A Senate of Robin, Raffy, Jinggoy, Bong, and Lito

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Well, with no offense meant, on June 30, we shall welcome to the Philippine Senate a number of showbiz and TV personalities. The voters chose actors over legal luminaries. Great candidates like Gordon, Diokno, De Lima, brilliant lawyers and masters of parliamentary order had been rejected by the sovereign Filipino people. It seems that the country needs more entertainment than landmark laws. Let us just try to recall the best and the most competent senators in the days of the great august Senate body.

To me, the greatest senator was Claro M. Recto, from Batangas, elected in 1931, 1941, and from 1952 to 1960. His brilliance shone in his legislative measures and in the high quality of his debates and speeches. Then, came Lorenzo Tañada from Quezon, a senator from 1947 to 1971. His courage and passion to defend human rights and promote social justice is legendary, to say the least. Jose W. Diokno, a Bar topnotcher without formally studying Law, and also CPA board topnotcher at age 17, this gentleman from Metro Manila was named outstanding senator a number of times by various award-giving bodies. Then, Jovito Salonga, a Bar topnotcher and solid parliamentarian from Rizal. He was topnotcher a number of times in the senate races and was elected senate president during the Cory years from 1986 to 1992.

Of course, the greatest lady senator, Miriam Defensor Santiago, who could have been our best Philippine president, if not for the cheating in the 1992 polls. She was elected senator in 1995, 2004, and 2010. I also include the eminent lady senators, counted as one: Geronima Pecson who was the first female member of the Senate, Maria Kalaw Katigbak, Tecla San Andres Ziga, Eva Estrada Kalaw, Magnolia Antonino, Leticia Ramos Shahani, and Santanina Rasul, the first Muslim lady senator and the only one so far. You rejected a great Samira Gutoc this year. I also include as one the famous senators from Cebu, Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Manuel C. Briones, Filemon Sotto, Vicente Sotto, Vicente Rama, and Marcelo Fernan.

Then, I consider Francisco Soc Rodrigo as a great senator too. One of the most passionate senators was Ninoy Aquino, the nemesis of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. He exposed the Jabida Massacre of Muslims in Corregidor and the failed plan to invade Sabah by the Marcos government. I always wanted a Muslim in the Senate to follow Alauya and Domocao Alonto, Hadji Butu, Mamintal Tamano, and Salipada Pendatun. I also classify Raul Manglapus and Manuel P. Manahan as great senators, although they did not stay long in the Senate. Ramon Mitra from Palawan and Iloilo's Rodolfo Ganzon were great senators too, and Ambrocio Padilla was a brilliant parliamentarian.

The classic favorites were Manuel Quezon, Arturo Tolentino, Camilo Osias, Carlos P. Garcia, Elpidio Quirino, Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Fernando Lopez, Gil Puyat, Eulogio Rodriguez, Lorenzo Sumulong, Emmanuel Pelaez, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Neptali Gonzales, Manuel C. Briones, Marcelo Fernan, Cipriano Primicias, Rosseler Lim, Cesar Climaco, Juan Liwag, Juan Flavier and, why not, John Osmeña and Serge Osmeña. Of course, I admired Blas F. Ople, the author of the Philippine Labor Code and Ernesto Boy Herrera, the one who did most of the pro-labor amendments to the Labor Code by RA 6715. He was also the one, as a member of the famous Agrava Commission, who found Fabian Ver guilty for the killing of Ninoy Aquino. And Ver was just a finger away from Marcos. I am proud of my good friend, Boy Herrera.

I should hasten to add Tito Sotto who was elected four times and is the incumbent Senate president. Not a lawyer but an excellent parliamentarian and a good consensus builder. To me, to be a senator is to become a model of parliamentary expertise. But if the people want the Senate to become a great TV show, Then we should have elected Ricardo Dalisay and Willy Revillame and include Vice Ganda and Boy Abunda too. The august Philippine Senate has metamorphosed into a worm from being a golden butterfly, perhaps a reverse evolution. Well, the Filipinos deserve what they have chosen. Let us just watch and give them a chance to prove us wrong.


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with