Death of EJK orphan strengthens De Lima’s resolve to speak out vs Duterte’s drug war

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has extended her deep sympathies to the family of 14-year-old John Paul Bueza Oledan (or JP) who finally succumbed to death due to leukemia. His father was killed two years ago in government’s war on drugs.

A mother of two, De Lima said she feels for JP’s mother who now has to deal with the pain of losing her beloved son even as she struggles to make both ends meet after losing her husband — the family’s breadwinner — to the murderous illegal drug war.

“Nais ko pong ipaabot ang aking pakikiramay sa pamilya ni JP. Nakaabot po sa akin kung gaano katindi ang pinagdadaanan nilang kahirapan, na lalong pinabigat ng pagpaslang sa ama ni JP noong 2016,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 416.

“Being a mother myself, I can also feel the pain of JP’s mom, Ella. Isang biyuda, na sa kaunting kinikita bilang labandera, ay mag-isa nang itinaguyod ang anim na anak matapos paslangin ang kanyang asawa,” she added.

JP, eldest of six children, succumbed to leukemia six months after he was first admitted to the hospital in April 2018. His mother, Ella, is a laundrywoman whose husband was killed in the Duterte administration’s all-out war on drugs in 2016.

In a Facebook post of Baigani Community, a group who supported JP’s battle with leukaemia, JP’s life ended early because his family was unable to access adequate and timely health care due to poverty. The death of his father who used to support the family’s financial needs further aggravated their situation.

De Lima said the appalling conditions of Filipino children who have been left orphaned, if not lifeless, since the Duterte administration launched its war on drugs strengthens her resolve to continue speaking out against EJKs and other injustices happening in the country.

“Libu-libong mahihirap ang pinapatay sa katiting na gramo ng shabu pero kapag tone-toneladang shabu na ang nadiskubre, pinapalusot lang at pino-promote pa ng gobyernong ito ang mga nasasangkot,” she said.

De Lima, one of the first senators who spoke against the administration’s flawed anti- drug campaign, underscored the importance of making the Duterte administration accountable for the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings.

Sa pamilya ni JP at sa marami pang biktima ng Tokhang at EJK, huwag po kayong mawalan ng pag-asa. Sama-sama nating ipanalangin at pagsikapang marating ang araw ng hustisya, gayundin ang pagpapanagot sa mga salarin sa likod ng pekeng war on drugs na ito ng rehimeng Duterte,” she said.

Known as the staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. (SRN) 9 seeking for a Senate inquiry into the rampant extrajudicial killings and summary executions of suspected drug offenders in the country as early as 2016.

Afterwards, she further proposed SRNs. 357, 358, 421, 451, seeking a congressional investigation into the alleged involvement of police officers in cases of extrajudicial killings and the concealment of the same.

De Lima also filed SRN 153 urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions to the country to look into the extrajudicial and summary executions in the administration’s war on drugs.

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