Press Release
June 10, 2012

Sen. Teofisto "TG" Guingona III
114th Philippine Independence Day Ball
Filipino Community of Guam
Sheraton Hotel, Guam
Saturday, June 09, 2012

Friends, ladies and gentlemen:

Let me greet all of you a good evening, and a joyful celebration of the Philippines' 114th Independence Day.

This is a wonderful evening ... which makes me wonder why you would want to spoil it with a speech by a politician from the Philippines.

Before anything else, I must perform my duty to the constituents, the people of the Republic of the Philippines. You see, when they found out that I am flying over to Guam - which is a United States territory - for this celebration, they requested me to ask you this question.

The question is ... have you, guys, been faithfully exercising your right to vote?

If yes, they want to find out if you ... voted for ... Jessica Sanchez in American Idol.

I don't know what happened here, guys. But back home, there was a major Jessica Sanchez craze. The craze about her was so major that she stole television viewership away from other TV programs.

... including, of course, the TV viewership of the Philippine Senate during the Impeachment process.

Lesson for Philippine senators: do not compete with singing stars for TV viewership ratings.

We should have remembered that there are only two persons who can unite Filipinos all around the world: Jessica Sanchez and ... of course ... the honorable congressman from Mindanao, world boxing Champion Manny Pacquiao.

We are often criticized for the fact that many famous Filipinos have to leave home in order to gain international renown and respect. I cannot debate that fact because that is backed by evidence.

Among these evidence is a Filipino - a visayan - who came over to Guam in the 1600s. It was here in Guam that he became a martyr for his faith and a forthcoming saint of the Catholic Church. His name is Blessed Pedro Calungsod, from Cebu.

I believe this also proves that, when Filipinos come to Guam, they become ... holy and saintly.

I am honored to be here tonight. I thank the Filipino Community of Guam led by your president, Lea Beth Naholawaa, for the invitation to be part of your celebration.

I am so overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality you have accorded me and my family. I am so happy to be here that, in fact, I am seriously thinking of staying here permanently to pursue a political career ...

Especially when I found out that both your governor and lieutenant governor were former senators.

I should tell my colleagues in the Philippine Senate that there is a place in the world where people actually like senators.

Back home, I have this suspicion that Filipinos are not very fond of their senators. The dislike is so great that when Filipinos actually liked one senator ... they decided to get him out of the Senate and make him their President.

That erstwhile senator, of course, is our President, Noynoy Aquino, III.

Let me convey to you his warmest greetings and his gratitude to Governor Calvo and Lieutenant Governor Tenorio for taking very good care of our kababayan's here. Thank you, Governor Eddie; thank you, Lieutenant Governor Ray.

And, thank you, my beloved Kababayans. Your accomplishments here - social, professional and political - are known to our countrymen back home. Just like all other Filipinos who made their mark globally, you excelled in all your endeavors here in your beloved Guam.

In so doing, you have made both your native land and your adopted home ... proud. Ipinagmamalaki ko po na kayo ay mga kababayan ko.

Let me reciprocate for the honor by sharing with you some of the important things happening back home.

First, I am sure you all know that our country successfully completed an impeachment process involving one of the highest officials of the land.

What is remarkable here is not that we removed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from his post following a judgment by the Impeachment Court. What are remarkable here are the following:

One, that our democratic processes are working ... and are working well in behalf of the interest of the people.

Two, that every member of the Senate of the Philippines which acted as the Impeachment Court - be they for conviction or acquittal - voted in accordance with his or her conscience and honest belief.

Third, that we have proven that our Nation and our institutions continue to hold in high regard and obey the Constitution of our Republic.

This is truly a piece of good news. Let me explain why. During the 40 or so number of days that we heard the case, there were speculations as to how we, the senators, would vote. There were also fears that the impeachment process would not be completed just like in the past.

Our people proved that the fears were unfounded. And, all senators, with no exception, proved that their vote was not the result of pressure or partisanship - but was based solely on their notion of what is right and what is wrong.

That, I believe, is very, very good news.

And, guess what?

Just as the Senate was hearing the impeachment case, our economy was registering positive growth - significant positive growth. The growth stood at 6.4 percent by the end of the first quarter - the first quarter of a year during which there is no single centavo in election spending.

This is significant - it is the highest growth rate among ASEAN countries and the second highest for that period in the whole of Asia.

I look at this growth rate also as a "vote" - a vote of confidence in our economy and in our country.

This is significant ... but this is not "unbelievable".

I personally view this positive development as a necessary consequence of the renewed air of transparency ... and accountability to the people ... that is now pervading the country ... your country ... my country ... our beloved Philippines.

My friends, there is a new chapter in our history. And, it is a chapter with Freedom as the centerpiece: the freedom to believe in ourselves once more.

... to believe that we are capable of continually reforming both our society and government;

... to believe that we are capable of moving our economy forward and on to greater heights;

... to believe that, when we unite behind a cause, we achieve our goal ... our vision ... our dream.

We have the freedom to believe in ourselves.

The enemy of this Freedom is not a colonizer. Nor an invader. Nor an ideology. The enemy of this Freedom is within us. It is called, "attitude" - the attitude of "cynicism". The attitude of "hindi makapaniwala". Worse, "ayaw maniwala".

But why shouldn't we believe? Why shouldn't we be free once more to believe in ourselves when evidence abounds to prove this fact: that when Filipinos believe in themselves, they achieve much?

I need not show , display or exhibit this proof.

All I have to do ... is ask you to look at one another.

Please. Look at one another.

There, my friends, are your solid, unquestionable, incontestable proof.

Now, I rest my case.

In Tagalog: Now, I shut my mouth.

It's time to celebrate. Let's celebrate our 114th Independence Day. Let's celebrate the wonderful friendship between the Guam and the Philippines. Let's celebrate the Filipino - the Filipino who, despite his many follies and foibles, continue to make his mark in the global stage.

Let's celebrate your many successes here in Guam. Let's celebrate - for you are proof that when we are free to believe in ourselves ... then we are free to be what we are destined to become.

Mabuhay kayo ... at mabuhay tayong lahat!

News Latest News Feed