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Ateneo professor recounts the times he spotted tremendous potential in his former student Vico Sotto

By Brooke Villanueva Published Feb 26, 2021 12:28 am Updated Feb 26, 2021 12:32 am

Vico Sotto has been lauded for his good governance since his assumption to office as Pasig City mayor in 2019. 

Just recently, the US Department of State recognized him as an “anti-corruption champion,” calling the official “a standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office.”

With his commendable acts and initiatives, many netizens have jokingly expressed their hope to move to his city just to experience what it’s like to be under the mayor’s management. 

Did you know that he has always shown tremendous potential to be a great leader?

Novelist Danton Remoto, an educator who had the privilege to be his teacher at the Ateneo de Manila University over a decade ago, said in his article on One News that his keen interest in leadership and public service has always been evident. 

Recounting his quick chats with Sotto before class, he once joked that he should be in the entertainment scene and follow in the footsteps of his mom (actress Coney Reyes) and dad (comedian Vic Sotto) because “he spoke well, was good-looking, and bright.” With a laugh, Sotto said he wanted to take a master’s degree in government at the Ateneo.

“I think I want to work in public service and government,” he told Remoto, who taught a “generally bright and attentive” batch of Political Science majors and AB students where Sotto belonged. 

At the time, he kicked off his poetry classes with a haiku. As an assignment, students were tasked to pick a piece, sketch it using their hands, and interpret it on their own at the back of a bond paper. “The point was twofold: for them to have a deeper impression of the poem since they wrote it and drew its images, and to teach them how to speak in public.”

Sotto, he noted, didn’t need the aforementioned training. “He chose a haiku, drew well, and explained it without bucking. He always came to class well-prepared,” he said, recalling a time he asked the class to pen their own haiku and Sotto, as expected, delivered “with a well-written one.” 

“In his classes, Vico always listened with rapt attention, looking at the teacher with hardly any movement, and only moved to take notes. He soaked up everything like a sponge,” he mused. 

In his research class, Sotto also stood out. “During recitation time, I would call the students, and when no one could answer one particularly difficult question, my eyes would automatically look at the quiet student in the middle of the class, and call Vico to recite,” shared Remoto. 

“He never failed.”

Sotto seems to have maintained the same admirable attitude to this day—this time, as a man living one of his biggest dreams, as a Pasig City mayor who put the 27-year rule of a dynasty in the area.

Remoto, as his former professor, couldn’t be any prouder.

“My gray hair will be as proud if, one day, he runs for congressman, then senator, then president of this land. God knows we need well-trained leaders whose decisions are based on data and evidence, and whose heart is in the right place,” he concluded.

Article thumbnails from Vico Sotto's Facebook page