Sen. Leila M. de Lima today called on the Filipino youth to remain steadfast and vigilant against possible repeat of abuses that could once again curtail the citizen’s basic rights and undermine the country’s democratic institutions.
In her message at the premiere of musical play “Katips: Ang Mga Bagong Katipunero” at Adamson Theatre, De Lima cited the important role and contribution of the Filipino youth in fighting for the restoration of the country’s democracy.
“To our youth, then and now, you have had major roles in pursuing what is right and just in our country,” she said, recalling the examples of youth leaders who bravely spoke out against the excesses of the martial law rule more than four decades ago.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate justice committee, cited the initiatives of some students who stood up against the spate of extrajudicial killings carried out under the government’s war against illegal drugs, notably the “cardboard justice” campaign.
“These efforts have contributed to waking up the nation to voice out its collective concerns about the spate of vigilante killings and summary executions in the wake of the war against illegal drugs,” she said.
“In as much as I laud your efforts now, I still urge you to continue fighting the good fight for our people, just like students before you, and the Katipuneros of the olden days,” she added.
The Senate justice and human rights committee is scheduled on Aug. 22 and 23 to open its probe on the spate of extrajudicial and vigilante killings precipitated by the government’s war against illegal drugs.
The former justice secretary also reminded the students of the importance of not forgetting the atrocities of the past, stressing that these offenses are bound to repeat if forgotten.
“Oras na makalimot tayo, oras na manahimik tayo, oras na magwalangkibo tayo, garantisadong mauulit ang mga kamalian at pagdurusang sinapit natin sa nakaraan,” she said.
She urged them to remain vigilant to ensure that the rule of law and respect of human rights must always prevail in these trying times as they shun violence as a means to bring peace and order, especially in the government’s war against illegal drugs.“Sa halip nakarahasan, mamayani sana ang batas at katwiran; sa halip nabala at pulbura, manaig sana ang ating malasakit at kalinga sa isa’tisa, at sa bawat pagkakataon, itaguyod natin ang paggalang sa karapatan ng kapwa, tungo sa mas payapa, mas patas at mas makatarungang bansa.”