My dear countrymen, members of Congress, honourable House Speaker, Senate President, and Chief Justice, ladies and gentlemen of the diplomatic corps:
Today I stand before you triumphant. A major hurdle to the implementation of my campaign promise to rid the Philippine government of corruption has been eliminated. I am pleased to report that we have succeeded in our two-year-long project to remove Renato Corona from the office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and, as such, pave the way for our putting in place a Supreme Court team who will be more supportive of my efforts to implement the doctrine of the straight-and-narrow road or daang matuwid that I envision will come to characterise governance in the Philippines in subsequent years. To you I offer this New Order which I, your humble leader and servant, will preside over with an uncompromising focus on the highest degree of transparency and the lowest tolerance for deviance from what the law allows.
Before I move on to the other aspects of the past year that I would like to highlight, time permitting, I would like to thank a few people who have stood behind this worthwhile endeavour; this being the crowning achievement of my administration this fiscal year.
On behalf of the Filipino people, I would firstly like to thank the honourable 188 members of the House of Representatives whose expeditious pushing and signing of the complaint which articulates no less than eight Articles of Impeachment against Renato Corona made this whole enterprise possible. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for rallying around this worthwhile cause.
Second, to the formidable legal minds of our prosecution team headed by Representative Niel Tupas Jr and augmented by a top-notch contingent from ABS-CBN who executed the complaint and lent substance to its allegations, this I have to say: I stand among my people as they salute your expert management of all the intricacies of this complex but due process. Maraming salamat po.
Third, our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the ladies and gentlemen of the honourable Senate of our Republic who took up their roles as judges in this important exercise with dignity and integrity and demonstrated to the world that Filipinos can evaluate issues of utmost consequence to their long-term future with critical and fair minds. We appreciate the highly-political nature of the challenges you faced and admire the brilliant manner with which you balanced this with the absolute rigour that this quasi-judicial edifice you had built for this momentous occasion demands that you demonstrate. Thank you, your honours, for conducting this fair trial and following through with a fair conviction.
Fourth, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the heroic role our media organisations and practitioners played in obtaining and delivering relevant, balanced, and high-quality information to our people in a timely manner. Your proud enterprises and the dedicated team of professionals who bring these to life remain a pillar of the good governance that can only be made possible by citizens who are well-informed. I look forward to continuing our partnership in shaping the Filipino mind for the greater good of country and the glory of our Roman Catholic Lord.
Last but not least, thank you to my bosses — my fellow Filipinos. Without the motivation you give to your representatives in government to do what they do and to the media to broadcast what they broadcast, suffice to say the outcome of this noble effort to bring honour back to the Philippine Supreme Court would have been a whole lot different and the straight and narrow governance that you deserve will not have come to fruition. We in government are proud to be spitting image reflections of the character of the people we serve.
With that I humbly close my report to you for the year in governance that has passed. To have achieved all of this just a year shy of the midway point of my administration is, if I do say so myself, an exceptional feat. I could not have done it alone — not without the brilliant men and women who form my cabinet and certainly not without you, my esteemed boss. My parents who I am sure look upon us from their eternal home in heaven are very likely glowing with pride. I too humbly stand here before you, albeit with my own pride paled by the glow coming from both above and from the homes of every proud Filipino.
The road ahead, ladies and gentlemen, is still a long one. But I assure you now that it will be a straight one.
[The above is the author’s unsolicited proposed draft of Noynoy Aquino’s 3rd Official State of the Nation Address (SONA) to be delivered to Congress July 22, 2012.]
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