De Lima: Marcos administration ‘breathing room’ from Duterte’s ‘authoritarian regime’

Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
De Lima: Marcos administration �breathing room� from Duterte�s �authoritarian regime�
Lawyer Chel Diokno, former senator Bam Aquino, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, former senator Leila de Lima, former CHED chair Patricia Licuanan, Sen. Risa Hontiveros and former peace adviser Teresita Deles attend a mass at the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace on EDSA yesterday as part of the commemoration of the 38th anniversary of people power. Top photo shows members of the Buhay ang EDSA Campaign Network holding protest slogans during a gathering outside the EDSA Shrine.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The administration of President Marcos provides a “breathing room” from the “authoritarian regime” of former president Rodrigo Duterte, according to former senator Leila de Lima.

“Under BBM, we are given the opportunity to make use of a democratic space in transition from the authoritarian regime that was Duterte’s,” De Lima said in her speech before the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) at The Manila Hotel on Thursday.

“This is a breathing room from the seven years of nightmare that we thought was all over in 1986 and never to return again. But it did,” she added.

In an excerpt of De Lima’s speech uploaded by News5, the former senator also said Marcos brought back the normal order.

“For the elite, therefore, Marcos is a blessing. He brought the rent-seeking order back to its favored normal and stable character, where everyone in the system gets a chance to partake,” she said.

Thousands at EDSA

While the current administration is downplaying the significance of

the 1986 people power revolt, representatives from various groups

vowed to mobilize thousands of people for the commemoration of the bloodless uprising that toppled the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Raymond Palatino, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said they expect at least 5,000 to attend the activities related to the 38th anniversary of the revolt tomorrow.

The figure is lower than the 8,500 police officers the Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy to secure the venues in Metro Manila and Cebu.

Unlike previous years, the Marcos administration did not declare the anniversary of the revolt that toppled his father a special holiday.

Various groups under the No to Cha-cha Network are all set for the rally and mass tomorrow to mark the 38th anniversary of the uprising.

They will also hold demonstrations against Charter change.

Under the theme “Tuloy ang laban ng EDSA! Biguin ang Chacha!”

thousands of Filipinos are expected to join the rally.

The assembly time was set at 2 p.m. along EDSA near Connecticut street. At around 3:15 p.m., the participants will march towards the EDSA Shrine.

Among the confirmed speakers at the event is De Lima, who spent nearly seven years in jail on drug charges during the administration of former president Duterte.

De Lima and other members of the opposition such as Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Albay congressman Edcel Lagman, former senator Bam Aquino, former presidential peace adviser Ging Deles and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno attended a mass at the EDSA Shrine on Friday commemorating the revolution.

Militant groups also held demonstrations which they dubbed as Black Friday protests in Quezon City and Manila.

Among these are the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas and Kilusang Mayo Uno.

After the rally, a mass will be held at the EDSA Shrine at 6 p.m. to be officiated by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the

Philippines president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.

In a joint statement, 123 organizations and 20 individuals declared

their opposition to Charter change, stressing it is an unnecessary, divisive and expensive initiative aimed mainly at entrenching those in power.

“An elite few have maintained, if not strengthened, their grip on our economy and political structures. Widespread poverty and injustice

remain. Cha-cha does not address these problems,” they said.

Col. Jean Fajardo, the PNP’s chief publicist, maintained their security coverage for Sunday is not an overkill, adding it has been their standard operating procedure during big events.

Fajardo assured the rallyists police officers will observe maximum tolerance and respect the right of demonstrators to free speech.

She also reminded rally organizers to police their own ranks from infiltrators who are out to sow violence.

Fajardo said the PNP is on normal alert status but added that police

commanders have the option to adjust their security alert based on the prevailing situation in their areas of responsibility. — Emmanuel Tupas

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