Cursus honorum
SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto P. Maceda Jr. (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2019 - 12:00am

Who hasn’t read in the papers, heard on the radio, seen on TV or on social media? Three men and a lady. Also known as image models of the new order. They’ve captured popular imagination from the day they won their races. This week, they hit the ground running. Now, they’re trending more than the oldies upstairs.

Josefina Go Belmonte-Alimurung, Francisco Moreno Domagoso, Vico Sotto and Francis Zamora.  Joy is establishing complete baseline data, doing an internal audit in Quezon City for her first 100 days. Isko has successfully recovered the clogged avenues of Manila and fired off open governance policy initiatives. Vico lifted the number coding in Pasig. Francis opened an important, shuttered school building in San Juan. Their constituencies are loving the little miracles.

These young leaders stand out, not just because of the fire in their bellies. To me, we should appreciate them for a reason more profound. That is, their respect for the cursus honorum. In Roman times, this referred to the ladder of offices that men of the Senatorial rank were legally bound to hold before ultimately becoming eligible for the Senate in their 40th year. Rising from the ranks bespeaks devotion to duty and giving honor to the service by training for the position you mean to hold. You respect the curve, start below and deserve the higher office.

Mayor Isko is the first Manila Mayor in 30 years to have matriculated from the bottom. He began his public service career as a city councilor of Tondo, serving three terms. He was elected vice mayor of Manila, again for three terms. The last mayor to have been a city councilor was the 1st post Martial Law mayor, the late, great Gemiliano C. Lopez Jr., also of Tondo, who was elected back in 1988.

Mayor Vico also started at the bottom, first winning as Pasig City councilor. Mayor Francis was a city councilor of san juan, then its vice mayor. Mayor Joy was first a three-term vice mayor of Quezon City.

There is so much history and tradition in the positions they now hold. In Mayor Isko’s case, Manila has been around for 448 years. But, still, you get the sense that these LGUs will see history being made.

Talk is cheaper. Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez plans to place the administration’s economic team at the disposal of legislators. There has to be an alignment of legislative agenda with the capacity of government to deliver.

From the start, our responsible economic managers have touted the urgency of fiscal discipline. Our economic growth is only sustainable with prudent targets. With 100 new congressmen coming plus several newbie senators opening their accounts, Sec. Sonny and Co. know only too well that the next months will be the season of lofty ideas. So theirs is the task of the harsh reality check. Tempering idealism with pragmatic truths. Keeping our legislators’ feet on the ground averts the embarrassment of Presidential vetoes.

Justice Anthony Kennedy: “Separation of powers and checks and balances are not automatic mechanisms. They depend upon a commitment to civility, open communication, and good faith on all sides.”

Independent judiciary. There is merit to the suggestion that Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) interviews be sub rosa when unresolved policy questions are injected into the equation. This prevents possible grounds for inhibition should the appointed applicant confront the issue later. Secrecy also allows aspirants to be candid, knowing their responses need not be scrutinized much for identity with the appointing power’s position. We saw how, in the wake of the Recto/Reed Bank incident, the trio of interviewees on the JBC dock all hummed the same tune as the President.

Our man in New York. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has appointed heavyweight lawyer but low key public servant Rodolfo “Rudy” Robles as his Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Ambassador Robles, proud San Beda Law graduate and Harvard LL.M. alumnus, was the 1967 No. 1 Bar Topnotcher. He was the founding dean of the Arellano School of Law Foundation and a 1971  Constitutional Convention delegate from hometown Tiaong, Quezon. Many have not heard of this unassuming, humble man. But expect great things from him. At the Constitutional Convention, he sponsored the provision making the protections of the Miranda warning in custodial interrogations a constitutional guarantee. Looking for Presidential respect for human rights? Ambassador Robles will be his exhibit “A”.

Passages. Sister Ma. Gloria Ross, RVM. Instrument of countless unexplained miracle healings through the intercession of Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo. Sister Glo was the moving force behind the establishment of the Mo. Ignacia Healing Center in Caloocan that has provided physical, emotional and spiritual relief to its numerous patrons. They cater principally to those less fortunate but who remain rich in faith. She was kind and gentle but firm. She commanded the loyalty of an army of devotees committed to serve. We will pray for you as you prayed for all of us, beloved Sister Glo.

Xavier School Batch ’81 and UP Political Science Batch ’85 mourn the passing of the man most likely to. Donn Bautista was the best and the brightest wherever he went and in whatever he did. Like many of us, he dreamed of a life of service. We were certain he’d be a leader of society. In the end, he chose the path of the shepherd. Donn became Fr. Donn. It was, in truth, the most selfless route to fulfilling his dream. In 2018, he became Archdeacon of his Diocese in Europe. Yesterday, on his way to say Mass, we lost him. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Well done, my good man. Your light shone brightly till the journey’s end.

CURSUS HONORUM RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
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