“You just gotta keep going and fighting for everything, and one day you’ll get to where you want.” – Naomi Osaka
Not all partylist representatives in the Philippines are given the chance to shine, much less catapult in the limelight by making it in the banner story of reputable media outlets—unless their names already ring a bell in the elite political circle.
“Given the chance” in our frame of reference means their statements on certain issues are picked up from among the hodgepodge of remarks by reporters for a full story in the publication or prime time news.
Buhay partylist Rep. Lito Atienza, who should now be “dead politically” after a series of setbacks in the mayoral contests in Manila, has been in the news because he was once the mayor of Manila; as well as AnaKalusugan partylist Rep. Mike Defensor, who was former President Gloria Arroyo’s controversial Environment and Natural Resources secretary.
Thus we are glad as Ilonggos that AAMBIS-OWA Partylist Rep. Sharon Garin finally was able to hit pay dirt, so to speak, when her remarks, where she lamented how other lawmakers were dragged into the House of Representatives speakership fight between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, became a hot item in the ABS-CBN News Channel and in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s online banner story on October 7.
Rep. Sharon Garin’s political life has been relatively low profile and constantly obscured by the prominence of her brother, former Rep. Oscar “Richard” Jr., sister-in-law Iloilo first district Rep. Janette Loreto-Garin, and the patriarch Oscar Sr.
Because people are familiar with Rep. Loreto-Garin being former President Noynoy Aquino’s health secretary and the veritable punching bag of anti-Dengvaxia crusaders, Rep. Sharon Garin has been completely overshadowed by Rep. Loreto-Garin in name-recall and national recognition.
But when she is given the task to occupy the front seat, Rep. Sharon Garin attracts national attention like the sensational British singer Adele, known anywhere she performs for her classic and contemporary country and roots music.
In a one-on-one interview with Rappler on March 14, 2018, writer Bea Cupin noted that “it’s not the politics and internal dynamics she (Rep. Sharon Garin) zooms in on, but the hard work that’s seldom aired live or broadcast on primetime news.”
“You really have to study. Like I said, this is temporary and you won’t be a congressman forever. If a new administration comes in, a new congressman might replace you. You really have to earn your keep,” Cupin quoted the lady legislator as saying.
“You have to attend session. Even if you’re not an expert in the field, you have to attend. You have to listen, you have to study so you learn (because) it’s difficult to excel here. But it takes a lot of patience.”
In a recent exposure in the ABS-CBN News Channel and Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rep. Sharon Garin went full throttle.
“It seems like we are abandoning tradition. We are abandoning honor, we’re supposed to be honorables,” thundered Garin, daughter of Oscar Sr., political patriarch of Guimbal and the de facto political padrino of the first district of Iloilo.
The ally of Velasco and former chair of the economic affairs committee, added: “We’re abandoning a lot of things by doing this—that we are involving all the congressmen, we are trying to involve them in a fight for speakership which is actually just between the two of them.”
Garin said, “It is insulting to each and every congressman and I hope that we all realize that na respeto lang sang. Pulitika, pulitika lang ‘yan.”
The fighting Iloilo solon blasted Cayetano, a suspected cry baby, for “alienating the partylist bloc in the House” with her removal as well as the move to replace 1-PACMAN Partylist Rep. Michael Romero, who also serves as the president of the partylist bloc in the lower chamber, as deputy speaker.
It’s not over. I personally think this is not over. Many things will still happen in the near and far future and I would advise Congressman Velasco to continue on because this is what the President wanted,” Garin said.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)/WDJ