Minority senators urge gov't institutions to assert independence

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 12 2017 10:26 AM

MANILA - The Senate Minority bloc on Independence Day called on various institutions of democracy such as Congress and the 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 joint statement.

"We will not be able to protect our people if we do not preserve our independence and integrity as institutions of democracy."

The Senate minority is composed of Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino IV, Leila De Lima, Antonio Trillanes IV and Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Drilon, the bloc leader, said allowing others to dishonor and disrespect our institutions would be "an insult to the memory of the brave and selfless Filipinos who fought for our freedom as a nation."

Trillanes meanwhile stressed, "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,” he said.

Pangilinan and Aquino meanwhile said that the public should continue to guard the democracy in light of the proliferation of "fake news" and misinformation.

"Sa pagyabong ng social media, lumaganap din ang fake news na nagbabanta sa katotohanan at nagdudulot ng kalituhan. Nais nating mga Pilipino na maging malaya mula sa fake news at kasinungalingan," said Pangilinan.

"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. 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.

Hontiveros added 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 the sacrifices 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 said.