Sereno urges public to prevent repeat of martial law abuses
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday urged the public to make a stand and act to prevent a repeat of the horrors committed during the martial law regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“Given the present day, when the possibility of history repeating itself looms imminent, no cause requires your commitment as much as the cause of human rights, justice, and democracy, themes you have aptly chosen,” Sereno said in her commencement exercise speech at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Duterte declared a 60-day martial law in Mindanao following the attack of the Maute terrorist group in Marawi. The President said his martial law will not be any different from what Marcos enforced. “I will be harsh,” he said.
The Chief Justice said “people’s fundamental human rights and freedoms, the core of our democracy, face grave and blatant threats.”
“The culture of impunity is on the rise. People are pressured to favor the easy choice over the right choice: expediency over due process; convenient labeling over fairness; the unlawful termination of human life over rehabilitation,” said Sereno, who told the graduates that she discarded her original speech and opted to discuss martial law because it is “a more urgent and specific subject matter.”
According to Sereno, it is important not only to make a stand but to act.
“More than merely ruminating on the idea of justice, I call on each of you to confront the common injustices of our society and seek to address them.”
“I urge you to speak out with truth even against the overwhelming tide of popular opinion and reach out to the oppressed and disenfranchised. When you face threats to the sanctity of human rights or the stability of our democracy, give your all to protect these freedoms. Give your all to protect our nation and our people,” she said. IDL/rga
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