By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Two-lady senators on Monday asked concerned authorities to initiate investigation on the reported killings and mass arrest of activist in Southern Tagalog region seemingly violated human rights enshrined in the Constitution.
In their separate statement, Senator Leila De Lima and Grace Poe said that there should be an investigation on the incident.
“Nananawagan ako para sa kagyat at totohanang imbestigasyon sa naganap na mass arrests at pagpatay sa mga aktibista sa Timog Katagalugan kahapon ng umaga. Kailangang matigil na ang walang habas na pag-atake sa karapatang pantao. Kailangan ding managot ang mga salarin. The intensifying attacks warrant the attention and condemnation of the Filipino people and the international community,” De Lima said.
De Lima said that two days after Duterte ordered the security forces to “kill them all” and “ignore human rights,” 6 activists were arrested and 9 were reportedly killed in Southern Tagalog in just one morning.
“Whether it’s drugs, insurgency, COVID-19 or poverty, he, indeed, governs through violence and killings. 2016 pa lang, pumapatay na ang rehimeng ito. Duterte’s latest marching order is just a reiteration and a reminder of his long-standing policy of brutally eliminating perceived enemies,”she said.
De Lima said that she did not find it as a coincidence that the massacre happened in the provinces under the jurisdiction of the AFP Southern Luzon Command, whose head is Lt. General Antonio Parlade, Jr., the poster boy of the Duterte regime’s brutal anti-insurgency campaign.
“He might be currently banned from red-tagging on Facebook but trust him to turn a day of rest and prayer into a bloody Sunday, Tokhang style. At talagang nangyari pa ang mga ito habang nagaganap ang isang Blue Mass for Police Officers sa Manila Cathedral. Talagang nakakagalit,” the lady senator from Bicol said.
“For this regime, government critics, activists and other truth-seekers can be, and are being branded as enemies of the State, making them targets of Duterte’s “kill, kill, kill” policy. Kailangang magtuloy-tuloy ang pagkondena at paniningil. We will not stop until these murderers are held accountable for their crimes,” she added.
For her part, Poe said that police operations against any suspected groups or individuals must strictly adhere to due process.
“The Constitution states that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws,” Poe explained.
Poe said that it is the mandate of law enforcers to ensure that these guarantees are observed and not just dismiss nonchalantly cries of possible human rights violations.
“Protecting the right to life should have the highest threshold in our quest for peace and order,” the daughter of FPJ said. (AI/MTVN)