Leni to gov’t execs: Safeguard freedoms
Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday called on her fellow government officials “to be the safeguards of freedoms of life, liberty, speech and due process” on the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.
“We call upon those of us who serve in the government to continue to be instruments of truth and justice and to maintain an unwavering commitment to the rule of law. Let us be safeguards of freedoms of life, liberty, speech and due process,” Robredo said in a statement.
“We must all remain vigilant against the return of martial law or any of its elements. Not in this lifetime, never again,” she said.
Robredo won over Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, by a slim margin in the vice presidential race in the May national elections.
During the campaign, Robredo took a stand against martial law revisionism and emphasized the need to pursue justice for victims of the 20-year authoritarian rule.
On Wednesday, Robredo once again made a rundown of the staggering figures “during one of the darkest periods of our history”: 70,000 imprisoned, 34,000 tortured, 3,240 killed and 390 disappeared.
Robredo said the Filipino people must continue to remember all the victims of martial law.
“They were fathers and mothers. They were brothers and sisters. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that their stories are neither forgotten nor twisted for political purposes and ambitions,” the Vice President said.
More than 3,000 suspected drug users and pushers have been killed in the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs, almost equal the number of deaths during the 20-year iron first rule of Marcos.
Robredo has raised concern over “vigilantism and violence” as the body count continues to rise. She also lamented the lack of public outcry over the killings.
In a separate statement, Siquijor Rep. Ramon Vicente Antonio Rocamora said the staggering figures—from the deaths to the tortured to the billions of dollars stolen from the Filipino people—“are not in dispute,” saying that “those who willfully and actively fabricate stories and pass it off as history should not be countenanced.”
“It is a challenge for us who benefit from the struggles of those who fought the dictatorship to continue their legacy and make their vision of a more prosperous and fair country a reality,” Rocamora said.
“The story of Martial Law should not just be a story of one man’s insatiable quest for power but also of the bravery and sacrifices of those who stood in his way. It is the story of a nation, which fought to end tyranny and to create a better and nobler democracy in its ashes. Such a democracy may still be far off but our journey has been made easier because of the selflessness of those who fought the dictatorship. Those are the facts,” he said.