De Lima says Duterte attacking critics to instill fear
MANILA, Philippine–President Rodrigo Duterte wants to instill fear among the public with his incessant attacks against human-rights defenders like Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David and other church leaders, opposition Senator Leila De Lima said Thursday.
De Lima urged the public not to be defeated by fear and continue fighting for the defenseless as Duterte wants to instill fear by creating a violent society where no one is spared from the killings.
“We must act now and continue to fight Duterte’s attacks on human-rights defenders and critics. Duterte wants to instill fear among us by creating a violent society where anyone can be killed anytime,” De Lima said in a dispatch from her detention cell in Camp Crame.
“The threat is already pervasive, especially among those who continue to resist and oppose him. There is nothing sacred to him, not even a Bishop whose only fault is to care for the families of the victims of extra-judicial killings,” she added.
The detained senator pointed out that Bishop David incurred the President’s ire because of his relentless fight for the poor and the marginalized, adding the President “hates those who love and care for the poor because he hates the poor.”
The Caloocan prelate has been a staunch critic of the administration’s brutal anti-drug war that has killed thousands of suspected drug users and small-time peddlers, most of them poor.
De Lima noted how Duterte previously accused Bishop David of stealing church funds and having drug links because of his nightly rounds around his diocese.
READ: Duterte: Bishop ‘David’ stealing church offerings
The President even threatened to have a bishop’s head cut off if proven that he is selling illegal drugs.
On Wednesday, Duterte intensified his verbal attacks against Catholic bishops, seemingly urging for their killing.
“[I]tong mga obispo ninyo, patayin ninyo. Walang silbi iyang mga gagong iyan. All they do is criticize,” Duterte said in his speech. /jpv
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