That the Second District of Antipolo is blessed to have Romeo M. Acop as its Congressional Representative is a case of tit-for-tat. The no-nonsense lawmaker says “If you have been blessed, you have to give back”. In deciding to give back, Acop may very well be his district’s best blessing.
Romeo M. Acop has been in public service for a little less than 40 years. Bulk of it was served in the fulfillment of his military and police duties. Having wanted to be a doctor initially, the realization of his family’s humble means allowed practicality to rule over ambition. He joined the Philippine Military Academy instead.
Perhaps it is his ability to see and his willingness to accept reality that has made Acop the well-rounded individual that he is.
How he rose from the ranks and the impeccable record he holds, shows his drive to excel in his field. Wanting to join the CIS Division of the Philippine National Police, Acop was advised by his superiors that only law graduates are eligible to join the division. He did not consider this a let-down. Instead, he took up law at the Jose Rizal University and acquired the degree, cum Laude, in 1986. “So, I am a lawyer to serve a purpose” Acop says.
His knowledge of the law serves him well, now that he is on his second facet of his public service. As House Representative, Acop has authored, co-authored and sponsored no less than 40 sensible (!) house measures. He is a member of 9 House committees and, probably owing to his impressive record as a police general, is a Vice Chairperson of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety.
Will Romeo Acop will continue with an untarnished record? This seems to be non-debatable. After all, he has led a life based on discipline, has been taught by life’s experiences and is guided by a morally correct perception of what is right and wrong. Although relatively young, Acop speaks with the wisdom of a man who seems to have seen it all. “My take [on the matter of running for public office] is if you win, you have to continue sharing. If you lose, you have shared enough” he says. “But if you do not share, something will be taken from you.” Acop adds.
His straightforward nature is contrary to the archetypal “please everybody” profile of a politician. Still and all, people look up to him, perhaps seeing a refreshing alternative to the estilong bulok of seasoned politicians or wannabe public servants. Acop is definitely not the type who would stoop down to the pathetic ngiting aso and mahal ko kayong lahat performance. Neither would he engage in senseless kwentong cochero and pangakong napapako dialogues. Actions do speak louder than words and here lies the strength of this former kilabot ng mga criminal. “Bukas [open] talaga sya! Galit sa sinungaling si Cong. kaya yung kumare ko hindi sya natulungan kasi sinungaling eh” says Gumamela Esguerra of Maagay II, Barangay Inarawan. “Gwapo pa!” she adds with boisterous laughter.
So whatever happened then to his dream of becoming a doctor? “It’s okay, it’s partially fulfilled. I am very happily married to one, anyway!” he says, his pride obvious beneath the humor.
“I want to be remembered as someone who instituted changes … changes that made a positive difference” Acop replies when asked about his legacy. As for his “retirement dream”, Acop says he want to visit the Top 10 Philippine Destinations. “Mahirap naman na para tayong turista sa sarili nating bayan, di ba?” he reasons.
But who is talking about retirement? If the success story of Acop will be used to gauge the forecasted improvement of his district, then the Second District of Antipolo is headed for betterment. It is inevitable then, that the people of Antipolo will clamor for him.
When this happens, the selfless person that he is may have to reconsider. Or maybe not. “Let us cross the bridge when we get there” he replies.
Romeo Acop is married to Cion Marrero. They have three children: Philip Conrad, Reena Claudine and Karla Marie.