President’s oath to serve the nation is a sacred commitment that deserves citizenry’s support

Published June 30, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin

The inauguration, or formal admission to office, of the highest officials of the country is mandated in the Constitution as follows: “The President and the Vice President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date six years after.” (Article VII, The Executive Department, Section 4).

In the following section, the Constitution provides further:

“SECTION 5. Before they enter on the execution of their office, the President, the Vice-President, or the Acting President shall take the following oath or affirmation:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President (or Vice-President or Acting President) of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God.”

The foregoing provisions establish the legal basis for the inauguration of the newly elected President and Vice-President of the Philippines. The official start of their single, six-year terms of office is at noon of June 30 following the election. They are required to take the prescribed oath “before they enter on the execution of their office.” This is why, customarily, their oath taking is scheduled to take place a few minutes before 12 noon on June 30. There is no prohibition on taking the oath days earlier.

The choice of venue is not provided for in the Constitution. After the present Constitution was ratified in a plebiscite in 1987, there have been six presidential inaugurations that took place in five different venues: Luneta grandstand for Fidel V. Ramos and Benigno S. Aquino III; Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan for Joseph Ejercito Estrada; EDSA Shrine and Cebu capitol for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; and Malacañan Palace for Rodrigo R. Duterte.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte have chosen the National Museum and Davao City, respectively, as the venues for their inauguration.

The most important aspect of the inauguration is the oath taking. Invoking God’s help, the President and the Vice President swear to “faithfully and conscientiously…preserve and defend (the Philippine) Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation.”

Beyond the pomp and circumstance — including the choice of venue — the focal point of the inauguration should be the solemn commitments embodied in the oath of office: “preserve and defend the Constitution, execute (the) laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the nation.”

The oath emphasizes fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law as the embodiment of the ideals of liberty, justice and equality. It also specifically states that justice must be done to every person, and that serving the nation is a sacred commitment.

While the recital of the oath takes only a few minutes, how the highest officials of the land take it to heart in fulfilling their mandate from the people would shape the future of generations of Filipinos. Such is the heavy burden of office that now rests on the shoulders of President Marcos and Vice President Duterte.
Congratulations, President Marcos and Vice-President Duterte! We join the Filipino nation in fervent prayers for your well-being and success.