UP student receiving threats from Duterte supporters
The student leader who filed a petition seeking the disqualification of presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte claimed that he has received death wishes and even rape threats against his girlfriend from supporters “inspired” by the ways of the feisty mayor.
Appearing at the preliminary conference on the disqualification cases against Duterte on Tuesday morning, UP Diliman University Student Council chairperson John Paulo delas Nieves said that he had received the threats on his Facebook account.
He accused Duterte’s supporters of instigating cyberbullying.
“[The threats] are difficult to accept. We want a new face—not someone who is a traditional politician—and that the youth will be the ones to lead the change. Until now, I have been receiving death threats on Facebook.”
“The problem is, the presidential candidate that they are supporting has inspired them not to forge unity or understanding but to sow fear. Now, I have become their victim. Duterte is not yet our president but cyberbullying on social media has already become rampant,” delas Nieves said in Filipino.
He said that Duterte’s supporters have become bold in attacking contrarians because of the mayor’s fearless statements regarding the imposition of death penalty against erring officials and criminals.
“The issuance of threats from Duterte’s supporters may not have the mayor’s go signal but what he did was to inspire them. After they heard Duterte saying ‘I can kill you,’ they now share the same view that killing those who do not agree with you is the right way to serve justice,” delas Nieves added.
Delas Nieves and his lawyer missed the preliminary conference on Monday. Duterte’s camp then pushed for the dismissal of the petition.
He said that he missed the preliminary conference because he came from Davao City, the bailiwick of the Dutertes, for a general assembly of student councils from UP.
His decision to go to Davao City prompted his parents to fear for his life.
“My parents do not want me to go to Davao City because of the Facebook threats. But I told them, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong. What I did is to fulfill my responsibility as a Filipino citizen,” he said.
The student leader said that some accounts who posted threats on his Facebook page were trolls and some even posed as overseas Filipino workers.
He called on Duterte’s supporters to adhere to due process and the rule of law.
“Even if I do not like Rodrigo Duterte, I still adhered to giving him due process of law by filing a petition. I am giving him the right to avail of due process,” he said.
In the end, he said that he would not back down from seeking the disqualification of Duterte amid threats to his life
“I think this is the right time to be courageous. If we know that we are not doing anything wrong yet we fear for our life, I think it’s a big problem. So for me, if I have to stand up and tell the youth that we should do things that would help the country beyond social media postings, I would gladly do it over and over again,” the 21-year-old graduate student said.
Delas Nieves is the third petitioner seeking to disqualify Duterte.
He said that Duterte has no one to substitute for because former Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan standard-bearer Martin Diño has a defective certificate of candidacy.
Dino withdrew his COC to give way for Duterte.
The Commission on Elections will hold a hearing on the merits of the petitions on Tuesday afternoon. IDL
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.