MANILA, Philippines — Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, who led the flag-raising ceremony Wednesday at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City, gave his own definition of independence: “It’s simple: No one else can solve our challenges and problems but us. If we rely on others, [our problems] will not be resolved because foreigners have a personal agenda while our sole agenda is for our country.”
While he clarified that he was not referring to any particular issue like China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea, Bersamin said that foreign aid was “welcome” as long as “there are no conditions.”
“If China wants to help, they should help without conditions. Americans are welcome as long as there are no conditions,” he added.
The magistrate, who is set to retire in October, said that people had the liberty to seek foreign help though this strategy could be construed as “propaganda.”
“We have plenty of working procedures and institutions that can resolve whatever problems (were) referred to other countries. Why not do it here? Our courts are open. We in the Supreme Court have done plenty of things… like issuing the writ of amparo [and] the writ of habeas data. Since the writ of amparo was issued, plenty of disappearances have been resolved. The solution is here.”
At the same time, Bersamin conceded that the Philippines must maintain a relationship with other countries.
“Absolute independence is impossible. Everything has to be relative [and] I doubt if any nation is independent,” he said.
Political feuds also get in the way of the country’s progress, Bersamin said, noting that a new administration often takes another direction from that of the previous one.
“A waste of resources,” he said.
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