TOMAS Osmeña prescribed “a spoonful of transparency” for Mayor Mike Rama. An irritated Rama gagged City Hall department heads from talking to media. He backtracked later.

Osmeña is now a national legislator. His reflexes haven’t caught up and remain that of former city mayor. This schizo mindset needles the actual mayor. “Transparency” should be the rule,” Osmeña preaches.

We agree. Osmeña’s track record shows that he insists on transparency from others. But rarely from himself.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

In 1996, Osmeña withheld from Cebuano taxpayers the repayment burdens for South Road Properties yen loans. “You won’t pay a single centavo,” he said. Lack of transparency kept Cebuanos in the dark.

But P1-million daily repayments shredded Osmeña’s blackout in early 2000. Cebuanos must pay Tokyo until 2025. Cebu has the highest IOUs among 137 cities, the Commission on Audit says.

Transparency holds “officials’ feet to the fire.” That’s another name for accountability. The Osmeña-Rama squabble underscores relevance of a new book on accountability in the Supreme Court: “Project 2010: Confronting the Legacy of the GMA Regime.”

Journalist Marites Danguilan Vitug is the author. She wrote the earlier award-winning book, “Shadow of Doubt-–Probing the Supreme Court.”

Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III inherits President Arroyo’s legacy: “a Court led by her former aide and packed with her appointees, most of whom have shown allegiance to her,” Vitug says in this new book. Excerpts:

Journalists were barred when Renato Corona took his oath as Chief Justice. “It wasn’t even on President Arroyo’s official schedule for the day…” The hiding of an oath-taking, a very public act, says much about the new Chief Justice.

The ceremony was “private,” Corona claimed. “Corona’s mindset actually shows a weak bent toward transparency and disclosure of information.”

On the Court, Arroyo’s former spokesman and chief of staff voted in favor of government secrecy in keystone cases: the overpriced ZTE $329-million national broadband network; executive privilege for former Neda secretary Romulo Neri.

Corona also voted against the disclosure of detailed information by the Commission on Elections on its technical preparations for the country’s first automated polls. In 2008, Corona sided with those who would gag media from airing the “Hello, Garci” tapes.

Despite failure to fulfill the population requirement, Corona and eight justices carved out a Camarines Sur district---but insisted on said criteria in the decision scrubbing Dinagat Island as 81st province.

Corona & Co. accommodated the then president’s son, Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo. “A deliberate act of Congress creating disproportion and blessed by the Supreme Court is not only unconstitutional but also disgraceful,” constitutionalist Joaquin Bernas wrote.

Corona switched sides in three major cases “despite the absence of new information or compelling arguments.” The flip-flops on motions for reconsideration were in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Public Estates Authority and Amari Coastal Bay Development Corp., and Penera v. Comelec cases.

At the Court, Corona will preside until 2018. President Aquino will appoint five justices to the Court in a term ending 2016.

Aquino “faces the enormous challenge of restoring the integrity of the appointment process. A good place to start would be changing mindsets. (He) needs to instill in the public a seemingly forgotten tenet: that the institution towers over anyone’s personal interests.”