‘YELLOWS’ IN WHITE WARN AGAINST DARKNESS
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.
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.