The family of the late democracy icon, Senator Jose “Pepe” W. Diokno has added their voices to the call to end the killings in the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs.
This developed as a pro-life advocate in Cebu also called for the holding of mass actions to let the administration hear the people’s sentiments against the rising incidents of killings during police operations in the war against illegal drugs.
“Enough of the slaughter of mostly poor Filipinos,” said the Diokno family in a statement condemning the killings in the name of the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs.
The late senator’s son, Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, released the statement on a Facebook post.
Diokno, the dean of the De La Salle University (DLSU) College of Law, is the national chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), which was founded by his father during the Marcos dictatorship.
“Enough of the perversions of law in the name of the war on drugs,” the Diokno family said.
“Killings, rather than the arrests and prosecutions mandated in our laws, have become the standard operating procedure of law enforcement.”
“The murder of Kian Delos Santos, and the deaths of thousands before him, show how little the government values the lives of Filipinos, and how much contempt it has for the law,” they said.
Time to speak out
“It is time to speak out against the killings. Silence abets murder, and we will have none of both. The Diokno family, guided by the principles of our parents, pledges to stand for justice and human rights,” the family said.
“We lend our voices to the raging cries of the thousands killed and call on the government to comply with the Constitution and laws of our country, and stop the bloody war on drugs, which has only resulted in death, and has not reduced the influx of drugs into the country. We invite all Filipinos to stand with us, for love of country, justice and human rights.”
The statement was signed by the “10 children, 18 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren of Jose W. (Pepe) and Carmen I. (Nena) Diokno.”
The elder Diokno was among the opposition leaders who was ordered arrested and detained by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
He and fellow Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. were both placed in solitary confinement at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
Call for mass action
In Cebu, Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, a pro-life advocate, called on the church leaders and government officials to discuss together the defects of the policy of war on drugs that the Duterte administration has implemented.
Bullecer, director of Human Life International-Philippines, also called for the holding of mass actions if the Duterte administration would not listen to their call to stop the killings.
“It’s not enough that we condemn through public announcements. We need to do mass actions so that the government can hear our sentiments against the rising incidents of killings on police operations against illegal drugs,” said Bullecer, who is also the vice president of the Council of the Laity in the Visayas.
“Possible kaayo nga mo-sit together ang government ug Simbahan aron pagtuki ini nga issue, pero kung dili maminaw ang Duterte administration, then let’s do mass action. Kay kun magkadako ta og magkadaghan, seguro ko nga makabati nato ang gobyerno,” Bullecer said.
(It’s possible that the government and the church can discuss together this issue, but if the Duterte administration will not listen, then let’s do mass action. Because if we grow in number, perhaps, the government will then hear our call.)
On Sunday, two of the most influential archbishops of the Catholic Church, Manila Archbishop Luis Tagle and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma called for an end to the killings in the administration’s drug war.
They also called for all sectors in the country to unite and end the illegal drug trade.
The archbishops’ call was prompted by the killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos and the dozens killed in the drug war last week.
But Bullecer said that a pastoral letter is no longer an effective means of communication because only 16 percent of Catholics go to church while only 10 percent of churchgoers listen to the Mass.
He also pointed out that Duterte is also more popular to the Filipinos than the church officials.
“The Filipinos are looking for a charismatic Filipino leader especially since the Aquino administration have not really focused on stopping illegal drug trade. Then here comes Duterte. The people believe that here comes the answer to the problem on illegal drugs and the corruption in the communities,” he said in Cebuano.
Bullecer has also called Commission on Human Rights to continue monitoring cases on casualties in war on drugs saying “Sa pagkakaron everybody becomes suspect. Unya dudahan gani ka tiklo dayon ka so dili g’yud imposible nga mahitabo sab diri sa atoa ang nahitabo kang Kian.”
(For now, everybody can become a suspect. If you become a suspect, you are dead so it’s not impossible that what happened to Kian would also happen here.)
Bullecer said he believed that some police scalawags have taken advantage of the President’s promise to protect them at any cost on legitimate drug operations.
Bullecer also said that his group would hold a prayer rally at 4 p.m. today (Tuesday) at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.
Meanwhile, cause-oriented groups also staged two protest rallies and lighted candles for Kian’s death.
Around 30 protesters, who are members of the Akbayan UP-Cebu, Artista Para sa Nacionalista Demokratiko at Rebolusyonaryong Sining Sugbu (Andres) gathered in Colon Street in downtown Cebu City, bringing placards calling for a stop to the killings and carrying a dummy of a dead person with blood stains tagged with the call for justice for Delos Santos and other victims of extrajudicial killings.
At 5 p.m., the Akbayan Youth Cebu gathered in Colon Street and lighted candles as their call for justice on Kian’s death.
Justine Balane, Akbayan Youth coordinator, called on the government to end the country’s drug problem in the proper way — prosecute the drug pushers and rehabilitate the drug users.