VP Robredo blames Duterte’s ‘kill’ rant for massacre

Vice President Leni Robredo blamed President Rodrigo Duterte’s “finish them off” and “ignore human rights” rant for the massacre of nine civilians last Sunday, March 7.

In a statement, Robredo said she condemns the massacre she likened to the many innocents killed by the Duterte administration.

“There is no other way to describe this: it was a massacre,” Robredo said.

The Vice President noted that the incident came just two days after Duterte himself ordered the police and the military to kill suspected communists in a rant before the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Cagayan de Oro City last frint.

“This is the painful truth: The killing of Filipinos goes unabated,” Robredo said in Filipino.

“The Filipino people deserve better than this murderous regime,” she added.

Churh groups demand justice

Meanwhile, church groups also condemned the massacre and called on Duterte to choose the rule of law over militarization.

In separate statements, the Council of the Laity of the Philippines (CLP) and Caritas Philippines, both groups under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, called for justice.

“The blood of these fellow Filipinos are literally crying for justice as they are wiped-off from the floor tiles of their homes,” CLP, through its president Rouquel Ponte, said.

“We call on peace-loving Filipinos to make strong statements of condemnation against these brutal and organized atrocities,” it added.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the ‘Bloody Sunday initiated by the members of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army,” Caritas for its part said.

Caritas called on the Supreme Court to fast-track the ongoing discussions and review of the controversial Anti-Terror Act the law’s opponents say emboldens the unnecessary use of force “which only victimizes the poor and the vulnerable. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Anti-terrorism measure fuels Duterte’s tyranny, Catholic Church says

The social action arm of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines expressed opposition to the anti-terrorism bill passed by Congress this week, saying the measure threatens the very values of freedom, respect, justice and compassion.

In a statement Saturday, June 6, Caritas Philippines said it strongly condemns what it calls blatant manoeuvring of the legislative processes in the passage of the prospective Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 by both houses of Congress.

Caritas said the measure aims to criminalize or to arbitrarily brand as terrorists those perceived to be opposing the Rodrigo Duterte government.

“We denounce the obvious circumvention of the democratic processes just to obey and please the self-interests of the legislators and the autocratic rule of the president,” the statement reads.

Aimed to replace the Human Security Act of 2007, the measure awaits Duterte’s signature to become law .

Caritas said the new anti-terror bill targets activists, many of whom suffer from red-baiting by government officials and the military.

“We cannot let this happen. This not only intolerable, this is inhuman, unjust and unlawful. Thus we urge everyone to register opposition against the bill which to our firm belief will further re-enforce tyranny and totalitarianism,” Caritas said.

Earlier, several bishops expressed opposition to the measure that allows warrantless arrests and detention without charges for up to 24 days.

Caritas said its condemnation of the measure is in adherence, defense and protection of the rights and welfare of the Filipino people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

Human rights defenders, activists, lawyers groups, journalists and artists said they will question the measure’s constitutionality even before it is signed into law by the president. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)