Sereno to teachers: You can do what the Court can't
MANILA, Philippines – When Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno entered the PhilSports Arena on Saturday, October 5, Noel Cabangon was in the middle of his song "Ako'y Isang Mabuting Pilipino".
Her timing was perfect, as the lines of the song echoed what the nation is going through today.
"Ako’y isang tapat at totoong lingkod ng bayan / Pabor o lagay ay ‘di ko pinapayagan / Tapat ang serbisyo ko sa mamamayan / ‘Di ko ibinubulsa ang pera ng bayan."
Department of Education Secretary Br Armin Luistro invited Sereno to speak before thousands of public school teachers during the World Teachers' Day celebration.
In her speech, she urged educators to go beyond the Court's limitations.
"Maari naming sabihin ang legal at ilegal ayon sa batas, ngunit hindi po namin kayang magbago ng mga puso...Hindi namin kayang pilitin ang pagpapakumbaba at paghingi ng tawad sa kasalanan sa bayan."
(We can say what's legal and illegal according to law, but we can't change hearts...We can't force humility and apology to those who wronged the nation.)
But teachers may just be the beam of hope the nation needs. "Kapag naaalala ko ang [inyong] kabayanihan, [naiisip kong] ang demokrasya ay nakasalalay sa balikat ng mga guro."
(When I remember your herosim, I think democracy is upon the shoulders of teachers.)
Sereno, who Luistro dubbed as the Chief Teacher of Justice, said the Court will face tough questions in the months ahead – questions such as the relationship of the executive and the legislative, and the anomalies involving the national budget.
"Iisipin namin ang mahirap na katanungan kung ang mga pangangailangan ng Consitution ukol sa public accountability ay totoong nawawasak ng mga sinasabing financial arrangements tungkol sa ating national budget."
(We will think about the tough question of whether the needs of the Constitution when it comes to public accountability are really being violated by what they say are the financial arrangements in the national budget.)
But teachers, in their own capacity, should seize the opportunity to tell students two things:
"Sabihin nyo sa inyong mga estudyante, 'Anak, hindi tamang magnakaw sa kaban ng bayan.'... Ipakita natin kung gaano kasama ang korapsyon na syang nakakasira sa kaluluwa natin bilang isang bayan. Sabihan din sila na huwag tumigil mangarap, hindi lang para sa sarili kundi maging para rin sa [isang] bayan na marangal at matuwid ang tinatahak na daan."
(Tell your students, 'Child, it is not right to steal from national treasury... Let's show them how bad corruption is, and how it destroys the soul of the nation.Tell them also not to stop dreaming not only for themselves, but also for a nation that is noble and walks the straight path.)
Lead the youth
She also emphasized that the teacher, just like the judge, should never make money an end goal when their professions serve a higher purpose.
"Ang kahulugan ng ating ginagawa bilang guro ay para maghulma ng mga kaluluwa, mga isip at puso sa mga susunod pang salinlahi upang mabuhay ang kabutihan, virtud, katalinuhan, at kagalingan ng bayang Pilipinas."
(The essence of what we do as teachers is to hone the soul, mind, and heart of the next generation so that the goodness, virtue, and greatness of the Philippines will live on.)
She urged the teachers not to lose their energy in believing goodness still exists in the country because they can influence the youth to do the same.
"Kayo po ang kayang magsabi sa kabataan na ang pagiging totoo ay hindi isang kahiya-hiyang gawain...Nasa inyo ang kasagutan sa tanong kung uunlad ba ang Pilipinas."
(You have the ability to tell the youth that being truthful is not a shameful thing to do...The answer to whether the Philippines will progress is with you.)
With such high regard for the profession, she said, "Maaaring may magnanakaw, mapanlinlang sa kapwa, ngunit hindi po ang gurong Pilipino (There may be thieves and frauds, but they will never be the Filipino teachers)."
Prior to her appointment as Chief Justice, Sereno was a professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law for 19 years. - Rappler.com