Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, June 01, 2009

Kapatiran taps simple man with moral duty

OLONGAPO CITY – ANG KAPATIRAN Party’s presidential nominee is, in his own words, a simple man with a moral duty.

“Win or lose, I will make an impact,” declared the 39-year-old John Carlos “JC” delos Reyes, a member of the Gordon political clan and the only Kapatiran candidate who won in the 2007 elections – as a councilor of Olongapo.

“Engaging in politics is a moral duty,” Delos Reyes told the Inquirer. “And we should not be afraid of battling trapos (traditional politicians) even if they can count on money, their machinery, or their popularity.”

Delos Reyes said he accepted the tack of leading his party in 2010 elections against well-known politicians because “those who can would not submit” to Kapatiran’s process in choosing its presidential nominee.

“I am shocked that no one would do it … If we want change, we have to ask ourselves: “What are we going to do about it?’ Instead of just complaining, the Kapatiran party and its supporters have chosen to fight for what we believe in,” he said, adding:

“I am a simple man. If it’s only me, I cannot do it. I’d rather just be a husband and father … [But] we have an ambitious platform and principles that, if implemented, could radically [heal] the ills of this country.”

Member of Gordon clan

Born on Feb. 14, 1970, Delos Reyes is the son of the late Sonny delos Reyes (who served as President of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines for nine years) and Barbara Gordon (an elder sister of Sen. Richard Gordon and Olongapo Mayor James Gordon Jr.).

Even as a member of a political clan, Delos Reyes said he would put public interest at the top of his priorities.

“The great evil in dynasties is the implied agreement to work for the interests of the family, not necessarily of the community. I am the exception … You have to stand up and fight for your principles and convictions,” he said.

A source said some members of the clan were “shocked and devastated” to learn that Delos Reyes planned to run for president.

“They thought this may well divide the Gordon clan,” said the source, who asked not to be named because of the delicate subject matter.

The source said Delos Reyes’ decision “might get in the way of Senator Gordon’s ambition to become president.”

“Senator Gordon and JC have not been speaking to each other for years over ideological differences. They are not close. But there is mutual respect between them, nevertheless,” the source said.

Open nomination

Delos Reyes himself declined to discuss his relationship with the senator.

According to Delos Reyes, Kapatiran conducted “open process” with members nominating prospective presidential candidates within or outside the party.

Among those nominated were Chief Justice Reynato Puno, NBN-ZTE whistle-blower Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, Gawad Kalinga’s Tony Meloto, businessman Manny Pangilinan, Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Senator Gordon and Manuel Roxas who all declined.

Also nominated and evaluated were the three party members who made an unsuccessful run for Senate seats in 2007 – Martin Bautista, Jesus Zosimo Paredes and Adrian Sison.

Kapatiran leaders said Delos Reyes was selected to become the party’s standard-bearer in 2010 because he represented its ideals – one who is God-fearing, who places morals above pragmatic compromises, and who strives to rise above traditional politics.


While he builds a career in local politics, raising three children with his Brazilian wife, Dunia Valenzuela, is the “source of so much blessing in my life for which I am grateful,” Delos Reyes said.

An Alumnus of the Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle Zobel, Delos Reyes obtained a degree in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio in the United States, went to the University of the Philippines for postgraduate studies in public administration, and completed a law degree at the Saint Louis University in Baguio City.

In recent years, he led a growing enterprise, LegoBrick Systems, a clay brick manufacturing company.

Delos Reyes was first elected councilor of Olongapo in 1995; he did not seek re-election in 1998.

As an incumbent councilor, he has spoken against the deaths of workers in the Korean-owned shipyard at the Subic Bay Freeport, the establishment of a coal-fired power plant in the Freeport, and the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, and raised such issues as workers’ welfare, peace and order, and environmental protection.

He chairs the Olongapo council’s committee on human rights and has filed a number of graft cases against certain local officials.


During the interview, Delos Reyes presented a scroll containing his party’s core principles and ideals.

“Kapatiran candidates will work to achieve the goals outlined here. The people can grade us against these principles,” he said.

He expressed the party’s hope “that the youth will rise up to the challenge of our times.” He said the party was working to fill its candidate list “in all levels and in every part of the country.”

Delos Reyes conceded that Kapatiran was not as well-financed, as well-connected or as popular as those of leading presidential aspirants, but said he would work to turn his perceived weaknesses into real strengths.

“People should ask not just what you have done, but what you did not to do, and what you are willing to do. We say we want change, so we should all be prepared to do something other than what we have been doing for ages. This time, give a chance for the good to prevail,” he said.

He said he hoped that “people will give Kapatiran and our candidates the chance to serve and change the government for the common good.”

“Let it not be said that no one dared … and that the Kapatiran party gave the people a choice,” Delos Reyes said.

“We know that there must be great changes made in our country. The question is, What will you, as a voter and as a citizen, do about it?” he said.

Passing of the torch

On the phone with the Inquirer, Kapatiran founder Nandy Pacheco said “it’s time we were given a real choice.”

Pacheco added: “We have to decide for ourselves what we really want. As I am getting old, the torch needs to be passed to the succeeding generation. I am confident that with JC in the driver’s seat of our party, we will be headed in the right direction.”

--By. Robert Gonzaga – Inquirer

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