I have been waiting and waiting for the right time to use this photo. And yes, it is true, I cropped you out each and every time I used this photo so that those who are seeing this picture for the first time might be wondering if you’ve just been photoshopped into it.
Please know that each time I took you out, I felt a wince of pain in my heart. How could I crop out someone I shared such a magical night with? (Uh, easily, actually hahaha..joke lang ano ba.)
A night I don’t think I’ll ever forget till the day I die—the kind of night I will tell my grandkids for having dined with a great man and then to have shared that magical night with not just my comrade-in-arms (haha) but people I deeply admire and respect. And people I have come to love. LOVE, yes, LOVE. REALLY. TRULY. GRATEFULLY. HAPPILY. PROUDLY.
A night we all felt we were not just vindicated but rewarded with the knowledge that we weren’t wrong about our estimate of our President. And that all that we had done for him, we had done for country.
That, despite the rioting crowd and the nasty motherfuckers hellbent on taking us down, we were right in reading the signs and sticking to our guns and remaining true to ourselves—that he, indeed is the real deal.
Not that we agreed with everything he did and not that we didn’t hope he zipped his mouth once in awhile but that we were right in that his heart, mind and soul were for the Filipino people where presidents before him were nothing but self-absorbed monsters. And that he had the will and the expertise to put our country, FINALLY, on high ground.
Things have changed so much for me, Franco. This man is my boss now. (Whereas before I was his boss.) I get a view of him so different from the view I had before I accepted this government post.
And I wish I could tell you what it’s like precisely to work for such an exacting taskmaster who will not ask of others what he will not ask of himself first. (Which is why Leni the Lazy Incompetent got the boot early on. Or why he weeds out the thieves in govt. Doesn’t matter if they’re his friends.)
He’s not some lily-white elite who makes others do the dirty job for him. He is right there on the front lines leading his troops and jumping in the trenches with us. And he’s that fool who volunteers to get closer to enemy lines to lob a grenade or two at them.
He will not ask of me what he will not ask of himself first and foremost. That’s the kind of President he is. All heart. And our champion and defender. Resbak ng Bayan.
He keeps me on my toes. He is the measure by which I measure myself as a public servant. If I go all out and give my all, it is because I serve under the leadership of a President who has done no less (ramp it up a million times more, of course) and who puts himself on the line ––day in, day out—for the Filipino people.
He is why the culture of corruption that’s been the bane of our country is in suffocate mode right now. Each day that he sits in office, we are getting better. It might not seem so—specially these days—but I believe that for every one step we take backwards, we go two steps forward.
The task of rebuilding our country started June 30, 2016 and is well under way right now. And no, I do not see President Rodrigo Duterte as our savior. You and I don’t believe in external deities no? Like you, I believe EACH of us doing what it is we OUGHT to be doing will make our nation great again. Not this one man.
So I look at this photo and I am so happy and so relieved that today, I can finally post it in its entirety.
You’ve defended and supported him with intelligence, fairness, logic and with solid facts. And with knee-thumping humor. Your voice has been one of sharp intelligence and sobriety.
What an honor it is to fight the good fight with you, my dear Franco.
I am so proud to be your friend.