Names to include and avoid in my ballot


I learned from my colleague Kit Tatad of former chief justice Renato Corona’s sudden death while I was coincidentally writing my column for April 30.

The news grieved me deeply and left me stunned. So I hastened to write a note on his passing in my column, which by happenstance dealt with the issue of bank deposits secrecy (“Waiver of bank account secrecy is a sound idea,” Manila Times, April 30).

This is what I wrote:

‘A national tragedy’
“Yesterday, former chief justice Renato Corona died suddenly of cardiac arrest.

“His sudden passing is doubly saddening and ironic, because it has come at a time when the bank secrecy law is heavily being questioned, and the subject of hidden bank deposits has become an issue in the election campaign.

“The late chief justice was impeached for allegedly failing to include foreign currency deposits in his SALN (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth), and he was thereafter convicted when he inexplicably and dramatically executed a waiver of secrecy on his bank accounts.

“The controversy over his bank deposits was triggered by violations of the bank deposits secrecy law by no less than the Anti-money Laundering Council (AMLC), evidently on the command of President Benigno B.S. Aquino III.

“I watched every single day of Corona’s impeachment trial at the Senate on live TV, and I remember well the travesty of justice that transpired and the oftentimes bizarre introduction of evidence.

“The fact that 20 senators sold themselves to Aquino for Corona’s lynching turned his story into a national tragedy.”

Verdict on senator-judges
I will not leave it at this because on Monday, May 9, the nation will hold national elections, and many of the senator-judges at Corona’s trial are standing for election.

This affords us citizens a not-to-be-missed opportunity to render our personal verdict on the senator-judges.

I have a mind to reward those who stood by Corona during his ordeal with my vote.

And I will not vote to re-elect or return to the Senate the senators who ignominiously voted to convict him, and took a bribe from Aquino.

Santiago, Marcos get my vote
For their unwavering and courageous decision to do the right thing and acquit Corona of the impeachment charges, I will vote for Miriam Defensor-Santiago as my president; and I will vote for Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. as my vice-president.

(The third dissenter in the Corona impeachment trial, Sen. Joker Arroyo, died last year.)

Consequently, I will reject the vice-presidential candidacies of Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes, and Gregorio Honasan, who all voted to convict and to receive a reward for doing so.

The following names will not appear in my ballot among my senatorial choices:

Franklin Drilon
Vicente Sotto
Francis Pangilinan
Ralph Recto
Sergio Osmeña
Teofisto Guingona
Panfilo Lacson

Lacson refused the DAP incentive; he was rewarded with a hollow Cabinet assignment instead.

Need for a new Senate
The rank injustice done to Renato Corona cries out for correction, and we may think that there is nothing now that can be done to vindicate his memory.

Benigno BS Aquino, the architect of it all, will be gone from office on June 30, and it is an open question whether he will be made to answer formally for his misdeeds and his abusive persecution of Corona.

The story of Corona’s impeachment deserves to be told by a legal scholar and an investigative journalist. Future students of the law and political science will profit from it and learn who was vile and who was honorable in this shameful chapter in the nation’s history.

I believe the Senate badly needs a change of faces.

Because of the election rules, senators who were elected in the 2013 mid-term election and are running for higher office in this year’s election, will be returning to the Senate after the balloting, even if they lose.

That means we haven’t seen the last of Grace Poe, Escudero, Cayetano, Trillanes and Honasan in the Senate of the Philippines.

With these politicians returning, and Drilon, Sotto and Recto probably winning reelection, it would be as if nothing has changed in the chamber.

This is a pity, because the chamber badly needs a facelift. According to the Philippine Trust Index, the Senate is one government institution that does not enjoy a good trust rating from the public. It is only surpassed in disrepute by the presidency and the House of Representatives.

Names for a Senate facelift
As a contribution to the Senate facelift, I will vote for the following candidates for senator:

Richard Gordon – The hard-charging former senator and

Red Cross chairman will get my vote.

He should be returned to the chamber, where he made an impact during his one term there. He is in the books as the author of several landmark legislation, such as the Tourism Development Act and the Automated Election System Law.

Martin Romualdez – I am making a special pitch for my fellow Leyteño, Martin Romualdez.

For the longest time, Leyte and East Visayas have not been represented in the Senate since the time of President Ramon Magsaysay in the 1950s. Our last senator was the guerrilla leader Ruperto Kangleon.

Martin is a scion of the Romualdez clan in Leyte. He is a nephew of former first lady Imelda Romuadez-Marcos. He is cousin to Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez, the man on whom Mar Roxas bestowed the infamous putdown, “You are a Romualdez, the President is an Aquino.”

If only for the ordeal that Leyte and East Visayas lived through with Supertyphoon Yolanda/Haiyan and the saga of rebuilding and reconstruction, my home-province and home-region should be given a voice in the Senate.

Getulio Napeñas – to perpetuate the memory of the fallen

SAF44 in the Mamasapano massacre, I will vote for Napeñas for senator. It is not right that the administration has made him a scapegoat in the massacre, while the perpetrators of the killings have not been indicted.

Napeñas, a soldier through and through, will be a credit to the Senate.

Neri Colmenares – I do not understand why the Left up to now has failed to elect a candidate from its ranks to the Senate. Every election, it dutifully puts up a candidate to represent it — only to be dashed by the electoral verdict.

I submit that it is time for the nation to give a voice to the

Left in the Senate. Neri will be an articulate voice for public interest causes and social policy.

I am pleasantly surprised that Neri has been able to buy some advertising for his campaign in the big networks. A capitalist somewhere profits when a socialist buys advertising.

My ballot, not yours
Some or many will quibble with my choices for president, vice-president and senator, raising all kinds of arguments.

I will answer: This is my ballot, not yours. The selections I have made only have to make sense to me, not you. You will get to your own selections, using whatever criteria you consider relevant.

With that, I leave you, dear readers, to your own devices in making your selections.


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  1. I just hope the name of Susan Ople will be there to continue to fight for the welfare of our modern day heroes just as the name of Princess Jacel Kiram so that the struggle to retake what is ours will gain impetus.

    Let us just do away with all those re-electionist senatongs.

  2. It was a DAY OF INFAMY when these senator-judges accepted bribes from PNoy of P50 million or more siphoned from DAP to convict CJ Corona . They must be rejected on May 9. They must also be prosecuted for their heinous crime and made to repay the P50 million or more that each of them had stolen from the hard earned money of the Filipino people. .

  3. I also did not vote those guys except for Panfilo Lacson because I knew that he never accepted DAP or PDAF. Have I read your column earlier, I might have not voted for him too. Still, for President, I gave my vote to Santiago and VP to Marcos. I pray that those senators you mentioned will not win but given the latest result of the national surveys, I believe that the voters are not matured enough yet. However, I believe that because of social media, we are going to that future. In the future election, I believe that voters will be more matured than it will be this May 2016. God bless the Philippines!

  4. mark del rosario on

    Sir, I agree except for one. Colmenares. He was one of the congressmen-prosecutors, who persecuted the good CJ. He is likely a beneficiary of DAP bribe during the impeachment.

  5. anonimos toni on

    sir: add to the list na dapat hindi maiboto sa senado is lilia delima. . .grrrrrrrrr!

  6. yen, i would have voted for colmenares also. in fact he was already in my list until i saw a posting in facebook recently that he was one of the accusers of the late corona. he was according to report, one of the house panel of prosecutors. with that info, i erased his name from my list and still looking for a new face to vote for. btw, pia cayetano voted for impeachment of corona and she is running for congress via party list, if i am correct. pia also voted in favor of llamanzares in the SET. she is not for obedience of the law.

  7. Juan T. Delacruz on

    Mr. Yen Makabenta, please DO NOT vote for Alma Moreno and Manny Paquiao. They would only look good in the Senate without accomplishing anything. Look at Nancy Binay, she is confused most of the time and have not accomplished anything since she was elected in office. What a waste!

  8. Emperor JC on

    Expect the dirtiest election on Monday. Brace for a bloody revolution. No matter how cowards and selfish Filipinos are, this will never be prevented.

  9. Hwag ng iboto yung mga TRAPOS at piliin natin yung mga bago at maganda naman ang back ground Nila sa serviciong Bayan. No to all TRAPOS!

  10. The transparency in your ballot, Mr Macabenta, is greatly appreciated. We will see in the coming months and years if your choices will make a dent or difference in this stinking senate. I understand that there is no guarantee that they will win, nonetheless, I trust in your good judgment. May God grant our wish for good governance in our beloved Philippines, my prayer.

  11. Sir,
    I wish the voters will listen to me: As I have commented many times that ” Do not vote candidates of the Liberal Party members because they are all corrupt” now let me add do not vote for any -reelectionist senators because they are all corrupt, they impeached Cj Corrona because they received bribe dirty money from DAP of Pnoy. These senators including the impeachment mastermind Pnoy should be blamed why Corona died , he died because of stress and he thinks the problems he encountered to injustices against him. Condolence to the family of a good Chief Justice Corona.

    • ate, lacson voted for impeachment tho he did not get a single cent from DAP. he voted for impeachment to pay of gratitude to benito boy sisi for dropping, courtesy of the doj, his murder cases.

  12. Minti Calso on

    Congratulations — your list of candidates to vote for to lead our country is best. One thing in particular that I like most is those Senators that will not be in your ballot — hooray! Those guys are in their office only to perpetuate the corruptness of the system as the dogs of their Oligarchs bosses.

    People, wake up! get rid of those guys and possibly their own generations to come.

  13. BRAVO to Mr. Yen Makabenta and Mr. Ricardo Saludo.. You have given the right guide to choose the right candidates. I always read your columns, every single day issue of Manila Times. Unlike the other broadsheet who is a pro-admin candidates.. Mabuhay ang Manila Times..

  14. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Good choice except for two, an american and a leftist. While they seem to show that they are nationalist and for the rule of law, they have not. But, we have to respect each others vote as this is the only thing that make us equal. God save the Philippines.

  15. Tita Rimando on

    Am happy that my list of ballot names for the top posts resonate with yours. Except for Napenas, those names appear in my list too; i have 10 ?

  16. silvino sarga on

    The best gift you can give to the fallen man- don’t vote them into Senate those judas-senators who romped and persecuted CJ Corona for 50 million PDAP pesos.

  17. I have the same choices for President and VP. All of the other candidates for President are tainted. A former judge is a better alternative so that the rule of law may prevail.

  18. We have the same line up Mr. Yen except for three senators Recto, Sotto and Lacson.I felt relieved because eversince i started voting most of my choices didn’t win and I thought theres something wrong with me. Its only now that I realize I may have intelligent votes, that’s why. By the way I already voted abroad before justice corona died and before I read your column and sen. Tatad’s.

  19. Allen Llamar on

    My guess was right your family name a very familiar to me I had classmates in DWU with family names MAKABENTA.

    Jail Pinoy or Noynoy in real and Noytards are some call this bald. Please,throw the key.

  20. I will vote by tribe affiliation, duterte, Marcos, senators romualdez and candidates without traces of corruption, and a license lawyers to give justice to our licensed professionals

  21. Silinglabuyo on

    To the author, did you forget that the deceased you’re honoring could not explain how he accumulated so much wealth?

    • Allen Llamar on

      I presume you were watching the court hearing last year I was big on news on the TV and radio as well and here abroad. Hon. Corona explain it well and vividly. I don`t believed you didn`t hear about it.
      You are a Pinoy it`s in the blood mahilig sa tsismis and at gawa gawa ng stismis at maki tsismis.