JUST like he lost the elections in 1897, I think he will also lose in the 2022 elections if he were a presidential candidate today. But I am proud that I come from a race whose first president epitomizes all the ideals I believe. And so, every year, as a kid, beyond mere words, images and celebrations, I reflect on his life, and on my own. I am hoping our young generation today will read this article and find some refuge from the lenses that our society forces us to use in searching for our leaders today.

I am proud to be a Filipino because my first president was a laborer, he was a craftsman, a vendor, a clerk, a designer, an auditor, a warehouse supervisor and did other manual and clerical jobs.

He was not a politician, he is not a lawyer, he is not a military general, he is not a wealthy landowner, he is not a rich businessman, he is not a highly intellectual professional, he does not have a college degree, he is more than all this – He is simply a Filipino who deserves to be called one.

He cared for his family, and at an early age, he led his siblings to create fans and items to sell so they could support their education. He always looked after his family's welfare. He had to drop out of school, he had no formal degree and was called uneducated but he was a voracious reader especially of books of great men in history and relied on self-study to gain knowledge. He is a writer, a poet, a charismatic speaker, and an artist.

My president was a strategic leader and a systems thinker, he guided other men and women to face battles, helped them design tactics and plans, he made sure everyone has provisions for battle and are well organized. He accepted both defeats and victories and learned from every battle. He was also what I would call today a design thinker, he executes his ideas bravely, even when it fails. He helped create an independent newspaper only to close after a few months, he started a lot of undertakings only to fail but learned well from the experiences.

He is a strong and dedicated organizer, he supported, fortified and led an organization that started a revolution for my country, he rallied and organized troops and inspired them to be strong and wise in battles. He was a very principled man, he established rules and followed these rules to show an example to everyone. He fought fairly and squarely in all his battles, even when others around him employed dirty tricks to cause his downfall and death.

My president is a good friend and mentor. He shielded his most trusted friend from a bullet in battle and almost lost his life. He saved many lives in battle. He respects and admires knowledge in other men. He took advice from people even younger than him. He objectively used the writings of his men and called his own writings inferior. He recognized skills and seniority and gave everyone his due. He was given responsibilities and still trusted leaders who were plotting against him. He respected, supported, and helped other leaders whose knowledge he truly valued.

He is a decisive and courageous leader. He always knew what his goal was, and focused on the goal, and pursued the goal. He did not hesitate to start a revolution when everyone else said it was not the time. He did not hesitate to create an independent nation, even when everyone else felt they were not ready. He ordered a flag, a national anthem, a constitution and appointed a cabinet, even when his enemies did not lift a finger, and in the end waited to destroy everything he started – and placed their own.

His quality, and probably folly, was that he was a trusting man. He considered as friends the people who come to him as friends only to be stabbed in the back. He received enemies in his own circle, trusting them, but just to be eventually harmed by them.

My president believed in a republic where all provinces are represented, in a democratic state where everyone has the right to speak regardless of social and educational status, he is a believer of subsidiarity and a representative government and declared as sham an election that was taken without representatives from other provinces.

My president rose from the ranks by his blood, sweat and tears, only to finally be cheated in an election where ballots were already pre-filled and tampered and voters were pre-conditioned, where his lack of education was used to disqualify him for all positions, and wherein the end he was given the lowest position, where he could have been very competent, but was questioned due to his not being a lawyer.

My president was accused as an atheist, and yet in his writings, he has repeatedly inspired us to love God above all. He said honest and decent work is a show of love for God, self, family and country. He said we should help one another and look for each other’s welfare, and to share our wealth with others. He said to let our achievements be an example for others to follow.

My president said there is no time to wait and hope for the future we want but to rise and pursue that future ourselves. And he said if it is necessary that we lay down our lives for our country, then we should as it is the highest degree of love and sacrifice a human being can show.

My president was unjustly sentenced by a jury of his enemy’s peers, he and his brothers were tortured and killed, and his wife was said to have been raped and tortured, his body has not been clearly found to this day. He died, and his cause or manner of death is still subject to discussion to this day, but whether he was hacked, mauled, beaten, or shot to death – he died so I can have freedom today. He has no formal burial place and we do not mark his death anniversary like other heroes because his death will only prove the shamelessness of our politicians.

My president’s human remains until today cannot be conclusively located yet we celebrate his human existence – his birth on November 30 of each year.

If my president runs in the 2022 elections, he would surely lose. He is an authentic leader, he does not double-speak but is straightforward and very frank, he does not have a college degree, he does not believe in dirty election tactics, he does not flaunt religion but shows love for God in his actions and dealings with others, he is too trusting, he does not use his men to advance his interests, he is too concentrated on his tasks and goals to care about positions, he has self-respect and will refuse to become a clown for the sake of power, he is a laborer and a daily-wage earner, he will not sacrifice lives for his greed, instead he will sacrifice his life for others. And because I am proud to be a Filipino, he is my president.

Maraming salamat po, Supremo Andres Bonifacio!