Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed support for the thousands of women who lost their loved ones to extrajudicial killings under the government’s war on drugs even as she encouraged them to continue on fighting Duterte’s murderous policies.
In her message read at the recent gathering of women, De Lima said it is during these trying times where the strength and fortitude of women and mothers are being tested.
“Sa labinlimang buwan na ako ay bilanggo, nalimitahan ang mga araw na nakakasama ko ang aking mga anak at apo. At sa mahahalagang okasyon na hindi ko sila nakasama, nakaramdam ako ng matinding kalungkutan, paano pa kaya ang mga ina ng mga biktima ng Tokhang?,” she said.
“Do we succumb to sadness, or do we continue to fight for justice, and for our children? Magpapalunod ba tayo sa lungkot at pananahimik, o ipaglalaban natin ang katarungan, at papanagutin ang may kasalanan?,” she added.
The event, entitled “Confronting Tokhang, Women’s Narrative of Survival,” was held at San Alberto Hurtado Hall, Social Development Complex in Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City last June 4.
Note that of the 20,000 individuals killed in the war on drugs, innocent children and teenagers who have lost their lives are now relegated by the present government as mere “collateral damage.”
De Lima, chairman of the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development, said Duterte is mistaken if he thinks that women are weak and incapable of facing the challenges that come their way.
“Sinasabi lang ito ng mga taong walang pinagkatandaan, walang respeto, ginagawang katatawanan ang mga sensitibong isyu, at ang tingin sa babae ay kasangkapan lamang–walang pakiramdan, basta-basta lang kung halikan, hiyain, bastusin,” she said.
“Tatak ito ng isang taong duwag. We have a President today who does things on a whim. Nagsasalita siya at kumikilos nang wala sa hulog. Nagdedesisyon nang wala sa huwisyo,” she added.
De Lima, a mother of two, maintained that Duterte’s “Tokhang” will only continue if the public will allow it. “This impunity must stop. It should end now. Our experiences as mothers and women have made us stronger. I know that we will triumph and survive despite an abusive and misogynist leader,” she said.