Hanjin Shipyard

De los Reyes decries persecution of family

De los Reyes decries persecution of family
By Perseus Echeminada
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Olongapo Councilor JC de los Reyes decried yesterday what he described as persecution not only of his party Ang Kapatiran, but also of his family members, who are subjected to ridicule in school and in public gatherings.

Speaking to editors and reporters of The STAR yesterday, De los Reyes also lamented that media coverage is focused only on the survey leaders and not on parties espousing new politics.

“But I am not throwing in the towel, I will continue the fight,” he declared.

He said that when he decided to run for president, he also embraced the sacrifices that come with it.

He recalled that his wife cried when he told her he would run for the highest post in the land, but has remained supportive nonetheless.

Even at parents-teachers association (PTA) meetings, where he said many parents are supporting Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III, his wife is taunted about his candidacy.

It’s not easy, De los Reyes admitted, especially in Olongapo where his uncle and political rival, Bagumbayan presidential candidate Sen. Richard Gordon, is more popular. De los Reyes’ children are aware that their first cousins are supporting Gordon.

“Some people say I am insane because I have no chance of winning. They would say pang-gulo lang ’yan (He is just a nuisance). The most affected are my wife and three children… Even our relatives are for Gordon,” he said.

“(But) I am determined to win.”

Since the campaign began, De los Reyes has gotten up at 3 a.m. to meditate in preparation for his hectic schedule. He meditates again before going to bed.

To keep fit, he subsists mainly on oatmeal.

When he is not spending time with his family during his downtime, he unwinds by reading the Bible and praying.

The last book he read was the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

Despite the stresses and dangers of the campaign, De los Reyes said he does not fear anyone because he has no enemies. He has, in fact, waived his right to have police security escorts.

His biggest challenge right now, he says, is to attract millions of Catholics to vote for him.

“ I want to mobilize the Catholic votes to introduce reform in the country…We are consolidating the votes of the Catholic laity; we are waking the sleeping giant,” he said. “They must not confine themselves inside churches. They must now be politically engaged.”

De los Reyes himself was once headed for the priesthood, but interrupted his ambition when he became aware of the country’s problems.

De los Reyes is strongly against the proliferation of political dynasties in Philippine politics and describes himself as the political “rebel” of the Gordon clan.

He shared that his vision of social and political reform contrasts with that of his uncle Senator Gordon, who he describes as someone who is “more pragmatic.”

“I challenge other (political) dynasties to rebel against their families,” he said. “I will serve as an antidote to the political venom in the country.”

He cited the political clans of Ampatuan in Maguindanao, Garcia in Cebu, and Magsaysay in Zambales.

De los Reyes also said that despite his lack of experience in higher political office, he has actively fought corruption at the local level.

He said he exposed the reported abuse of workers’ safety and rights at the Hanjin Shipyard in Olongapo and had written to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to account for and put closure to the multi-million drug bust in Subic Bay Freeport.

He also actively opposed the creation of a coal-fired power plant in Zambales because of its environmental hazard.