By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
Various opposition groups urged the public to unite in fighting for the country’s democratic freedom during a solidarity gathering in time with the celebration of the 120th Philippine Independence Day.
Opposition coalition Tindig Pilipinas, which led the general assembly at the UP Bahay ng Alumni in Quezon City, said Filipinos must fight for the country’s true democracy as the Philippines is at its worst state.
One of the key speakers who attended the event was ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno who told the opposition-leaning groups to “fix your eyes on the prize.”
“The important thing is that we build a country founded on our constitutional values. Men and women of Tindig Pilipinas, fix your eyes on the prize. Many issues may just serve to divert you, but analyze what is at stake. What is at sktake must be a huge, huge prize,” Sereno said during the afternoon gathering.
Sereno also thanked the coalition for fighting for the democracy of the judicial system during her trial.
The Chief Justice also reminded the public that independence day is a day of unity for Filipino people to fight the oppression of the democracy.
“Ano ang ibig sabihin ng independensya sa hudikatura? Bituka ng bituka ang tataamaan kapag ang kalayaan ng Pilipinas ang kinikitil. Kaya’t tama ang sama-samang paglakbay. Tama ang pagpupulong upang makinig sa mga may experiences sa pakikipaglaban sa demokrasya,” she said.
“Ano ba ang direksyon na ating tatahakin? Tayo ba ay isang malayang soberanya? O isang gobyerno na nagbibigay sa isang kapangyarihan?,” Sereno asked.
Aside from Sereno, members of the opposition also spoke at the event including Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who gave the opening remarks, Senators Bam Aquino, and Risa Hontiveros, as well as Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano.
Some of the issues tackled during the assembly were upholding human rights, sovereignty and the Philippine foreign policy, women’s rights, judicial independence, TRAIN law, peace and security in Mindanao, and defending the democracy.
Books of detained Senator Leila De Lima and activist priest Father Robert Reyes were also launched during the event.