(Note: This was originally posted as my status on Facebook. I joined Senator Kiko Pangilinan’s team in 2009–one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire professional life.)
I know that the nation is still mourning the loss of a great man, but I’d like to take time to thank and pay tribute to another great man on the occasion of his birthday.
To Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, may the Lord bless you today and every day of your life and may He continue to grant you the strength, the courage, the wisdom, and the grace to be the leader and public servant that you already are.
From you, I learned that one can truly lead and serve without selling his soul; from you, I learned that one can aspire to greatness while staying ever-humble and while keeping his feet firmly on the ground. From you, I learned that great leaders need not beat their own breasts or trumpet their achievements because real achievements will always speak for themselves. From you, I learned that a leader must always question even his own motivations and actions because it is always tempting to indulge in vanity and the whims of the ego. From you, I learned that a leader must never sow despair, but must always, ALWAYS strive to bring hope and inspiration.
Most importantly, I learned from your example that nothing truly matters most than being there for your children and your family. There is no greater job than shaping and inspiring lives, and if we are to set examples for the next generation, then we must always start leading and inspiring at home. You have taught me much about being a public servant and a private person, and for this, I will be eternally grateful. May the Lord grant you more years ahead so that both your family and the nation can be gifted with your presence.
Maligayang bati po, Sir, at mabuhay kayo.