Mar Roxas joined the estimated 320 members of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) during their Law Day celebration held on Wednesday (September 24) at the Grand Ballroom Hall of the Hotel Intercontinental Manila, Makati City.
Founded in 1891, the PBA believes that their existence is to uphold the rule of law. According to their outgoing president, Attorney Emerico de Guzman, PBA plays a huge role in building a link between businesses, the government and the law. He also expressed how grateful he is that Roxas, who was a senator, a cabinet secretary, and a 2016 administration presidential bet, was there to grant their invitation.
De Guzman, who completed his term as the 47th PBA President, also turned over the PBA leadership that night to Attorney Rodel A. Cruz. Cruz, along with the 64 new PBA members, was inducted by Roxas, who was the event’s guest of honor and inducting officer.
In his speech, Roxas reminisced about the last PBA event he attended, when he convened lawyers around nine years ago to discuss and support the Cheaper Medicines Law. As one of the law’s leading advocates, Roxas believes that many Filipinos, including many of the lawyers in front of him, were able to benefit from it.
In relation to the law and the role of lawyers in the nation, Roxas said that “the law is an articulation of our collective willingness to live as a society.” The nation succeeds of the law concerns the good of all, whereas the country suffers if it only concerns a single will. In that statement, he emphasized the necessity of strongly enforcing the law for the benefit of the whole nation, and not of any politician or personality.
He also commemorated the 43rd Anniversary of Martial Law and the PBA lawyers’ crucial role in the country’s fight for democracy.
“We all know how members of the Philippine Bar Association kept the fight for justice alive even in the darkest days of dictatorship,” he told the PBA members.
Indeed, members of the PBA contributed greatly to the triumph of democracy over dictatorship, ending all the unjust systems in the government and in the nation.
Roxas ended his speech with a challenge to all the practicing lawyers in from of him: to choose wisely in 2016.
“We trust that the people will effectively discern whether we are to continue on this path of effective national leadership onward to an even more just and even more inclusive Philippines,”
To conclude, he thanked the PBA members for their commitment and dedication to the rule of law, saying their drive to uphold the country’s legal system makes for an outstanding foundation to the Philippines’ future as a nation.