Retired Police Col. Roberto "Bert" Morelos when he was chief of police of Malolos. Photo from Atty. Julius Degala's Facebook account

BULAKAN, Bulacan–To the people of Barangay San Francisco in this town, retired Police Col. Roberto “Bert” Roa Morelos was their village chief of twelve years until he died of prostate cancer. But to the rest of the world, he was a staunch police officer who had served this native town of his, neighboring towns in the province and even Metro Manila as both civilian and as a man in uniform.

Col. Bert Morelos who had served the public for 41 years and died in office on Aug. 17 while on his bed at the age of 79 was buried on Sunday at Sanctuario de San Nicolas Memorial Gardens in this town. 

A true son of Barangay San Francisco, he rose from the rank as a police officer. He started his uniformed man career in 1981 as a patrolman in this town. That was after he had just graduated with a degree in criminology in Ortanez, in Aranque, Quiapo, Manila. 

He was first into automotive field when he later realized that he rather hold guns than mechanic tools.  

As a rookie policeman then, he sent his wife Estelita “Esther” Morelos to college. After she graduated with a degree in education, both of them took masters degree in both their expertise, as a police officer and as a teacher. 

With masters degree and numerous training he attended, he rose from the rank by starting as chief of police of Bocaue town for three years from 1981-1984. In 1985, he became the chief of police of this town.

In 1989, he was assigned as the chief of police of Malolos until 1996. Afterwards, then Gen. Romeo Maganto, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic czar took him with him until subsequently, he was assigned as chief in Caloocan City police sub-station in Bukid Area. It was in that assignment when he reached the age of 56 and retired as a bemedalled and a distinguished police officer. 

He was behind the arrest of notorious criminals and in maintaining peace and order in the areas he was assigned at. 

In 1999, then Malolos Mayor now Bulacan First District Rep. Danilo Domingo picked him as Malolos City Administrator. He stayed in the post for eight years until Domingo ended his term in 2007.

In that same year, he started his career as a non-uniformed man public servant to his people in this town. He ran and won as a municipal councilor. 

A formidable leader, he also did well in the municipal board and had proposed many resolutions for the benefit of the people of Bulakan. One of his interests was focused on preserving the communal fishing ground of the municipal government of Bulakan. 

In 2010 however, he lost in his second bid. He then ran as village chair of Barangay San Francisco and since then has remained in the post until his last breath. He had also served as chair of Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) of Bulakan. 

Not only that criminals kept their distance from San Francisco because of him, Col. Bert has transformed the village into the leading industrial and business area in Bulakan town. Numerous companies flourished in San Francisco, one of which is the Marby Food Ventures, a country-wide leading bread company. Soap and cosmetic firm, resort, groceries and different shops and stores including improved elementary and high schools, barangay hall and roads. 

About 8 years ago, Col. Bert, a contemporary leader of this town with a high sense of nationalism and history took the initiative of building a landmark park named as “Liwasang Heneral Anacleto Enriquez” for the gallantry of Gen. Anacleto Enriquez so that people will remember him and his soldiers for their heroism. Known as “Matanglawin,” Enriquez from Barangay San Jose this town and about a hundred Bulakeño fighters fell during that bloodied clash. History has it that it was a pool of blood inside the church. 

He took a relic of the bloodied flooring of San Rafael church and enthroned it in the said park. 

Just recently, the relic was transferred to Tabang Elementary School in San Francisco in order to preserve as water works has to be done in the park, according to Ma’am Esther. 

As Col. Bert rose from the rank, so did Ma’am Ester as she became a principal at Gen. Gregorio Del Pilar Elementary School in this town until she retired ten years ago.

They were blessed with one child–Liberty and a grand daughter. 

To Ma’am Esther, her husband was very responsible and dependable. 

“He reads and obey what is written in the bible. He was a very brave man and also a loving husband, father and grand father to us. He dedicated his life in helping and serving others not only in San Francisco but in the whole of Bulakan town and all the places he had been assigned to.”

Bulakan Mayor Vergel Meneses wreath for Col. Bert Morelos at his wake in his residence in Barangay San Francisco. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

Atty. Julius Victor Degala, now a department head in the Bulacan Provincial Government who was one of his staffs in the municipal government of Malolos hails him as genuine role model and leader who is highly dedicated and determined in fulfilling his duties and in serving the people. 

Luigi Reyes from Barangay Maysantol could not thank him enough for supporting the food and medicine needs of his relative who is in prison in Muntinlupa City. 

“They were friends and while my uncle is in his worst of times, he did not turn his back from him just like most did,” Reyes said. 

His friends, relatives, village folks, tricycle drivers, subordinates from different places and leaders of Bulakan and the province laid him to rest at Sanctuario de San Nicolas where he preferred to finally rest.