Justice Davide to Knights of Rizal:
Back BBL; Serve the Philippines
By Mariano “Anong” Santos
LEFT PIC SHOWS Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Hilario G. Davide Jr. addressing the attendees of the 20th Assembly of the Order of the Knights of Rizal Feb. 20 in Vigan City.
RIGHT PHOTO SHOWS OKOR Supreme Commander Jeremias Singson presents a plaque of appreciation to Vigan City Mayor Eva Marie Medina. (PINOY Photo)(PINOY PhotoS by Mariano 'Anong' Santos)
VIGAN CITY--"Don't let the Mamasapano massacre get into the way of passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)," said former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Hilario G. Davide, Jr., to the more than 500 attendees of the 20th biennial assembly of the Order of the Knights of Rizal (OKOR) at the convention hall of this city on Feb. 19-22.
A former OKOR Supreme Commander, Davide asked his fraternity brethrens to go beyond the ceremonies and studying the works of the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, and challenged them to serve the Philippines using the ideals of Rizal as their guide.
In an exclusive interview, after his speech on February 21, Davide, also a former ambassador to the United Nations, elaborated on his advocacy for the passage of the BBL. "Genuine peace in Mindanao can only come after justice is done. Congress should get the truth out of the investigations…but the process of passing the BBL should continue…the (OKOR) should play a role in realizing it," emphasized Davide, who is a member of the fraternity's Council of Elders.
Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Hilario G. Davide Jr. (3rd fr. L) poses with Knights of Rizal Central USA Deputy Commanders (fr. L) Mariano Santos, Alan Capati, and Fil-Am Council of Chicago President Rufino Crisostomo during the 20th assembly of the Knights of Rizal in Vigan City Feb. 19-21.
In his speech before the assembly, Davide also told the Knights of Rizal to be good stewards of God's creation following the appeal of Pope Francis during his visit in the Philippines last January.
"As (OKOR) members we all can do something about climate change which causes deadly storms like that of Haiyan…modest services such as planting trees, as what Rizal did during his exile in Dapitan," noted Davide during the interview.
Commenting on the clamor from some sectors for President Aquino's resignation, Davide who was appointed in the first year of the Aquino administration to head a Truth Commission, boldly declared that the incumbent president will finish his term.
"President Aquino's accomplishments in fighting corruption in government, the economic growth we saw in the last four years are only some of the reasons why he should stay. He is destined to be one of our best presidents.
"Calling him a lame duck president has no basis in fact. His current use of presidential power makes him effective as usual even as we are getting ready to select his successor in 2016," said Davide.
Torre de Manila
In a related presentation, OKOR Supreme Commander, Jeremias C. Singson, reiterated his call for the members of his group to continue their opposition to the construction of the "Torre de Manila" multi-story condominium building on the former site of the Jai-Alai on Taft Avenue. Upon completion, 'Torre' will block the sight line of the Rizal Monument at the Rizal Park in Manila.
The Knights of Rizal successfully elicited a restraining order from the Supreme Court, ordering the developer, DMCI, to stop construction of the "Torre" pending determination if laws were violated. City of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada recently filed an appeal to allow DMCI to continue its construction.
Singson reported at the conclusion of the OKOR assembly Feb. 21 that 10,000 signatures were collected from Filipinos from various countries demanding that the construction of "Torre de Manila" should be permanently abandoned to maintain the integrity of the Rizal Monument where the remains of the National Hero are enshrined. The petitions were submitted to the court.
A resolution to this effect was also passed and signed by the attendees of the assembly. Some delegates from the United States indicated that those who have now acquired American citizenship will move to get their dual citizenship.
"Being able to vote in Philippine elections will prove to be helpful such as in selecting political leaders who would do the right moves for the Filipino people," a U.S. delegate said. "The position of Mayor Estrada favoring the 'Torre de Manila' is an affront to Filipinos who value their national heritage," he added.
Established in the Philippine in 1916 and made a chartered government corporation by R.A. 646 in 1951, the OKOR has expanded abroad with active chapters in Asia, Australia-New Zealand, Europe, Middle East and the U.S. It has an auxiliary called Ladies of Rizal.
The recently concluded assembly has the theme: "Rizal: Society's compass for moral recovery" which was discussed by various speakers including Vigan City Mayor Eva Marie Medina, Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis V. Singson; Congressman Eric D. Singson of the Second District of Ilocos Sur; and Dr. Gilbert R. Arce, President of the University of Northern Philippines. •