“The Filipino people deserve better than this murderous regime.”
These are the words of Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday night, March 8, as she condemned the “massacre” of seven community organizers in the Calabarzon region yesterday and called for a clean and independent investigation into the killings.
“There is no other way to describe this: It was a massacre. And it came just two days after the President himself ordered state forces to “ignore human rights,” kill communist rebels, and “finish them off,” in his rant before the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” she said in a statement.
Robredo said she criticizes the killing of the community organizers in the same way that she has been denouncing the loss of many innocent lives under this administration.
The vice president called for justice for the lives of the slain activists and is seeking an independent investigation.
“Sa panahon kung kailan patuloy na nadadagdagan ang bilang ng mga namamatay, nagugutom at naghihirap dahil sa pandemya, ito ang masakit na katotohanan: Patuloy ang pagpatay sa Pilipino. Maglilimang taon nang pinapatay ang mga mahihirap sa ngalan ng isang drug war (At a time when the number of people dying, hungry, and impoverished is increasing because of the pandemic, the painful truth is this: Filipinos are continuously being killed. The poor is being targeted in the name of a drug war),” Robredo said.
On Sunday, police raided the homes of known community organizers south of Manila.
This led to the death of nine activists, including an environmentalist and a coordinator of left-wing group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, while six others were arrested.
This came after President Duterte told the police on Friday to “ignore human rights” when they go after communists, a term he has linked to activists since he took office in Malacanang in 2016.
“If there’s an encounter and you see them armed, kill, kill them, don’t mind human rights, I will be the one to go to prison, I don’t have qualms,” the President said.
Robredo understood that “these are difficult and dangerous times,” but she stressed the need to remain courageous despite the threats and for Filipinos to show their readiness to close ranks when the need to protect each other arises.
This is also the time for Filipinos to show that they’re ready to take a stand not only for their families and friends, but more so for their fellowmen who believe in good governance, freedom, and democracy, the vice president said.