Dispatch from Crame No. 488: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on the Killing of Lawyers under Duterte


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The promise: eradicate drugs and criminality in three to six months. The strategy: slay all suspected drug users and pushers with merciless impunity while freeing drug lords and clearing them of charges. Three years of implementing this flawed and misguided policy has predictably accomplished nothing but spread terror and anarchy all over our blessed land.

First, Duterte divided the nation into non-drug users and drug users. Mabubuti’t masasama. Mga mamamayang may silbi kontra sa tinagurian niyang mga ‘latak ng lipunan’. Having identified his targets, he subjected them into a systematic killing spree.

When state-sponsored impunity was granted to those who pulled the trigger, even the innocent were not spared, including little children. They, then, targetted journalists and human rights defenders who could not stand the carnage, who could not stomach the abuses perpetrated with unprecedented brazenness. Then, he demonized the bishops and clergymen who only sought justice for the nameless. So drunk on power and ego, he wants all dissenting voices silenced.

There is a chilling message this new trend of mayhem sends: the rule of law in our country is decaying at a rapid rate. Lady justice has been raped, and she is dying. Her children are caught in the middle of the bloodbath. Thirty-eight lawyers killed under this administration. Imagine, the very people who swore a sacred oath to uphold and protect the rule of law, are being silenced – perhaps until no one and nothing would be left to stand in the way of Duterte. Walang pinipili ang walang habas na pagpaslang, walang takot na paghasik ng karahasan.

I join the IBP in condemning the senseless killings. Let us storm the gates of the Supreme Court and beg the gods of Padre Faura, to stand for their slain brothers and sisters.

I also welcome and support the initiative of an international law delegation in conducting a probe into these killings.

The scales of justice should never bend to cater to the whims and caprices of a demagogue. Huwag natin pabayaan at ipagsawalang-bahala ang mga pagpatay ng mga tagapagtanggol ng batas. Because when even they are subjected to the wrath of this regime’s thirst for slaughter, what hope remains for the powerless and the nameless? When those who ought to defend and protect our rights are not spared, to whom will we run for succor? ###

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