Sef has raised the question who can we look up to now that Senator Roco is gone. The standard and safe answer is "look into yourself grasshopper, the power is within you". The answer though safe and standard is still of course, true. But I do not want to give a safe answer today, I want to name names and let the chips fall where they may. I want, in other words, to be a whistleblower. I can always retract my words anytime I want.
So here are my candidates for politicians that should give our country hope.
- Florencio "Butch" Abad - I first heard of Butch Abad when he was appointed by President Aquino as Secretary for Agrarian Reform. His confirmation as Secretary was subsequently blocked by his own colleagues at the House of Representatives because he was pro-land reform.
He subsequently ran for Senator under the Salonga-Pimentel ticket in the 1992 elections (he lost). In 1995, he was re-elected as the representative for the lone-district of Batanes. If I recall correctly he was the majority floor leader during the 11th congress when he joined the impeachment complaint against President Estrada. And he just recently resigned as the Secretary of Education and called on President Aroyo to resign.
Through out his political career, Butch Abad has shown that he is willing to forego/leave a government position to fight for his principles.
- Joker Arroyo - I had to laugh when I read his comment regarding Senator Roco, he said (according to the Philippine Star)
"Roco was an idealistic person, but his problems started when he 'sought to combine his idealism with politics, compromise being the hallmark of politics'It's like the pot calling the kettle black. Senator Arroyo, even in his days as a congressman is known for refusing to use his pork barell allotments, for not employing excessive personal staff, he has been known to answer his own telephone and do his own research. And though he always seemed to end up in the majority, it has never prevented him from criticizing the government when he feels they had done wrong.
'He was uncompromising in his resistance to separate the two. That was his virtue as a true leader, his failing as a politician' "
- Juan Flavier - Senator Flavier started out as the poorest Senator, now 10 years after, he is still the poorest Senator. Although I think he was a better Secretary of Health that a Senator, I do not know enough about his legislative record to be deemed competent to judge.
- Bayani Fernando - I must confess that I do not agree with a lot of Chairman Fernando's avowed policy, even when we was the Mayor of Marikina. But he does seem to get results. My travel time from Valenzuela City to Makati has gone down, even as he closed the underpass(?) to public utility vehicles in both Crossing and Cubao.
- Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte - I've always thought Mayor Belmonte was a typical politician until I saw him in the forefront of the Estrada impeachment case. But I place him here because of the reports of his reforms as Mayor of Quezon City. He has improved sevice, cut the number of employees and produced 2 billion pesos in savings for QC.
I am sure that if we can still add to the names I've written here. If you really think about it, all of us do know of at least one honest and competent politician. Let us vote for them and as Senator Roco would say, let the seeds of change grow and dominate.