During a recent tete-a-tete, Mayor Fred Lim’s chief of staff (COS) Ric de Guzman shared what he says was a very pleasant encounter with former House Speaker Feliciano ‘Sonny’ Belmonte Jr., whom he described as very, very humble despite his success and status in life.
The two met while attending the birthday party of a common friend recently and to his surprise, De Guzman said Belmonte struck a very friendly conversation upon learning that the former happens to be Lim’s chief of staff.
Belmonte, he said, enthused how he, then as a very young newspaper reporter covering the police beat and Lim, who was then just a corporal at the Manila police, became really, really good friends and how they carried on their friendship through the years.
Unknown to Belmonte, Lim also takes pride in having been friends with him while they were still both relatively new in their chosen careers, telling us how Belmonte has not changed one bit.
De Guzman said he himself has heard so many good things about Belmonte’s kids, specifically Miguel and Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy, based on stories relayed by friends who knew them personally and never thought that humility actually runs in the family. Miguel or ‘Migs’ to some, happens to be the president and CEO of the Philippine Star.
Personally, I can vouch that Sir Migs is one who has gained the respect and love of his subordinates because of being ‘grounded’ at all times. He is jolly and very friendly to everyone he comes across with. In fact, given his good looks and attitude, specially utmost humility, he, too, has the makings of a good politician. However, he shuns it at the moment and says he will instead be concentrating on helping his sister Joy, currently vice mayor of Quezon City who is likely to make it as the next QC mayor and if I’m not mistaken, its first lady chief executive, too.
Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, who is on her third and last term, is seeking the city’s mayoral post with a platform focused on bringing about change to the city and its residents.
According to her, being a mayor puts her in ‘the perfect position wherein I can enact greater change.’
In the past seven and a half years that she had served as a local official, Joy has definitely gotten a firm grasp of the problems of the city and this is her clear advantage over her rivals.
“I have become well-versed with the problems unique to the city,’ came her declaration when she announced her plan to run for mayor. Joy Belmonte was first elected vice mayor in 2010 alongside then Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista, who succeeded her father, former speaker and Quezon City fourth district Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr., as mayor.
During the 2013 and 2016 polls, the Bautista-Belmonte tandem ran virtually unopposed. Bautista is also on his third and last term as mayor. Joy, a member of the ruling Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban, vowed to continue improving internal governance and pursue greater transparency in the city government if elected mayor.
“I think it is important that the government is seen to be open, truthful and accountable in order to build trust with the people,” she said.
Vice Mayor Joy had pushed various advocacies as vice mayor and head of the city council, including legislation and programs on health, poverty, women and children’s welfare as well as peace and order. She also chairs the city anti-drug abuse advisory council and has been active in supporting the war on drugs being waged by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Our focus is on life and giving drug surrenderees a second chance,” she said. Around 16,000 drug dependents have surrendered, with over 1,200 about to complete the drug rehabilitation program offered by the Quezon City government.
Certainly, Joy has made real good use of her office to help as many as possible. Sadly, not all vice mayors are as busy and useful.
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