League Of Extraordinary Filipino Gentlemen
I wrote this piece in late 2007. I already incorporated some of the profiles in “The Top 10 Signs Of Leadership.” The remaining sketches remain in their original form. This is its first publication
The late U.S. President Ronald Reagan once said, “Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.”
Let’s sketch some of the most outstanding Filipinos of our time, because as the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
1) Emilio Advincula. The nation shall never this poor but honest taxi driver castigated by his friends for returning a fortune to its rightful owner--not once, but twice! Inspiring Reio Lance to follow his example, he’s a rare breed: one who values honor above luxury and the company of 100% pure-plastic sycophants.
2) Django Bustamante. The true mettle of our 2006 World Cup Pool Champion asserted itself when he transcended a personal tragedy in the thick of competitions – and inspired the nation by swiftly devastating his opponents.
3) Hilario Davide. The God-fearing character, mastery of the law and flawless professionalism shown by the former Chief Justice earned him the envy of small minds – and the deep respect, admiration and loyalty of the millions of honorable people, who know a good man when they see one.
4) Monsour Del Rosario. Excellence is impossible without discipline, and this Olympic medalist, action star and chief pioneer of Philippine Taekwondo is deeply rooted in the ultimate way of self-mastery – the Martial Arts.
5) Richard Gordon. This future President is synonymous with true leadership -- the gift of bringing out the best in people by example. Imagine a Red Cross chairman slogging through mud to deliver aid, and a Senator who picks up litter and throws them in garbage bins -- those actions speak louder than 24/7 filibusters.
6) Frank Gudani. The warrior is a Christian. He has one of the most sterling track records in the annals of the Philippine military: Commanding General of the 1st Marine Brigade, Commander of Task Force Ranao, graduate of Phil. Military Academy, Natl. Defense College, PAL Aviation School, Asian Inst. of Mngt. and the U.S. Marine Crops; PMA- and PAL McMicking Awardee, 1980 AFP Shooter of the Year, combat veteran -- and soldier for Christ. He became a Born Again through the AFP Christian group JOSHUA in 1989, and this gave him and his aide Col. Alexander Balutan the sense of peace and strength to appear in the Senate and exposed the massive fraud in the 2004 elections despite orders to remain silent. Because of that, he was court-martialed. But EO 464 was later ruled by the Supreme Court as illegal and unconstitutional.
7) Christian Monsod. The One Voice founder and civil society leader is the epitome of integrity in public service, disappearing after earning the Comelec an unprecedented level of public trust during his watch -- and he’s back to help stop the complete meltdown of our institutions wrought by the relentlessly destructive Cha-cha campaign.
8) Manny Pacquiao. The reigning WBC Super Featherweight Champion is officially the best boxer in his division today. The People’s Champ has brought honor to the country and inspired the next generation of ring warriors: Jimrex Jaca, Boomboom Bautista, Harry Tañamor, Brian Viloria, Z Gorres and other future sports legends – and he has done all these and more without going into politics.
The pillar of Pacman’s career is coach FreddieRoach – one of the many non-Filipinos who made the Philippines a better place. The nation will honor them forever, specifically: educator Fr. James Reuter, social activist Fr. Shay Cullen, and investigative journalist Earl K. Wilkinson.
9) Philip Piccio. The founder of the Parents Enabling Parents Coalition brought hope to the thousand of students jeopardized by the pre-need industry crash, gave billionaire Mark Jimenez a worthy cause to channel his wealth for the greater good—and reminded the nation that nothing is impossible if people will join forces to stand up for what is right.
10) Fernando Poe Jr. Da King is dead--long live Da King! For the generations of actors, industry workers and ordinary people whose lives he had touched, for his family, friends and millions of loyal followers, and as long as there are young men looking for heroes, the King of Philippine Movies will live forever -- and not even dirty politics can take that away.
11) Raul Roco. The best President we never had. His incandescent genius went beyond his magnificent track record: outstanding student leader, lawyer, Con-Con delegate, Congressman, Senator, Education Secretary, family man – and he has set the standards to which all future leaders will be measured. His secret: “Aral, Sipag, Dasal (Study, Hard work, Prayer)” – and that too should speak for itself.
12) Jesse Robredo. Mayor Jesse’s flagship i-Governance program has completely computerized City Hall and destroyed red tape. All transactions, contracts, revenues, employees are all online. He’s the first ever mayor to invite sectoral representatives and NGOs to participate in the City Council. He is one of the few local chief executives with the mental stamina to earn an MBA in Public Administration from the JFK School of Government in Harvard. His innovations have garnered more than 140 awards here and abroad, including the United Nations Public Service Awards, the AIM Galing Pook Awards Hall of Fame and the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.
13) Harry Roque. This U.P law professor practices what he preach -- that no one is above the law -- and has independently mounted a global pursuit against Agriculture Undersecretary-turned-fugitive Joc-Joc Bolante.
14) Jaime Cardinal Sin. The separation of Church and State ends when loyalty to the country begins, and the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Manila Archbishop mobilized the country to overthrow two Presidents through peaceful revolution – and inspired the whole world with the glory of true People Power.
15) Mon, Raffy, Erwin and Ben Tulfo. The noble aims of journalism are to uncover the truth and bring justice for the oppressed, and if the hard-hitting Tulfo brothers have to confront abusive and incompetent officials to set things right—in person, print, radio and TV-- then so be it. Even if they’re under siege by libel suits, white papers and black propaganda, they will survive--and will be vindicated--because no one can put good men down.
16) Rico Yan. The true measure of a life is the beauty of the memories left behind; but this young matinee idol, with his public charisma and private public service, made you believe you can be immortal – forever young – because you got to believe in magic.