17 former presidents of the Philippine Bar Association endorse Robredo

“For more than a century, the PBA has upheld the rule of law. We believe Vice President Leni Robredo will keep this vigil alive. And we call on our colleagues in the profession to join us,” say the former presidents of the Philippine Bar Association.

MANILA, Philippines — Seventeen former presidents of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA), including top state attorneys from the Arroyo government, have joined other groups and sectors in endorsing Vice President Leni Robredo to the Presidency.

“We have full confidence in Vice President Leni’s commitment to restoring the rule of law to its foremost place in our system. A rules-based order is the best guarantee of stability. And a stable nation is best placed to defend itself against foreign aggression. And our security interests in the Western Philippine Sea are safe with someone like Vice President Leni,” the former PBA presidents said in a statement on Wednesday, February 23.

“For more than a century, the PBA has upheld the rule of law. We believe Vice President Leni Robredo will keep this vigil alive. And we call on our colleagues in the profession to join us,” they added.

The PBA is the oldest voluntary organization of Filipino lawyers, therefore private. The mandatory legal organization is the Integrated Bar Association of the Philippines (IBP), whose resources and mandate are tied to the Supreme Court.

Two of the signatories were former senior officials in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration: Avelino Cruz Jr. who served as her secretary of defense and chief presidential legal adviser; and former Solicitor General and Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo.

Arroyo’s Lakas-CMD is running Sara Duterte for vice president and has allied with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.

“VP Leni has built a life of service to the poorest of the poor. She crossed rice paddies, climbed mountains and traveled to remote islands in an effort to reach those who have been left behind,” the PBA presidents said.

They also acknowledged Robredo’s work as a lawyer. Before entering government, the vice-president was a public interest lawyer.

“For decades she has been the kind and noble face of the legal profession in the most neglected areas. She is the best reminder to our compatriots that the rule of law is at the service of the people, and not the other way around,” they said.

The rule of law in the Philippines has deteriorated under President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the World Justice Project (WJP) index. In 2021, the Philippines ranked 102nd out of 139 countries surveyed, a drop of 51 places over the past six years spanning Duterte’s presidency. The Philippines is among the worst countries in terms of rule of law in East Asia and Asia-Pacific.

Read the statement from past PBA presidents:

Rappler.com

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