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Opposition, ex-VP Binay join CBCP march vs EJKs

The size of the crowd still waiting to cross Ortigas Ave to get to the EDSA People Power Monument, Nov. 5, 2017. The STAR/Evelyn Macarain

MANILA, Philippines — Several members of the opposition and former Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay on Sunday joined the mass and march along the historic EDSA for the victims of extrajudicial killings under the government’s war on drugs.

The march was dubbed “Lord Heal Our Land Sunday” organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Among those who marched to the People Power monument were members of cause-oriented group Tindig Pilipinas, alliance human rights advocate Rise Up for Rights and for Life, Sens. Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes IV, Binay and CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Relatives of drug war victims also participated in the march and mass.

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Rise Up said it is calling for an end to impunity and urged the government to be accountable.

“In standing together—with other families, advocates, and now with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines—we are claiming our courage and gaining strength in speaking the truth to power: we denounce Duterte’s so-called 'war on drugs' and insist that justice be given to the slain, the salvaged, and the orphaned,” Rise up said in a statement.

“As we seek to Stop the Killings and Start the Healing, we are thankful for the many who will pray, but we urge every concerned Filipino to act for healing, so that those plagued by addiction are given venue to redeem their lives and overcome their illness,” it added.

Tindig Pilipinas also seconded Rise Up's call.

"It is time to stop the killings. Time to seek accountability. Time to seek justice and democracy. It is time to regain the respect of the world for the Filipino people," the organization said.

Meanwhile, detained Sen. Leila De Lima, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s staunch critics also showed support for the CBCP’s march and mass through a message.

De Lima denounced the estimated 13,000 drug-related deaths and called for justice citing that healing could only be attained through justice.

For the senator, the government’s war on drugs kills democracy and the nation’s spirit. She said she is angered by the oppression being done by the Duterte regime.

“Sa rehimeng Duterte: Kung patuloy kayong magbubulag-bulagan sa katiwalian sa inyong bakuran at sa pamahalaan, sa mataas na presyo ng bilihin, sa mababang pasahod, at kawalan ng trabaho, magpapatuloy ang salot ng ilegal na droga na bunga ng kahirapan, at bumibiktima sa mahihirap nating kababayan, (To the Duterte regime:  If you continue to turn a blind eye to corruption in your yard and the government, high prices, low wages, and unemployment will continue the scourge of illegal drugs as a result of poverty, and victimize our poor countrymen,” De Lima said.

“Buhayin at buong tapang po nating isulong ang diwa ng EDSA na nagbuklod sa atin noon para mapayapang ipaglaban ang ating mga karapatan at demokrasya, upang ngayon naman ay masimulan ang tuluyang paghilom ng ating bayan, (Let us revive and courageously foster the spirit of EDSA that united us for a peaceful fight for our rights and democracy, so that he now finally start healing our country.” she added.

Malacañang said the Duterte administration does not condone EJKs, adding that it is one with the nation in seeking true "healing" amid the ongoing protest.

RELATED: Palace calls for unity as hundreds join anti-EJK mass

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