Robredo: Rizal a reminder that ‘true freedom goes with kindness, integrity’

Mara Cepeda
Vice President Leni Robredo says the national hero should inspire Filipinos to 'work for his vision of a Philippines free from hate, division, and tyranny'

MANILA, Philippines – On the 122nd anniversary of the Philippine hero, Vice President Leni Robredo told Filipinos that they should emulate Dr Jose Rizal who remains a symbol of what true freedom means.

“In these times when ruthless practicality is foisted on us as virtue, and when respect for individual dignity is maligned as weakness, Rizal stands as a reminder that true freedom always goes hand in hand with kindness and integrity,” said Robredo in her message for Rizal Day on Sunday, December 30. 

The Vice President led the flag raising and wreath laying ceremonies at Luneta Park in Manila as the nation commemorated the 122nd death anniversary of Rizal. (READ: Free train rides on Rizal Day 2018)

President Rodrigo Duterte was again not present at the event.

The Philippine national hero was executed on December 30, 1896, after the Spanish government found him guilty of treason. (READ: Reading, understanding, and appreciating Rizal)

Robredo, the leader of the political opposition and a critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war that has killed thousands, then quoted what she calls a “moving” passage from Rizal’s El Filibusterismo.

“Hate never produces anything but monsters and crime criminals! Love alone realizes wonderful works, virtue alone can save! No, if our country has ever to be free, it will not be through vice and crime, it will not be so by corrupting its sons, deceiving some and bribing others, no! Redemption presupposes virtue, virtue sacrifice, and sacrifice love!” Robredo quoted the excerpt in the famous Rizal novel.

The Vice President told the public that the change they wish to see in society must begin from them. 

“This Rizal Day, may we take this reminder from our national hero to heart. And may we find in ourselves the courage and serenity to work for his vision of a Philippines free from hate, division, and tyranny, and where the dignity of every Filipino is upheld,” said Robredo.

Malacañang issued a message through Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo urged the Filipino youth to emulate the national hero and show courage and empathy. – 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.