How many times have you heard the saying; “Behind every successful man is a woman.”
Its probably one of those quotes that have been used, overused and abused—just as there have been countless arguments about it, mostly depending on the success or the man being referred to.
But honestly it’s the one thought running through my mind that Tuesday afternoon in Greenhills while -having lunch with Cindy Lotuaco-Ejercito—the wife of re-electionist Senator JV Ejercito.
Its not everyday that you get to have lunch with a senator’s wife, much more with someone who was also a beauty queen and a cancer survivor. Ma. Hyacinth “Cindy” Lotuaco was a former runner-up at the Mutya ng Pilipinas beauty pageant and a flight attendant. Her pageant training was very much evident as she walked in wearing a black ensemble and Valentino flats—effortless yet very elegant.
She was a very soft-spoken person, opting not to talk too much about politics, but like any other mom, she got excited when the topic was her son Julio and you could feel a bit of “kilig” everytime she talked about her husband, Sen JV—except when he’s out riding—but more on that later.
I ‘ve had the chance to meet Senator JV a couple of weeks earlier and as I mentioned in my previous post, I was quite surprised how simple Sen JV was. Unlike other politicians who usually swarmed by bodyguards and immediately whisked off in a private room to eat quietly, Sen JV just walked up to the buffet, lined up like everyone else and got his own food. It was quite a simple act, but not something you’d see other politicians or even celebrities doing. http://www.lemongreenteaph.com/search?q=jv+ejercito
Cindy was the same, she was very down to earth, and someone you’d actually want to be friends with. We asked her what her beauty routine was and she said she just uses soap and moisturizer and has not undergone any anti-aging procedure on her face.
I would have wanted to ask how she and Sen JV met and their love story, but we were already lost in her anecdotes of how Sen JV was whenever he was at home.
She said JV is a very funny man, who loves to crack jokes, which was quite surprising as we often see him very serious at the senate hearings and not as vocally expressive like his colleagues in the upper house. She also described JV as very sweet and thoughtful and would spend his Sundays at home to try to make time for his family.
Cindy also says JV loves Sinigang na Lechon something he shares in common with his dad Mayor Erap's who also loves the dish.
She talked highly about her son Julio as well as Emilio (JV’s son from Patty Bettita) and said they’ve also become quite close and would even cook him his favorite carbonara whenever he visits their house. She says they are proud to have kids that are growing up to be responsible and God-fearing gentlemen.
We asked her if she would allow her sons to follow in their grandfather’s showbiz footprints, and she said “yes,” since Emilio is handsome and tall, but knowing how “mahiyain” they both are, she said its unlikely. But the’d respect and support whatever their sons want to do in the future.
Things got a bit serious when she began to talk about being diagnosed with breast cancer. She admits it was one of the most difficult times for her and all she could think about was who would take care of Julio who was still a very young kid that time.
But from that dark period in their lives, came one of Sen JV’s landmark bills. Sen JV penned the National Integrated Cancer Control Act measure, now Republic Act No. 11215 taking inspiration from her being a Cancer survivor.
Coincidentally, the law was signed by President Duterte on February 14, Valentine’s Day a fitting tribute to a law that was born from Sen JV’s love for his wife Cindy.
The law mandates a more focused prevention and integrated cancer program that would improve the survivorship of cancer patients, noting that the dreaded illness is the third leading cause of adult death and fourth in child mortality.
The Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates from the Department of Health has revealed an alarming increase in the incidence of cancer, estimating up to 8 deaths per day for childhood cancer and up to 11 new cases and 7 deaths every hour for adult cancer.
This computes to a figure of approximately 110,000 new cancer cases and over 66,000 cancer deaths each year.
Sen JV, also authored Universal Health Care bill, believing the law would address the various gaps in the cancer care continuum and integrated solutions.
With the elections just a week away, I do hope we think about the people we vote. To vote for those who have proven track records of service like Sen JV Ejercito and not just because of popularity and surveys.