The Senate Minority Bloc on Independence Day called on various institutions of democracy such as the Congress and 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 statement.
The Senate Minority Bloc is composed of Senators Franklin M. Drilon as the minority leader, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Benigno Paulo “Bam” Aquino IV, and Leila De Lima, all belonging to the Liberal Party; Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV; and Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros.
“We will not be able to protect our people if we do not preserve our independence and integrity as institutions of democracy,” they said.
“Let us not allow others to dishonor and disrespect our institutions, because doing so is an insult to the memory of the brave and selfless Filipinos who fought for our freedom as a nation,” said Drilon.
Trillanes stressed that “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,” Trillanes said.
Pangilinan and Aquino, for their part, said that the people 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, for her part, said 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 added.