Because of the lengthening list of public officials who have dishonored and endangered our public life, I am proposing that the country should establish a Hall of Shame to remind our people of certain personages who deserve a corner in the nation’s collective memory for acts of disservice and dishonor to people and country.
This can be a project of civil society — of people and groups who have demonstrated outstanding service in our public life, and a media organization like The Manila Times. It will be supported mainly by citizen donations and volunteers. The hall will be the satiric opposite of the more conventional and familiar Hall of Fame that is popular in Western countries.
Since we are now in the Age of the Internet and the Digital Revolution, the hall can be established and maintained on the Web. There will be no need for a physical hall, only a website. People can visit any time and submit their comments and suggestions.
I thought about the Hall of Shame as I contemplated a future in which the nine justices of the Supreme Court, who sent the Constitution into exile and suspended the rule of law in the case of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, will become a kind of permanent majority in the court. Imagine, I told myself, these nine justices will adjudicate major questions of our national life for some time, because each of them will stay put until they are ready for retirement. Having betrayed the nation, they will do so again. The future of the High Court is bleak.
The nine should be enrolled in the hall lest our people and the media forget their singular acts of cowardice and betrayal. They are:
1.Maria Lourdes Sereno, chief justice
2.Presbitero Velasco, associate justice
3. Diosdado Peralta, associate justice
4. Lucas Bersamin, associatre justice
5. Jose Perez, associate justice
6. Jose Mendoza, associate justice
7. Marvic Leonen, associate justice
8. Francis Jardeleza, associate justice
9. Benjamin Caguioa, associate justice
In contrast to these nine, let us commend the six who have dissented from the majority opinion. They are each veritable profiles in courage, for insisting on upholding the Constitution, and resisting all inducements to join the majority. They are:
1. Antonio Carpio, associate justice
2. Arturo Brion, associate justice
Teresita Leonardo de Castro, associate justice
4. Mariano del Castillo, associate justice
5. Estela Perlas-Bernabe, assocate justice
6. Bienvenido Reyes, associate justice
The central figure in this drama of temptation and betrayal in the Supreme Court – Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares –deserves a place in the Hall of Shame because of her obsessive ambition to become the president of the Philippines.
She can file for exclusion from the hall on the grounds that she is not a Filipino citizen.
This should be easy for her to prove, but methinks she should confess her misdeeds and disclose the names of all those who funded her grand scheme to lie and buy her way to the presidency.
Worthy also of a place in the Hall of Shame are the 20 senators who voted to convict former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment trial, in exchange for P50 million-P100 million of funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and from President Aquino.
Ironically, in the DAP decision handed down by the Sereno court, these senators are listed one by one by the infamous and also hall-worthy Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, along with the sums that they received.
On pages 113-114 of the SC decision, they are listed as follows (time of receipt of funds and amount, in parenthesis):
Sen. Antonio Trillanes (October 2012-P50M),
Sen. Manuel Villar (October 2012-P50M),
Sen. Ramon Revilla (October 2012-P50M),
Sen. Francis Pangilinan (October 2012-P30M),
Sen. Loren Legarda (October 2012-P50M),
Sen. Lito Lapid (October 2012-P50M),
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (October 2012-P50M),
Sen. Alan Cayetano (October 2012-P50M),
Sen. Edgardo Angara (October 2012-P50M),
Sen. Ralph Recto (October 2012-P23M; December 2012-P27M),
Sen. Koko Pimentel (October 2012-P25.5M; November 2012 -P5M; December 2012-P15M),
Sen. Tito Sotto (October 2012-Pl lM; November 2012-P39M),
Sen. Teofisto Guingona (October 2012-P35M; December 2012-P9M),
Sen. Serge Osmeña (December 2012-P50M),
Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile (October 2012-P92M)
Sen. Frank Drilon (October 2012-P100M).
Sen. Greg Honasan (August 2012, P50M)
Sen. Francis Escudero (August 2012, P99M).
Sen. Pia Cayetano (January 2013, 50M)
No DAP releases were made to Senators Joker Arroyo, Bongbong Marcos and Miram Defensor-Santiago, who all voted to acquit CJ Corona.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who also voted to convict Corona, got his reward later in the form of a Cabinet post. He was appointed rehabilitation czar of the Yolands disaster, and then he presided over the administration’s massive failure in the recovery and rehabilitation challenge.
Including this list in the Hall of Shame has become a matter of urgency because many of these lawmakers are bidding to be elevated to higher office, or to be reelected to the Senate.
Those seeking higher office
Francis Escudero, candidate for vice-president
Alan Peter Cayetano, candidate for vice- president
Antonio Trillanes, candidate for vice-president
Gregorio Honasan, candidate for vice-president.
Those seeking reelection to the Senate:
Sen. Vicente Sotto
Sen. Ralph Recto
Sen. Francis Pangilinan
Sen. Franklin Drilon
Sen. Teofisto Guingona
Sen. Serge Osmeña
Senators Miriam Santiago and Bongbong Maros are also running for higher office, the former for president and the latter for vice-president. They certainly have nothing to be ashamed of, and have much to be proud of in not taking part in the lynching of Corona and refusing to take the DAP bribe.
Senator Lacson, whose term has expired, is seeking a return to the Senate.
It stands to reason that when the time comes for Filipino voters to make their choice in the polling booth, they should think twice about voting for anyone listed in this hall of shame.
When the curtain falls on the Aquino presidency on June 30, top officials, from BS Aquino, to Butch Abad, to Joseph Emilio Abaya, will be evaluated for inclusion in the hall.
I plan to ask the chairman, president and publisher of The Manila Times to involve the paper in organizing the Hall of Shame project.
I believe that as the oldest living newspaper in the Philippines (it was founded at the birth of the Philippine republic in 1898), the Times has the gravitas and confidence to sustain and defend such a public record.
Personages will be considered for inclusion in the Hall of Shame by a selection committee that will review the record and fitness of each nominee.
A colleague has suggested that members of the Hyatt 10 should be considered for election to the hall.
One possible rule to consider: Personages entered in the Hall of Shame can get their names removed, if they perform an exceptional deed for people and country, like say dying heroically in battle for a national cause, writing a redemptive and landmark ponencia for the high court, or writing and sponsoring landmark legislation that makes a difference in people’s lives.
Getting a medal in sports or being awarded the Nobel prize would also earn immunity. But personages who earn these illustrious honors, are more likely to find their place in a Hall of Fame or the National Museum.