Aquino urges swift action to effect judicial reforms
MANILA TWENTY-SIX years after millions flocked to Edsa to overthrow a dictator, President Aquino on Saturday rallied Filipinos against a judiciary he said was influenced by a few, and pushed for a system that favours no one and calls to account who did the country wrong.
In a reference to the case of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, Aquino urged immediate action, saying martial law happened and stayed for years because Filipinos chose to remain silent until they could no longer bear with the sufferings it caused.
“Our country is now at a crossroads. In one direction is the weedy path, where the influential holds the scales of justice and those who manipulate the law benefit,” President Aquino said in a speech at the People Power Monument on Edsa on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the largely peaceful popular uprising that ended Ferdinand Marcos’ 20-year-rule.
“In the other is the straight path where the rules are clear, justice favours no one and those who are at fault are called to account.
Let us remember: martial law happened because Filipinos kept silent for too long,” he added, speaking in Filipino.
As in previous speeches against Corona, the President urged Filipinos to take action and speak out as the chief justice undergoes trial by the Senate.
“If you want to remain in the old system, go ahead and pretend to be deaf. Pretend to be blind. Don’t speak.
Don’t participate,” he said.
“But if you believe that there’s something wrong in the system and that this has to be corrected, let’s go and fight back. Let’s participate.
Let’s make it right.” Aquino made the remarks as the impeachment trial enters its seventh week and in the presence of three senator- judges on stage with him—Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senator Gregorio Honasan.
Enrile and Honasan, along with then Armed Forces Vice-Chief of Staff Fidel V Ramos, holed themselves up at Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame, respectively, after a plot to unseat Marcos was uncovered.
Summoned by then Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jaime Sin and Agapito “Butz” Aquino, younger brother of the assassinated former Senator Benigno S Aquino Jr, opposition forces rallied behind the beleaguered mutineers, triggering an outpouring of millions of Filipinos on the wide avenue between the two camps in what became known as the People Power Revolution.
“As they said in those days: If you won’t act, who will? If not now, when? Let us act now before it is too late. Let us act now to quickly put behind us the darkness of the past. Let us act now so that a brighter future would shine on our race,” Aquino said.