A Fact, A Truth and A Story

Speech Before the Cavite Association of Southern California, Marriott Hotel, Torrance, California, USA

I am here in Southern California for two reasons – One, to be with my province mates and kababayans from the proud and historic province of Cavite on the occasion of their induction officers and fellowship, and two, to confront the case filed by a Philippine National Police Handcuff Supplier against me with the Superior Court of Alameda County in San Francisco. I came here to prove that due process of law and justice are two of the most important foundations in a civilized and democratic society like the United States of America, as they are in the Philippines. I vow to prove that I did the right thing in protecting the interest of the Filipino Taxpayers by not honoring a contract grossly disadvantageous to the government of the Republic of the Philippines. 

There is an Indian Proverb, which goes like this:

“Tell me a fact and I will learn. Tell me a truth and I will believe. Tell me a story and it will live forever in my heart.”

Let me tell you a fact.

Never before in the history of politics in our country that a duly elected senator of the republic has been subjected to such a vicious black propaganda and cruel vilification campaign than the one that Filipinos have witnessed during this time. Wala pa akong natatadaan at nabasa sa aklat ng ating kasaysayan ng katulad ng ginagawa ng kasalukuyang nasa poder ng kapangyarihan sa inyong abang lingkod.

Unfortunately, for me that is, there are blind mice in the law enforcement and prosecution agencies of this present administration who are willing to do the job on me.

Fortunately, for me that is, there are blind mice in the law enforcement and prosecution agencies of this present administration who are willing to do the job on me.

Fortunately, the truth has always been on my side.

Let me tell you the truth.

These blind mice are obsessed with making me a fall guy for just about everything bad that is happening in our country – just about every crime imaginable. Kapag may namamatay, ako ang suspek, kung may coup rumors, ako ang pangunahing destabilizer, kapag lumalala ang sitwasyon sa droga, ako raw ang drug lord.

From the very beginning of this administration, I have been the target of a massive vilification campaign like no other. It began when I announced my intention to seek election to the legislature.

I am most grateful that the sovereign electorate of our beloved country preferred to look at my service record as a public servant in the field of crime fighting, than to believe all the lies and insidious charges leveled against me in the course of the ninety-day campaign period. Having been elected to office as a lawmaker in the upper chamber of our law-making body, I had looked forward to learning the intricacies of legislating for the benefit of our people and our country.

I wanted to use my experience of thirty years as a police and military officer especially in the unending fight against all forms of criminality, against the ubiquity of graft and corruption in practically all levels of the government bureaucracy, and thus contribute, by way of meaningful legislation and advocacy, towards fighting lawlessness, injustice and corruption.

All this campaign of vilification may have succeeded in destroying my personal reputation, with the incessant pounding of negative publicity calculated to raise doubts in the minds of our people about my personal character and destroy my own modest record of accomplishments as a law-enforcer who rose from the ranks to eventually become the chief of the whole police organization in our country.

Sa totoo po lamang, sa loob ng labing-apat na buwan na aking panunungkulan bilang hepe ng Philippine National Police, hindi ako minsan man naghangad na o nag-isip man lamang na samantalahin ang aking kapangyarihan nakakabit sa aking posisyon.

I had consistently refused to accept bribe money from illegal gambling operations like jueteng and other illegal activities.

I stopped the bad practice of officer of accepting, much less demanding commissions and rebates from suppliers and contractors doing business with the police organization. This could probably be the reason why I am now facing a civil suit from a handcuff supplier in the Superior Court of Alameda County. Marahil, kung hinayaan ko na lamang mabayaran ang nasabing Supplier at kinuha ko na lamang ang aking commission, siguradong wala akong demanda ngayon dito. There is no saying here that I regret what I did.

In fact, even now that I am a Legislator, I have continued my avowed “No-take” policy. I always make sure that the money allocated out of my countrywide development funds goes to where they should be – to the projects and not to the pockets of unscrupulous officials, and certainly not to my pocket.

I stopped street Cops from mulcting or extorting money from hapless drivers of Public Utility Vehicles and Vegetable Dealers.

I made sure that Police resources would go down to the lowest field operating units, never to the pockets of High-Ranking Police Officials.

I stopped the malpractice of Policemen of appropriating for their personal use recovered motor vehicles and other forms of evidence. Two weeks after I took over, Camp Crame was filled with turned-over motor vehicles previously being used by errant Police Officers.

I disciplined the Police to a point that their performance vastly improved. In due time, we managed to remove the tag of the Philippines as the Kidnap Capital of Asia.

Even their waistlines were reduced to a point that they became proud and confident of wearing their Police Uniform.

When I assumed office in November 1999, Public trust towards the Police was at a low net negative 13%. When I stepped down as their Chief in January 20, 2001, we were enjoying an all-time high net positive 58%. Distrust of the Police was at a low 11%, meaning, only one out of ten Filipinos distrusted their Police.

My style of Leadership was and still is not being goody-goody to everybody, or being the hail-fellow-well-met type. It has always been plodding work, no-nonsense, ever. I have religiously maintained a personal credo –“What is right must be kept right, what is wrong must be set right.”

Tayong mga Kabitenyo ay hindi madaling takutin ng sinuman, lalo na kapag tama ang ipinaglalaban. Kapag tayo ay sinubukan, ang ating palaging isinisigaw ay Kabitenyo yata ito, Laban na kung Laban!

Now, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a poor couple deeply obsessed with sending all their eight children to school, all the way to getting their college degrees.

Their philosophy was, since they did not have the material things to leave to their children when they perish from this earth, good education was the only thing they could provide them. After all, they believe that nobody in this world can take away that precious inheritance that they thought of bequeathing to their children. They themselves did not have decent education, which explains why they were poor.

Amazingly, they were very honest human beings; they would work extra hours everyday of the week but were never tempted to earn extra money from less honest means. They did not mind having decent meals or not even enjoying the normal three-meals-a-day-reward of back breaking hard wok just to save a little for their children’s education.

They were likewise very religious. Never a Sunday would pass when they would skip attending mass in the town’s Parish Church.

They never quarreled, or at least would not show their children even their most minor misunderstandings.

With the help of God, or, as they used to say, “May awa ang Diyos, makakaraos din tayo.”, the children finished their schooling. They have become professionals in their own field of interest.

The fourth child has since become a public servant.

He vowed never to allow his own children to experience the same poverty that he saw in their midst many, many years ago, but he likewise vowed never to lose sight of the honesty and the other simple virtues that he saw in his parents as he grew up.

Maraming salamat po!

*****