‘Let God, family, and your country be your work guides’

Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza

By: Gerome Dalipe

NEWLY-installed elected officials in Iloilo province have been urged to always consider God, family, and their country in carrying out their functions.

Speaking during the inaugural of Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. and other provincial officials at the Capitol lobby on June 28, 2019, Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza said public officials often face difficult decisions.

“As you do your work, always remember God, family, and your country,” said Jardeleza, a native of Jaro, Iloilo City.

Jardeleza was the guest speaker to the oath-taking ceremony of Defensor Jr., Provincial Board members, and various town officials at the Capitol lobby.

A mass was officiated by Most Reverend Angel Lagdameo prior to the oath-taking.

Defensor Jr. has called on his constituents to help him in dispensing social justice.

“Ladies and gentlemen help us in the administration of social justice in the Province of Iloilo,” Defensor said in his speech after taking his oath of office.

“The administration of social justice is always a collaboration. This is not only a call for public service, but for unity. We can only do it together,” said Defensor.

Defensor Jr., the former congressman of the 3rd district of Iloilo, will assume office as the Province’s chief executive today, July 1, replacing his father and namesake, Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr.

In his speech, Justice Jardeleza reminded newly assumed elected officials to put God first in the discharge of their official functions.

He considered his concurring opinion with the SC en banc in allowing the holding of Masses and other religious practices in all courts in the Philippines as one of his landmark decisions at the Supreme Court

“More than the majority of the Court took the position and I joined them that there is a place for God in our government. And so I voted in favor of allowing Masses to be held in our courts,” said Jardeleza.

“I am sure that in the discharge of our official functions, we make difficult decisions, there is always a Supreme Being from whom we can get help. Nobody is too bright to know it all, and nobody is too smart to be able to do it all,” he said.

Secondly, public officials should also keep in mind their family in the discharge of their functions.

“The foundations of our families are our parents, and from good parents come good children,” said Jardeleza.

He urged parents to raise their children as God-living and country-loving persons.

Jardeleza also said the country should be considered in dispensing official functions.

“Your oath today essentially says that you are in office because you won in an election and your office is a public trust,” said Jardeleza.

“Public trust is you are accountable to the people.  You will face difficult choices, but at the end of the day, look forward to what is best for the country.”



Several other Provincial Board Members-elect and town officials also took their oath of office before Defensor Sr.

How will the younger Defensor deal with members of the Provincial Board who are not his political allies?

Defensor Jr. urged the Provincial Board to help him in carrying out the needed legislation beneficial to their constituents.

“Please join me as we craft the policies and ordinances that will not only facilitate prosperity in the Province but distribute the wealth and resources and all opportunities to everyone equally,” said Defensor.

Defensor’s brother and former provincial board member, Lorenz Defensor, succeeded him as representative of Iloilo’s third congressional district.

Board Members June Mondejar, Matt Palabrica, and Jason Gonzales are known allies of Defensor Jr. in the Provincial Board.

On the other hand, Board Members Marcelo Valentine Serag, Renee Valencia, Rolito Cajilig, Rolando Destura, Domingo Oso, Carol Espinosa-Diaz, and Nielito Tupas are allies of former congressman Ferjenel Biron, Defensor’s rival in the last election.

In his speech, Defensor Jr. appealed to the mayors to join him in implementing the programs and projects of the Province that “will uplift the lives of farmers and fisher folks in the barangays.”

He stressed that works in government are both delivering services to the people while adhering to good governance.

“My work, our work is not only good governance. It is also the administration of social justice. And it goes to the recognition that those who have less in life should have more in law,” said Defensor.

The governor said he intends to place social justice even in the aspect of investments and businesses.

“We will include social justice in the jobs and works we create, and opportunities for people not just for their survival, but for them to have a better way of life,” he said.