1987 Constitution protects freedoms suppressed under Martial Law – Robredo

Mara Cepeda
1987 Constitution protects freedoms suppressed under Martial Law – Robredo
On Constitution Day, the Vice President says the Charter embodies the Filipino's 'collective dream' of a society where wealth and power are for the greater good

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo reminded Filipinos the 1987 Constitution protects the freedoms that were regained at the end of Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship.

This was the Vice President’s message on Friday, February 2, the same day the Philippines commemorated the ratification of the 1987 Constitution 31 years ago. (READ: Framers of 1987 Constitution: Charter change, federalism not the answer)

Layunin ng Saligang Batas na pangalagaan ang ating kalayaan at mga karapatan na sinupil noong panahon ng Batas Militar. Tiniyak din nito na hindi na tayo muling patatahimikin, aabusuhin, at pagsasamantalahan ng mga nasa kapangyarihan,” said Robredo, a lawyer-turned-politician.

(The aim of our Constitution is to protect our freedoms and rights that were suppressed during Martial Law. It also ensures people in power will no longer be able to silence, abuse, or take advantage of us.)

She said, however, the Constitution goes beyond the protection of people’s freedoms. It also embodies every Filipino’s dream for a better life.

Nakapaloob dito ang ating kolektibong pangarap – na bumuo ng isang lipunan kung saan ang yaman at kapangyarihan ng ating bansa ay para sa ikabubuti ng lahat, isang bayan kung saan ang bawat Pilipino ay may pagkakataong mamuhay nang makabuluhan at matiwasay, anuman ang kanyang kasarian, estado sa buhay, o opinyong pulitikal,” said Robredo.

(Within the Constitution is our collective dream – to forge a society where the wealth and power of our country are for the greater good, a nation where every Filipino has the chance to live meaningfully and peacefully, whatever the gender, social status, or political opinion.)

The Vice President then lamented that years after Martial Law, the people’s rights are still being suppressed in one way or another. 

Ngunit sapat ba itong dahilan para talikuran ang ating mga pangarap? Hindi ba’t dapat magsilbi itong hamon sa ating sarili at sa ating mga lider, na pagbutihin pa ang trabaho, magkaisa, at manalig na kaya nating magkaroon ng isang lipunang makatuwiran, maunlad, at makatao?” asked Robredo.

(But are these enough reasons to turn our backs from dreams? Aren’t they supposed to serve as a challenge to ourselves and our leaders to work harder, to unite, and to trust that we can create a society that is good, progressive, and humanitarian?) 

For Robredo, the 1987 Constitution is a constant reminder for Filipinos to reach for their dreams.

Sa huli, ito ang sandigan ng ating Konstitusyon: ang paniniwala sa kadakilaan ng Pilipino at pananalig na kaya nating abutin ang ating mga mithiin,” she said.

(In the end, this is what the Constitution stands for: the belief in the greatness of the Filipino and the trust that he or she can reach for the stars.) 

Efforts are currently underway to amend the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for federalism within President Rodrigo Duterte’s term. (READ: Charter Change timetable: Plebiscite in 2018 or May 2019, says Pimentel)

Framers of the 1987 Constitution, however, do not believe it is the right time for Charter Change due to the perennial problem of partisanship in Philippine politics. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.