By Jaynie Ambayec
John Marvin C. Nieto, or more popularly known in show business as Yul Servo, is now an elected member of the House of Representatives representing Manila’s 3rd District. Nieto is like Francisco Domagoso or Isko Moreno. Both started as actors in movies and on television before joining the world of Manila’s colorful politics.
The 37-year-old Nieto’s dream though was not to be a politician but to make a name in show business. His films are impressive and include Lav Diaz’s Batang West Side (2001), Ilusyon (2005). Brutus (2008), Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story (2011), and Naglalayag (2004) with the country’s lone superstar, Nora Aunor.
He had a pretty successful career, but what made him decide to leave showbiz behind?
“I did it for my father. He was the one who’s into helping people, he used to be a Councilor,” he revealed in an interview with The Standard.
He admitted that entering politics did not really cross his mind but upon his father’s encouragement, he decided to give it a try.
“My father kept on urging me. So, I said that I’ll try it but I was a bit hesitant back then because I already had a good career as an actor. I was in movies and TV. My contribution as an actor was also recognized when a won a few acting awards,” Nieto shared.
Nevertheless, he did follow his father’s wish but doubted his chances of even winning the approval of the electorate especially those who didn’t know anything much about him.
“I didn’t think that I’d win but I did and that was the start of my career as a public servant. I had obtained three terms as Councilor and I enjoyed it,” Nieto beamed with pride.
For the now congressman Nieto, his journey from being an actor to politician was actually a smooth transition. “I was surrounded by good people. I didn’t have a hard time because my family was there, the staff supported me and guided me since this was not my forte.”
He said that it was also helpful that he has a voracious appetite to learn and gain knowledge. In the process of serving the public, he is also learning a lot. He has learned how to speak in front of many people. He has learned to adapt and to socialize with different sectors of society.
“There are times when you’ll get hurt from certain situations, there are times when you’ll be happy… you’ll learn lessons and there are memories that you’ll never forget. These made my strong foundation as a public servant.”
When asked about what makes him different from other showbiz-politicians, or from other public servants for that matter, Cong. Nieto said that he doesn’t do it for the money?
“I love serving people. I won because I think people saw my perseverance, and unwavering dedication. You can win without spending too much money. I fought fair for this position. I didn’t use money and I didn’t give any to get votes. I learned that if you do your job well, people or voters would see that.”
The way he talks about his career as a politician, it seems that he’s now deeply entrenched in serving the public. The only downside of him being in public office, according to him, is that he had to sacrifice a few personal things.
“There are instances when a family member, like your child, needs you, say it’s a graduation…but you have to attend to some matters in the government. The only thing you could say is that you’ll make it up to them,” Nieto ended.
(Jaynie Ambayec is an incoming senior at Colegio de San Juan de Letran majoring in communication arts.)