Sometime in September 1987, your Chair Wrecker called on President Cory Aquino at Malacañang Palace after I submitted my resignation from the Local Government Department following the assassination of Local Government Secretary Jaime N. Ferrer on August 2, 1987. I only joined the department because I shared the vision of the late secretary and his death released me from that commitment.
Cory utilized the meeting to seek my help in selecting Jimmy Ferrer’s replacement. Many desired the powerful position but as we went through the possible suitable candidates — both Cory and your Chair Wrecker realized that we had very few good men and women to choose from.
I could never forget the expression on Cory’s face when she said: “You see Billy, how few good people we have.” Her expression reflected the hardship of an earnest reformer who felt that she did not have the talent pool of trustworthy candidates for public office that’s required in order to accomplish her mission.
That is not to say that Cory did not appoint good men and women in her administration. She did appoint some of the best and most honest public servants we’ve had — among them Ping de Jesus, Christian Monsod, Elfren Cruz, Adolf Azcuna, Chito Sobrepeña, Jimmy Ferrer, Jun Factoran, Teddy Benigno, Ting Jaime, Mita Pardo de Tavera, Bert Romulo, Cayetano Paderanga, Catalino Macaraig, Alran Bengzon, Winnie Monsod and Jess Estanislao.
Today, many folks who are not victims of the Information and Education Gaps in our country are moaning about the likely crop of senators that will land in the winning circle of 12. Many of them feel that some reelectionist senators did not even deserve their current terms and are now poised to win again. We can only empathize with them.
Thus, it was a pity that two such few good men and women took conflicting positions when they faced off last April 12 on ANC Rundown. These were senatorial candidates Adel Tamano and Risa Hontiveros, Nacionalista Party (NP) and Liberal Party (LP), respectively. Both were defending two opposing sides of an issue — the bogus psychiatric report that the camp of NP presidential candidate Manny Villar was using against LP presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino. Before the 2010 presidential election campaign, both Adel and Risa were staunchly fighting the good fight against the evil and impunity raging in our country.
Risa Hontiveros has been consistently and diligently fighting the evil in our land and advocating the desired reforms during the three terms she spent in the House of Representatives. The overwhelming superiority in numbers of the administration never fazed Risa’s fighting heart as we saw her vigorously espouse and defend the public interest again and again. By her lonesome, Risa was like The 300 Spartans at Thermopylae.
During their April 12 face off, Adel Tamano was forced to defend the indefensible and the anguish in his face was very evident. Knowing Adel to be a good and decent person, I sensed that he bemoaned the NP use of dirty black propaganda but was nevertheless forced to defend his party. Adel looked like a good priest who was forced to hear the confession of Adolf Hitler and subsequently render absolution.
Thus, it did not surprise your Chair Wrecker when Adel Tamano finally snapped last week and denounced his own party’s persistence in using black propaganda. This came after that Guido Delgado crude presentation of a second fake psychiatric report against Noynoy Aquino. In so many polite words, Adel confirmed that the NP was engaged in dirty tricks to erode Noynoy Aquino and that this hurt Villar more than Aquino.
In a way, we can consider Adel Tamano a victim of circumstances. Adel gravitated to the Villar camp because his father, the late Senator Mamintal Tamano, was a Nacionalista stalwart. When Adel committed to run in the senate ticket of Villar, the Noynoy phenomenon had not yet emerged. His high regard for the party of his father was a major cause why he denounced the NP dirty tricks against Aquino.
Adel Tamano must be appreciated for the moral courage he had displayed in denouncing the NP dirty tricks. His was an act of moral conviction which we rarely see nowadays. It’s like precious rain in an arid desert — very much like the desert our country had become, an aridity of moral courage in public service. Anyone who stands by his moral conviction — even at the risk of great inconvenience and censure by his own political party — certainly deserves our collective trust.
Adel Tamano and Risa Hontiveros are more than qualified to be in our Senate. Both of them possess the preparation and track records of having espoused just causes. The need to elect senators like Adel Tamano and Risa Hontiveros are better appreciated when viewed against the backdrop of those non-performers who came from showbiz and are now poised to spend another six years in the Senate.
We must also remember who among the other senatorial candidates, especially those in the top 12 in the credible surveys, have collaborated, promoted and protected the evil doers who brought our country to the sorry state we’re in. Junk them! You owe that to yourself and your posterity.
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