Philippine Daily Inquirer - - PLUS - By Jhes­set O. Enano @Jhes­setE­nanoINQ

In an event branded by crit­ics as “di­lawan,” not a hint of yel­low was in sight.

In­stead, key mem­bers of the Lib­eral Party (LP) and over a thou­sand sup­port­ers donned white as they at­tended “Misa ng Ma­ma­mayan Para sa Ka­to­to­hanan” at the Parish of the Holy Sac­ri­fice on the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines Dil­i­man cam­pus on Thurs­day.

The at­ten­dees in­cluded for­mer Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III, Vice Pres­i­dent Leni Ro­bredo and for­mer In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Mar Roxas. Sen­a­tors Bam Aquino, Franklin Drilon and Kiko Pangili­nan also joined the at­ten­dees in call­ing for jus­tice for the vic­tims of mar­tial law atroc­i­ties un­der the regime of the late dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos and that of the killings linked to the drug war un­leashed 15 months ago by Pres­i­dent Duterte.

Cabi­net mem­bers of the Aquino ad­min­is­tra­tion, like Palace spokesper­son Ed­win Lacierda and So­cial Wel­fare Sec­re­tary Dinky Soli­man, were also present.

Sup­port­ers of Mr. Duterte are us­ing di­lawan (yel­lows) to mock LP mem­bers, Aquino sup­port­ers, and even those with no po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions who sim­ply voice out dis­sent against the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Re­peat of dark days

In a 3-minute speech af­ter the Mass, which was of­fi­ci­ated by Ate­neo de Manila Univer­sity pres­i­dent Fr. Jett Vil­larin, Ro­bredo called for unity against the pos­si­ble re­peat of the dark days un­der mar­tial law, which Mar­cos de­clared 45 years ago.

“This af­ter­noon, even if we have dif­fer­ent takes on pol­i­tics or we came from dif­fer­ent back­grounds, we are all united here be­cause of our love for the coun­try,” she said.

Ro­bredo said that while the coun­try suf­fered for 14 years un­der mar­tial law, it was sad­den­ing that “the cul­ture of vi­o­lence is emerg­ing once more.”

“And this cul­ture of vi­o­lence does not only vic­tim­ize those who op­pose the gov­ern­ment, but ev­ery­one—even chil­dren—be­come vic­tims,” she added.

In his homily, for­mer La Salle pres­i­dent Bro. JJ Jimenez said the coun­try must be­gin its healing by go­ing back to its roots as a na­tion with dig­nity.

“Let us not sur­ren­der again to one per­son sim­ply for the progress of our coun­try,” he said.

In an in­ter­view, Ifu­gao Rep. Teddy Baguilat ex­pressed de­light over the “dif­fer­ent forces com­ing to­gether” to speak up against the killings un­der the present ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Bro. Ar­min Luistro, La Salle pres­i­dent and for­mer ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary, noted that the peo­ple pour­ing out in the streets showed that the na­tion could not be fooled for­ever.

EJK vic­tims

Af­ter the Mass, Ro­bredo, Aquino and the rest of the par­tic­i­pants lay roses and lit candles at the im­ages of vic­tims of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings (EJKs) un­der the Mar­cos and Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tions.

The im­ages, which were hung by ra­zor wires in­side the church, had the faces of mar­tial law vic­tims, such as stu­dent ac­tivist Edgar Jop­son and a Mar­cos whis­tle-blower’s son, Luis “Boyet” Mi­jares.

Ro­bredo led the at­ten­dees in light­ing a can­dle be­fore the photo of pedi­cab driver Michael Siaron, whowas shot dead in July last year by uniden­ti­fied gun­men who also left a card­board sign next to his body call­ing him a “drug pusher.”

An In­quirer front­page photo of the dead Siaron be­ing cra­dled by his an­guished wife on the pave­ment be­came a sym­bol of the drug war’s cru­elty.


From left: Sen. Franklin Drilon, for­mer Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III, Sen. Fran­cis Pangili­nan, Vice Pres­i­dent Leni Ro­bredo and Sen. Bam Aquino at­tend the “Peo­ple’s Mass for Truth” at the Parish of the Holy Sac­ri­fice on UP Dil­i­man cam­pus on Thurs­day.


Crowds gath­ered out­side the parish light candles for the vic­tims of mar­tial law atroc­i­ties un­der the Mar­cos dic­ta­tor­ship and of the killings linked to Pres­i­dent Duterte’s drug war.

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