Pray, fight for justice for young EJK victims on ‘Niños Inocentes’ -De Lima

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The commemoration of Niños Inocentes should prompt the Filipino people to recall the fate of innocent children who died in the government’s all-out war on drugs, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today said.

De Lima, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said the children and their families of EJK victims should not pay the price for the administration’s flawed war on drugs.

“Let us remember all the children who were killed by Duterte’s bloody War on Drugs. Let us pray for justice for the victims and for these senseless killings to stop. Let us fight for them,” she said.

“Sa ating sama-samang panawagan at paninindigan, makakamit natin ang isang lipunan kung saan malayang nakapaglalaro ang mga bata, payapang nakapag-aaral, at nangangarap ng magandang kinabukasan para sa kanilang pamilya,” she added.

The Catholic Church celebrates “Niños Inocentes” or the Feast of Holy Innocent every Dec. 28 in various parts of the world as part of the Christmas season.

It commemorates the innocent children who were killed upon the order of King Herod of Judea, fearful of being overthrown by the prophesized Messiah, to ensure Jesus Christ’s death.

Of the estimated 23,000 death toll in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, many innocent children who were killed are simply regarded by the present government as mere “collateral damage.”

Given these figures, De Lima said the observance of “Holy Innocents” mirrors the fate of many innocent Filipino children who have been literally caught in the barrage since Duterte launched his all-out war on drugs in 2016.

“[S]a ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte at ng pekeng War on Drugs, marami nang musmos ang napatay. May pumanaw habang nasa sinapupunan pa lamang ng inang napaslang.

May apat na taong gulang na nabaril habang tinutugis ng mga pulis ang ama. May estudyanteng nagmakaawa para sa kanyang buhay, tinamnan ng ebidensya, at walang awang binaril. May libo-libong batang mistulang kinitil na rin ang kinabukasan nang pinaslang ang kanilang mga magulang,” she recalled.

Amid the rampant killings in the country, the lady Senator from Bicol laments that the Duterte administration continues to sacrifice innocent lives to achieve its personal vested interests.

“But what can be achieved from a vile and hateful campaign that only targets the poor and spares big time drug lords?” she asked.

She added, “What do we hope to gain from slaughtering our own and leaving thousands mourning for their loved ones? What future can these innocent children expect when they have already been deprived of a fighting chance early on in their lives?”

Last year, De Lima filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 499 urging the appropriate Senate committee to investigate the successive reports of killings of children either by police or vigilantes.

Several human rights groups, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, also renewed their call for an independent body to investigate the unlawful killings in the country last year, but to no avail.

Despite her continued unjust detention on trumped-up drug charges, De Lima continues to fight for the welfare of children, women and the poor through meaningful legislative initiatives.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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