I Share Hope

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Story. Action. Hope.

Stories about hope and ways to share hope

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Dante LA. Jimenez

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“December 20, 1990, my brother was shot by a drug syndicate because of a mistaken identity. After a year, my father had a heart stroke because of the sadness that he felt. He carried it. When my grandmother saw the coffin of my father, she fell down and she wasn’t able to recover. She died after four months of grief. I lost three loved ones Chris, I tell you… You give happiness to people who are saddened by unusual incidents, you give happiness to them, you give inspiration to them. That’s how I define hope. I’m Dante Jimenez of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption Philippines and I Share Hope.”— Dante LA. Jimenez

Dante LA Jimenez founded Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on August 3, 1998. The original officers of the organization were mostly victims of heinous crimes, noted lawyers, civic-minded businessmen and youth leaders led together with Mr. Lauro G. Vizconde.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) is a non-stock, non-profit non-government organization (NGO) which envisions a relatively crime-free and corruption-free Philippines. It aims: to eradicate criminality and corrupt practices to assist victims and to work for the improvement of the criminal justice system. VACC actualizes this vision with its various programs: court monitoring, legal aid, psycho-logical counseling for victims, radio and television broadcast on actual cases and referrals to concerned agencies. As it lives out this mission through these programs, the VACC has evolved into a highly-regarded NGO for providing assistance and support to victims and for its unwavering stand against all forms of government corruption.



24: Dante LA. Jimenez – Hope vs Corruption – #isharehope

“December 20, 1990, my brother was shot by a drug syndicate because of a mistaken identity. After a year, my father had a heart stroke because of the sadness that he felt. He carried it. When my grandmother saw the coffin of my father, she fell down and she wasn’t able to recover. She died after four months of grief. I lost three loved ones Chris, I tell you… You give happiness to people who are saddened by unusual incidents, you give happiness to them, you give inspiration to them. That’s how I define hope. I’m Dante Jimenez of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption Philippines and I Share Hope.”Dante L.A. Jimenez

Intro:

Welcome to I Share Hope! The podcast where world leaders share their real stories of hope and how you can use actionable hope to start changing your life today and now here’s your host, Chris Williams.

Chris Williams:  

Dante Jimenez is my guest today and I really am thrilled to talk to you Dante. You’ve done so much with sharing hope. So, you started the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in the Philippines, if I’m not mistaken, and there’s a website that we’re going to have on the show notes for this interview. It’s really, really amazing what you’ve done. You’ve accomplished a lot. You’ve put together lawyers, business leaders, youth organizations and so much more to fight corruption that’s so rampant not just in one area, but it’s worldwide and there’s so much we can do there.

Dante, tell me more about yourself and where are you right now?

Dante L.A. Jimenez: 

Okay. I’m in Manila, Philippines and this advocacy of ours started when – I say “ours” because there are thousands of volunteers now in the Philippines doing the same advocacy, fighting against crime and corruption. Before I became an activist in the streets, in a way, I served with the Philippine Navy for 10 years. Five years aboard the ship, five years in intelligence. I also worked withAmerican Service Men when I was in the Navy. There were some naval exercises and I was a junior officer.

This thing that happened to my brother 24 years ago, to be exact, December 20, 1990 – I can’t forget that in my entire life maybe until I die.

My brother was shot by a drug syndicate in one of the suburbs here in Metro Manila because of mistaken identity. Mistaken because we had the party line here in the 1990s, no cellphone here, so I would say that’s so common among resident owners or household owners. They had a heated argument with this lady whom we identified later on to be a drug queen, trafficking drugs in our subdivision. This was actually when my brother was shot and killed. This was revealed already when my sister joined the investigation that she overheard my brother discussing with a partly line. She said, I can recall, “I will inform the authorities”. Maybe our partly line then – because she was involved in drug trafficking, she took it as my brother will be reporting this to the police, but no. It is actually to report to the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, the telephone company that navigates some telephone lines here in Manila, in the Philippines. That was one of the motives that they raised before the investigators. Ten motives including his former girlfriend who got married earlier until of course when my brother was shot in December 20, 1990, that was one of my most unforgettable moments in my life.

I was at my parents’ ancestral home, we dropped by with my wife just to bring some food for the household helpers because they were living there alone. I got married already. So, the phone rang and the secretary of my brother said “Buboy…”, that’s his nickname, “met an accident.” Just met an accident… So what kind of accident? The secretary told me exactly what. So, where is he? “He’s in the Municipal Hospital of Paranaque.” That’s another suburb of Metro Manila. I rushed there, oh my God, what I saw, my brother was in a stretcher with a wound on his forehead right above his eyebrow. I rushed in immediately together with the doctor, the municipal clinic to the nearby hospital, major hospital, there he was given the treatment, but actually he was already in comatose. That practically changed my life Chris, until now.

Chris Williams:

How old were you when that happened? Was he an older brother or a younger brother? Is he older or younger than you?

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

Younger brother. I think – I’m already 62 years old by the way.

Chris Williams:

No you’re not.

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

I’m already 62 years old.

Chris Williams:

No way.

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

I’m in this advocacy for 24 years, so you minus that and that’s my age. That’s how aging I am now, but I hope we could meet in the future and have a more lengthy discussion.

Chris Williams: 

I’m very sorry that  that happened. I’m sorry it happened and at the same time, I’m glad that you’re fighting the fight that you are. I wish that didn’t have to be the start for it, but I am really glad and I know so many others are so glad you’re doing what you’re doing today.

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

You know Chris, that did not stop there, the killing of my brother. What aggravated things in the family especially myself, a year later my father who was also with the Philippine Navy and he died – my brother was the junior and my father was the senior. He was a naval architect, 31 years old, not married yet, but had a girlfriend. After a year, my father had a heart stroke because of the sadness that he felt. He carried it all throughout, but he wasn’t able to survive that pain of losing a junior, a son who has taken over his being an engineer. What else aggravated the situation, when my grandmother saw the coffin of my father, she fell down and she wasn’t able to recover. She died after four months of grief.

Chris Williams: 

She saw your father’s coffin and fell down?

Dante L.A. Jimenez: 

Yes. I lost three loved ones Chris. I tell you, that’s why until now – I’m sorry I’m very emotional. Every time I relate this to friends, it’s really quite an unforgettable experience. There is this saying in the Philippines, Chris. I don’t know in other countries.“If parents do not bury their children, it is the children that must bury their parents.”

Chris Williams: 

Yes. I’ve heard that many times before. She didn’t have that experience. She saw it the backwards way. That’s a tragic story. It really is.

Question 1: Tell me about your definition or your favorite quote about hope.

Obviously, even through all that, a man of great hope. So, what is your definition of hope?

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

Exactly the spelling hope. H, I would say, stands for happiness. You give happiness to people who are saddened by unusual incidents, by catastrophe, natural or man-made, you give happiness to them. You give inspiration to them. Before you give inspiration to them, O, the second letter with the word hope, you have to be one. You are one with the philosophy of truthfulness. You have to be one, you have to be together in happiness, you have to be together and one with yourself and a few friends objected with one goal. P stands for Peace – P is the next letter for hope which everybody will be benefiting whether you are the incidental murderer or rapist because you are now at peace, you’ve admitted everything and then you are also at peace because you had been a victim. Give peace to your family, to yourself. E stands for endearment. You become endeared to your loved ones and to children especially because we value so much family closeness. That’s how I define hope.

Chris Williams: 

I’ve never heard that before. So, happiness, oneness, peace and endearment.

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

Yes.

Chris Williams:

Wow. That’s a great acrostic and a great way to remember those things, the word hope.

Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you in your life? Who’s given you the most happiness, oneness, peace and endearment?

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

Well, of course family, the oneness of family has given me peace. I have three daughters by the way. Oh my God, God did not give me any boys. It’s three Marias, we call it. These are the people who give me moral support and interrogate me with issues and doing here in the Philippines. In fact my wife said, ”Papa” she  calls me Papa. “Why are you still pursuing your advocacy of helping victims? You have already solved the case of your brother.” After seven years, huh, that was the justice system of the Philippines. So, I said in all my life, I mean this, I’ve been in the streets, I’ve been in the powers of government, I’ve been appointed as government.. an NGO, Non-Government Organization representative in various commissions in fighting crime, in fighting private armies, in fighting corruption. I share this with the association, with our group, with my co-victims and co-survivors. That’s how I live now.

Chris Williams: 

Wow. That’s really amazing. I’m glad you’re – I really am. I keep saying that. I’m glad that you’re doing what you’re doing, but you’re making such a huge difference.

Question 3: I think you may have already mentioned this, but a time in your life when hope was really all you had to fall back on because times were tough. You’ve talked about the loss of your brother and your father and so many-

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

And my grandmother.

Chris Williams:

Yes. So, is there another time you want to mention or we already covered that?

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

I’m very emotional Chris. You see, I sound very emotional and until now I’m still hoping that things will be right for other families. I’m not fighting for our case because the culprits are already in jail.  The mastermind had been sent to jail and after seven years – it’s a very difficult justice system here in the Philippines. We won. I’m not like the president of this country who have not even identified the mastermind of the killing of Ninoy Aquino, the father which resulted to the being president –I’m sorry I have to mention this because that’s how I inform or tell our victims, go for the mastermind not just the hired killers.  

Chris Williams:

Yes. Good point. Start at the top. That’s a great point.

Question 4: How are you sharing hope today? What are you doing today to share hope with yourself or someone else?

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

Well, you know, I’m not in the government. We have a very decent business involving shipping and manning and crewing and education and training. We have three schools in the province, 7000 students are given time. I’m happy with what I have. I focus my advocacy and responsibility to our community, so I said maybe when I reach 70, Chris, I will be serving the church as a senior included in a choir and be there and silently be there joining our Lord when the time is up. My children are already okay, I’ve already involved them in the business, the other one is almost finished with his management course, so I’m okay. Of course, my income, I give to victims, our organization. I give to – you know there I such thing as, in the Philippines, you really have to exist even without donations. Even guns, we have our co-victims, they each have medium tasks, they share the bounties that excess the what we call court watch. So, these are what now I am busy of.

Chris Williams: 

That’s extremely busy. It’s extremely busy. You’ve been doing an incredible amount. Question five, I can’t wait to hear the answer for this because you’ve obviously thought through how to do things.

Question 5: How do I grow in hope or how should I start sharing hope with my own community?

Obviously, my story is not your story and anybody who’s listening in over 30 countries right now, we have people listening and none of our stories are the same. So, how do we start sharing hope with other in our community or growing as people of hope in ourselves?

Dante L.A. Jimenez: 

Mainly, people have their own advocacies in life. We are being groomed or being there as perhaps an advocate of change, but very few really succumb to the idea of power, of politics, of fame, etc.  I think whatever you do in life, you have to be happy with what you’re doing. There should be no self-interest included in it. You have to be unselfish. That’s Christianity, see?  You have to share, that’s good. You have to share what you have experience. For instance, in our organization, in our thousands of victims in the Philippines, I tell you Chris, in the Philippines, there are daily killings here. I’m sorry to share this with the other peoples of the world, but please include our country in your prayers because everyday there are rapes, incestuous rapes, father raping their children – oh my God. Worse, raping children, killing them and burning them. These are the major cases that we’ve been usually handling in the provinces. We have 7,100 islands spread in this Republic, but my gosh, statistic of police men would say it’s low, oh come one. You listen to the radio, the television, the news, because that’s what we have now, a very good media, what’s this? People with speech here. Of course there’s too much politics, but what you have to do individually, just don’t expect some reward. Don’t expect that you’ll be the one rewarded with a medal, valor medal, you’ll be rewarded with money. You know what? The latest victims here in Mindanao, these 44 Special Action Force Police Men who were killed by rebels. In fact there were some Americans who were part of it. See? To say, 44 lost their lives because of irresponsible decision of leaders. If you are a leader to your community, be sure that you can be accountable to what you do. This is what I’m doing. I have to be very careful in my daily course, I have to do away with all those materialistic and this worldly need of man. You know what I mean Chris, you’re a man. I hate to sacrifice those things, except those are set aside so that you can be a good example to the community. Many are called but few are chosen.

Chris Williams:

What a great example. What a great example. So you’re saying we need to be happy, the first part of the word hope there. We need to be happy and connected personally to what we are doing and how we are sharing in our communities and then we need to throw off the things that are holding us back, that are distractions and just get to work. Yes. It’s really true.

Well, you know, you’re inspiring to me and every time I talk to someone who I a few decades older than me, it usually reminds me of how much I’m not getting done because there’s something about a few more decades that makes you realize what’s important and what’s not. I’m trying to learn the important stuff and get to it.

Dante L.A. Jimenez: 

I really have to meet you personally Chris.

Chris Williams: 

I hope we get to someday. That would be really fun. Tell me this, in the meantime, how can people like me and the listeners follow you along? Do you have a social media account or website? Where can we go to find out more about you?

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

My website, I’m sorry I cannot recall it.

Chris Williams:

If I got it here right, I think it’s www.vaccph.org?

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

You memorized that well.

Chris Williams:

VACC as in Volunteers Against Crime-

Dante L.A. Jimenez:  

Crime and Corruption.

Chris Williams: 

VACC and then ph.org and I will link that in the show notes so that people who are reading this can also get a hold of your website and find out what you’re doing because it’s a really great work. I appreciate your sharing hope. I really do.

You’ve just listened to I Share Hope. If you’re ready to make a change, head to our website at isharehope.com and claim your free copy of the Top Ten Actions of Hope from World Leaders to use hope in your own life. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next time.

Chris Williams:

What do you listen to, when you turn on some music, if you want to have some fun, if you’re having a party, what are you going to listen to?

Dante L.A. Jimenez:

You know Chris, that’s one of my weaknesses. I listen to old songs. I belong to the generation of Frank Sinatra, Matt Monroe,Perry Como, Nat King Cole. That’s my generation man. Music now is oh my gosh, I don’t know the music, but time has changed.

Chris Williams:

Those classics, I tell you, I hear those classics all the time. They’re good. They’re fantastic. I hear it playing all the time in stores, in restaurants. A lot of people still love those.

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