De Lima shares pain, suffering with families of ‘desaparecidos’, EJK victims

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the families of victims of enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings to allow their sufferings to become a driving force that will strengthen their fight for justice that has escaped them for years.

In her message read by Fr. Robert Reyes at the Kalbaryo ng Kawalang Katarungan event last April 17, De Lima said families of the victims should not relent in seeking justice and accountability for the countless human rights abuses perpetrated by the Duterte administration.

“Tayo ngayon ay may panibagong kalbaryo, lalo na kayong mga pamilya ng mga biktima ng enforced disappearance at extrajudicial killings, ang krus ng hustisyang panlipunan at karapatang pantao na ngayon ay niyuyurakan at inaabuso ng gobyernong Duterte,” she said.

“Ang kalbaryo ng mga biktima ng EJK at enforced disappearance ay magsisilbing ningas sa ating masidhing pagkilos upang mabigyan ng hustisya ang mga pinaslang at inabuso at papanagutin ang mga nagkasala,” she added.

A Lenten gathering of families of victims of enforced disappearance and EJKs, the Kalbaryo ng Kawalan ng Katarungan was held at the Inang Bayan Monument, Bantayog ng mga Bayani Memorial Center, Quezon City last April 17.

“[I]tong Bantayog ng mga Bayani ay lugar din ng pag-alala. Ang mga pangalan sa Wall of Remembrance ay kumakatawan sa pagpapakasakit at pagkamatay upang sa gayon ay muling mabuhay ang demokrasya sa bansa. Salamat sa ating magigiting na martir at bayani na pinasan ang krus laban sa Batas Militar,” shared De Lima.

Before the program started, the families of victims formed a human chain in front of the Centris Mall along EDSA corner Quezon Avenue to show their strength and unity in fighting against government abuses and encourage the citizenry to join their fight for justice by choosing rightful leaders in the coming midterm elections.

The lady Senator from Bicol urged the families of victims to keep their hopes high during these trying times, saying that the fight against government abuses and violence can be won with persistence and collective action.

“Kahit ang mga sangay ng gobyerno na sana ay masasandigan ng taumbayan ay nakukuwelyuhan na ni Duterte. Ginagawa niyang entablado ang mga hukuman para dito itanghal ang mga kasong walang-basehan, walang-saysay at puros kahibangan para lamang i-harass ang mga umuusisa at nagtatanggol sa katotohanan,” she said.

“Ngunit huwag po tayong mawawalan ng pag-asa sapagkat naniniwala akong sa pamamagitan ng ating sama-samang pagsusumikap at pagkilos, makakamit natin ang hustisya at mananagot ang mga umaabuso sa kapangyarihan,” she added.

De Lima has spoken from experience, being the first prominent political prisoner who suffered grave injustice under the Duterte regime. “Mahigit dalawang taon na akong nakakulong sa bisa ng mga gawa-gawang kaso at malinaw namang ito ay upang ako ay patahimikin sa pagtuligsa ko sa War on Drugs,” she said.

De Lima has introduced Senate Resolution No. 1032 calling for an inquiry into the Philippine government’s action calling for the removal of 625 names from the list of enforced or involuntary disappearance cases from the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances records. The event was organized by the families of the victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), the Coalition against Enforced Disappearance (CAED), and the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), in cooperation with the Office of Sen. Leila M. de Lima and the Anti-EJK Network.

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