Sen. Franklin Drilon delivers his speech at the Wallace Business Forum in 2013. Photo by Joseph Vidal/PRIB via Drilon’s Facebook page.
MANILA — Senate President Franklin Drilon on Thursday urged the Filipino people to take to their heart the responsibility of guarding national freedom amid many controversies plaguing some government institutions including the Senate.
“I call on our people to renew our commitment to democracy. Let us revitalize our sense of nationhood with all of us thinking and acting as Filipinos, for Filipinos,” Drilon said during his speech at the 116th Anniversary of the Philippine Independence held at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City.
Drilon appealed to the public to keep their faith in their democratic institutions amid the pork barrel scam controversies, and to separate the institution from the controversies involving some of its members.
“During these trying times in our nation’s life, I call on our people to separate the institution from the controversies involving some of its members,” the Senate leader said.
Drilon also asked the people to be more discerning and not allow some quarters to dishonor the Senate as a government institution.
”The lack of respect for our democratic institutions only dishonor the memory of the brave and selfless Filipinos who valiantly fought the foreign colonizers to liberate our country, thus giving birth to Asia’s first democracy,” he emphasized.
”I believe that the relentless search for the truth and justice is a cleansing process that will strengthen this institution as a part of our government,” Drilon added.
Drilon noted that challenges to Philippine democracy have been present since the earliest days of the Philippine government.
“Since we declared our independence 116 years ago, our country has been through political upheavals and economic debacles. Countless times our democratic institutions passed through deep waters of political intrigues and controversies, but as a nation we have always shown peerless courage to defend the national interest and protect our institutions,” he said.
The Senate president thus invited the public, particularly the nation’s youth, to take a more active role in “preserving our democratic values and traditions, and protecting our democratic institutions.”
He acknowledged that public vigilance will be a key component of “restoring honor and rebuilding respect to both houses of Congress.”
The Pinaglabanan (place of battle) Shrine is where the very first battle of the Katipunan against the Spanish colonial government took place on August 30, 1896.
The battle took place several days after members of the Katipunan tore their tax certificates (cedula) as a public sign of rebellion against the Spaniards in an event dubbed the Cry of Pugad Lawin (or the Cry of Balintawak).
Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Philippine revolution, spearheaded the attack against 100 well-armed Spanish soldiers.
Although over 150 Katipuneros were killed, the battle inspired the Filipinos to rise up in arms and the revolution quickly spread throughout the country specially in Cavite where the Philippine Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on June 12, 1898 in Kawit.