Hon. Mary Ann Chiong de los Santos, born from an upper middle class family, was a daughter of Atty. Fernando Flordelis de los Santos, a lawyer by profession and was appointed as the technical advisor of former President Ramon Magsaysay and Mrs. Dulce Chiong – de los Santos, a plain housewife. With education as the dogma of her parents, she took her basic education at the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion, bachelor’s degree on Political Science at the University of San Carlos, and law studies at the same university. With this dogma, all of her eight siblings were all professionals, as her parents believed that education is the only legacy that they can leave, and if they are equipped with education, they are set for life.
A person who firmly believes in destiny, she started her political career on 1994. It was during that time that she worked in the Borromeo-Amores law firm. With the request of her father, she was asked to help Maning Montemayor, a candidate vying for barangay chairmanship in Barangay Lahug, in formulating his political platforms. As a graduate of political science and law, her father expected her to help Montemayor, because her father, a retired lawyer at that time, wants to be behind the limelight. It was then that Montemayor offered her a seat in the barangay council ticket. Though reluctant to accept the offer, due to the persistence of Montemayor, she accepted the offer. She said that her father discouraged any of his children in participating during elections for her father, serving as a technical adviser of Pres. Magsaysay, saw how “dirty” politics was and he had a bitter taste experience of politics while running for congress of the south district against Cuenco. However, it did not stopped her from signing the certificate of candidacy. Though she stated that it was a decision not from the heart because she recalled that she was naïve about real politcs at that time and she made the decision for a taste of experience. Without calculating the costs and benefits, she still decided to run. For her, it was more of a decision for self actualization. For the ten days of campaigning, she needs to learn the ropes of speaking vernacular in order to deal with the locals because as she said, local politics was mass-based. Though people were doubtful about her capabilities, she continued to run for the barangay council seat. During the course of the campaign, Montemayor, their ticket leader, was abruptly gone in the scene. According to her, it seemed like working through the campaign without a head. As she sees that there is no more point of turning back, she pursued her candidacy, winning third in the elections and the only candidate who won from her ticket.
In her three years serving as a councilor, she saw that there were a lot of things that were to be changed within the barangay. This motivated her to run for barangay captain on 1997. Though her competitor of the seat, Mr. Jess Lee, was a more popular and a...