“By unleashing a bloody and abusive war on drugs, he has set into motion the killing of thousands, most of whom are poor people, while big-time drug lords like Peter Lim continue to be free and billions of pesos worth of shabu are smuggled into our country aided by corrupt government officials,” she said.
Geremy Pintolo
Duterte single biggest threat to human rights — Risa Hontiveros
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is the single biggest threat to human rights in the Philippines after singlehandedly rolling back its safeguards and making the country a haven for rights violators, said Sen. Risa Hontiveros at yesterday’s events marking the International Human Rights Day.

“By unleashing a bloody and abusive war on drugs, he has set into motion the killing of thousands, most of whom are poor people, while big-time drug lords like Peter Lim continue to be free and billions of pesos worth of shabu are smuggled into our country aided by corrupt government officials,” she said.

The rule of law under the Duterte administration, she added, is grossly distorted in favor of the corrupt, political cronies and plunderers. 

“The justice system is mostly efficient when legally harassing members of the opposition and the critical media, but grinds to a complete halt when dealing with the likes of Imelda Marcos. And on the few occasions that justice has actually prevailed, such as our important victory in the Kian delos Santos case, we have owed it to the people’s untiring vigilance, which made the whitewashing of the extrajudicial killing untenable,” Hontiveros said.

She pointed out that women’s rights are also constantly attacked under Duterte as women are reportedly threatened with rape, violence, publicly shamed and reduced to body parts. The President’s language, she added, has become the primary medium through which sexism and misogyny are translated into real attacks against women, especially those in government who are critical of his anti-people policies.

“Even church people are not spared by President Duterte’s violent rhetoric. The President’s attack on Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David and renewed threat to kill all Catholic bishops were made amid the killing of several Catholic priests. Many are concerned that this will create a chilling effect on the exercise of religion and contribute to stifling the right to dissent,” Hontiveros said.

She stressed that Filipinos should not continue treading this path and urged them to push back and stand up against the threat to human rights.

“When the institutions we build to protect us are used against us, we prove aspiring tyrants wrong and take them back. Human rights are not suggestions or ornaments. They are fundamental anchors to a society of fairness for the many, and not tools to be used by the privileged few,” Hontiveros said.

Catholic bishops have also taken steps to protect themselves even if Duterte was just joking when he urged people to kill their bishops.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Public Affairs Committee executive secretary, said that even if Duterte’s statement was just made for dramatic effect, this was still considered “threatening” because of the possibility that a crazed supporter would try to harm a prelate. 

“We know that there could be crazy people who would take the words of the President very literally and would inflict harm on Church people. That is why our bishops are also being cautious. We cannot just dismiss these things because we are talking about lives here. So (the bishops) are being careful and prudent in what they say,” he said during a forum. – With Evelyn Macairan, Rhodina Villanueva, Mayen Jaymalin, Helen Flores, Artemio Dumlao

HUMAN RIGHTS RISA HONTIVEROS
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