Who is the candidate who has reared 820 children with only one Mrs. (and no mistresses) by his side? “Lou Salvador and Ramon Revilla? I’m second to none!”
Who is the one with three closets and drawers full of shirts in flowery prints? “We live in the tropics; why not feel cool and look cool?” Who’s the frustrated architect who said The Manila Hotel is fortunate to be positioned by the edge of Manila Bay, as “water is a beautifying element” and no other hotel in Metro Manila has that privilege?
He’s the candidate who has been in public service for half a century: LGU (City Hall of Manila, DENR, House of Representatives, a member of the Liberal Party and then Buhay party list). For all that, Lito Atienza and I go back a long way (My ID as a senior citizen bears his signature as mayor, yikes!).
Lito Atienza is a young-looking octogenarian. That’s because, as I’m fond of telling him, he enjoys good karma. Look at those 820 kids, “graduates” of the Home for Angels, an orphanage 26 years young and still going strong, children that he pulled from the jaws of disease, absent or negligent parents, and death. “Many of them are adults now,” proudly boasted Manny Pacquiao’s vice presidential running mate. They’re safe and “with God’s help and our partnership with DSWD” enjoying a second life and growing up healthy and strong.
Saving children as a mission came naturally to the Buhay party-list representative who fought the Reproductive Health Bill that he considered anti-babies for advocating population control through contraception, which he theorized was “just one step away” from legalizing abortion.
Millennial and Gen Z voters may not be familiar with that media battle but they would surely remember how Lito Atienza, along with Vilma Santos Recto, Sol Aragones and eight others came to the defense of ABS-CBN after its franchise was canceled by the NTC. “We were outnumbered, 70 against 11, but why were the 70 ashamed to be branded?”
In the current fight to choose a new government, Pacman’s mentor and “Freddie Roach outside the ring” isn’t bothered by their low scores: “Don’t you believe those so-called surveys. We have our own and they show a different snapshot.”