Press Release
May 25, 2009

Enrile calls on country's lawyers to be agents of reforms

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile called on the country's lawyers to serve as agents of change, saying that the country will not be able to attain economic development unless the much needed legal and judicial reforms are instituted.

Speaking before the 19th biennial induction of officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines -Quezon Province Chapter in Lucena City last Thursday afternoon, Enrile underscored that "legal and judicial" reforms were crucial elements in the country's development program.

"As lawyers, we can do so much for our country and our people. We can do so much to uphold the rule of law, promote democratic ideals and protect the integrity of our economic, political and social institutions," Enrile said.

"Moreover, we must not ignore ominous signs like people's restlessness and growing clamor for change and reforms. We must be able to read the pulse of the people, identify emerging issues and challenges and think of lasting legal solutions. We must be proactive and tireless in exploring new ideas," he added.

In his speech, Enrile quoted Indian economist and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Amartya Sen who argued that a nation's economic development cannot be considered separately from its legal development.

Enrile explained that the practice of law and economic development were not only complementary, but also enjoyed a cozy relationship. "In view of the constant changes in the global economic arena, there must be continuing legal training and education for lawyers to keep them abreast of domestic and international issues and make our legal system more responsive and better prepared for the challenges ahead."

"We need to embrace change and cast our wholehearted support to reforms because we cannot attain our economic development goals if much-needed legal and judicial reforms are not instituted," the Senate President pointed out.

Enrile noted that most developed countries that have made advances in the fields of politics and economics were "anchored in the integrity of their legal profession."

"Whether you endeavor to practice the profession in public service, engage in private practice or work with nongovernment organizations to take on advocacy work, the reality is lawyers make up one strong pillar of growth of Philippine society," Enrile said.

"On several occasions, I do wonder what will happen to a world without lawyers," Enrile noted. "At the risk of sounding patronizing, the world, without lawyers, will be more chaotic, disorderly, violent, even. "

At present, Enrile said, the Philippines was facing serious challenges in many fronts. "We live in very interesting times. Certainly, interesting times call for novel approaches. The magnitude of the challenges and the enormity of the tasks ahead of us may dampen less courageous spirits.

Citing his public service record covering a period of over 40 years, Enrile said he was proud of the Filipino's indomitable spirit, uncommon valor and resilience. "We, Filipinos, are born with these remarkable traits. We must use the positive things about us to harness our potentials and propel our nation to greater economic and political heights," he explained.

"I concede that, as lawyers, we all have our fair share of fulfilling as well as frustrating moments. Nevertheless, I encourage you to defy all adversities and overcome the daunting challenges that go with the legal profession. Take the road less traveled and, in your own way, contribute significantly to nation-building," he said.

"Together, we will carry the torch of political, economic and social reforms further on. Together, let us make a difference. If we are united, no task is difficult to accomplish, and no goal is difficult to attain," Enrile further said.

News Latest News Feed