IN a time when the words principled politics often seem like an oxymoron, this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Governance proves that there are still some who place integrity above power.
Jovito Salonga worked with Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel, and counted Lorenzo Tañada, Jose W. Diokno, and Ninoy Aquino among his peers. These giants have passed on, and only Salonga remains to tell new generations of their deeds.
Salonga clearly belongs to this fellowship. In 1985, he relinquished a vice-presidential bid in order to unite the opposition under Cory Aquino. In 1991, he led the Senate in voting to expel American bases from the country at the cost, some say, of becoming a president.
The son of a Presbyterian minister, Salonga says that his life inside and outside politics has been anchored on his Christian faith.
Asked how would he like to be remembered, he says: “As a politician who played politics according to his Christian conviction.”
The way Salonga played it, being a politician was something to be proud of.