Bello to Duterte: 'Reverse course' or Filipinos may 'throw you out'
MANILA, Philippines – Former congressman Walden Bello on Thursday, September 21, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to "reverse course" in his policies, especially his administration's war on illegal drugs.
"Before the country comes to a polarized confrontation because of his policies, he really needs to reverse course," Bello, chair of newly formed coalition Laban ng Masa, said in an interview on Thursday.
Bello's group joined other protesters at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani to observe the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the country.
Bello called on the President to put a stop to what he called Duterte's "extrajudicial killing (EJK) policy."
"Kailangan na talaging pigilin 'yung EJK policy (The EJK policy must really stop already). More than 13,000 people who have been killed without due process, nothing. This is really a massacre that has taken place and we would like to tell him that he has to listen because if he doesn't listen, the people are going to throw him out eventually," said Bello.
He added that this year's remembrance of the Martial Law declaration is important in light of what's happening in the country today.
"Kasi practically, may Martial Law na nga sa atin, na mga mahigit nang 13,000 na ang pinatay ng pulis [and vigilantes] at napakita naman na coordinated action ito. Eh mas marami na 'yung namatay, napaslang kaysa noong 14 years ni Marcos," Bello explained.
(Because practically, we already have Martial Law, over 13,000 have already been killed by the police [and vigilantes], and it was shown already that there is coordinated action here. More have been killed today than during 14 years under Marcos.)
"So ang nakakatakot dito (what's scary here) is that because the President thinks he can get away with murder literally, na itutuloy-tuloy na ito sa (that this will lead to the) destruction of civil liberties and then the imposition of a formal dictatorship," he also said.
Bello also criticized the President for declaring today as a National Day of Protest, saying the declaration is a "big contradiction" when extrajudicial killings continue.
"Kailangang pansinin ng Pangulo ito, kailangang kailangan, pero parang kino-convert lang niya into a joke eh, na magde-declare siya ng National Day of Protest at para daw makaprotesta ang lahat. Pero alam naman natin 'yung layunin niya in order to have a smokescreen, ma-derail 'yung focus, at parang hindi mabibigyan ng tunay na seriousness 'yung mga issues na itinutulak natin ngayon," Bello added.
(The President has to pay attention to this, he really needs to, but it seems he's converting it into a joke, that he will declare today as a National Day of Protest so that people can protest. But we know his goal in order to have a smokescreen, to derail the focus, as if to prevent giving true seriousness to the issues we are pushing for today.)
He said this year's observation of the Martial Law anniversary is an opportunity to "wake up the masses."
"We really need to awaken the masses about the dangers, because it's only the masses, it's only the people that can turn back the trend towards fascism and dictatorship, so kaya kung maaari nga magkaroon tayo, periodically magkakaroon tayo ng malalakas na rallies na ganito (so if it's possible that periodically we'll conduct big rallies like this)." – Rappler.com