Sereno urged: Restore faith in judiciary
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III used the commemoration of National Heroes Day to challenge newly appointed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to restore the public's faith in the judiciary.
In a speech at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig on Monday, August 27, Aquino said the occasion became even more meaningful because of Sereno’s appointment as the first female Chief Justice and one of the youngest to lead the Supreme Court at the age of 52.
“Umaasa akong titimbangin mo ang iyong hatol at pasya upang manumbalik ang kumpyansa ng taumbayan sa institusyong iyong pamumunuan,” said Aquino. (I trust that you will weigh your judgments and decisions to restore the public’s faith in the institution you will lead.)
Aquino said Sereno’s mandate from the public is to ensure a fair justice system, one that does not favor the rich or the poor, the ordinary Filipino or the powerful.
Acknowledging the significance of Sereno’s appointment, the President called on the Chief Justice to brave the challenges ahead.
“Sa ating bagong Punong Mahistrado, huwag kang mawalan ng loob sakaling dumagsa ang mga pagsubok na kailangan mong pasanin. Makakaasa kang kasangga mo ang sambayanang Pilipino.” (To our new Chief Justice, do not lose faith if you get overwhelmed by the challenges you have to bear. You can expect that the Filipino people will be your ally.)
Aquino administered the oath on Sereno last Saturday, August 25. The Palace announced Sereno’s appointment on Friday, replacing former Chief Justice Renato Corona who was removed through an impeachment trial for failing to include his assets in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
In a Thought Leaders piece for Rappler, UP Law Professor Theodore Te outlined the burden Sereno will have to carry in reforming the judiciary after the impeachment and with the 18-year tenure that she has, spanning the terms of 4 presidents.
Robredo’s everyday heroism
In his speech, Aquino also cited the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo as an example of heroism going beyond the battleground. Robredo's body was retrieved in waters off Masbate last Tuesday, August 21, days after his plane crashed.
“Bayani siyang pinili ang simpleng pamumuhay. Tinutukan ang kapakanan ng kapwa bago ang sarili at nangibabaw ang kanyang prinsipyo laban sa transaksyonalismo.” (He was a hero who chose a simple life. He focused on the welfare of others before himself and his principles transcended transactionalism.)
The President echoed the message of Robredo in past speeches that the call of the times is to be a hero everyday, practicing the culture of greatness.
Aquino said this was seen recently during times of disaster.
“Nasaksihan natin ang ganitong kabayanihan sa marami nating kababayang pulis, sundalo, kawani ng gobyerno, pati na karaniwang Pilipino nang humagupit si Gener at ang habagat na nagdulot ng malawakang baha sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng Luzon.”(We saw this kind of heroism in many of our policemen, soldiers, government employees and even ordinary Filipinos during when Gener and the monsoon rain caused massive flooding in different parts of Luzon.)
“Libu-libo ang rumesponde upang saklolohan ang sinalanta ng kalamidad. Di man alam ang pangalan o di man kaano-ano ang tinulungan, isinugal nila ang buhay upang magmalasakit sa nangangailangan.” (Thousands responded to help the victims of the calamity. They may not know the name or not be related to those they helped, they put their lives on the line to help those in need.)
Aquino said from the time of revolutions and wars to modern-day challenges, the success of heroes is measured not by wealth, the number of medals or fame but by principle and the value of what he or she does for others.
The President called on Filipinos to think and act beyond themselves.
“Kaya naman sa oras ng pagsubok ang panawagan sa bawat sa atin, gisingin ang bayani sa loob mo at tumugon sa tawag ng tungkulin, maliit man o malaki, sikat man o hindi, meron kang maiaambag at sa ngalan ng bayan at kapwa, kailangan mong gawin ang iyong magagawa.” (In times of need, the challenge is to awaken the hero in each of us and respond to the call of duty, small or big, famous or not, you can contribute something in the name of the nation and fellow Filipino, you need to do what you can do.”
Aquino will again pay tribute to Robredo when he delivers the eulogy for the late Cabinet Secretary on Tuesday, August 28, in Naga City. – Rappler.com