PHILIPPINE Constitution Association (Philconsa) President Martin Romualdez on Tuesday night reaffirmed the group’s commitment to defend and protect the 1987 Constitution amid perceived threats of destabilization against the duly-constituted government.
During the 56th Philconsa Anniversary attended by President Rodrigo Duterte at the Manila Hotel, Romualdez said the Constitution serves as a “Bible of good governance” and “beacon of light” in ensuring the country’s political and economic stability.
“Let us join hands to maintain the pristine supremacy of the Constitution,” said Romualdez, a former House Independent Minority Bloc leader and a three-term Leyte congressman.
“The Constitution is the Bible of good governance from which all acts of government, the governors and the governed must draw their bearings. It is the antidote to the virus of graft and corruption,” Romualdez, a lawyer, pointed out as he thanked President Duterte for gracing the event as guest of honor and speaker.
“Once again thank you for the gift of your presence and may God bless our country and people under the leadership and aegis of our Guest of Honor and Speaker, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Republic of the Philippines,” said Romualdez.
“It is the sanctuary of honest public service and the nemesis of graft and corruption. The continuing fidelity to the Constitution is the beacon of light to guide the nation’s leaders and the people in their quest for a better life,” he said.
“The Constitution is the oasis or the well spring of the nation’s basic political and societal values of good governance.”
The Philconsa founders and organizers aree led by Justice Pedro Tuazon.
Aside from Romualdez, some of the notable leaders of Philconsa are retired Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Manuel “Lolong” Lazaro as chairman and chief executive officer, and former Chief Justice Reynato Puno as President Emeritus and other legal luminaries.
“As a problem of national scope besets us, we need not look far enough for the solution. The Constitution is the remedial balm, the only solution. Its letter may be mangled by feigned interpretation of politicians and vested interests, but the spirit that animates the Constitution cannot be demonized and destroyed,” said Lazaro.
For his part, Puno credited Philconsa for “enriching our constitutional development by helping craft our various Constitutions and filing landmark cases before our Supreme Court successfully assailing abuse of power of government” in more than a half century.
Puno renewed Philconsa’s push to amend the “outdated Constitution” which he blamed for “a lot of conflicts in our society.”
“There is a need to reexamine the political structure of our unitary government, the unreasonable shackles of the Executive to meet modern threats to national security, the unnecessary clashes of power among branches of government,” said Puno.
Philconsa, which is supportive of the federalism initiative, is the oldest and most respectable association of legal luminaries in the country and has been existing for 56 years.
Romualdez said the faithful observance of the Constitution is the golden and magic key to unlock the doors of peace, progress and prosperity of the country and the people.
“Philconsa’s celebration is thus a fitting occasion to renew, instill and promote public awareness of the primal need, pristine relevance and paramount importance of the Constitution in the life of our nation and countrymen,” he said.
“We are what we make of the Constitution. For in the end, as in the beginning, is the Constitution. When we honor and respect the Constitution, we honor and respect the sovereign people. When we politicize, trifle and desecrate the Constitution, we betray the nation and become traitors to our people,” said Romualdez.
“As George Washington said: ‘The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.’ And in the eloquent statement of Abraham Lincoln, ‘Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution that must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties’,” said Romualdez.
He warned unscrupulous politicians from disrespecting or dishonorin the Constitution to advance their own personal interests.
“Tonight’s celebration serves equally as a reminder and warning to whirligig and troublesome politicians who mischievously and shamelessly hide from the clutches of the Constitution in the pursuit of their shadowy and shallow agenda embellished with their irrational understanding and illusory and nebulous interpretation of Constitution,” said Romualdez.
“Talking of politics, I recall the concise definition of Theodore Parker, the American Transcendentalist and reforming Minister, when he said: politics is the science of exigencies,” he said.
“To the comedian Groucho Marx, it is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies,” said Romualdez.
“Oddly and unorthodoxly, very often some politicians trivialize issues and focus on personalities. The 56th anniversary also serves as an antidote to the ills created by nauseating makers, movers, or promoters of events or incidents, hatched and promoted by those gifted and imbued with outrageous mystic undertakings,” he said.
“With the modicum of divine guidance and sincere resolve I am confident our good leaders and people will stand behind the Constitution under the aegis of the Almighty to obey, observe, protect and defend the Constitution,” said Romualdez.
He urged the Filipinos to heed the call to support and strengthen the legal and moral dimensions “of the Constitution to maintain its supremacy and majesty and effective instrument to address the obstacles created by the detractors of the State and good governance.”
“I urge our countrymen to place the Constitution in the windows of their vision and in the altar of their hearts so that the Constitution will forever reign supreme and the regime of law and justice will forever endure,” he said.