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LP urges Pinoys to defend rights amid drug war, death penalty bill

/ 03:54 PM December 11, 2016
Sen. Francis Pangilinan INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Sen. Francis Pangilinan INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The erstwhile ruling Liberal Party on Saturday called on Filipinos to defend and uphold human rights amid the administration’s deadly war on drugs and after the proposed revival of the death penalty passed committee-level approval at the House of Representatives.

In a statement during the International Human Rights Day, LP president Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan urged the public to “reaffirm our common humanity, malasakit sa kapwa (compassion for others), and stand up for the rights of all.

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“With reduced membership, the party is now faced with a popular administration that is waging a controversial and deadly war victimizing the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized in its campaign to wipe out illegal drug use through Oplan Tokhang, the execution of which the Senate justice and public order committees deemed to violate constitutional rights, as well as its plans to restore the death penalty and to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 9 years old,” Pangilinan said.

“We echo the call of the United Nations for each of us to ‘step forward and defend the rights of a refugee or migrant, a person with disabilities, an LGBT person, a woman, a child, indigenous peoples, a minority group, or anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence’ — mga nasa laylayan ng ating lipunan (those in the fringes of society),” he added.

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The Senate committee on justice and human rights, in a report released last week, said there was no proof of state-sanctioned killings amid the mounting death toll in the government’s relentless antidrug campaign, which has taken nearly 6,000 lives since President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in May.

Pangilinan was one of the 11 senators who signed the Senate panel report, but noted that he will “dissent/concur in part.”

“It appears that the 11 senators who signed the committee report agree with its findings when in fact the affixed signature is followed by the words ‘I dissent…’ which is what I did,” Pangilinan said in a Facebook post.

“We also stated that we would be filing a separate opinion and in it we will be stating the basis of our dissent on key points,” he added.

Duterte has repeatedly said that the reimposition of the death penalty, one of the main legislative thrusts of the administration, is an integral part of the war against drugs. Four LP senators including Pangilinan vowed to oppose the death penalty bill when it is deliberated in the chamber.

“The fight for human rights has not ended when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 68 years ago. Kaya ipagdiwang natin ang araw na ito. Patuloy tayong kumilos at makilahok upang itulak ang ating karapatang mabuhay nang malaya, maligaya, at masagana (Let’s celebrate this day and continue to act and be involved to push for our right to live free, happy, and prosperous),” Pangilinan added. JE/rga

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TAGS: Death penalty, Drug war, Francis Pangilinan, Kiko Pangilinan, Liberal Party, LP
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