By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Leila de Lima on Friday called on municipal mayors belonging to the Liberal Party to fight any attempt to revive a Marcos-style of governance.
De Lima said local chief executives allied with the former ruling political party should not waver in their fight to achieve justice, truth and freedom for the benefit not only of their constituents, but also of all the Filipino people.
“This occasion, with people who share common principles, can also further strengthen our party’s resolve for justice and democracy, especially during these challenging times under the Duterte regime,” said de Lima in a message read at the recent gathering of LP mayors.
A member of the LP, de Lima urged her partymates to share their experiences and learn from each other to improve their service to the public.
The opposition senator likewise called on the LP mayors to resist any temptation or tendencies to allow a repeat of the Marcos-era authoritarianism.
De Lima, who is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center over alleged involvement in illegal drugs, reiterated that the President’s disregard for human rights and the rule of law is reminiscent of the 21-year authoritarian rule of then President Ferdinand Marcos whose era was marked by rampant human rights violations, oppression and brutality.
Under the present administration, the Duterte critic pointed out that thousands of Filipinos—especially among the poor, including young people—were killed, while the rich and those with connections with Malacañang evaded accountability.
“The media is oppressed, while fake news is peddled to distort the truth. Citizens are silenced because of the culture of impunity being reinforced by top officials in government,” the lawmaker added.
In challenging times like these, the senator pointed out that public servants are expected to speak out at all times against the crooked policies of the administration and stand up against an extremist leader.
“Garapalan na ang ginagawa nila. Ipinakulong ang inosente, kinakasuhan ang mga kritiko ng gobyerno, habang pinapalaya ang mga nakikipagsabwatan sa kanilang pansariling agenda, (They have been flagrantly doing this. Putting to jail the innocent, charging critics of the government, yet setting free those who want to conspire with them for their personal agenda)” she said.
“Ngayon nga, pati mastermind ng katiwalian, ginawa na ring testigo ng pamahalaan. Sa lahat ng ito, mananahimik pa rin ba tayo? (Now, the government has even turned a mastermind in corruption as state witness. Are we going to still remain quiet even after all these things are happening?)” she emphasized.
She said this is why her rallying call for remaining LP members is to remain steadfast in their vision and to unite and move for truth and justice.
“Bilang mga kapwa ko pinuno, bilang kapwa ko Liberal, bilang mga lingkod-bayan, nawa’y magampanan natin ang ating tungkulin hindi lang sa ating nasasakupan, kundi maging sa sambayanan at susunod na henerasyon (As fellow LP member and leader, and as fellow public servants, I hope we can accomplish our mandate not only for our constituents but for the whole community and the next generation),” she said.