Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Importance of being Darlene

Darlene in her various moods and nuances (photo montage courtesy of Hector Minoza)

After a sterling performance at the House of Representatives, the next logical step for Darlene Antonino-Custodio is to seek a senatorial position. But no, she does not want more of the same. After her congressional stint, she wants to lead Gensan as its Mayor.

Darlene replaced her mother, Lualhati, as Representative of South Cotabato District 1. Now she wants to test her mettle at the helm once held by her Dad, Adelbert. No political dynasty here as both her parents are no longer politically active.

It is easy for Darlene's political opponents to dismiss her as a political lightweight because of her no-frills approach to her position and constituents. Her simplicity in presenting herself (top and jeans garb, minimum or no makeup, speaking in the vernacular) has beguiled those facing her in the political arena. Her relative youthfulness and being petite intimidate her older and taller nemeses. Darlene makes sure one knows where her heart and passions lie in the first few minutes of conversations with her. Indeed, she is our WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) gal.

Darlene votes in favor of the impeachment of PGMA

Her shining moment at the House of Representatives during the impeachment proceedings last year moved her constituents as she explained tearfully her vote to impeach PGMA. On the TV screen, they saw their petite representative bravely take on the similarly petite president, against all odds. From that time onwards, Darlene stood tall in the eyes of her kababayans.

When she faced Manny Pacquiao in the last elections, she remained undaunted by the cockiness and machismo of the latter. Her constituents voted her back for another term and she "knocked out" the boxing champ in the polls. She had risen to the challenge, proved her worth and earned her place in the illustrious history of the House of Representatives.

One may fault her for not having the glamor of her Mom or the business savvy of her Dad, but never her audacity in blazing trails never before passed by her parents. She is accessible and her charisma with the common tao is so evident that you only need to see her in action as she goes around the SocSarGen area. She is not afraid to make hard decisions - decisions that affect her political career, her family. 

There is no doubt that Darlene may surpass the accomplishments of her Dad as Mayor of Gensan, if she's given the chance to serve as the local executive. Her fervor in giving direction to the growth of Gensan blazes like hot embers in her eyes. Definitely, she will be leading with a roadmap guided by her vision for the city she loves.

A Tale of Two Women

Both are well educated.
One was a French major and mathematician; the other an economist.
One was a grade school class valedictorian; the other a high school valedictorian and college magna cum laude.

Both married into Buena Familias.
One was married to a scion of the political Aquino clan of Tarlac while the other was married to a scion of the political Arroyo clan of Iloilo.
One bore four girls and one boy while the other had two boys and one girl.
One had a prodigal daughter; the other a prodigal son.

Both became presidents of the Philippines.
One is the 11th president; the other the 14th.
One became the First Woman President; the other has the First First Gentleman.
One couldn't wait to end her term; the other couldn't wait to retain power.
One has public service imprinted on her soul; the other claims public service is in her DNA.
One was generally well-loved as President; the other much criticized and vilified.

Both are regular mass attendees.
One is a staunch Catholic; the other a religious person.
One took a moral high ground; the other stayed in the gray area.

Both had family names starting with A and ending with an O.
When one died in August; the other was mistakenly named by media as the one who was in the casket and was to be interred.