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Mga kabataan, human rights groups nanawagan ng hustisya para kay Kian

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Iba’t ibang progresibong grupo ang nagtipon-tipon sa Monumento kahapon, ika-26 ng Agosto, upang hintayin at makimartsa sa libing ni Kian Loyd Delos Santos at ipanawagan ang hustosya para sa napaslang na binata. Kuha ni Philip Jamilla/TomasinoWeb.

“Justice for Kian, justice for all!”

Ito ang sigaw ng libo-libong mga kabataan na nagprotesta kasabay ng libing ng 17 anyos na si Kian Loyd Delos Santos kahapon, ika-26 ng Agosto.

Iba’t-ibang mga grupo at human rights advocates ang nagmartsa kasama ng pamilya at mga kaibigan ng namayapang binata mula sa Sta. Quiteria Parish sa Caloocan hanggang sa La Loma Cemetery.

Panawagan ni Virgilio David, obispo ng Caloocan, sa pamahalaan na itigil na ang mga patayan at sa halip ay magtayo ng mga programang pangrehabilitasyon para sa mga lulong at tulak ng ilegal na droga. Kuha ni Philip Jamilla/TomasinoWeb.

Sa isang misa para sa libing ng binata, nanawagan ang Obispo ng Caloocan na si Virgilio David na itigil na ng pamahalaan ang mga patayan sa ngalan ng kampanya nito laban sa ilegal na droga.

“Stop the killings, start the healing,” ani ng obispo sa kanyang homiliya, kung saan kinumpara niya ang pagkamatay ng binata sa pagkamatay ni Hesus.

Dinaluhan rin ang misa ng iba pang mga pamilya ng mga napaslang kaugnay umano ng nasabing kampanya.

Mariing kinondena ni David ang mga Katolikong ‘di umano’y sinusuportahan pa ang mga patayan at giniit rin niya na biktima lamang mga adik at tulak.

“[Sila] ay hindi kalaban. Sila ay mga biktima lamang. Ang totoong kalaban ay ang mga [nagpapasok] ng droga sa ating bansa,” aniya.

 

Nanawagan ang mga rallyista sa harap ng Manila Central University ng hustisya para sa mga napaslang kaugnay ng giyera kontra droga habang hinihintay ang pagdating ng kabaong ni Delos Santos. Kuha ni Philip Jamilla/TomasinoWeb.

Habang dinadala ang kabaong ng binata sa kanyang huling hantungan, nag-abang naman ang iba pang mga rallyista malapit sa Monumento upang magsagawa ng maikling kilos-protesta.

Nanawagan sila na bigyang hustisya ang mga napatay sa extrajudicial killings buhat ng kampanya ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte laban sa ilegal na droga na isa umanong porma ng pasismo ng estado.

“Kami [ay] lubos na nagagalit dahil ang batang nag-aasam na matapos ang kaniyang pag-aaral, maabot ang kaniyang mga pangarap ay maagang binawi ang buhay dahil sa giyera kontra droga ng administrasyon,” ani Eule Rico Bonganay, ang pangkalahatang-kalihim ng Salinlahi, sa isang panayam sa TomasinoWeb.

 

Makikitang nagluluksa ang pamilya at ilang mga kaibigan ni Delos Santos nang ito’y nailibing na sa La Loma Cemetery. Kuha ni Philip Jamilla/TomasinoWeb.

Mariin ring kunokondena ng grupo ang kampanya laban sa droga ng administrasyong Duterte.

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“Wala kaming pagtutol kung ang layunin ng pamahalaan ay sugpuin yung mga droga, pero kung [ang kampanya] ay nangangahulugang pagkitil ng buhay ng mga bata, ng mga inosente, ng mga pinagsususpetyahan na gumagamit at nagbebenta ng droga, mariin naming kinokondena at tinututulan [ito],” aniya.

Para kay Danmer de Guzman, pangkalahatang kalihim ng grupong Kadamay, hindi tinupad ni Duterte ang kanyang pangako na pangalagaan ang mga kabataan.

“Kung matatandaan natin noong nakaraang taon, binanggit niya: ‘If you destroy the youth of this country, I will kill you.’ Parang gusto naming ibalik: ‘Pinatay mo ang isang Kian Delos Santos. Pinatay ng PNP ang isang Kian delos Santos.’” aniya sa isang panayam sa TomasinoWeb.

Dagdag ni De Guzman, hindi pagpatay sa mga mamamayan ang solusyon para sa problema ng bansa sa droga.

“Kung gusto nating sugpuin ang droga, droga ang sinusugpo, hindi ang taong bayan.”

Pinagpatuloy ng mga progresibong grupo ang kanilang kilos-protesta sa Mendiola, kasama ang mga grupo ng mga nagkakampuhang magsasaka at mangingisda mula sa Caraga.

Dito, nagsagawa sila ng maikling programa na sinundan ng isang candle lighting ceremony para sa lahat ng mga napaslang ng giyera kontra droga.

Pinagpatuloy ng ibang mga grupo ang kanilang protesta sa Mendiola sa isang candle lighting ceremony. Kuha ni Angelika Ortega/TomasinoWeb.

Si Delos Santos ay isang Grade 11 na mag-aaral mula sa Our Lady of Lourdes College, Valenzuela noong siya ay mapaslang noong ika-16 ng Agosto sa isang operasyon sa Caloocan matapos umano itong manlaban sa mga pulis.

Isa lamang siya sa mga 54 na menor de edad na napatay sa kampanya ng pamahalaan kontra droga, ayon sa pinakahuling datos ng Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center ngayong buwan.

Ayon sa mga naunang ulat, inosente at hindi nanlaban si Delos Santos, base sa testigo ng mga saksi at kuha mula sa CCTV. Taliwas ito sa mga paratang ng pulisya na gumamit ‘di umano ng baril ang binata.

Kasalukuyang silang nasa restrictive custody habang nagsasagawa ng imbestigasyon ang Philippine National Police — Internal Affair Service.

Sa resultang inilabas kamakailan lamang ng Northern Police District Crime Laboratory Office, nag-negatibo si Delos Santos sa pagsusuri para sa gunpowder nitrates.

Sa kabila ng mga batikos mula sa taong-bayan, ibinalita naman ng tagapagsalita ng pangulo na si Ernesto Abella na nagpatawag na ito ng imbestigasyon ukol sa kamatayan ng binata.

Samantala, ang pamilya ni Delos Santos ay nagpaplanong maghain ng kasong murder sa tatlong pulis na sangkot sa kaso.— A. Ortega at P. Jamilla

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Protests vs charter change, ‘dictatorship’ mark People Power commemoration

Groups slammed plans to amend the constitution as a move toward another dictatorship as they commemorated the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

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Photo by Mark Darius Sulit/TomasinoWeb.

Thousands flocked to the People Power Monument on Saturday and Sunday to protest plans to amend the constitution and to condemn the administration’s “dictatorship” as the country commemorated the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

The No to Cha-cha Coalition led by Movement Against Tyranny, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and various religious formations marched to the historic monument Saturday afternoon, Feb. 24, where they decried President Rodrigo Duterte as a “budding dictator.”

“[Former dictator Ferdinand] Marcos’ (sic) ouster is a grim reminder to all budding dictators, including Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, that our people will never allow tyranny to reign,” Movement Against Tyranny in a statement.

The group further warned Duterte that “[s]hould he persist in his policies of extrajudicial killings, all-out war, dictatorial rule, and subservience to foreign powers, he will surely suffer the same fate as Marcos.”

The People Power Revolution led to the ousting of the Marcos regime and restored democracy in the country in 1986 after years marked with human rights violations and suppression of dissent.

The uprising also gave birth to the 1987 Constitution, which Duterte and his allies are now planning to amend through a charter change in order to establish a federal form of government.

Movement Against Tyranny has slammed the planned charter change as an “act of tyranny.”

Meanwhile, in the protest program led by opposition group Tindig Pilipinas Sunday evening, Feb. 25, Lanz Espacio of Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa rejected the moves to amend the constitution.

“The basic sectors are not asking for a constitutional change, but for a change in their condition, which was not uplifted in the last 32 years,” Espacio said.

Opposition senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino and Antonio Trillanes IV also joined the Sunday rally.

Trillanes, who has hounded Duterte with accusations of ill-gotten wealth, told reporters that he believes “na nagbabago na ang ihip ng hangin [at] nararamdaman na ng mga kababayan natin ang false promises ni Duterte, at worse, humihirap ang buhay nila ngayon.”

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The protests on Saturday and Sunday also coincided with “Dasal at Ayuno Laban sa Cha-cha, Para sa Demokrasya: Pag-amin, Pagtitika, Pagababago at Pagkakaisa,” a nine-day prayer and fasting vigil at the People Power Monument that started on Feb. 17, Saturday, led by Catholic clergy and laity group Gomburza.

In a statement, Gomburza leader Fr. Robert Reyes said the administration “seeks to cast aside this legacy, proposing to replace it with a federalist project short on social justice principles and long on authoritarian possibilities lurking beneath its extravagant promises.”

Duterte’s remarks and stand on certain issues have led to critics to tag him as a “dictator,” a label which he has seemingly acknowledged and even accepted.

In a gathering with former New People’s Army cadres last Feb. 7, the President stated, “Muingon mo’g diktador, diktador gyud ko. Kay og ‘di ko mag-diktador, putang ina, walang mangyayari sa bayan na ‘to (If you say I am a dictator, then I am. If I will not become a dictator, son of a bitch, nothing will happen to this country).

Along with charter change and threats to declare a “revolutionary government,” critics cite Duterte allowing the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the imposition of martial law in Mindanao May last year and its subsequent extension until the end of this year, extrajudicial killings linked to the drug war, and his tirades against the media and opposition personalities as signs of the President’s dictatorial tendencies.

Duterte skipped the commemoration rites which was attended by former President Fidel Ramos and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, but nonetheless called for “unity and solidarity.”

“May this occasion foster unity and solidarity as we pursue our hopes and aspirations for our nation. Let us further enrich our democracy by empowering our citizenry, defending their rights and strengthening the institutions that safeguard their freedoms,” the President said in a statement.—A. Ortega

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Students decry Duterte’s ‘tyranny’ in mass walkout

Students also pushed the protest on Twitter with the hashtag #WalkoutPH, which became one of the trending hashtags on Friday.

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Photo by Von Ozar/TomasinoWeb.

Students from various schools and universities in Metro Manila walked out of their classes on Friday to protest the Duterte administration’s “tyranny” and “anti-people” policies.

Around 1,000 protesters from militant student and youth groups trooped to España carrying banners and placards condemning numerous issues such as extrajudicial killings, the implementation of the free tuition policy and tuition fee hikes, the tax reform law, the phaseout of old jeepneys in the modernization program, the extension of martial law in Mindanao and charter change.

The protesters then marched to Morayta carrying an effigy of Duterte as a king holding a rod with a swastika and wearing a long red cape listing the administration’s “oppressive” policies.

The effigy was accompanied by four men wearing masks in the likeness of Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.

In the program in front of the Far Eastern University, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago slammed “threats of dictatorship” and called on the youth to push for social reforms.

“Ang mga kabataan ay handang lumaban para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa, handang lumaban para sa pambansang industriyalisasyon, handang lumaban para sa libreng edukasyon sa lahat ng antas, handang lumaban para ang walang boses naman sa ating lipunan ang magkaroon ng boses,” Elago said.

Editors and leaders from different school publications, media organizations and student councils also decried “attacks” on press freedom during the protest in the midst of the President’s tirades against online news site Rappler and the banning of their reporters from the Malacañang.

Micah Rimando, editor-in-chief of Matanglawin Ateneo, said that despite these attacks, “kaming mga estudyanteng mamamahayag [ay patuloy na] magiging mulat at mapagmulat laban sa anumang atake sa karapatan ng sambayanan.”

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Meanwhile, Mikko Ringia, UP College of Mass Communication Student Council chairperson, urged student journalists to fight for “genuine” press freedom and to stand with marginalized sectors.

“Hindi ibig sabihin na ibinalik na ang license ng Rappler ay mayroon nang press freedom. Hindi ibig sabihin na wala nang libel case ang mga journalist ay andiyan na ang press freedom. Ang tunay na press freedom ay [ang] pagpapalaya sa uring pinagsasamantalahan,” Ringia said.

Activist fisherfolk, labor, and peasant groups joined students from the University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo de Manila University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, University of the East and the National University as they marched to Mendiola later that night, where they continued and ended the protest.

Students also pushed the protest on Twitter with the hashtag #WalkoutPH, which became one of the trending hashtags on Friday, earning more than 3,000 tweets and at least 2.6 million impressions.

Militant youth groups staged similar walkout protests in Baguio and Cebu, which came two days before the 32nd anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

Various groups are expected to hold more demonstrations in the days leading to the commemoration of the uprising that toppled the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Feb. 22, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque warned that students from state universities could face expulsion should they participate in the protests.

“Bahala po sila kung gusto nilang ma-kickout sila. Sayang po ‘yan lalong lalo na yung sa nakikinabang sa libreng tuition,” Roque said.

Nonetheless, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan endorsed the demonstrations in a memorandum, encouraging student participation in the protests “as part of their education.”—P. Jamilla

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Senate passes new anti-hazing bill

Senate Bill No. 1662, which seeks to amend the Anti-Hazing Law by strengthening existing measures and regulating other forms of initiation rites, was approved with 19 affirmative votes on Monday.

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Photo courtesy of Joseph Vida/Senate PRIB.

The Senate approved on Monday on the third and final reading a bill prohibiting hazing as a prerequisite for admission into a fraternity, sorority, or organization.

Senate Bill No. 1662, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 by strengthening the existing measures and regulating other forms of initiation rites, was approved with 19 affirmative votes, no negative votes and no abstentions.

The bill defined hazing as “any physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, member, neophyte, or applicant for admission or continuing membership into the fraternity, sorority or organization.”

The existing law permits hazing during an initiation rite, provided that there is a written notice addressed to the school a week before the activity.

The House approved a counterpart bill on Jan. 22.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who sponsored the bill as chair of the Senate public order committee, said the amendments would now require organizations to submit an application to school authorities, with the initiation rites outlined seven days prior to the scheduled date.

School authorities should then supervise and report that no hazing was conducted in the initiation rites.

The bill penalizes with reclusion temporal or a fine of P1 million the officers and members of a fraternity, sorority, or organization who would participate in hazing rites.

The school would be held accountable and be fined P1 million if its officials failed to prevent hazing.

Lacson added that aside from rites in schools, the measure will also cover hazing activities in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Military Academy, and Philippine National Police Academy.

The filing of the bill was prompted by the fatal hazing case of freshman law student Horacio Castillo III during the  initiation rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity September last year.C.N. Dumaua

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