Speech at the Flag-Raising Ceremony in Cainta, Rizal

The Honorable Johnielle Keith Nieto, municipal mayor of this progressive, highly urbanized municipality of Cainta, also known as the Information Technology Capital of Rizal, Vice Mayor Sofia Velasco, former campaign supporter and youth leader and also my former Senate staff (I hope she is still campaigning for me), the councilors, department heads as well as the employees of this blessed municipality.

First of all, I would like to congratulate the people of Cainta, but more importantly, the local government leaders of this booming municipality for making Cainta what it is now. With an income of P1.25 billion as of the latest data released by the BLGF, you should all take pride in being part of the richest municipality in the entire country.

Tuwing Lunes ng umaga, tulad ng mga sandaling ito, na sinasambit nating sabay sabay ang Panunumpa sa Watawat at umaawit ng Lupang Hinirang, ilan kaya sa ating ang tuwirang nasasapuso at nagsasadiwa ng bawat katagang namumutawi sa ating mga labi? Sa kabilang banda, ilan naman kaya ang hanggang sa mga sandaling ito ay dala pa ang galit sa nakagitgitan sa trapiko habang nagmamaneho ng kanilang mga sasakyan patungo dito, o kaya’y nakipagsiksikan sa mga pampublikong sasakyan?

Napakalaki na ng pinagbago sa ating kapaligiran – mula sa kalikasan hanggang sang katauhan, mula sa makaluma at simpleng kaligayahan hanggang makabago at mga kumplikadong pamamaraan.

Somebody said a long time ago – without trying, we were all well-loved when we were born, and we will all be loved when we die. Between birth and death, we all have to manage it. In this day and age of modern information technology, all the good things that we have to contribute our share to make our country a better place to live in, could be wiped out even before we are able to respond to explain our side.

Take it from me. I can share to you based on my own personal experiences what it is like to be at the receiving end, almost helplessly watching the trust and confidence that I painstakingly built in all my enforcement career with utmost integrity, honesty, and efficiency get eroded by a simple mistake of failing to manage a life’s crisis that I would never imagined would hit me.

Rewind January 2001, I stepped down as Chief PNP and thereafter filed my COC for my first attempt to run for a senate seat. Being completely new in politics, I didn’t know how to manage the massive, vicious and well-orchestrated vilification campaign mounted by then new administration of former President GMA and her husband, FG Mike Arroyo. While I have repeatedly said that I have forgiven them as well as their cohorts who conspired and collaborated to destroy whatever good deeds that I had done, to restore the old glory of the police, by way of sustained, uncompromising reforms and honest-to-goodness programs to discipline our ranks, highlighted by a principle that I practiced to the hilt, called, Leadership by example, I cannot and will never forget what I went through during those difficult times.

Dumating na nga sa punto na ang pakiramdam ko, lahat ng PIlipino, maliban sa ilang tahasang nakakakilala sa akin na ako ay guilty na. It is a matter of record, in late December 2000, a little more than one year after I assumed my post as CPNP, my personal trust and approval ratings as released by reputable survey organizations at that time soared to a high net positive 78%. The PNP was not far behind with an approval and trust rating of net positive 58%, one of the highest, if not the highest in our country’s law enforcement history.

Came August 2001, or not more than eight months of incessant black propaganda against my person, courtesy of systematically unleashed attack dogs who falsely claimed to have worked under me but in actual fact I barely knew or not met at all, my trust and approval ratings dropped to negative 13%. The only mistake as I said was not being able manage that crisis in my life, being new in the business of politics.

Upon the other hand, we know of some people, mostly in government, and quite a number out of it, who manage to look good in the eyes of the public by projecting themselves as such, in spite of the many obvious shenanigans that they either openly and shamelessly commit, or have carefully hidden by masterfully covering their tracks in all their years in public service.

Lalo na ngayong panahon na naman ng halalan. Hilong hilo na tayo pare-pareho kung ano ang dapat paniwalaan at alin ang hindi. Sa tamis ng pananalita ng mga kandidato, at sa kabi-kabilang paninira at pagbabatikos, sadyang napakahirap mapagmuni-muni at mapag-aralan kung ano na ba talaga ang totoo at alin ang kabulaanan. Mamera isang dosena ang nagmamalasakit sa mga mahihirap, lahat ay may pangunahing programa para sa edukasyon, kalusugan, ekonomiya, at kung anu ano pang maaaring makapag-angat mula sa kahirapan ng ating mga kababayan.

Halos lahat ay biglang naging magagaling o dili kaya’y nagpipilit na maging singers at dances; ang iba naman ay naging instant komikero at mangilan ngilan din ang naging mga madyikero.

Ang sabi nga ng isang nakasabay kong ikaw nga’y matandang tinali na sa pulitika noong una akong kumandidato noong 2001, at hinding hindi ko makakalimutan hanggang ngayong ang sinabi niya sa akin— titiisin daw niyang magpa-uto at magmukhang katawa-tawa, kahit kahabag habag pa nga raw ang itsura niya, dahil 45 araw lang naman daw yun, dahil pagbwelta niya bilang ganit sa mga nang uto sa kanya kapag nanalo na siya, 3 taong panloloko naman daw ang gagawin niya. Mabuti na lamang at natalo siya.

Levity aside, this has become a vicious cycle of our system of politics in our country. This is a sad reality, a chain that we must all help break and escape from. I do not know when and how this cycle or pattern can be broken. However, I can only think of something which is the message I will leave you by as I end my short message on this Monday’s flag-raising ceremony here in Cainta.

True, we are all politicians during this campaign period. But after May 09, and the winners among us shall have been proclaimed and we have taken our oath of office as duly elected public officials in various capacities, can we not all stop being politicians and start to become public servants?

You may ask me what’s the difference between the two. I say—A politician thinks of himself and the next election; a public servant thinks of the nation and the next generation.

Maraming salamat po at magandang umaga sa ating lahat!