Duterte critics on Easter: Darkness won't last forever
MANILA, Philippines – Critics of President Rodrigo Duterte called for an end to the "present darkness" in the Philippines, as Filipinos on Easter Sunday, April 1, celebrated the feast of Jesus' triumph over death.
In a statement, opposition group Tindig Pilipinas cited forms of suffering in the Philippines, such as losing loved ones to human rights abuses, whether by "private criminals or criminals with a badge."
Instead of slamming the present administration outright, however, the group called for unity and sought an end to polarization.
Read part of Tindig Pilipinas' statement below:
Even as we are faced with these grim truths, our Christian faith teaches us that Easter Sunday comes after Good Friday, hope prevails over despair, and good conquers evil. It is this firm optimism that we know that this present darkness will not last forever.
Much as we have called this administration to account and will continue to do so, our Easter call is to our countrymen and women beset with strife and division.
In the spirit of Easter, we call on all Filipinos to move towards ending the polarization and acrimony that punctuate our national life. Political hatreds caused by labels such as "dilawan" or "Dutertard" detract from our common humanity. Labels and name-calling prevent us from opening our hearts to the suffering and injustice before us and, in the process, allow our hearts to harden and deny difficult truths.
Like Tindig Pilipinas, detained Senator Leila de Lima also issued a statement on Easter Sunday. De Lima is one of the harshest critics of the Duterte administration, who calls herself a serious Bible reader.
The lady senator warned of fake modern-day kings who harbor darkness in the country. Her statement comes after Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Palm Sunday warned against arrogant and violent "kings."
Read part of De Lima's statement below:
Sa halip na maghari-harian at umabuso sa katungkulan, magmalasakit at pagsilbihan natin ang ating mamamayan, lalo na ang mga kapuspalad at naisasantabi. Lawakan natin ang ating pang-unawa sa pagtugon sa mga tunay na problema, sa halip na maging pasimuno ng kabastusan, kagustuhang makapaghiganti, kayabangan, karahasan, at pansariling kapakanan...
Anumang hirap at bigat ng ating pinagdaraanan, matagal at mahaba man ang ating laban, manalig lamang tayo sa Panginoon, magmalasakit sa kapwa, manindigan sa tama, at tiyak pong magwawagi tayo sa kasamaan at magwawakas ang umiiral na kadiliman sa ating bayan."
(Instead of pretending to be kings and abusing our roles, let us care for and serve our people, especially the less fortunate and marginalized. Let us widen our understanding in addressing real problems, instead of being the source of crudeness, revenge, arrogance, violence, and selfishness.)
(Whatever hardships and weight we carry, while our battle may be long, let us trust in the Lord, take care of our neighbors, stand for what is right. We will surely triumph over evil, and the darkness in our nation will end.)
Read Senator Francis Pangilinan's separate Easter message below:
Democracy can only be as vibrant and strong as the most vulnerable are able to enjoy it. Are widows and orphaned mothers coping after the murders of their family's breadwinners? Are our young people free to reach their full potential? Are our farmers' incomes equal to their efforts? Are our fishers able to enjoy the bounty of our seas?
Today is Easter Sunday, symbol of the start of spring, of plenty, of hope. "Yes" to all these questions is our prayer and our work.
In his own Easter message, President Rodrigo Duterte asked Filipinos to rid themselves of arrogance and hand each other forgiveness. "It is only by being selfless that we can truly say we are worthy of God's love," Duterte said.
Tagle earlier urged Catholics to roll away "stones" of sin to uncover love, as when the rolling away of a stone 2,000 years ago revealed Christ's resurrection on the first Easter. – Rappler.com