MANILA, Philippines—Two years before his term ends, President Benigno Aquino III urged the Filipinos to choose candidates who will uphold the welfare of the country.
“Bawat isa sa atin ay mayroong maiaambag upang hindi masayang ang isinakripisyo ng ating mga ninuno (Everyone of us has something to share so that the sacrifices of our ancestors will not go to waste),” Aquino said on Thursday during the Independence Day celebration in Naga City, Camarines Sur.
“Ang hamon sa atin: piliin ang mga kandidatong kayang ipaglaban ang interes ng bawat mamamayan, sa harap ng anumang hamon (Our challenge: choose candidates who can fight for the interest of every citizen, in the face of challenges),” he said.
Aquino reminded the people that his term will end in two years.
“Hindi natin kailangan ng magaling bumigkas ng script, mahusay sumayaw, o kaya magaling kumanta. Pananagutan nating mag-iwan ng mas makatarungan at mas maunlad na Pilipinas kaysa ating dinatnan (We do not need someone who is good at reading scripts, dancing or singing. It is our responsibility to ensure that the Philippines is more just and progressive than it was in the past),” he said.
Aquino said the experiences of his family during martial law and the administration of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos taught him the importance of fighting for equality to end injustice.
“Ngayon nga pong nasa posisyon na ako para maisabuhay ang mga aral na ito, gagawin ko ang lahat ng aking makakaya upang mabigyan ng hustisya hindi lamang ang iilan, kundi ang buong sambayanan (Now that I am in the position to apply these lessons in real life, I will do all that I can to give justice nt only to some but to th whole nation),” he said.
During his speech, the President also denied he was using the “pork” barrel scam for his political agenda, by charging his opponents with plunder.
But groups like Bagong Alyansang Makabayan criticized Aquino, accusing that he “he came out as defensive, trying to parry accusations that the prosecution has been politicized.”
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said that “Aquino himself engaged in politicking by citing ‘parameters’ on responsible voting, just as (Interior Secretary) Mar Roxas was seated behind him.”