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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.” ― Archibald MacLeish

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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Thursday, April 24, 2014

An Urgent, Open Letter to The 24 Senators of The Philippines

To The 24 Honorable Senators:
In the spirit of fraternal correction, we dare you to SAVE THE PHILIPPINE SENATE. Now!
The Senate of the Philippines used to be one of the most respected institutions in the country.
For a long time, the Senate of the Philippines was viewed as the more prestigious chamber of Congress.
Senators sought out membership in prestigious, nationally focused committees to attract national media attention while congressmen generally tended to spend time on local constituency issues.
In fact, the Senate was viewed as the training ground for future presidents.
Senators Who Assumed Philippine Presidency
Manuel L. Quezon, 2nd President
José P. Laurel, 3rd President
Sergio Osmeña, 4th President
Manuel Roxas, 5th President
Elpidio Quirino, 6th President
Carlos P. Garcia, 8th President
Ferdinand E. Marcos, 10th President
Joseph Ejercito Estrada, 13th President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 14th President
Benigno Aquino III, 15th President (Incumbent)
"SenActors"
By law, just about anyone can be a Philippine Senator. The Constitution requires only that you be a  natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least 35 years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.
In effect, if you are from a  famous, well-entrenched political dynasty or you are a popular actor, you have a great chance of becoming a senator! Just take a look at the composition of the Senate now. No real movers or shakers of society.
But if the framers made qualifying for the job very easy, they made excelling at it difficult. 
There is no fixed journey to greatness in the Senate of the Philippines . They say the Senate is the Philippines' most exclusive club. But the real élite is made up not of those who break in but of those who make a difference once they get there. 
Great Filipino Senators
The great Filipino Senators would be turning in their graves if they only know how bad things are in the Senate of the 16th Congress.
Ka Pepe, Ka Tanny, Don Claro and Ninoy, all look like towering giants; in their shadows the rest of us are but intellectual pygmies.
Who can ever forget their towering intellect and visionary political leadership?
Ka Pepe
"No cause is more worthy than the cause of human rights… they are what makes a man human. Deny them and you deny man’s humanity." — Senator Jose W. Diokno
Ka Tanny
"Nationalism is the primal virtue of the citizen; that virtue which prompts him to place the common good of his people above private and personal good, above the interest of his party, that virtue that makes him willing nay, glad to sacrifice himself that the nation may live." Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada
Don Claro
 Nationalism is nourished by a sense of history. It is of its essence to know profoundly the past, so that we may be in complete openness with the men who made that history and in intimate communion with their thoughts, their deeds, and their noble lives. The study of our nation's history with its nationalist tenets is, therefore, an inescapable duty and necessity in this formative period of our Republic.  Senator Claro M. Recto
Ninoy
"And therefore, as I thought back that there are still many valiant Filipinos who are fighting for freedom, fighting for your right to speak. These are the people who are putting their lives on the line. These are people who abandon their loved ones and the comforts of their home, the wealth of their offices, to be able to bring our freedom back, and to be true to our founding fathers. And so I told my wife, “Much as we have found our peace and our freedom, I will have to return to combat." Senator Ninoy Aquino
Now do a simple test: compare the eloquent words of those four Great Senators to the street language of the first 3 pork senators:
" I was advised to ignore what was said about me during hearing because the abusive words were from a cuckoo, an inane, bitterly hostile mind." Enrile
"It is not up to the senators to determine whether an NGO is bogus or not…Alangan naman na kami pa ang magsasabi na, ’Uy, bogus ’yan.’ How will we know? (It’s not up to the senators to determine whether an NGO is bogus or not...Is it really our job to go out and say, ’Hey, that’s bogus.’ How will we know?)."  Jinggoy
"This is it. This controversy has been engineered by the administration for only one purpose – to demolish the opposition, especially those who enjoy the popular support of our people." Bong Revilla
Who wants to be a senator NOW?
Save The Senate of the Philippines!
An institution is more important than an individual member.