MW Agustin V. Mateo
The paratrooper and scuba diver…
Agustin Victorio Mateo, the 75th Grand Master, is a man of varied interests. He is a soldier, civic leader, paratrooper and an accomplished scuba diver. Gass Matti, as he is called by friends, says: “Up in the sky I feel very near my creator; earth-bound, I am reminded of my mission to use whatever God-given talents I have for contributing to the progress of my people and my country.” He further explains: “Down there in the deep, the magnificent sea-nature amidst the silence fills me with awe and reminds me of my mortality.”
Born on July 7, 1931 in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya to Pedro Y. Mateo and Dionisia V. Mateo, Gass Matti is the youngest in a brood of 16. He is a 1956 graduate from the Philippine Military Academy where he excelled in scholastics and in sports. In 1961 he pursued further studies in Ft. Eustis, Virginia, USA and then in 1967 he took a training course in Supply Management and Depot Operation in Okinawa, Japan. Still later he earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of the Philippines.
Gass Matti has represented the country in various international fora, such as the Pacific Management Seminar (PAMS#8) in Hawaii (1984); the 7th Congress on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders in Milan, Italy (1985); Seminar- Observation Tour of the Japanese System in Tokyo and Yokohama (1986); the 56th Interpol Congress in Nice, France (1987); the International Association of the Chiefs of Police in Bangkok, Thailand (1988). He also served as Asst. Co-chairman of the RP-US Mutual Defense Board from 1983-86.
Because of his excellent track record in the military, he was thrice nominated for promotion to Brigadier General. Fate, however, did not favor him as politics intervened.
During the EDSA revolution, Col. Mateo was holed-up at Camp Crame from February 22 to 25. “Every one of those days seemed to be the last. Thus I consider my surviving the EDSA revolution as a new lease in my life, so that I intend to dedicate the rest of it to the faithful service to my countrymen,” he philosophizes.
In 1986, he retired as a full Colonel with all his medals and fond memories of the service, but barely one week thereafter he was appointed by Pres. Corazon Aquino as Commissioner of the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
As a young man, Gass Matti wanted to become a priest; instead he ended up a military man. But while he pursued a military career and acquired a soldier’s traits, he has managed to keep those virtues that a priest would normally admonish his parishioners to keep, such as devotion to his family.
He is blissfully married to Lolita G. Sintos who gifted him with 5 children: Margaret, Jacqueline, Josephine, Imelda and Richard.
Gass Matti is also devoted to the Masonic Fraternity. He knocked at the door of Keystone Lodge No. 100 in 1963 and four years thereafter became its Worshipful Master. After Keystone 100 was dissolved, he joined Quezon City Lodge No. 122, where he was elected WM in 1979. In 1980, he affiliated with Manila-Mt. Lebanon Lodge No. 1. To date, he is a member of this Lodge’s Board of Advisers.
In 1964 he became a member of the York Rite and the Scottish Rite. He was president of the Square and Compass Toastmaster Club in 1983.Three years later, in 1986, he was president of the Philippine Shrine Association and elected Venerable Master of Mt. Arayat Lodge of Perfection, 14th degree. In the same year, he served as District Deputy Grand Master (DDGM) of Masonic District No. 1-A.
Gass Matti was elected Junior Grand Warden in 1989, Senior Grand Warden in 1990, Deputy Grand Master in 1991, and Grand Master in 1992. True to a vow he made, he displayed the statues of the Infant Jesus and the Mother Virgin Mary in a prominent place in the Grand Master’s office. He believes that these acts of piety contributed to his highly successful term as Grand Master.
Gass Matti has other Masonic involvements, such as -
-He was president of the Temple Builders Club in 1991 as well as vice-president of the Grand Guild of Past Masters.
-Since 1989 he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Masonic Charities for Crippled Children.
-He was a former High Shereef of Bamboo Shrine Oasis, a Past President of the Philippine Shrine Association and was Ambassador of the Aloha Temple to Manila.
-He is a member of the Royal Order of Scotland, Lodge Perla del Oriente No. 1034, SC., the Order of the Eastern Star, Sampaguita Chapter, as well as an honorary member of several Lodges.
-He is co-founder, co-organizer, and charter vice-president of the Square and Compass Cavaliers Club of the AFP.
-He was coroneted thirty-third degree 33° Inspector General Honorary (IGH) on March 16, 1991.
Mateo was a Director of the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation (Phividec); a Director of Phividec Industrial Authority and Peftok Investigative Security Inc. At present he is a member of the Board of Trustees of Acasia Mutual Aid Society and a Director of Lakas Tulungan Multi-Purpose Cooperative of the Philippine National Police.