I HAVE yet to come up with my list of must-vote senators. It’s a tough job because I have to wade through the dross to choose the few good men and women who can hack the job.

Slim pickings, indeed. And the sadder parts are the senatorial frontrunners. Gosh, are these the people whom we shall entrust the country to in these times of climate change and global economic crisis?

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A few include Negrense Alexander Lacson, a lawyer by profession. Alex is a graduate of the University of the Philippines, College of Law and has taken post graduate studies at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He also studied at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio for three years, wrote as a columnist of the BusinessWorld Newspaper, and former legal counsel of the United Nations Development Programme in the Philippines for seven years.

An achiever, Alex received the Galing Pilipino Award for 2005, the Young Filipino Achiever’s Award for 2006 given by Global Pinoy, and the Model Filipino award given by the Edsa People Power Commission, and the Best Filipino Linguistic award given by M.I. International School in 2009.

Soft-spoken and mild-mannered, Alex is a sharpshooter and champion debater, without being abrasive. I know that for a fact.

Trained as a lawyer and adversarial, we often debated on the best moves for the country to move forward. We tossed ideas, from the radical to the mundane, to the choice of words.

He is a far better writer than I can ever dream to be. During Raul Roco’s bid for the presidency, we wrote a statement for a full-page ad in the local dailies. We argued on my choice of “reformer” over his use of “reformist.”

Alex could have pulled rank, implying he’s 1) a lawyer; 2) a writer for a national broadsheet; 3) and the campaign manager. So I can just shut-up and heed my betters.

He did none of these. He studied and did his homework. Finally, meekly, he agreed. “Reformer” seems a better word. And that’s what we put in the ad.

That simple act impressed me tremendously. He listens but does his homework very well. He treats people his equal.

In fact, I generally don’t even call him attorney, just plain Alex. And judging from his body language, that isn’t an issue with him. He has no air about his social position as a successful lawyer.

I used to stay at his home in an exclusive subdivision in Quezon City. I got to know of his wonderful wife and the kids. A good father, he would drop off his kids to school before going to his Makati office.

We talked about his experiences as a lawyer. He worked pro bono with Greenpeace on toxic clean-ups on the former US Clark and Subic military bases.

When his well-researched book “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country” was published using his personal funds, he gave me a personal copy. The book was edited by his wife.

In his dedication, Alex wrote “May you find something in this small book that will help you in your endeavors and our country.” The note was aptly written on June 12, 2005, the country’s celebration of its independence.

In less than six months from its publication, the book became a national bestseller. The book is now on its ninth printing, as many companies, schools, organizations and individuals order copies of the book in bulk.

Last Friday, we met again at the Planta Hotel. I haven’t seen him in five years and I thought having met a lot of people, he would have forgotten me. Not only did he remember me, he can still speak in Hiligaynon. Indeed, he remains a true son of Negros Occidental.

I totally support his bid for the Philippine Senate. It’s long overdue. Negrenses have to make sure he lands among the 12 new senators.

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