Robredo, Diokno hit death threats vs bishop critical of Duterte’s drug war
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno slammed the death threats received by Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, a staunch critic of the government’s bloody drug war.
On Tuesday, February 26, David confirmed to Rappler that he, along with other priests and bishops, has received deaths from unknown senders.
It was for this reason that the vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines decided not to personally receive his Ka Pepe Diokno Human Rights Award along with Rappler CEO Maria Ressa on Tuesday morning. His brother, sociologist Randy David, received the bishop’s award for him instead.
Robredo, who was the keynote speaker at the event, said the death threats against the prominent Catholic leader is a sign of the “culture of impunity” in the country.
“Iyong culture of impunity, grabe na. Halimbawa, nasa Cebu ako a few days ago, iyong mga nakausap ko na mga local officials, mga ordinaryong tao, iyon din iyong pinag-uusapan – lahat mga death threats. So iyong tanong: Bakit, paano ba tayo nakarating sa ganito?” said Robredo.
(This culture of impunity is too much. For example, I was in Cebu a few days ago, and the local officials and ordinary people I talked to were all talking about one thing – death threats. So the question is: Why and how did we get to this?)
“’Di ba, nauna tayo sa patayan dahil sa war on drugs. Sumunod iyong patayan ng mga local officials. Sunod iyong mga patayan ng mga judges saka mga fiscals, ng mga abogado. Tapos ngayon, mga bishops naman. Kailan ba ito mahihinto? At bakit pinapayagan natin itong kulturang ito na siyang manaig sa atin?” added the Vice President.
(The killings started because of the war on drugs. Then the killings of officials. Then the killings of judges, fiscals, and lawyers. Now, the bishops. When will this stop? And why are we allowing such a culture to persist?)
Diokno, the chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group and founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law, said he is “saddened and shocked” by the death threats against David.
“Tama na po ‘yong ganyang pananakot. Tama na po ‘yong paggamit ng karahasan. Ang gusto lang naman ni Bishop Ambo David ay sabihin ang katotohanan. Ang gusto lang niya mangyari ay katarungan. Bakit naman siya ginaganoon?” said the son of the late senator Jose “Pepe” Diokno, father of the human rights movement in the country.
(Stop the threats. Stop the use of violence. Bishop Ambo David just wants to tell the truth. He just wants justice. Why is this being done to him?)
The younger Diokno, who is now running for senator, said these threats will not intimidate the likes of David.
“Alam niyo, kami ay hindi matatakot diyan. Kahit na anong death threat, death threat pa ang ibigay nila, maninindigan pa rin tayo,” he added.
(You know, we will not be intimidated. No matter what kind of death threat, even if they give all sorts of death threats, we will still take a stand.)
Duterte, who had singled out David in his past speeches, said on Monday, February 25, that Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle recently relayed a message to him about the death threats against priests, including David.
The President then backtracked on a statement he made in December 2018, when he said bishops should be "killed" for supposedly doing nothing but criticize his administration.
Duterte said his December 2018 tirade was only in response to a priest who reportedly prayed for his death. – Rappler.com