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WAR ON DRUGS

Two years later, mother of EJK victim still longs for son

Two years later, mother of EJK victim still longs for son

Marissa Lazaro NIKKA G. VALENZUELA

MANILA, PPhilippines — When the bloody war on drugs claimed its first victims in 2016, Marissa Lazaro believed that the fatalities in police operations were truly drug addicts.

But when her youngest son was gunned down in 2017 after being mistaken for a robber and drug suspect, her view changed.

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The Caloocan resident, who used to ignore mass actions, started joining them. Hours before President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, Lazaro was one of several mothers of extrajudicial killing (EJK) victims who spoke in pocket protests on Commonwealth Avenue. She brought along a photo of her son, 20-year-old Christopher.

“In Duterte’s [Sona], he will brag about the success of the war on drugs. Can you still call it successful when there are mothers like me who are longing for their sons?” Lazaro asked the crowd.

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While many relatives of EJK victims are afraid to speak up, Lazaro is unfazed. “My relatives said I should stop speaking. I said that if I stop doing this, it means that I have accepted my son’s death,” she told the Inquirer.

She added: “I know my son is dead but if I do not speak up, the killings will continue.”

Lazaro has even started bringing her grandchildren to rallies as she believes it is just right for them to be aware of the realities of the drug war.

As for allegations that she was being paid to join protests, Lazaro pointed out that they would not be going out in the streets if they were not fighting for something.

“I want my son to have a name, not just a number. He was not a drug addict,” she said.

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TAGS: Christopher Lazaro, drug war killings, EJKs, extrajudicial killings, Marissa Lazaro
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