De Lima urges Filipinos to remember EJK victims on ‘Undas’

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In line with the commemoration of All Souls’ and All Saint’s Day, Senator Leila M. de Lima today called on her fellow Filipinos to remember and pray for the thousands killed in Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs.

De Lima, a known human rights defender, said the traditional celebration of the “Day of the Dead” is also a chance for her countrymen to pray for the healing and justice of the families of EJK victims.

“Naiba na nga po ang paggunita natin ngayon ng Undas. Ngayon, hindi na lang natin inaalala ang mga namatay, kundi maging ang mga pinatay na kapamilya at kababayan dahil sa madugong kampanya laban sa droga ng rehimeng Duterte,” she said in a statement.

“Ang Undas ring ito ay hindi lamang pag-alala sa mga pinatay kundi maging sa mga namatayan–mga nabiyudang ina na mag-isang itataguyod ang mga anak, mga naulilang anak na wala nang nagisnan at masasandalang magulang, mga naiwang kapamilya na hanggang ngayon ay naghahanap ng katarungan at katotohanan. Isama po natin sila sa ating panalangin. Nawa’y makamit po nila ang hustisya,” she added.

Every Nov. 1 and 2, Filipinos flock to cemeteries all over the country to visit the graves of their departed loved ones. To pay their respects, the families light candles, offer flowers and say solemn prayers for the souls of the dead.

Since Duterte assumed presidency in July 2016, more than 13,000 have been killed either through vigilante-style executions or “legitimized” police operations, with minors – including 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz, 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, and 15-year-old Charlie Jean Du and her unborn child — literally caught in the barrage.

The Senator from Bicol lamented that despite these disturbing deaths and the rising death toll in the country, Duterte still vows to continue his war on drugs until the end of his term in 2022.

“Ngayon, mahigit 13,000 na nating mga kababayan ang pinaslang ng palpak na War on Drugs–libo-libong mahihirap na Pilipinong ‘nanlaban’ umano, libo-libong bangkay na natagpuan sa lansangan, dumagdag sa mga sementeryo, inilaglag sa Manila Bay, ginawang abo at itinapon sa inidoro, o hanggang ngayon ay nananatili sa mga punerarya, habang may iba namang hindi pa natatagpuan at nakikita.” she said.

“Ito ba ang kapayapaan at katahimikan na gustong makamit ng rehimeng Duterte? Ang katahimikang resulta ng walang habas na karahasan at patayan, kung saan unti-unting pinuno ng gobyerno ang mga sementeryo?” she asked.

Last August, De Lima reiterated her proposal to create an independent fact-finding commission to investigate cases of extrajudicial and summary killings, including the case of Delos Santos who was allegedly killed by police officers in Caloocan City on the same month.

The proposal to probe into the unorthodox yet bloody anti-drug operations led by the police was earlier mentioned in De Lima’s Dissenting Report to the Joint Committee Report No. 18 of the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights and on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chaired by Senators Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson, respectively.

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