VP key guest at Sept. 21 Mass for democracy
Vice President Leni Robredo would be the highest ranking government official at an event to mark the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Sept. 21 that is expected to draw critics of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Tindig Pilipinas, an umbrella organization of 150 groups criticizing alleged human rights abuses under the President, will sponsor a Mass on that day at De La Salle University.
According to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the President’s most vocal critics and member of Tindig, the Sept. 21 Mass was meant to call for the protection of democracy.
Trillanes, who is holed up at the Senate, met with Tindig members at his office on Tuesday.
“Tindig Pilipinas will not stop its activities until we attain again a government that is good and not corrupt,” Trillanes said.
He said what the group wanted was a government “that truly cares for the welfare of each Filipino.”
Tindig, he added, wanted a “robust economy that will bring jobs, provide adequate wages and affordable goods.”
The group also wanted to bring together “a united people who help, love and are kind to each other,” according to Trillanes.
“We can achieve these if we are united,” he added.
Trillanes said more people were joining the ranks of the opposition after their eyes had been opened to realities under the Duterte administration.
He said, though, that there had been no recruitment of forces to join this mass movement—no communists or uniformed personnel.
As to whether there would be calls to oust the President, Trillanes said that would be an individual decision.
“As for me, I have long been saying that he needs to resign,” Trillanes said of the President.
“But the messages of Tindig Pilipinas are calibrated,” he said.
The President earlier said there was a plot to unseat him on Sept. 21.
The president’s spokesperson, Harry Roque, had dismissed accusations of human rights abuses against his boss.
On Tuesday, he dismissed plans by a human rights group to bring to the witness stand in the International People’s Tribunal a Marawi City sultan to testify on alleged human rights violations by the President.
Roque said the tribunal was just leftist propaganda.
Human rights group Karapatan had said Sultan Hamidullah Atar, of Marawi City, would testify this week against the Duterte administration at the International People’s Tribunal. —With a report from Julie M. Aurelio
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