FRUSTRATED with the regressive state of the country, Angelo De Alban carries the needed documents to file his candidacy as he steps inside the headquarters of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Intramuros along with his wife Shao.
He does not let himself get fazed by the intimidating questions that the media greets him with, knowing that he is advocating for worthy causes like health and food stability, cultivation of the agriculture sector, fighting for the urban poor, and championing special education, something he keeps close to his heart.
“We provide special education in Bulacan. You know, we are the only private school recognized by the government providing special education […] in our village alone. When we were growing up, we know there are […] children who need special attention, education,” he explains.
A few days after filing his candidacy, De Alban receives a letter that was bound to disappoint but did not surprise him: a motion from the Comelec declaring him a nuisance candidate on the ground of financial incapacity to generate a nationwide campaign. He quickly calls his team and does his research to counter it. He sends out his response the day after, and the waiting game commences.
“I want to emphasize that I’m a lawyer and teacher because of the respect to those officials which represent so much. The theoretical aspect which involves the heart, you cannot be a teacher if you do not have a heart and the practical aspect which is the law na kailangan,” he said.
A paved path
While working on a case for their firm, De Alban happened to come across his high school yearbook. In it was his graduation photo, a description of him as the student council president, and a quote from him stating that he wanted to become a senator. It is evident that ever since, he has always had the drive to push for improvement and the hope to create a positive ripple in the field of politics.
This led De Alban to reminisce the days when their household was full of lawyers. He remembered, in particular, one instance when he was asked by his brother about the kind of change he wanted to implement when he becomes a lawyer, to which he replied: “Gusto ko long-term. Gusto ko may impact. Gusto ko national.”
In retrospect, their conversation was a foreshadowing and served as his fuel to power through law school. Years later, De Alban decides to take his public service to another level by pushing for something more monumental.
“Have you seen the country right now? It is our duty, actually. My family, specifically my father, would always tell us it is your duty. It is your responsibility to help people in whatever capacity,” he imparts.
“When you help, help until you bleed, give until you bleed because if you don’t, that’s useless; that’s not even charity, it’s just ego-boosting. So give until you bleed but not until you die, no one will benefit if you die, kawawa family mo,” De Alban adds.
Strength in solidarity
With the recent birth of their first child, the lawyer has opted to spend most of his days at home.
“Ito nga lagi kong sinasabi: I’m not supposed to run now. Kakakasal ko lang. My wife just gave birth. Sobrang daming expenses,” he reasons.
Despite the circumstances, his wife has always supported his decisions. Shao, along with manpower and resources from their families and relatives, makes up his solid support system.
“Hands down, they were all surprised. But after one or two days, they communicated with all their contacts; they contributed money. They contributed influence, materials. They were very supportive,” he recalls.
Keeping the faith
Despite the painstaking month that passed, an overwhelming feeling of hope courses through the legal management professor as he sees his name on the impartial list of senatorial candidates. He was candidate number 27. On a high, he spends the rest of the day canvassing and confirming purchases needed for his campaign.
Four days later, he wakes up to a call from his team and his heart drops as he learns that he was removed from the list. True to his persistent nature, he immediately took the case to the Supreme Court.
A couple of months later, the lawyer prepares for an upcoming outreach program in their province. He could not help but worry about the possible reactions of his people once he informs them of his case. Despite the setbacks, he is consoled by the fact that not having a government post will not stop him from being of help to the country.
“I would still go on with my life as it is with or without my position. I would still go on with my advocacies. Kumbaga sabihin na lang natin na kung wala ako sa position, makatutulong pa rin, pero kung nasa position, level up. Super saiyan sana di’ba kung nasa position ako. Pero as it is, I can still help [even] as an ordinary goku,” De Alban shares. F ROMMEL BONG R. FUERTES JR. and JOY THERESE C. GOMEZ
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Vol. 54, Issue No. 4 of the Flame. View the entire issue through this link.