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Defending The Constitution: The Florin Hilbay Project

Defending The Constitution: The Florin Hilbay Project

“Silence is music to the ears of a tyrant.”

Words of wisdom from a freedom fighter.

If you are an active Twitter user and have been following former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay and liking, retweeting and quoting his tweets, you have one more reason to celebrate because he just launched his Facebook page a few days ago.

Free from the 140 characters-per-tweet limitations, Hilbay created this page for a particular purpose: defend the highest and most fundamental law in the land, the 1987 Philippine constitution.

“The biggest problems that confront us are those that are fundamental to the Constitution, a document every President swears to defend and protect,”

Hilbay declares in the first ever post of the page.

florin hilbay's post

Created only last Friday, the page is slowly gaining attention and has now almost 2,500 followers, from his original followers from Twitter to the newly-converted fans who were deprived of Hilbay’s brilliant, enlightening and sometimes witty views on issues simply because they do not have Twitter accounts.

As expected, the page has since posted well-written pieces on various social and political issues vis-à-vis its constitutional premises and implications. From free speech amid government threats directed at its critics to the clear and present danger of killing suspects as a solution to the drug problem, from the presidential bullying of independent constitutional institutions to the creeping tyrannical rule of the incumbent government and how the people’s silence and acquiescence allows such rule.

Do not get us wrong. Hilbay, by creating a Facebook page, does not suggest that using social media alone is enough to protect the constitution or to resist and fight violations thereof. Hilbay is the last person you can call a “keyboard warrior.” He knows how to walk his talk.

Hilbay, a bar topnotcher, represented the Philippines in the arbitration proceeding that the administration of Noynoy Aquino initiated and won against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

As a private lawyer after his stint as a Solicitor General, he argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of Senator Leila de Lima asking the court to quash the criminal information against the senator and invalidate the warrants of arrest issued against her.

Hilbay also led the filing of the Convene Congress petition along with more than 300 members of the Philippine bar to ask the Supreme Court to enjoin both houses of Congress to convene as one and jointly discuss and rule as to the basis of the declaration of martial law in some parts of Mindanao.

He attended the launch of Tindig Pilipinas, a coalition of individuals and more than 50 civic and non-government organizations opposing the anti-people and repressive policies of the administration of Rodrigo Duterte and has been attending protest rallies and other activities.

In short, by bringing his advocacy of defending the constitution in social media, it does not mean that Hilbay is abandoning the old school ways of fighting for justice and democracy and defending rights, freedoms and principles under the constitution, that is by using the remedies available to petition the courts for redress of grievances or through the parliament of the streets.

By bringing his advocacy of defending the constitution in social media, Hilbay is just embracing an additional forum to advance this noble cause. It is a way of information dissemination. An attempt to educate the people of the existence of the constitution, its guiding principles, and that any violation thereof is also a violation of the essence of democracy to which our society is founded.

In the online world full of the likes of Uson, Nieto, and Sasot, a Florin Hilbay is definitely a welcome respite. He is a beautiful light in these times of unpleasant darkness.