In this year’s commemoration of International Human Rights Day, the NATIONAL UNION OF PEOPLES’ LAWYERS (NUPL), together with legal luminaries, law students and lawyers’ groups of MANLABAN sa EJK, rallied behind calls to uphold and protect human rights and rise up against the brewing tyranny of the Duterte regime.
Gathering in front of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, rights lawyers joined peoples’ organizations and peace advocates in expressing serious concern over the growing number of human rights violations ranging from harassment, filing of trumped up charges, food blockades, to extra-judicial killings under Oplan Kapayaan and Oplan Tokhang espoused and committed by the Duterte regime.
“It is a cause for concern that the Duterte regime is keen to silence and quell all forms of dissent. The emperor is not wearing new clothes. He is following the same Marcosian trail during the dark years of martial law: from legislation to the tip of a gun, Duterte is hell bent to abuse all arena to wield his tyrannical pose at the expense of human rights and civil liberties.” NUPL Secretary-General Atty. Ephraim Cortez said in a statement.
The group underscored the track record of the Duterte regime on rights violations, citing Karapatan Monitor, with extrajudicial killings numbering to 98 individuals, most victims coming from the peasants and indigenous peoples from July 2016 to September 2017, not to mention the thousands dead in his anti-drug campaign. The group likewise lambasted the administration on its Mindanao-wide declaration of Martial Law causing brazen attacks on the people in violation of domestic and international human rights laws. It further raised a red flag on Proclamation No. 374, declaring the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations, citing vague and overbroad application of the Anti-Terrorism Financing Law opening floodgates to abuses giving birth to more cases of suppression of political dissent.
“President Duterte has already unmasked himself and his administration. With these unbridled attacks on civil liberties, he sure is wearing the same blood thirsty and power hungry boots Marcos wore to trample upon the rights of the people. It is but high time now for members of the legal profession to link arms with the broad masses to uphold and protect human rights in all fronts and bring forth justice to the doorsteps and tombstones of those who have fallen to his vicious iron fists,” Atty. Cortez ended.###
ATTY. EPHRAIM B. CORTEZ
NUPL Secretary General
+63 917 546 5798
ATTY. MARIA CRISTINA P. YAMBOT
+63 917 847 0301