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SPEECHES: POST-PRESIDENCY
 

We Demand the Truth, We Call for Change
 

Malate Church Plaza, Manila
December 7, 2000 

Minamahal kong mga Kababayan:

Today we meet again in prayer – as we did at the EDSA Shrine Last November 4.

We have prayed in large gatherings such as this one, as well as in smaller groups in churches and in schools.

We have asked God for the strength and the wisdom to bear our trials with courage and grace — and He has not failed us.  We have asked Him to bless our fight for truth and justice with the protection of His holy peace — and He has not failed us.  We have asked Him to bring this noble struggle to a just resolution – and I believe that, again, the Good Lord will not fail us.

Mahigit isang buwan na po tayong taimtim na nagdarasal at dumudulog sa Diyos upang mapanatili niya ang katatagan at kapayapaan ng ating laban para sa katotohanan at katarungan.  Nakinig naman siya sa ating mga panalangin: naririto pa rin tayo – matatag, mapayapa, at buo pa rin ang pagtitiwala sa Maykapal.  Batid nating hindi niya tayo pababayaan.

We continue to have much to pray for.  Not too far from where we now stand, history will be made.  The President will stand on an impeachment trial in the Senate for high crimes against his own people.

It seems great enough a victory for the forces of good in our society to have brought things to this momentous pass.  Without your support — without God's grace, without the courage of the Congressmen and without the single-mindedness of civil society — we would not have been able to bring the nation's most powerful man before the bar of justice.

Once again, the Filipinos who continue to fight for truth and justice are the heroes of this story.  And the good senators of our Republic can be heroes, too – by keeping true to their solemn oath to "do impartial justice" and let the truth in this case speak for itself, and speak loudest of all.

But once again let us remind ourselves — and let us remind the accused — that there is a kinder, fairer, and more expedient solution to this crisis strangling our country and our people today.  As I have declared early on there is a quicker end to this torturous process which any reasonable man in the President's position should be humble enough and merciful enough to contemplate.

That is the option of resignation, which — despite what the President's propagandists would have us believe — is a perfectly constitutional and perfectly civilized option.  It goes beyond simply what the President has done wrong to what he can yet do right, as his final act of service to the nation.

Mr. President, we are committed to upholding and protecting the Constitution.

We have already risked our lives for it on many occasions and we will continue to do so whenever it is threatened.

You of all people should know this by now.   

 

  

Nakakalimutan yata ni Pangulong Estrada na kasama rin natin siyang nag-rally laban sa Cha-Cha noong Bise pa lamang siya at kung hindi tayo nag-rally noon, saan kaya siya ngayon.

Nakakalimutan din yata ni Pangulong Estrada na pinadama natin sa kanya ang ating oposisyon noon binalak din niyang pakialaman ang ilang probisyon ng saligang batas.

The coming impeachment trial should be much less about acquittal than about innocence, much less about legality than it is about morality.

A caring President – a President who cares about his people more than he cares about himself – would not have put his nation through this agonizing and potentially divisive crisis.  A truthful President would not have allowed confusion to spread and our economy to spin out of control – while he and his lawyers made up their minds about how to explain his extravagance, his venality, and his incompetence to his own people.

Instead of admitting the error of his ways, President Estrada has chosen to shift the blame for this worsening crisis on those of us who have found the courage to stand up to his abuses.

Nakakagulo lamang daw ang mga demonstrasyon.  Tayo pa raw ang may kasalanan, tayo pa raw ang may kagagawan sa krisis na ito.  Hindi daw tayo makapaghintay na madinig ang panig ng pangulo sa darating na paglilitis sa Senado.  Kung tumahimik na lamang daw sana tayo, wala na sanang problema.

Ang problema ay kung nanahimik tayo maaring hanggang ngayon tuloy pa rin ang ligaya sa Malacanang.

Mr. President, hindi makapaghihintay at hindi makapagtitimpi ang hustisya ng bayan.

Matapos ang exposé ni Gov. Singson, umasa ang taong bayan na agad-agad ninyong sasagutin ang mga matitinding paratang sa inyo.  Ngunit mula noon hanggang ngayon wala pa ring kayong malinaw na kasagutan sa mga paratang na tunay na nakababagabag.  Dahil pinili ninyong manahimik, hindi po ninyo masisi ang taong bayan kung tuluyan silang magduda na mayroon kayong tinatago at maaring may katotohanan ang mga paratang sa inyo.

Since the serious accusations of Gov. Singson against the President came out we have sought and prayed that the truth be known immediately.  For choosing to remain silent on the charges hurled against you, Mr. President, you as a consequence have brought this crisis upon yourself.  Since you decided to deprive us access to the truth, you cannot blame us if we choose to exercise our constitutional right to peacefully assemble to question your sincerity and credibility.

In conscience, we cannot remain silent.  We do not want our children and our grandchildren to grow up in a society that allows misdeeds to go unnoticed and unpunished — especially if they involve the President.

Today and in the days ahead, we, your people will continue to seek and pray for the truth to come out and for you to have a deeper discernment on the grave implications of your continued stay in office.

We will demand accountability from you — both in the streets and in the Senate, for these two venues are part of one and the same society that this President must answer to for his gross misdeeds.

Even as we expect our senators to act on our behalf in search of the honest truth, we must remain vigilant and courageous.  We must make certain that justice and democracy will never be thwarted —  neither by force, by fear, nor by subterfuge.

We call on every witness with facts to contribute to the prosecution of this case to come forward and to speak the truth, in God's name and the people's name.

We call on all our senators to uphold the truth above all else.

And we call on every Filipino to bear living witness to our faith in democracy, to turn this crisis into a continuing crusade for better governance and better citizenship.

Mga kababayan, muli po tayong manalangin sa Panginoon na nawa'y mabigyan niya tayo ng wastong gabay sa 'ating pagkilos, na mulatin niya ang ating mga halal na pinuno sa kanilang mga pananagutan, at ihatid niya ang ating bayan sa kapayapaan at katiwasayan.

 

 

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