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Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Message to Our Leaders: A Government Is Run According to the Rule of Law
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Friday, 29 February 2008 13:43

Heroes are not necessarily only those who physically challenged the foreign enemy. Jose Rizal for example fought the Spanish crown in the realm of ideas – Nene Pimentel



The following is the message of Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., at the Fifth Oratorical Contest for College Students sponsored by the Community Chest Foundation, Inc., at the Philippine International Convention, February 29, 2008.

Good for CCFI to ask the youth like you to speak your mind as to the kind message you’d like to send to our leaders.

After all, the youth is the hope of the fatherland as Rizal had said.

In speaking your mind, I hope you’d take into account not only what is going on in the country today but also how our future should be.

One cannot suggest what the future should be without talking about the past and the present.

Time is a continuous whole. The past affects the present. The present is the foundation of the future. The future is built on the past.

What then was our country’s past? What kind of a people did we have? How did our leaders, then, behave? Overall, we had glorious past.

Some five centuries ago, we had a Lapu Lapu who slew the first foreign invader, Ferdinand Magellan, who started the colonization of our country in 1521.

In the course of the roughly four centuries of Spanish colonization of our country, just from the top of our heads, we can recall the names of some small town individuals who rallied our people to resist the imposition of foreign rule.

We have Dagami, who fought the Spanish colonizers in Cebu in 1567; Tamblot who defied Spanish rule in 1621 in Bohol;  Bangkaw who resisted the Spanish flag in Leyte in 1622; Sultan Kudarat who challenged Spanish arms in central Mindanao in the 1630s; Diego Silang and Gabriela Silang who led  revolts against Spain in the mid 1700s in the Ilocos.

Individuals no matter who they are can do their bit for the core values of democracy and the rights of people.Of course, we have more famous Filipino revolutionaries who continued the struggle for the freedoms of our people: Bonifacio of the Katipunan; Aguinaldo of Cavite; Del Pilar at Tirad Pass who died trying to block American troops pursuing Aguinaldo, and many unsung heroes in Bataan and Corregidor who battled the Japanese invaders. Lest we forget, heroes are not necessarily only those who physically challenged the foreign enemy. Jose Rizal for example fought the Spanish crown in the realm of ideas. He refused to backtrack from his beliefs and was, as you know, shot dead at the Luneta in 1896.

And if we fast track our discussion a bit faster, we had Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmena who relentlessly upheld the right of our people to freedom even against the Americans in a peaceful and just manner. Then, we had Ninoy Aquino and Macliing Dulag and thousands more who remain unknown and uncelebrated but who – like the two – paid the supreme sacrifice of their lives for freedom, justice and peace in our land.

What I am trying to say is that individuals no matter who they are can do their bit for the core values of democracy and the rights of people. And they like those who dramatically fell in the struggle for liberty are also freedom fighters who deserve the accolade of our people.

Today, we are still struggle for the fundamental rights of our people. Among those basic rights is the right to a government that is run according to the rule of law.

Unfortunately, we have leaders today who forget that a democratic government is a limited government. It is a government that cannot do anything simply because it has power and power that appears to be emanating from the barrel of the Armalite.

A government must account for what it does. If moneys of the people are meant for projects that benefit them, the money cannot just be spent elsewhere as the government want. That would not be according to the rule of law. If moneys are stolen from the coffers of government by government functionaries or taken from foreign investors as “acceptance fees” or “success fees” or worse, as “election funds” by government officials, that is open defiance of the rule of law.

If people are extrajudicially killed or forced to disappear, that would not be consonant with the rule of law.

I do not wish to take away too much of your time.

Today, people are going to Makati to express their grievances against the government.

I hope that the rally will be peaceful and lead to peaceful changes in government.

Salamat. # # #



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