OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales joins today the honor roll of recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, cited for distinction in their fields and for having helped others generously without expecting public recognition.
With her at the annual Ramon Magsaysay Award rites at the Cultural Center of the Philippines are five other awardees, two individuals and three organizations – Indian Bezwada Wilson, anti-manual scavenging activist; Indian Thodur Madabushi Krishna, emergent leadership awardee cited for ensuring social inclusiveness in culture; the Dompet Dhuafa of Indonesia, for expanding the transformative impact of zakat, an Islamic tax; the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, which has been providing humanitarian assistance to developing countries; and the Vientiane Rescue, an emergency rescue organization in Laos.
“The awardees share in common a greatness of spirit that infuses their crusade of change,” Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation President Carmencita Abella said. “They are creating bold solutions to deeply rooted problems in their respective societies, problems which are most damaging to the lives of those trapped in poverty, ignorance, prejudice, and unjust systems.”
Our own awardee Conchita Carpio Morales may be remembered as the Supreme Court associate justice who swore in Benigno S. Aquino III as the 15th president of the Philippines in 2010. The next year, she was appointed Ombudsman of the Philippines and she proceeded to file cases against high-ranking officials.
It is for her work as Ombudsman that Morales is being cited today. The RM foundation recognizes her “for her moral courage and commitment to justice in taking head-on one of the most intractable problems of the Philippines; promoting by her example of incorruptibility, diligence, vision, and leadership the highest ethical standards of public service.” Believing that corruption is a matter of systems, not just persons, she had also launched a corruption prevention program aimed at bringing about systemic change in government.
Morales will also be honored on September 2 as one of several Distinguished Icons of Legal Excellence and Public Service by the University of the Philippines Women Lawyers Circle (Wiloci). The list of awardees includes Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, several former SC justices, former senators, and heads of various constitutional bodies.
With the RM Awards rites today, she joins 312 Asian laureates honored since 1957, outstanding men, women, and organizations cited for their transformative leadership that have helped solve some of the most difficult problems of human development and helped transform their societies for the better.