of his secondary education at La Salle Academy, Iligan City before he was prompted to move in Luzon and finish his secondary education at Saint Jude High School, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. He spent his first year in college at Divine Word College in Laoag while taking up a business course before deciding to fly back in Iligan. In 1987, he earned his bachelor’s degree, a consistent dean’s lister at that, in Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Thenceforward, he took up Bachelor of Laws (now Juris Doctor) at the Mindanao State University College of Law – Iligan Extension where he finished in 1991. He was one of the pioneering batch to graduate from the Iligan Campus. In the same year, he reviewed for the Bar Examinations and successfully hurdled it on his first attempt.
After he signed the Roll of Attorneys and took his oath, he immediately became a professorial lecturer in his alma mater teaching various subjects such as Constitutional Law, International Law, Statutory Construction, among others. At the same time, he also taught social science courses in Iligan City Capitol College.
At a young age, he had already established a name for himself. But Atty. Alex was far from being settled, at least not just yet. He ventured in different work places across different sectors before he finally joined the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), where he dedicated and devoted to spend the majority of his life working as a truly valuable asset.
He started off as an Officer-in-Charge of NBI Iligan District Office (NBI-ILDO). While working in the Bureau, he was assigned to various cities all over the country. He held the position of Executive Officer and Supervising Investigation Agent of NBI-NEMRO in Cagayan de Oro City; Officer-in-Charge of NBI-Region X, Cagayan de Oro City; Acting Assistant Regional Director and Executive Officer of NBI-NEMRO, Cagayan de Oro City; Supervising Agent/Executive Officer of NBI Puerto Princesa District Office, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
He was assigned as a supervising investigation agent at NBI-Central Mindanao Regional Office (CEMRO), Cotabato City; NBI-ARMM, Cotabato City; NBI-Iligan District Office; NBI Dipolog District Office; NBI-MIMAROPA, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro. He was also assigned and designated as Chief, NBI-Iligan District Office before he became the Head Agent of NBI-NEMRO in Cagayan de Oro City. His last post being the NBI Regional Director (Director II) for NBI Region X, Cagayan de Oro City.
While at the Bureau, he was awarded several commendations for his keen ingenuity in solving high profile cases. To name a few, his role and efforts were pivotal to the successful solution of the Ambush Case of Rep. Vicente “Varf” Belmonte, Jr. of the lone district of Iligan. He also helped solve the case and identify the perpetrators in the Ozamis City MV Mediatrix Barge Bombing which resulted to a handful casualty. Add to that, he, together with this team, arrested Coco Rasuman, the main culprit in the multi-billion dollar scam that operated a “ponzi” type investment scheme.
He also helped in the positive identification of the gunman in the shooting incident of a media practitioner in Iligan City and filed a case against him for murder; arrested the suspect of the killing of an NBI agent in Iligan City; rescued several kidnap victims from independent cases in Iligan City; neutralized two marijuana plantations in Palawan and arrested the suspects; led a raid in several stalls in the commercial district of Marawi City for issuing counterfeit NBI clearances, among other accomplishments by Atty. Alex.
Now, we may be saddened by the loss of a good man of his caliber but Atty. Alex will forever be etched in history as someone who made a strikingly positive impact to our community in general. Undeniably, he was an instrument to the speedy and efficient administration of justice. He was a constant reminder of the independence, integrity and impartiality that we must all uphold in the performance of our duties. Truly, he was nothing short of a role model to all of us.
And before I end, let me just leave it here. There are things that death cannot touch, and one of those is the goodness in Atty. Alex’s heart.
I can think of no greater way to honor him than to live his way. May you rest in peace, Sir.
Vogue Vernal Orcullo is a Certified Public Accountant by profession and a 5th year law student of MSU Law – Iligan Campus. He used to teach Accounting subjects at Saint Michael’s College before finally settling into a full-time law student on his graduating year. He enjoys the study of law the same way that he goes crazy about Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic. He was an interim EIC of The Nexus before taking post as an Associate Editor while serving as the Supreme Law Student Council (SLSC) President. Currently, he gives webinars on labor laws so that employees would know about their rights. Surely, this man doesn’t know when to stop even when his plate is already full.