May 18 was the proudest day of my life as a Kapampangan.
In the last few weeks of March, my parents decided to support a priest named Eddie Tongol Panlilio to be the Governor of our province. They joined his crusade for change and had been active in campaigning him. I never knew his name, nor his background, compared to two other powerful contenders – Pampanga jueteng lord’s wife Lilia Pineda and popular actor-turned-quarry-king Mark Lapid. All I knew was that ‘Among Ed’s’ name was clean. His posters tagged ‘Yes to a GOOD Kapampangan leader.’
By April, more and more supporters joined Among Ed in his crusade. While Pineda was giving away tons of money and Lapid had his publicity stunt on TV, Among Ed’s supporters grew stronger. The advocates’ voices reached nationwide newspapers (Headlined in Philippine Daily Inquirer twice) and were quoted around the world. Will this spark a new change in the way Filipinos choose their leaders?
GMA 7 has been keen in reporting what was happening in Pampanga. This so-called ‘new politics’ has been focused during their coverage dubbed as ‘Eleksyon 2007.’ I glued my eyes on TV, waiting for updates. During their quick count, Among Ed was on the lead. When Mike Enriquez told her co-anchor ‘Will this be the change we are waiting for? Will this serve as an example to other places?” [not exact words]; Mel Tiangco answered: “Wish ko lang.” [How I wish.] And Mel’s Wish came true.
By 3:00 in the afternoon of May 18, Pineda was leading the polls at the Bren Guiao Convention Center. It was too early to tell the winner because there were still two municipalities and one city waiting to be tallied (including my home city, San Fernando). At exactly 6:30PM, it was official. Fr. Ed Panlilio won against Pineda and Lapid.
We rushed to the convention center wearing white shirts with buttons saying ‘Edaku Asali’ (I cannot be bought). I saw a lot of colleagues from high school, teachers, doctors, politicians, and others who believe in an honest, clean and good government for the people of Pampanga. Our bishop, Paciano Aniceto, celebrated a mass for him right after. I was there. And during that night, I felt so proud.
One thing was proven, we Kapampangans have conscience. Our votes cannot be bought, and we are educated enough to put into power the rightful ones, not those who seek power for money or popularity.
O balen, tikdo na ka
Lundag na ka, Gulisak ka
Itamu ngan, agnan agnan
Daya ampong kaladua ku
Sese naku ning Ginu
Miyabe abe tamu!
– Kapampangan Ku sung by Nanette Inventor & Michael de Mesa