Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Filipino public to not tire in demanding for justice and accountability for all the victims of the senseless killings in the country and praying for their families’ healing in these challenging times.
In her message for the All Souls’ and All Saint’s Day, De Lima said that most families of the victims of unjust killings in the country are still in pain brought about by losing their loved ones to violence.
“Kasabay ng paggunita natin sa Undas ay ang pag-alala natin sa mga yumaong mahal sa buhay. Pagkakataon ito para magsama-sama ang pamilyang Pilipino; gaano man kalayo, nagpupunta tayo sa kanilang mga himlayan upang ipagdasal at magbigay-galang sa mga sumakabilang-buhay,” she said.
“Subalit alam din natin na ang panahon ng Undas ay malaking hamon para sa marami nating kababayan na hindi pa tanggap ang biglang pagkawala ng mga kapamilya, kaanak o kaibigan—silang hindi pa maituturing na “namayapa” dahil sa sinapit na trahedya o di-makatarungang pagkamatay,” she added.
Every November 1 and 2 of every year, Filipinos gather in cemeteries to visit the graves of their loved ones and pay their respects by lighting candles, offering flowers, and praying for their souls.
Since Duterte assumed presidency in July 2016, an estimated 27,000 individuals have already been killed either through vigilante-style executions or “legitimized” police operations.
While Filipinos pay homage to their own loved ones on the “Days of the Saints and the Dead”, De Lima said she hopes that they will not forget to pray for the thousands killed in the government’s bloody war on drugs, including suspected drug offenders, innocent children, farmers, journalists, and rights defenders, among others.
“Ang nagpapapatuloy pa ring karahasan at araw-araw na patayan sa ating bayan ay nagpapanumbalik sa matinding sakit na nararamdaman ng bawat naulilang asawa, anak, kapatid at magulang,” she said.
“Ngayon pong Undas, ipagdasal at ipaglaban po natin ang katarungan para sa kanila upang makamit ng mga yumao at ng kanilang mga naiwan ang tunay na kapanatagan at kapayapaan,” she added.
This 18th Congress, De Lima has reintroduced a measure, Senate Bill (SB) No. 371, seeking to define acts that constitute extrajudicial killings and ensure accountability over the suspicious deaths recorded under the Duterte administration.