I have always wanted to break the prejudice against my boss, Senator Manny Pacquiao (SMP). I am aware that most of my social media and even real life friends are cynical about him. Even I, was. I remember being enraged with his remark against the LGBT community just before he won the 2016 Senatorial elections. I loathed those who voted for him.
How did this perception change?
It was even before I worked for him. I attended a Sunday Service which guested SMP to preach. This was before he was proclaimed as a Senator. He passionately walked us through his vices and immoralities in the past. From his story, it seemed that he was beyond repair. Until he was saved by God. His manner and his wisdom when he preached guaranteed that indeed, he is a changed man. I was amazed by him. And I was so amazed by God’s mercy and grace to save a person ridden with iniquities.
Fast track to when I became part of his staff in the Senate. Preaching, life wisdom and his inspiring stories, come naturally integrated in our every meeting with him. With his sincerity and compassion in sharing the Word of God, I can 100% say that he is a man of virtue now. The very first bill he filed as his own was the National Bible Day. And it was the very first bill I drafted. There were too many critics. But the goal was indeed to walk against the crowd. The bill may have no tangible impact in our economy, but I am firm that it is a victorious spiritual move. To at least to remind the people that there is The Word of God is groundbreaking in itself.
I have witnessed how he turned down under the table dealings. He always tells us how he abhors those government officials or authorities who abuse their power and take advantage of the coffers of the people. He keeps saying that his position doesn’t matter to him because even without it, he was able to serve the people. With that, he stood in the front line of abolishing the Road Board, which has been a huge source of corruption by the legislators. Our fight wasn’t easy. It was even frustratingly deferred by the House of Representatives. But in the end, with his strong push to scrap such government office impinged with anomalies, we made it happen. Billions of moneys will be protected from the thieves in the position.
Indeed, why does he still has to become a Senator when he can already serve the people even when not in the position? BECAUSE THE FILIPINO PEOPLE DESERVES NOT ONLY TO BE SERVED, BUT ALSO TO BE PROTECTED.
In my almost seven years in the Senate, I have observed some legislations imbued with schemes for personal interests of the authors.
I am proud to say that my boss, yet in his first three years in the Senate, has already passed sixteen (16) laws, four of which were principally authored by him. Among these laws, apart from those already mentioned, are Philippine Sports Training Center – the first sports law in this administration, OFW Handbook Act, Increase in Monthly Old-Age Pension of Senior Veterans, Expanded Maternity Leave, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, Quantitative Import Restrictions on Rice, Universal Health Care Act, Philippine Identification System Act, Free Internet Access in Public Places, HIV and AIDS Policy Act, and National Integrated Cancer Control Act. All these laws are for the common good.
His capacity is not to doubt. Besides, how can one be a renowned World Boxing Champion if he does not have the wits? He also inculcates to us as work ethics the values he embrace in his boxing: speed, style and stamina.
I always hear my professors in law school criticizing legislators, and most of the time that includes my boss. Each time I hear this, I feel equally attacked. A professor who asked to whom I am working for in the Senate, even exclaimed “YUCK!” in front of a number of people during an enrollment. I always dread every first day of all classes when professors ask us to introduce ourselves and eventually ask where we work, if any. I can’t remember any professor who never made me feel judged every time I say my boss’ name.
Even my own friends impliedly or explicitly criticize my boss in my face or in social media. Some even ask why I chose to work for him.
I MAY HAVE FELT ATTACKED, BUT I NEVER FELT ASHAMED. I FEEL REASSURED.
I feel reassured because it is me who is in the position where I am right now AND NOT SOMEONE who lacks the capacity to be in the position but nevertheless benefits through salaries taken from the taxes of the Filipino people; one who does not work with integrity and honesty; one who does not promote and uphold checks and balances; one who does not seek to be a salt and light in the workplace; one who does not think that the job must be done always for the Filipino people and not for personal interests; one who does not think the one ultimately being served is the Almighty God, and that my boss is merely used as His instrument to serve and protect our nation.
I hope and pray that those who are likewise products of my university which instilled in me the value of serving the people with honor and integrity, would put a stop at this perception that they alone or their equals deserve to ‘serve the people’ or deserve to be in the legislature. I am proud to apprise you that there are people, even uneducated, who live by the same principle; who seeks not only to serve the people, but do the same with honor and integrity.
Rather than never giving them a chance to prove themselves or ceaselessly pulling them down, why not contribute in helping them serve our country to the fullest? After all, they are chosen by the Filipino people. There is nothing we can do about it but do our part on how their positions must be fully maximized to serve and protect our nation and not their own interests.