MANILA, Philippines – The conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona upholds the Philippine Constitution, a hallmark of the country’s independence that is celebrated Tuesday, June 12, President Benigno Aquino III said.
Aquino highlighted the importance of the Constitution in his Independence Day speech at Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan. This was the site of the drafting of the country’s first Constitution and the inauguration of the first Philippine republic.
The President said that 114 years after the country’s independence from Spain, corrupt politicians use the Constitution for their own interests, blatantly violating the law.
“Ang Konstitusyon na dapat natatakbuhan ng karaniwang tao, ay nagiging laruan na lamang ng mga hari-harian,” Aquino said. (The Constitution that the ordinary person is supposed to run to has become a tool of those who want to rule the country.)
Corona, whom Aquino alluded to, was convicted by the impeachment court last May 29 for betraying public trust and committing culpable violation of the Constitution.
The former magistrate’s conviction, he said, is a good sign.
“Naging saksi ang buong bansa nang nilitis si Ginoong Corona, ang dating Punong Mahistrado. Inabot ng 5 buwan ang prosesong ito. Gayumpaman, pinatingkad nito ang diwa ng ating demokrasya,” Aquino said. (The whole country bore witness to the impeachment trial of Mr. Corona, the former Chief Justice. This was a process that took five months. And it was a process that strengthened our democracy.)
Aquino’s Independence Day speech shows his anti-corruption battle cry – for which he has been widely criticized as he supposedly pursues this at the expense of the economy. A Pulse Asia survey shows that Aquino has received the highest ratings in fighting corruption, and the lowest in addressing poverty and the economy.
After the flag-raising in the morning, Aquino went to the Palace to host the diplomatic corps during the traditional Vin d’honneur.
“Today, we renew our commitment to work for the good of the country. And it falls on us — from those of us in government to our countrymen on the streets of our cities—to work together so we can realize our shared goals,” Aquino said in his message to diplomats.
Binay: Freedom not fully realized
Vice President Jejomar Binay said Filipinos are not yet fully free because many still yearn for a better life.
In his Independence Day statement, he said: “President Aquino and I know this daunting challenge. Still, I call on everyone – whatever our ties and regional, sectoral, political or religious sentiments are – that we be one in our goal, and that is to give a better life to each Filipino.”
Binay led Independence Day rites at the Rizal National Monument in Luneta, Manila. – Rappler.com
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