Religious group laments attacks on human rights defenders

Published September 21, 2020, 1:02 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) deplored the appalling attacks on human rights defenders and all those who serve the least, the last, and the lost on the 48th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by then President Ferdinand Marcos today.

The religious group said these human rights defenders are “modern-day apostles of our times” who are mocked, harassed, and vilified.

“We are humbled by their courage and selfless service,” AMRSP said.

The group of religious superiors lamented how “tyranny is on the rise again.”

“A popular mandate is not a license to do as one pleases. It does not replace reason. Our social contract imposes check and balances for institutions of governance and accountability,” said AMRSP.

It cited how democratic institutions, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and other fundamental rights are being muzzled.

The culture of death is being glorified, they said, first with the continuing perpetration of the bloody war on drugs which have claimed thousands of lives of people, especially from the urban poor sector, blamed to be drug pushers or users without the benefit of the judicial process.

“And now, the death penalty is being sought to be re-imposed,” AMRSP said.

It also cited the large-scale corruption allegedly committed by the administration’s allies.

AMRSP also noted how fake news has become the norm while critical thinking is met with branding as “communist” or “dilawan” (yellows or die-hard allies of the Aquino administration).

They also scored how the “already-narrowing democratic space” is being further stifled with the passage of the Anti-Terror Law of 2020.

The AMRSP renewed its commitment to fight any form of dictatorship and tyranny.

“We, as citizens of our country, strongly uphold that dissent and opposition are inextricably linked to a democracy, however flawed it may be,” they said.

“On this day, we pray to the God of liberation and renew our commitment to serve the voiceless and dehumanized, to a faith that does justice and makes for peace. Today we declare, ‘Never Forget, Never Again to Dictatorship and Tyranny!'” added AMRSP.