on the side of angels

May 30, 2007 at 7:02 pm | Posted in Akbayan | 4 Comments

i was just about to go to the john when someone came knocking down on our office door the other day.  it was some guy from the building management.  in tow were two women, one who obviously looked like a staff, and the other one a made up middle-aged woman complete with the works — expensive bag, flaming red lipstick, an obviously expensive phone on one hand and jewelry galore.

the guy introduced her as incoming congresswoman so and so from so and so.  i wasn’t actually listening.  i didn’t have any idea what they were doing knocking on our door.  i thought they were going to ask me to receive a letter or something.  apparently she was looking around for an office.  the building admin guy had a sheet of paper in his hand, with graduating solons marked with yellow stabilo.  our office was marked.

they came in, looked around and talked aloud among themselves.  “ay dito maganda ang view, pwede kong lagyan ng carpet dito sa loob,” the incoming rep said to her staff, “ano tingin mo jo”.  i watched them from the door.

“wow, this is really a working office,” she added,contemplating the file boxes we had all over our shelves and floors.

“yes, ma’am,” i replied.  it was all i could say to keep myself from blurting out “we’ve probably done more work than you’ll ever do your entire life.” 

she talked a bit to me, disinterested.  “i just got proclaimed kasi, i’m trying to look around for an office.  ako yung sa dating distrito ni daddy.” 

“ah, i see.  congrats po.” 

they went out, and looked at other offices. and it dawned on me.  our days here are indeed numbered.  and it just got me thinking, like so many times the past few weeks.  how did it come to this?

of course, that question is undergoing its own process right now, and i’m not here to  talk about that.  i’m here to just say how sad i am that despite everything, the disjunct between service and reciprocation is looking back at us like a wide, gaping hole.

i’m looking around for a new job, new challenges, to be sure.  but i am more disappointed for our ground troops who were out there the whole time holding the lines throughout.  as one organizer from batangas said, “ang iba dala dito ay tocino.  ang iba ang dala manok.  ang iba ang dala salita ni lord.  tayo ang dala lang namin sa mga tao prinsipyo.” 

in an ocean of trapos and vultures, you can’t wage a war with no money.  that’s the sad reality of politics.  principles are never enough.  and it just made me think.  why bother with people who won’t appreciate what you are doing for them anyway?

what gets to me is that i know for a fact that what we have to offer is better than what these leading groups have up their sleeves, and yet somewhere along the way something went wrong.

i’ll admit there was this brief period the past weeks when i thought, as i laid in bed, whether this was all worth it.  why do i have to keep sacrificing for people who don’t even know what’s good for them? why can’t i just put myself ahead of what i think is better for other people?

but then i got to thinking — hey, you know what, i keep doing it because i know i’m working with the good guys — this funny, rowdy, eccentric, sometimes incoherent, sometimes indecisive bunch of socialists is the company i’d like to keep while i dream of a better world not just for me and my loved ones but everyone around me. because the picture we all have in our minds is the same, and it doesn’t include guns and it doesn’t involve asking god for everything, or taking away from someone else just so we can have more.

and then i thought, i haven’t really sacrificed as much as other people have, so why the bitterness? and then i was glad again.  we all choose the path we lead in our lives, and in turn, our lives are the summary of every decision we make and every impulse we take.  my instinct told me once that getting involved was my calling.  and with akbayan, i proved my instinct right.

the way i see things, there should be no sadness on our part.  this setback is just what it is — a setback.  because we’re here to stay.  it’s not as if we are not used to difficult times.  in our struggle, when has anything ever been easy? it is only human, of course, to feel down like i do right now.  but only because i know we’re worth more than what we’ve been given, and we can do so much better, if we get our act together.

and yes, so far the “half-full” side is still winning.  we will make it through this, simply because we have no other choice.

the trapos won the battle.  but the war is not over.  not by a long shot.



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  1. Yes, the war is not over. And yes, we will make it through this. We who are neither messiahs nor mercenaries, but simply ordinary people who believe in what ordinary people can do.

    Ang sakit, seeing how much people have worked for this, lalo na yung mga tao natin on the ground — silang nagpawis, naghirap, nagpundar, silang nag-organisa, sila na ang dala lamang ay prinsipyo at tibay ng loob.

    Pero at the same time, nakaka-inspire because napatunay na ating mga kasama ay magigiting na hindi nasilaw sa pera at hindi nabighani sa “salawahang tagumpay.” We followed the rules, we played fair, we took no short cuts, we forged no unholy alliances.

    Hay Vince. Mahaba habang inuman…

  2. your dedication is inspiring vince. akbayan and all the people who breath life into it courageously fought a battle dominated by dirty and greedy politicians. i will miss dropping by your office, but then and again, it’s just an office. what matters is the soul of akbayan and a fresh three years of strategic planning to reclaim what truly belongs to the people. that would be sweet victory.

  3. hindi po ako miyembro ng akbayan pero binoto ko po kayo bilang partylist (i can proudly say that my fellow cebuanos kept that 20,000+ votes we gave last 2004). nakakahinayang na tingnang 1 na lang ang kinatawan ng Akbayan sa kongreso ng mga trapo. pero tingnan ninyo na lang ito bilang panibagon hamon.Panahon na sigurong i-target ninyo ang 1 million votes para makasiguro ng 3 seats at hindi agawan ng ilang TARP (may new term for “tarantadong politko” as opposed to TRAPO). Hindi habambuhay pwedeng gipitin ang katotohanan maliban na lang kung kasinungalingan lang ang buhay natin.

  4. yep, cebu city and gensan, highly urbanized cities were just two fine examples where votes were protected and defended against dagdag bawas, and we are very thankful for that. thank you thank you for the support. as we say nowadays, we are proud of the half a million votes we got on the official tally — we know that that figure is ours and it is a clean, honest figure. 🙂

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