I will always remember Sen. Nene as my first Senate minority leader who called my attention to respond to the massive vitriolic attacks on my honor and dignity as a newly elected senator in 2001.
That was my first baptism of dirty politics as the newly installed administration under then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo unleashed Angelo ‘Ador’ Mawanay and several other peddlers of lies and black propaganda to portray me as the biggest narco-politician, money launderer and criminal offender that ever set foot in the halls of Congress.
Failing to understand the dirty play of politics then, I can still vividly remember Sen Nene’s advice: “Ping, sagutin mo yung mga akusasyon ng administrasyon. Marami nang naniniwala.” I did follow his advice by delivering my first privilege speech entitled, “In Defense of My Honor and Dignity” on August 7, 2001, or barely 14 days after Congress started its 12th regular session on July 23 of that same year.
It might be a bit late though, as I found out later that my trust and approval ratings as Chief PNP plunged from a high 70+ percent in December 2000, to -13 percent in August 2001 – after a mere eight months of sustained media attacks by the then administration, using massive government resources at its disposal.
Of course, while it took a long time for the truth to finally come out, truth nevertheless triumphed over the evil of lies and deception.