The Senate Minority Bloc on Independence Day called on various institutions of democracy such as the Congress and Supreme Court to assert their independence.
“Now, more than ever, it is important for our democratic institutions to show their independence amidst the complicated and divisive political environment that we have today,” they said in a statement.
The Senate Minority Bloc is composed of Senators Franklin M. Drilon as the minority leader, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Benigno Paulo “Bam” Aquino IV, and Leila de Lima, all belonging to the Liberal Party; Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV; and Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros.“We will not be able to protect our people if we do not preserve our independence and integrity as institutions of democracy,” they said.
“Let us not allow others to dishonor and disrespect our institutions, because doing so is an insult to the memory of the brave and selfless Filipinos who fought for our freedom as a nation,” said Drilon.
Pangilinan and Aquino said that the people should continue to guard the democracy in light of the proliferation of “fake news” and misinformation.
“With the growing social media, there is proliferation of fake news that threatened the truth and caused confusion. We want Filipinos to be free from fake news and lies,” said Pangilinan, also Liberal Party president.
“We fought for independence from foreign rule. We fought for freedom from a ruthless dictator,” he added.
“We fought for independence from foreign rule. We fought for freedom from a ruthless dictator. Now, we fight terrorism, encroachment on our territory and our freedom to dissent,” he said.”Now, we fight terrorism, encroachment on our territory and our freedom to dissent. In an era of fake news, rabid online persecution and weak political institutions, we need to fight for our democracy now more than ever,” Aquino said.
Trillanes, on the other hand, said that “it is in everyone’s interest that we guard the independence of our institutions.”
“As we celebrate our Independence today, let us breathe life to the liberties that were fought for us by our forerunners by defending the independence of our institutions and by keeping dissent alive in the face of tyranny,” Trillanes said.
Hontiveros, for her part, said that “independence and freedom will have no sense without democracy.”
“Our freedom can only be guaranteed by strong democratic institutions. I call on the public to honor thesacrifices of our heroes by opposing a Martial law declaration that is not compliant with the constitution. Let us always remember, the promised order of tyranny will never bring us to full democracy,” she added.
Senator Loren Legarda, meanwhile, said that a shared understanding of the diverse Filipino culture is key to promoting inclusive growth.
“Our culture and our values define our being Filipino. We can never work together wholeheartedly towards the inclusive growth and development of our nation if we do not have national pride as a people, if we do not appreciate the richness of our diverse culture,” she said.
The senator said that the current administration’s development blueprint, the Philippine Development
Plan 2017-2022, is anchored on three pillars—Pagbabago, Patuloy na Pag-unlad, and Malasakit.