De Lima laments lack of public outcry vs drug killings
MANILA — The country is facing a human rights crisis not only in the streets where drug suspects continue to be killed but more so, in the absence of public indignation on it, detained Sen. Leila de Lima has lamented in her latest message from her prison cell.
In a speech she wrote on the current human rights situation and delivered by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV before a forum on Sunday, De Lima spoke of a “phenomenon” that has risen in light of the drug killings in the ongoing government’s war on drugs.
“I will be very candid and say that it does bother me, infinitely so, that there seems to be a quiet sentiment that bad things are happening because the victims deserve it,” said De Lima in a speech that was read by Trillanes during the “SO ano NA” forum at UP Bahay ng Alumni, in Quezon City.
She made this conclusion after reading a Washington Post story of a Filipino child who was left inside a car by her family and who was later found dead. She said the article asked if her death was a crime and that people had various reactions to it.
And this made her realize that it seemed “human rights abuses will never happen..to good people.”
De Lima then said she was bothered that President Duterte has continued to enjoy a high satisfaction rating despite “everything he has said and done.”
“More precisely, it bothers me that there does not seem to be enough clamor against the killings that have been committed thus far — both from ordinary Filipinos, and also from key institutions,” De Lima said.
Despite the drug killings, she noted that the “domestic reaction is more of a worried whimper, compared to the indignant outcry from international observers.”
“Those being killed were our fellow citizens, why are we not bothered?” she asked, adding that bothersome as well was that the killings had been allowed in the” absence of unanimous and resounding indignation.”
“This, I believe is the true human crisis we are facing today. Our faith in its importance has been shaken. And it will take greater thought and effort from all of us before we can get back on the right track again,” De Lima said.
She said human rights has gone under attack and “not just by killings in the streets.”
“The battle is also being waged on the people’s minds. And that’s where the war will be or lost, ” she said, reminding that human rights abuses could not be done with impunity if people were to claim such rights for themselves.
“As powerful as President Duterte seems to think he is, his power emanates from the people. We just need to claim it,” De Lima said.
De Lima is now detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center in Camp Crame and facing trial after being charged by the Duterte administration with accepting drug pay-offs from New Bilibid Prison inmates when she was still justice secretary of the previous Aquino administration. SFM
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