MW Jolly R. Bugarin

MW Jolly R. Bugarin

Masonic Year: 
1979

He initiated the building of the new Grand Lodge Temple

Born in Calapan, Mindoro, to Sesinando Bugarin and Sotera del Rosario, Jolly took his elementary and secondary education in his hometown then went on to the University of the Philippines for his law degree, graduating in 1939.

“Out there in the University of the Philippines,” Jolly recalled, “we were activists in the sense that we believed in the youth’s participation. President Quezon, fortunately, gave us a day in Malacañang to air our sentiments.”

But the clouds of World War II ominously hovered over the archipelago, dimming Jolly Bugarin’s dream of practicing law. He continued his recollection:

“After graduation we were called to serve in the Philippine Army. This was the time when the European War was on. I graduated from the Advance Reserve Officers Training Course. Thus, after graduation, I was commissioned an officer in the army. A member of the UP Vanguard, I was assigned during the war to the Second Regular Division under Gen. Guillermo Francisco.”

Providentially, he survived the Bataan death march. During the post-liberation period, he continued to serve in the AFP, occupying key positions. In 1950, he took the Officers Investigation Course in Camp Gordon, Georgia, USA. In 1952, when the late Ramon Magsaysay was Secretary of National Defense, Bugarin took up Bachelor of Arts in Police Science and Administration, and in 1953, earned his Master’s degree in the same course, at the Washington State University at Pullman, Washington.

“I was lucky to pass the examination for scholarship in that University,” he said. “Before enjoying the scholarship, I informed Secretary of National Defense Ramon Magsaysay about the scholarship, and he was kind enough to send me as a scholar of the Philippine Constabulary. I graduated at the top of my class,” he beamed.

In 1953, he was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi, International Scholastic Honorary WSCI as well as to Alpha Kappa-Delta, National Honorary Sociological Fraternity, Washington State University. In 1961, he completed a management course with the PC. The following year he attended the Command General Staff School of the AFP. In 1962, likewise, he retired with a Colonel’s rank and, for five years, he dedicated himself to the practice of law, serving at the same time as Criminalistics and Bank Security Consultant. In 1967, he was recalled to public service, this time to act as Director of the NBI.

“Since it meant financial sacrifice on my part,” he pointed out, “I was, at first, hesitant to accept the offer, but I finally relented since I have had training along that line.” Little did he realise that he would stay on as NBI Director until 1986 or a period of 19 years.

When Jolly was NBI Director, he lived a scheduled life owing to the multifarious activities and demanding responsibilities of his office. Understandably so for he was concurrently Commissioner of the NAPOLCOM; Consultant to the Dangerous Drugs Board; Security Consultant to the Central Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, and the Philippine National Bank; Head of the National Central Bureau of Interpol-Manila; and an elected member of the Executive Committee, International Criminal Police Organization.

“My work is a challenge,” he declared in an interview when he was still Director. “It is like Masonry. We are always after the truth. We cannot deviate from the truth. My membership in the Fraternity has prodded me to give my best. It is risky, I know, but I have to contribute something within me for the betterment of my fellowmen.”

From 1967 to 1986, Bugarin was our country’s representative to the annual Interpol conferences. In 1970, he was a delegate to the World Criminologists Association Conference in Madrid, Spain. In 1971, he headed the Philippine delegation to the International Conference on Narcotics Control at Canberra, Australia. In 1972, he was delegate to the United Nations Conference to amend a Single Convention of Geneva. He was Chairman of the Third ASEAN Interpol Conference; member, Executive Committee, Fourth Congress on Medical Law; head delegate, 1978 Meeting of ASEAN Drugs Experts at Jakarta, Indonesia; and President, Bureau Directors Association Inc. in 1977.

Time programming, proper prioritizing, and efficient staffing were his secret of doing things. “When I was at the NBI, my office was properly tyled,” he said, referring to the Masons he was surrounded with at the time.

Jolly was initiated, passed, and raised on September 20, October 14, and October 28, 1946, respectively, in the Lodge his father had been Master of in 1928, namely, Tamaraw Lodge No. 65. It was only in December 1972, however, that he became Master of this Lodge. He was awarded the honor of KCCH on February 10, 1973. He is a member of the following: Christian W. Rosenstock Chapter No. 6, Royal Arch Masons; Oriental Council No. 1, Royal & Select Masters; Far East Commandery No. 1, Knights Templar; and Sampaguita Chapter, O.E.S. He is a Master of the Royal Secret of the Philippine Bodies and a Shriner of El Katiff Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., of Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., and a Past Royal Master of; Lakandula Lodge of Perfection on March 15, 1979, coroneted 33° IGH on February 10,1978, and crowned SGIG on March 25, 1980, but is now retired from the Supreme Council.

He was elected Junior Grand Warden in 1976, Senior Grand Warden in 1977, Deputy Grand Master in 1978, and Grand Master in 1979.

As Grand Master, besides enjoining his Brethren to participate actively in the task of national development, he was obsessed by the Temple Building Project. He had the cornerstone for the new Grand Lodge Temple and its foundation laid. Further, he improved the old Plaridel Masonic Temple’s physical facilities, constituted the 14 Lodges his predecessor had chartered, and issued dispensations for the formation of ten new Lodges.

An old maxim reads, “Busiest men find the most time.” Jolly R. Bugarin is, unquestionably, its exemplification.

Jolly was married to the late Linda Hortillas with whom he had three daughters Aileen, Pinky and Annette.