Undas 2017: De Lima urges Filipinos to remember people killed in drug war

MANILA, Philippines – As Filipinos observe All Saints' Day on Wednesday, November 1, Senator Leila de Lima urged Filipinos to also remember the thousands of people who were killed in the Duterte administration's drug war, and the families they left behind.

"Naiba na nga po ang paggunita natin ngayon ng Undas. Ngayon, hindi na lang natin inaalala ang mga namatay, kundi maging ang mga pinatay nating kapamilya at kababayan dahil sa madugong kampanya laban sa droga ng rehimeng Duterte," said De Lima, who is currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, over drug charges.

(Our observance of Undas has already changed. Today, we do not just remember those who died, but also relatives and fellow Filipinos who were killed because of the bloody war on drugs of the Duterte regime.)

She said over 13,000 people have been killed in the "palpak" (failed) war on drugs, including teenagers whose deaths sparked public outrage: Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz, Reynaldo de Guzman, and Charlie Jean Du.

"Ito ba ang kapayapaan at katahimikan na gustong makamit ng rehimeng Duterte? Ang katahimikang resulta ng walang habas na karahasan at patayan, kung saan unti-unting pinupuno ng gobyerno ang mga sementeryo?" the senator asked.

(Is this the peace and quiet that the Duterte regime wants to achieve? A silence resulting from wanton violence and killings, through which the government is gradually filling up cemeteries?)

De Lima also urged the public to pray for families left behind by those killed in the drug war.

"Ang Undas ring ito ay hindi lamang pag-alala sa mga pinatay kundi maging sa mga namatayan – mga nabiyudang ina na mag-isang itataguyod ang mga anak, mga naulilang anak na wala nang nagisnan at masasandalang magulang, mga naiwang kapamilya na hanggang ngayon ay naghahanap ng katarungan at katotohanan."

(This Undas is also a time to remember not only those who were killed, but also the families they left behind – widowed mothers who will raise their children alone, orphaned children who will grow up without a parent to rely on, relatives who, until now, are looking for justice and truth.)

She added: "Nawa'y makamit po nila ang hustisya (May they obtain justice)."

Families of victims of drug-related killings held masses and events to seek justice for their slain kin and protest abuses in the administration's drug war. (READ: A different Undas: Remembering the victims of the drug war)

Even in detention, De Lima has continued to criticize President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration's ongoing campaign against illegal drugs. 

The senator was recently awarded the highest human rights award from Liberal International for being a "flag-bearer" for human rights in the Philippines. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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