Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday called on lawyers to be both advocates and defenders of the rule of law and help promote the dignity of individuals.
He made the statement after being conferred the “Dayaw Iti Amianan” award by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Northern Luzon, and for having “reached the highest level in public service among the living lawyers of the region.”
“I believed then, and I believe more strongly now, that the purpose of law is to ensure that each individual is given the opportunities to prosper within a just and democratic society,” Binay said.
“The true measure of a working democracy is in the value it places on the rights of its citizens―including his right to dignity and to improve himself.”
Binay reminded his fellow lawyers that, without adherence and respect for the rule of law, “there will be no order or stability, only chaos.”
“Disrespect for the rule of law and the judiciary as an independent institution breeds instability, social and political strife and impedes our progress as a nation,” Binay said.
Recalling his days as mayor of Makati, Binay underscored the role of the local government as an instrument for valuing the rights and dignity of each citizen.
He said investing in the education, health, welfare and general well-being of the poor is, in effect, recognizing and upholding their dignity.
“Social programs are not charity. They are enablers. They allow each citizen to become a better person and a better citizen,” Binay said.
He said that when his term as vice president ended, he focused on seeking new avenues and approaches that would underscore the responsibility of lawyers as “agents of the law and justice.”
This paved the way for the establishment of the University of Makati School of Law in August last year to “develop future Filipino lawyers who are excellent in both the theory and practice of law.”
As founding dean of the Mak School of Law, Binay expressed pride in its being the only law school in the country offering full scholarships for an entire batch.
Tuition and miscellaneous fees are waived for qualified enrollees, including residents and non-residents of Makati who are provided with semestral book stipends and monthly living allowance. Its faculty includes law professors from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo, San Beda and De La Salle.
“We hope that, through our School of Law, Makati can contribute to professionalizing the practice of law and produce excellent lawyers who are mindful of their role in society,” Binay said.
In conferring the award during the recent IBP Northern Luzon Regional Convention Gala and Awards Night at the Pulsar Hotel in Tuguegarao City, the IBP-Northern Luzon cited the former vice president’s “dynamic and vibrant experiences as a human rights lawyer, local and national government executive and as Vice President edify and inspire his colleagues in the legal profession.”
The 23rd Board of Governors of IBP, led by Domingo Egon Cayosa, governor for IBP Northern Luzon and executive vice president of the IBP National Office, were present at the ceremony.
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