Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has deplored the living conditions of elderly Filipino mothers who continue to suffer from untold hardships even years after losing their children to extrajudicial killings under the government’s murderous war on drugs.
De Lima, the staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, pointed out that thousands of elderly Filipino mothers still carry the emotional burden of the drug war even when their children have long been laid to final rest.
“‘No mother should bury her child.’ This is what every mother fears. Sadly, under this tyrannical Duterte regime and its failed War on Drugs, this is a tragic reality that thousands of mothers have gone through; a harrowing ordeal that they live with every day,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 530.
“[T]hese mothers’ pain will never truly disappear. They will never forget. Dadamdamin nila ang mapait na alaala hanggang sa kanilang huling hininga. They will continue to cry for justice for their sons, daughters, and even grandchildren whose lives were cut short by an evil man who had the gall to play god,” she added.
De Lima recalled an article “Elderly Mothers Bear the Emotional Burden of the Drug War” published by Global Health NOW last June 6, narrating the plight of 70-year-old Elvira Miranda and 60-year-old Carmelita Bajacan whose sons where shot and killed during an anti-drug police operation in Manila North Cemetery on Aug. 3, 2017.
“Their sons had been dead for a year or more, but these mothers wept like it happened yesterday,” De Lima noted, citing Bianca Franco, a researcher at the Ateneo de Manila University who covered communities victimized by the drug war.
Aside from the emotional burden left on their frail shoulders, the former justice secretary noted how the elderly mothers like Miranda and Bacajan were left to hold the responsibility of providing for the needs of their grandchildren.
“Bukod sa namamanglaw at nanghihinang katawan dahil sa kanilang edad, bukod sa pagdurusa at kalungkutang dala ng pagkamatay ng kanilang mga anak, naiwan sa mga tulad nina Ginang Elvira at Carmelita ang mabigat na pasaning arugain at itaguyod ang kinabukasan ng mga apong naulila ng kanilang mga magulang,” she said.
“Bukod sa mga pinaslang ng karumal-dumal na War on Drugs ni Duterte, sila ang mukha ng mga biktima–mga itinuturing na ‘collateral damage’ ng marahas na polisiyang maraming buhay ang sinayang at wala namang pinatunguhan,” she added.
Of the 28,176 individuals killed since Mr. Duterte launched his so-called war on drugs in July 2016, 5,176 of whom are considered “drug personalities” while 23,000 are victims officially recorded under the category of “homicide cases under investigation”.
Some innocent individuals, including children and teenagers who have lost their otherwise bright future and promising lives to flawed drug war, are now relegated by the present government as mere “collateral damage.” De Lima, a mother of two, reiterated her call for the Philippine government to heed the human rights community’s incessant clamor to “stop the killings now” to prevent further casualties due to the drug war.