Activists rally vs Duterte, Marcos on Int’l Rights Day | Inquirer News
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Activists rally vs Duterte, Marcos on Int’l Rights Day

Braving the grueling heat, various groups joined forces on Friday, International Human Rights Day, to voice out their concerns on alleged rights violations committed during the Duterte administration and to seek the rejection of the candidacy of former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for president in next year’s elections.

From the Elliptical Road in Quezon City, just a few meters away from the National Housing Authority, groups from different sectors marched to the University Avenue at the University of the Philippines Diliman, bringing with them banners calling for the total junking of the controversial terror law, defending of press freedom, condemning killings and harassment against activists and fighting for the upholding of human rights in the country.

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Presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman and his running mate, Walden Bello, converged with the marching groups off the UP Diliman’s entrance along with Sanlakas group.

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said they do not feel that human rights in the country, especially under Mr. Duterte, are being given utmost respect and importance.

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Palabay cited the recent decision of the Supreme Court to declare two provisions in the terror law as unconstitutional—sections 4 and 25—and ruling that the other provisions of the law was “not unconstitutional,” which she said made them feel more that human rights in the country are “being trampled upon.”

‘Nothing to celebrate’

“There is really nothing to celebrate,” she told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the human rights rally. “If we have something worth celebrating [on International Human Rights Day], that would be the people fighting and calling for accountability for human rights violations.”

Senatorial aspirant and Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares decried the fact that Filipinos still push for basic human rights to this day.

“The human rights situation in the Philippines is very dismal,” Colmenares told reporters. “Thousands have been killed and continue to be killed until today under the Duterte administration and yet, thousands do not have the justice that the families have long sought for.”

He also questioned why the President did not want the families of victims of alleged extrajudicial killings to go to the International Criminal Court and instead wanted them to lodge a case in local courts through local prosecutors.

Meanwhile, Malacañang on Friday defended Mr. Duterte’s participation in the democracy summit hosted by the United States and hailed his rights record, saying he had fulfilled his social justice and human rights promises during his term.

Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said Mr. Duterte’s participation in the democracy summit hosted by US President Joe Biden showed that democracy still prevailed in the Philippines.

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TAGS: duterte, Human rights, International Human Rights Day, Marcos
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