Drilon on graft-tainted Congress: Let us restore honor, rebuild respect
MANILA, Philippines—On Independence Day, Senate President Franklin Drilon urged the public to keep their faith in the country’s democratic institutions, saying the “pork barrel” controversy hounding Congress is a “cleansing process” that will strengthen the graft-tainted institution.
Drilon, in a speech during the 116th Anniversary of the Philippine Independence held in Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City on Thursday, also called on the public to separate the Senate as an institution from the controversies involving some of its members.
“Let us be more discerning. Let us not allow some quarters to dishonor our institutions, because 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 said.
“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,” he 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,” he said.
“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,” said the senator.
Drilon then called on 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,” saying that public vigilance would be a key component of “restoring honor and rebuilding respect to both houses of Congress.”
He said Filipinos, especially the younger generation must take to heart their responsibility of guarding national freedom, especially when concerning realities in government.
“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 added.
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