Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Some Australian senators hold protests vs Marcos as he addressed parliament

Dwight de Leon

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Some Australian senators hold protests vs Marcos as he addressed parliament

Australian senator Janet Rice mounts a small protest while President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers a speech before the Australian parliament on February 29, 2024.

RTVM screenshot; X account of Janet Rice

Senator Janet Rice lifts a banner that says, 'Stop the human rights abuses,' as Marcos delivers a rare speech before the Australian parliament

MANILA, Philippines – Some Australian lawmakers either mounted or joined protests inside and outside their parliament building while President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivered a rare speech before their colleagues.

As part of the audience, Senator Janet Rice of the Australian Greens raised a banner that read, “Stop the human rights abuses.”

In a tweet, Rice said it was a shame that the Australian government invited Marcos to address the parliament.

“Under President Marcos Jr., corruption in the Philippines is getting worse. There are hundreds of political prisoners and ‘anti-terrorism’ laws are used as legal cover for extrajudicial killings,” she said in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter).

The Australian Greens describes itself as the “most powerful third force” in Australian politics. It is the third largest individual political party in the Australian Senate, holding 11 out of 76 seats in the upper chamber.

In 2022, the Philippine Supreme Court upheld most provisions of the anti-terror law, a measure passed during the administration of Marcos’ predecessor Rodrigo Duterte. Critics have feared that the legislation would be weaponized to target the opposition.

According to rights groups, there are over 800 political prisoners in the Philippines – 90 of them arrested during the Marcos administration.

There was no specific mention of human rights during Marcos’ 17-minute speech.

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Reporter Daniel Hurst of The Guardian Australia said Rice was escorted out of the chamber.

“The stance is causing ripples among MPs (members of parliament). I heard one say the protest act was a ‘disgrace,'” he wrote.

Outside parliament, other senators from Australian Greens joined protests, including Jordon Steele-John, David Shoebridge, and Barbara Pocock.

“The Parliament is once more being used to launder the political reputation of those involved in serious human rights abuses. This time it is Bongbong Marcos, president of the Philippines,” Shoebridge wrote on X.

“The deep, cruel legacy of the Marcos regimes – senior and junior – have crushed community, peasant, women’s, trade union and human rights activists in the Philippines. We marked this legacy today as he visited parliament,” Pocock added.

Marcos is the son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, whose Martial Law regime was considered among the darkest chapters of Philippine history.

The Marcos patriarch was kicked out of office after the 1986 People Power Revolution, but the Marcos family has since rehabilitated its image through what critics describe as a systematic disinformation campaign.

Some Australian senators hold protests vs Marcos as he addressed parliament

– Rappler.com

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  1. ET

    Thanks to Senator Janet Rice of the Australian Greens for pointing out those sad realities of our Philippine government. Most of our politicians here are sycophants, “balimbings” and hypocrites that they would not admit those realities in our country. Of course, who would not be afraid of the government’s repressive machinery? Look what they did to former Senator Leila De Lima? If not of the conflict in the “Unity Team”, former Senator De Lima could not have her temporary freedom as of now. Thanks also to Jordon Steele-John, David Shoebridge, and Barbara Pocock and other protesters.

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.