Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Am Fine

It’s a unique situation I’m in now---not really a winner, but not necessarily a loser. I’m tempted to concede, but with five million votes still to be counted in the parallerl count and the official canvassing just starting, it’s also difficult to hang up the gloves now. I guess it won’t be taken as un-statesman for me to just ride out the storm. Besides, I had already made up my mind long ago that whatever the outcome is, it is the Will of God which will prevail. I have faith in Him in that the Bible says, “his plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Win or lose, God has something good for me.

I consider myself blessed that during this time, aside from my wife and immediate family, there are those who show their concern for me and make me feel that I am not alone to face this challenge. Their encouraging and comforting words soothe my soul, and provide the cushion to dull the blow of an unsuccessful venture. Their mere company is enough to drive the spirits of sadness and depression away, and replace them with hope and cheerfulness.

I can feel the concern and sympathy of those around me. I know that relatives who immediately make their presence felt for me, even without them saying so, are there to offer a crying shoulder (literally and figuratively). Indeed, it is really during times like this that one understands the value of family. As I have said before, we should give priority for our families because when we are in dire straights or on our last breath, it will always be our family who will be there beside us.

It is also during these times that sincere and reliable friends come to the rescue. I am heartened by the numerous text messages, emails, Facebook comments and Inbox messages that I receive from friends encouraging me about the count and expressing their confidence in me. The simple “How are you?” does wonders to lift my spirits. Their comforting words and rousing exhortations fuel my desire to stand up and face this challenge instead of slink into a corner and wallow in self-pity.

But I have always been one to look at the brighter side of things. I have managed to downplay the final outcome of this contest and focus on the new things that I have learned, the experiences I underwent, and the friendships that I have established in the course of this journey to the august halls of the Senate.

Whether I do get to enter the Upper Chamber as a member or remain in the sidelines and watch the few who are given the privilege to be part of the Senate perform (or not perform) their duties, I will forever treasure the experience of being a Senatorial candidate trying to earn the trust of the nation.

In the months that we went around the country, I met thousands of our countrymen who received us with such generosity and warmth, reaffirming my belief that Filipinos are a good-natured people. I marveled at the beautiful countryside and each place I visited beckoned me to stay longer, even convincing me to say, “I could live here!”.

But I also saw the poverty in the countryside, the devastation of natural resources and the abuse of those who were given the trust to lead but eventually failed their own people. The more I witnessed, the more determined I became to pitch in and do my part to help achieve change.

The grueling campaign, which was a drain not only on the financial resources but also in physical strength as well as the emotions, would have driven the faint at heart to quit. But for me, the saving grace and the pillar of strength came from the staff and support group who endured with the candidates the emotional strain and the physical fatigue. A candidate is only as good as his staff and support are, and without them the battle can easily be lost.

With the indulgence and understanding of others, I am proud to say that my staff is the best. What they lack in numbers, they make up for in performance. Their dedication is matched by their abilities and I am happy and honored to have worked with them all these years and hopefully, in the many years to come.

But it would be unfair and self-serving of me to only give credit to my staff. The SLAMAT LORRRD team of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, the group of young men and women who were given the designation as sherpas to the senatorial candidates, were a crucial and vital component of the whole campaign. Without them, it would have meant the collapse and failure of the Liberal Party’s senatorial campaign.

These sprightly, dependable, patient and hard working sherpas ensured that our movements during sorties were on time and in the right direction; they cued us when to get on stage and how long we could speak; they handed bottles of water to us to quench our thirst and avoid dehydration; they arranged media interviews and room reservations. In short, they made life easier.

In previous senatorial campaigns the candidate guides were called shepherds. I think the term sherpas used this election fits the functions they performed for us. They did not merely show the way, they sometimes carried the load for the candidates.

I will always look back to the 2010 campaign with fondness as an experience that enriched my life and increased my friendships. I find comfort in the fact that I gained the trust of millions of my countrymen and somehow touched the lives of some and moved them to take action.

The gratitude I have for those who spent their money and gave their time to campaign for me, without asking for anything in return, is one that I will forever hold. The people who covered me with prayer, crying to the heavens for my protection and provision, they have a spot in my special people list. All of them are my heroes, my lifeline, my safety net.

But above everyone else, this campaign has proven that I am blessed with a wife who performs the roles of my staff, the sherpas, the supporters and the prayer shields. She is all of those rolled into one, a precious blessing from Heaven. The best thing about it is that she isn’t there for me just during the elections. She is there for me for the rest of my life.

My children are gifts from God. One glance at them and the concerns of this campaign are set aside. They're my sanctuaries, the embrace of their small arms are like walls of protection for me against the cruelty of this world. I take comfort and inspiration from my eldest son Carlo, who displayed composure, grace and steadfastness in facing disappointment when he experienced his own electoral defeat years back.

So as this campaign winds up, and the count places me in a precarious standing, all I need to do is remind myself of the good things I have and I gained and the anxiety of the outcome fades away. And with a smile on my face, I can truly say, “I am fine.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi Sir,
i voted for 11 LP senatoriables (of course you included). it's disheartening to see that some senatorial topnotchers are those who have proven time and again that they're virtually useless in the senate. what are the chances that you could still be in the Senate even if you're at 14th slot? i have been reading this blog it says there's still chance for the 13th and 14th placer to get in... but i'm quite confused with the vacancies it mentioned...

i'll still be praying that good men like you would be given the chance to serve as our senator...