Monday, September 05, 2005

Of Council Sessions. Part II.

Last Monday, I received an invitation to a dinner to be hosted by the current members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Mandaluyong City. It's Councilors Week today and they were hosting this annual dinner for current and former city councilors on Friday. It was surreal to see the salutation Former Councilor before my name. Heehee. I almost laughed out loud.

I was going for a simple 'Ms.'

People have been asking me why I didn't go for a second term. I was already inside the circle, why not push my chances and run under the administration? Hmm... a simple answer: I've had enough.

I've kept my hands clean from politics for the past 3 or 4 years. Occasionally, I'd oblige to attend an event or a party/dinner hosted by the few friends I garnered during my 6-year term. I'd make my presence known by greeting the people who need to see me there, mingle for an hour or 2, have my picture taken for posterity, and then quietly make my exit.

During my first year in the political arena, someone gave me this unsolicited advice: Loyalty and friendship are unheard of in politics. Oftentimes.

I never took the advice to heart and forgot about it. Little did I know that this concept would materialize after 5 years right before my eyes. I had a few staunch supporters (bless them!) during my last year. It was a battle well-fought I reckon now. I fought for what was right, they fought for the position and the money it would bring them. It sounds pompous, I know, but during that time I was determined to protect what little dignity the position I held had. They knew I wasn't in it for the money or the title.

I was in it because of my father's dream.

For a while after my 6-year term, the unpleasant memories hindered me from sharing what really went wrong during that last year. The betrayals, the threats, the rumors left a bitter taste in my mouth. And no matter how often I gargled it away, it would re-surface and haunt me for a time.

I was barely 20 when I was shoved into the arena. I was forced to grow up; to think beyond my 20 years. The burden of making decisions for the 270 members of the SK and more than 3,000 15-21 voters in the City pushed me to go beyond my limits. I was prohibited from making the wrong decisions. I was never one to uphold rules but for the first time in my life, I was asked to conform. Society called for a prim and proper me, and for my daddy, that was what they were gonna get. There was too much at stake. Even my heart took the heat. I fell in love with someone who came from a rival political family. We fought high and hard, to no avail.

When I got out of it I felt way older than my 25 years. I was never quite the same again. But I also felt liberated and free. Fortunately, my father's dream did not die with me, my brother is continuing on with his dream. And my kuya, if I say so myself, is doing a better job.

And so, on Friday, I'd make my presence known by greeting the people who need to see me there, mingle for an hour or 2, and have my picture taken for posterity...

And then quietly make my exit.


Quentin said...

ah, a woman of power :} and with great power comes great responsibility, as my uncle ben usually say :}

that's why people like me, who's life is practically made of dreams, can never ever consider politics. to me it is that ugly, writhing thing 'big' people hold and don't really do anything useful at all.

sometimes i couldn't imagine how people become some sort of monster in the name of politics eh?

... beachfreak said...

@quentino: Oh, Spidey, you, of all people, should know that power and money DO make the world go 'round, just quicker... lest you want to wait in line for a couple of hours just to get your drivers license renewed... :lol:

Quentin said...

that's just it you know. how it is so easy to get drunk with power and money by the instant gratification it can offer. and how it is always too late for people who have few or nothing of both.

down with the system !!

*do i sound like an anarchist?*

... beachfreak said...

I have to admit, that at one point I became 'drunk' with the position I held. But my family, most especially my dad, would always ALWAYS put me in my place. He grew up with the political blood running in his veins, and knew the damage power and money could do to me. My father, and my forefathers before him workedhard to keep our name clean so we can serve people. As I hoped I would.

I didn't need the money, my family has enough; nor did we want the power. All we needed was the title to GET THINGS DONE.

But people just got greedy.

*and yes, you sound like an anarchist...* ;)

Quentin said...

you know what, back then i've always thought everyone going into politics start out with good intentions. maybe not the grandest nor the noblest, but an honest will to do something even if it is small. later, it is evident that the idealists have to make way to the realists sooner or later.

ah, where have all the cowboys gone?

keith said...

you were a councilor? i admire you. my grandfather was a politician, so i understand how difficult it must have been for you.

i agree with your friend. i think almost everybody who ventures into the murky world of politics starts out with good intentions. but the system wears you down - either you succumb to the temptations of having that much authority or you find yourself in a losing battle with those who have.

kudos to your family for braving it out.

and thanks for linking me. :)

... beachfreak said...

@cupcake: The system wears you down, yes, and it pulls you down if you don't have anything to hold onto. It's either you get a grip of reality or you just fall endlessly to the abyss.

We've been taught well, thank God. Everytime we'd be on the edge, my dad would always pull us back.

Thanks, cupcake. You take care =)

@quentino: Where have all the cowboys gone?

Uy, kanta yun ah... :p