Bobby Reyes – a Rusty Balderian in the making : A tale of Two OFWs in Philippine politics
Roberto “Bobby” M. Reyes, “Lolo Bobby” is a friend of mine in the OFW community. He is an OFW in U.S.A. for 22 years. He never abandoned his legal residence in the city of Sorsogon. He is now running for Governor of Sorsogon Province. “Lolo Bobby” a play in the words for “Law and Order and Less government and Opportunities equally to all” wants to serve his constituents – his long time dream.
Bobby Reyes, a journalist, book author and a community organizer decided to cast his lot, by downloading copies of the COC from the website of the Commission on Elections in the Philippines, accomplished the forms and sworn to his COC before surprised Philippine Consulate officials before dropping the COC by registered mail at the Los Angeles post office addressed to the Comelec office in the Philippines.
Joseph Lariosa in http://www.mabuhayradio.com/ wrote that Reyes, 63, was a beneficiary of a petition for a permanent residence that became current last March 2008 but he did not pick up the option to apply for a Green Card because he wanted to keep his Filipino citizenship and Philippine legal residence that will make him eligible to run for an elective office in the Philippines.
“The Immigration and Naturalization Service informed me that I could stay in the United States but it could not guarantee that I would be admitted back if I leave the country for the Philippines or a third country,” Reyes said.
If he loses, Reyes explained, “I will prepare for the next gubernatorial election in 2013. I can always get back to the United States on a ‘Business’ visa or perhaps I will let my son then petition me as a parent when I reach the late 70s. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my days in a nursing home, as I plan to spend the rest of my life promoting the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Ferdinand Magallanes in 2021. And of course write more books and teach.”
Reyes will be the like of OFW Rusty Balderian, that despite of having a good life as a successful businessman in the USA’s healthcare industry landed serving his constituents as Mayor in Tabon Tabon, Leyte. A story of a young man from a family which owned a sari sari store in his town who practically supported himself as a working student to become an optometrist and a physician.
In 2003 before he entered politics he went back to his hometown and opened a school for nursing. It was put up to help the less privileged students to attend a four-year college in nursing; no tuition fee, whatsoever is being charged to any student; use of school facilities, laboratory, computer room, fire truck, books, library, is FREE; boarding is also provided free; quality education, complete with quality and qualified Faculty staff and employment at U.S. hospitals has been pre-arranged for those who will pass the CSGFNS; and many more fringe benefits which Dr. Balderian shoulders.
Dr. Rusty Balderian (my kumpare) is now running for Congress in the 2nd District of Leyte.
As for Lolo Bobby Reyes “I would not have entered the contest if my backers and advisers did not think that I have a good chance of toppling the corrupt Establishment. But remember the adage, ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall.’ I will capture national attention if I win and friends are saying that as governor, I will become the overall leader of the OFWs and the Overseas Filipinos, because I will still be active in Filipino community affairs in the United States, especially in Southern California.”
Lolo Bobby’s family is not new to politics in Sorsogon Province. The family of Reyeses already produced two governors (Juan S. Reyes and Teodosio Diño), a congressman (Juan S. Reyes), a constitutional delegate (Jose S. Reyes) and a municipal mayor (Jaime S. Reyes). He is also the brother of a former Sorsogon City councilor, Sylvia Reyes-Lao and Carlos M. Reyes, Sorsogon incumbent Provincial Board member.
To my friend “Lolo Bobby” and “Pareng Rusty”, Good Luck!