Dispatch from Crame No. 923: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the proposed US House’s Philippine Human Rights Act


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Barely a week after the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the European Commission to immediately suspend EU trade preferences to the Philippines due to its dismal human rights record, the US House of Representatives introduced the Philippine Human Rights Act bill which, if passed into law by the US Congress, will also terminate the US aid to the AFP and PNP until the Philippines starts investigating and prosecuting human rights violations.

Duterte can no longer ignore the build-up of pressure of the western democracies on his regime and its dismissal of international concerns on its human rights record. As we have said time and again, Duterte continues to make the Philippines a pariah state at the expense of the Filipino people and its national institutions. In addition to the EU and US pressures, we also expect the International Criminal Court to receive the results of its Prosecutor’s preliminary examination on Duterte’s crimes against humanity any time now before the year ends.

As they say, “walang forever”, even in the rule of a strongman who does not want to stop killing poor citizens in the name of a fake drug war. The clock has started ticking on Duterte, and his time is fast running out. Unless he forces the Philippines and its people to live exclusively dependent on China, to the exclusion of the West and the rest of the democratic world, Duterte will take down the whole country along with him and his irrational obsession with killing.

The writing is on the wall. We can still save ourselves, or endure this increasing international opprobrium for the sake of Duterte’s bloodlust.

Not only does Duterte continue to kill in the name of the fake drug war, but several months ago — and without regard to the national public health emergency caused by the pandemic — the PNP and state assassins have also started killing human rights defenders, labor leaders, and community organizers. The AFP and the PNP heightened red-tagging of leaders of open and legal mass organizations, in a vain hope to end the communist insurgency by employing the same methods that caused all such end-of-term attempts in the past to fail. Facebook’s recent shutdown of AFP and PNP dummies in social media attests to the pervasiveness of these operations.

But the world does not cease watching. Magnitsky Acts are being replicated in several major democracies. Soon, like Duterte, not even the AFP and PNP officials responsible for the political witch hunts will be safe outside of the country, except probably in China and other authoritarian states they won’t even bother travelling to. It is indeed tragic that these professionals in our uniformed services still chose to throw in their lot with Duterte, even when he is already about to go down, taking them all with him.

Akala ba talaga nila pang-forever si Duterte? ###

Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 901, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_923

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