Bishop Pablo Virgilio David
President Rodrigo Duterte continues to try to strike fear into the hearts of people with his continued attacks against human rights defenders, according to Senator Leila de Lima who said that efforts to resist his attacks must continue.
In a statement, De Lima cited Mr. Duterte’s attacks on Caloocan Bishop Pablo “Ambo” David, who has spoken out against abuses in the country in defense of the poor and the marginalized.
The detained senator said the President wanted to frighten people by creating an atmosphere where anyone could be at risk of being killed.
Call to action
“We must act now and continue to fight Duterte’s attacks on human rights defenders and critics. Duterte wants to instill fear among us by creating a violent society where anyone can be killed anytime,” she said.
“The threat is already pervasive, especially among those who continue to resist and oppose him. There is nothing sacred to him, not even a bishop whose only fault is to care for the families of the victims of extrajudicial killings,” De Lima added.
Mr. Duterte, she noted, had accused a certain “David” of stealing church funds on top of possible involvement in illegal drugs because he goes around his diocese at night.
Many believe he was referring to the Caloocan bishop who has been critical of the President’s war on drugs.
Protection for David
De Lima said David must be protected from Mr. Duterte’s threats even if she thinks the chief executive would not carry these out.
“Of course, it would be foolish for Duterte to martyr Bishop Ambo. It would be the end of him if he makes the mistake of carrying out his threat against the bishop,” she pointed out.
“Defy. Resist. Fight. This is the clarion call of the times,” she added.
David, she said, was “a symbol of hope in these despairing times.”
“He is a light in the darkness of Duterte’s reign of murder and bloodshed. He embodies the prayer for a future that is free from the clutches of a murderous tyrant,” she said.
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