MANILA - Even President Benigno Aquino III was a victim of the heavy traffic jams in Metro Manila caused by the heavy downpour on Thursday.
Aquino was 30 minutes late for the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) anniversary program which he was guest of honor.
When he arrived, Aquino apologized and explained it took him an hour to get to the Manila Polo Club, where the event was being held.
In his speech, the President praised the PBA for upholding the rule of law, especially during the martial law administration, the Arroyo administration, and during the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
He said he feels the PBA always considers the good of the many in upholding the rule of law, which is the same guide he said he uses when he makes difficult decisions.
As in the past, Aquino took a swipe at Marcos, Arroyo and Corona for their alleged wrongdoings: Marcos for the alleged abuses he committed against the country, specifically the President's late father, Senator Ninoy Aquino, who was jailed during martial law; Arroyo for her midnight appointment of Corona; and Corona for protecting Arroyo and for his failure to declare his net worth in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) which is required by law.
Aquino himself is being criticized for allegedly abusing his powers by having his administration come up with the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which is now being assailed before the Supreme Court.
The DAP realigns savings from agencies which fail to implement projects midyear.
The PBA, for its part, presented Aquino with a resolution of support.
The PBA is the oldest voluntary national organization of lawyers in the Philippines. It traces its roots to the Colegio de Abogados de Filipinas organized on April 8, 1891 and the bar association organized by American lawyers in the Philippines in 1900.
On June 24, 1904, under the inspiration of Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano, the Colegio de Abogados de Filipinas and the association of American lawyers in the Philippines merged to form the PBA.
The PBA joined the nation in condemning the proclamation of martial law in 1972, mourning the assassination of then Senator Aquino on August 21, 1983, and welcoming the return of democracy on February 25, 1986.
During martial law, the PBA investigated various violations of human rights and successfully won cases for the release of many detainees.
The PBA condemned the bestial massacre in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009 of 58 people (mostly women, two of them female lawyers, and some journalists) and called on the authorities to punish the murderers.
The PBA was the lead organization that questioned the "midnight appointments" before the automated elections on May 10, 2010.
The PBA commended the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court under the leadership of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, for its May 29, 2012 historic decision (voting 20 for, 3 against) to remove Corona from office.