Panimu-ot

What is “panimu-ot” in English?
Honestly, I am struggling to find an exact translation.
But this Hiligaynon word is a very precise word to describe how a person relates with other people and affects how he or she is perceived as an individual.
And this is what appears to be an important factor for political leaders seeking election.
It is an invisible magnet that attracts people (voters) to throw their support for a particular candidate.
Yes, it is intangible, and not money, not power, not position, could bring “panimu-ot” to a politician’s person.
It is more akin to credibility and empathy and humility brought together and raises the level of trust and confidence in a leader.
“Panimu-ot” comes to mind when people talk about the leadership of Boboy Tupas as congressman of the 5th district.
Cong. Boboy is kind, soft-spoken and humble. He is hard working and genuinely cares for the people. This is the reason why, even against all odds (with the power and money of his brother Junjun thrown against him in the last elections), Boboy won by a landslide over his opponent, sister-in-law Atty. Gel Tupas.
The effect of “panimu-ot” is magical. I saw this happen during my stint as Provincial Administrator of Iloilo under the late Gov. Niel Tupas Sr.
Gov. Tupas is the best example of “panimu-ot” at work, which was what endeared him to the people.
His second son, Boboy, is seen as the improved version of the father in terms of “panimu-ot”.
And I predict that this is the personality trait that will bring him to more success as a political leader not only in Iloilo province but in the entire country as well.

Self destruct mode

My post about what Junjun Tupas has been doing to destroy the image and name of his own brother has drawn many reactions from friends, and they are unanimous in saying that the former congressman is the one looking bad.
That’s because almost everybody in the 5th district know that Cong. Boboy TupasFive is kind, hard-working, generous and always ready to help his constituents.
The unsavory words that Junjun constantly spews about his own brother come back to him like a boomerang. People I encountered that Junjun is describing himself when he tries to put down Boboy Tupastwo.
I am sure it won’t be too long before Junjun comes to the realization that what he is doing is taking him down the path of self-destruction.
The more he tries to destroy Boboy, he more he buries himself in his own political grave.
I really feel sad for Junjun.
He wasn’t like this before.
Is this the effect of greed for power and money?
Or is it the influence of, as Tweets Causing Tupas-Balleza suggests, his wife who was defeated soundly by Boboy in the last elections?

OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY

I am filled with pity, rather than anger, when I learned that former 5th district Congressman Niel “Junjun” Tupas, Jr. is now spending a lot of time meeting with political leaders and speak ill of his younger brother, incumbent Congressman Boboy TupasFive.
Junjun can seem to have nothing good to say about Boboy. Worse, he insists that the outcome of the elections — his wife Atty. Gel lost to Boboy — went against the wishes of their departed father, the late Governor Niel Tupas, Sr.
Junjun has vowed to make a comeback. He will challenge Boboy in the next elections. And he believes the way to do that is insult, belittle or simply tell people that Boboy is a bad guy.
Of course, the people of the 5th district are not stupid. They know the contrary of what Junjun is telling them is the truth. Boboy TupasThree is in fact described as the “carbon copy” of their father in terms of kindness, work ethic and generosity.
Boboy is soft-spoken, friendly and easy to approach, which are the very attributes that made their father perhaps one of the most loved politicians in Iloilo in the last half century.
On the flip side, Junjun has displayed a bad temper a lot of times, even berating barangay captains much older than he is when he started to feel his wife was sliding to defeat last year.
I feel pity for Junjun.
He can’t accept defeat. Worse, he is doing a dishonor to their late father. Shortly before he succumb to his cancer, the late Gov. Niel gathered his children at his hospital bed. At the time, the die had been cast, and Boboy had already filed his certificate of candidacy for congressman against Atty. Gel.
Their father told them that a showdown between siblings was inevitable. But he asked them that whoever should win in the elections, they should bury the hatchet afterwards and reunite as brothers again.
I don’t know if Junjun forgot all about this.
I really pity him.

NO BLAME GAME

Early in life, I have embraced the principle that everything that happens to me is my responsibility. Life is about choices, and each day, we make decisions that can either be good or bad.
When our decisions result in good, we give ourselves a pat in the back. Others also applaud us. But when things turn bad, there are many of us who look for somebody else, or something, to blame. I have always resisted that tendency.
What I am is the outcome of my personal decisions. I choose the path that led me to where I am.
And I think this is the attitude everybody should aspire to adopt. It allows us to extricate ourselves from the quicksands of life faster and get to stand on our feet again.
This is how I got to survive the last four years and even flourish economically.
If there were mistakes, then I will make sure the lessons are learned. It would be stupidity if I fall into the same trapdoors again and again and again.
At the end of the day, I look at my personal book of accounts in the accounting parlance and take comfort in the fact that at no time do I stay in the deficit column.

A no-fear life

About 30 years ago, a PC general and I talked about courage under fire. We talked about heroism in the field of combat, and how the bravery of soldiers have won respect and admiration for them. I asked: are you even afraid to be killed in the line of duty? He looked at me in the eyes and replied: “Even the most courageous feels fear. Courage is nothing but the ability to overcome fear.”
Indeed, many of us wonder how some could exhibit no fear when confronted by dangerous situations, especially to their own lives or that of their families. What that general told me is true — fear lies deep in each of us. The big difference is that those who achieve have learned how to bury that fear and confront challenges with confidence.
The most common perhaps is the fear of failure. And there’s the fear of rejection.
I’ve conquered those fears a long time ago. And I think that was the biggest reason I was able to become what I am. This was the reason I stood up to the evil giants in society and fight them.
Looking back at the last three and a half years, I often find it hard to believe I was able to survive, and then flourish.
If I had stopped to ponder upon the dangers I faced, I could have surrendered long ago, especially after the 2013 elections. With no work, I lived a life of economic uncertainty.
That experience reinforced my faith in God.
Each time I felt like it was going to be “game over”, money came to me from unexpected sources. I am convinced He was the one who sent the money so I don’t collapse.
We’ve heard it said countless times, especially during Sunday masses, but I will say it again: Never be afraid of the darkness, because the hand of God will always be there to guide us.
I will continue to live this no-fear life and commit to serving Him not in the religious way of praying a thousand rosaries, but by just fulfilling what it is that he wants us to do.

INVOKING GOD’S NAME

Jed Patrick Mabilog has always used the name of God, and the image of Christ Jesus, to project the image of a kind, honest and dedicated public servant.
On Holy Fridays, Mabilog carries a wooden cross during a procession in Bo. Obrero for a public demonstration of his love for Christ and his deep faith as a Roman Catholic.
Just last Dinagyang, he carried the image of the Sr. Sto. Nino during the fluvial parade.
And many more.
In his speech (which I didn’t get to hear) during Dinagyang, somebody told me that he mentioned God or quoted Bible passages at least 70% of the time.
Unfortunately, these public demonstrations of faith and obedience to God are artificial.
Mabilog is corrupt, if not the most corrupt among local chief executives who occupied the City Mayor’s Office in Iloilo City.
He is an inveterate liar.
Until now, he refuses to acknowledge that he was remiss, or negligent, in his duty to fight illegal drugs during his first six years in office when Odicta and company enjoyed brisk business.
He refuses to admit that many transactions he entered into are fraught with fraud and corruption.
How can he possibly convince us about his authenticity when he insists he has always been clean?

Alignment of the cosmos

I believe in the saying that nothing in life is an accident.
The things that happen to us are part of a divine plan, the outcome of the alignments of the cosmos.
I never regret the bad things that have happened. I don’t even wish that my life would have taken a different turn. What has happened had to happen. I am happy with how my life has turned out to be until now, with its many ups and downs. That is my philosophy.
If there is one thing I am more convinced about now is that the good that happened came about as a fruit of the good that I have also done.
Indeed, you reap what you sow.
Do good, and good will come your way many times over.
And this 2017 is already bringing me an abundant harvest.
I praise God for that, and I vow to do even more good in His name.