“Never Again,” this was the protest of the anti-Duterte protesters and Liberal party yesterday at the National Day of Protest declared by President Rodrigo Duterte, in the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the Martial Law declaration under the administration of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
It has been 45 years but the spirit of democracy remains for the yellow ribbon as they congregate in some parts of Metro Manila to raise the same banner, “Stop the killings, No to Martial Law.”
Thousands of anti-Duterte administration rallyists assembled at the Rizal Park for their outcry against the alleged extrajudicial killings under the administration’s war on drugs and on the declaration of Martial Law.
Vice President Leni Robredo, Former President Benigno Aquino III, Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Bam Aquino, Kiko Pangilinan, former Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, and other former cabinets of the Aquino administration were present in the protest held at University of the Philippines in Quezon City organized by the new group Tindig Pilipinas.
“Iba-iba man ang paniniwala sa pulitika, andito tayo para magkaisa dahil sa pagmamahal sa bayan, ang paggunita sa batas militar…Nakakalungkot naman po 45 years na pinagdusahan natin ito tila hindi pa tayo natututo [We may have different beliefs in politics, but we are here to unite because of patriotism, the commemoration for the Martial Law. It is unfortunate that we are suffering for almost 45 years but it seems we have not learned],” Robredo said during her speech in the event.
Robredo believes that the “culture of impunity” is starting to prevail again, and the victims are not just the ones who are against the government, but the youth is also a victim of the violence.
“Ito po ang nagdadala ng takot sa puso natin, sa puso ng bawat pamilya [This is what brings fear in our hearts, in the heart of every family,” she added.
The imprisoned Senator Leila De Lima also expressed her protest against Duterte, sarcastically citing the bloody operation of the government forces, and the liberation of some politicians.
Tama si Duterte. Kapag nanalo siyang pangulo, darating ang pagbabago–pagbabagong kumitil ng mahigit 13,000 Pilipino, kabilang ang mga inosente at batang walang kalaban-laban. Pagbabagong pinapalaya ang mga politikong may matibay na kaso ng pandarambong [Duterte is right, if he wins as president, change will come—the change that have killed over 13,000 Filipinos, including the innocents and children. Change that freed politicians with strong plunder cases],” De Lima said.
De Lima also said that Duterte is pacifying several issues such as the controversies in the Bureau of Customs on the 6.4-billion-peso-worth of shabu from China, the territorial fight on West Philippine Sea, and the accusations against his son Paolo Duterte.
“Kaya naman ituloy natin ang ating paninindigan para sa demokrasya. Ibinalik man ni Duterte sa madilim na kabanata ang ating bansa, nasa alab pa rin ng ating pagkakaisa ang panunumbalik ng liwanag at pag-asa,” [That’s why let us continue to fight in our conviction for democracy. Even though Duterte returned our country to the dark chapter, let us unite for radiance and faith],” De Lima added
On the other hand, Bam Aquino also said that the President needs to strengthen his promises during the 2016 election.
“We’re looking for these reforms to happen. We’re looking for a more moderate members of the administration to start working on these reforms. Siyempre, panawagan natin today, stop the killings. Tama na iyong patayan [Of course, it is our protest today, stop the killings],” Aquino added.
Around 28,000 of anti-Duterte and pro-administration supporters rallied shouting various social and political issues.