Robredo on killings: 'Hindi ganito ang Pilipino'

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo did not mince words in criticizing the government's bloody drug war following the death of 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman.

Robredo, who was a human rights lawyer before she joined government, said no words could express her sadness and outrage over the murder of De Guzman, whose body was found floating in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija last Tuesday, September 5. Initial investigation showed he sustained 30 stab wounds.

"Hindi natin maaaring palagpasin ito. Hindi tayo ganito. Hindi ganito ang Pilipino. Kailangang huminto ang walang pakundangang patayan," said Robredo in a statement on Thursday, September 7.

(We can't just let this pass. We're not like this. Filipinos aren't like this. All these killings, done with impunity, have to stop.)

De Guzman was last seen with 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz, who died at the hands of Caloocan City police on August 18. Another teenager, Kian delos Santos, was killed also by Caloocan City cops in a drug raid on August 16.

Robredo said De Guzman's death only strengthened her concern over the war on drugs being waged by President Rodrigo Duterte.

She said a society where young people are being killed is unacceptable. (READ: Robredo on Kian's killing: It could happen to our children)

"Ang isang lipunan kung saan maaaring maging biktima ng karahasan ang isa sa ating mga anak – tulad ng kapalarang inabot nina Kian, Carl, at Reynaldo – ay hindi ligtas, hindi makatarungan, at hindi katanggap-tanggap," said Robredo.

(A society where the victims of violence could be our children – like the fates of Kian, Carl, and Reynaldo – is unsafe, unjust, and unacceptable.)

"Ang isang lipunan kung saan ang ating mga anak ay maaaring mawala ng biglaan, at matatagpuan na lamang na tadtad ng saksak, at nakabalot ang ulo ng tape, ay isang lipunang kailanman ay hindi natin dapat tanggapin," added the Vice President.

(A society where our kids could just disappear and later be found stabbed all over, their heads wrapped in tape, is a society that must never be acceptable.)

She then urged the public to unite to ensure the killings will stop and those responsible will be held accountable.

"Nakikiramay ako sa mga magulang at pamilya ng iba pang biktima ng ganitong klaseng karahasan. Kaisa ninyo ako sa paghahanap ng hustisya para sa kanila at sa mas pinaigting na panawagang itigil na ang patayan," said Robredo.

(I condole with the parents and families of the other victims of this kind of violence. I am with you in demanding justice for them and in the strengthened call to end the killings.)

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the deaths of De Guzman, Arnaiz, and Delos Santos have prompted a "rethinking" of the drug war.

Duterte himself met with the parents of Delos Santos and Arnaiz, and promised to give them justice. Malacañang also vowed an "impartial investigation" into De Guzman's death. (READ: Duterte says he won't condone killing of young Filipinos)

The teenagers' deaths have sparked widespread outrage, with some denouncing the President and the Philippine National Police (PNP) over alleged state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings. Both Duterte and PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa denied this.

Robredo already said the public will continue questioning the police force's integrity as long as the drug killings continue. She said the burden is on the PNP to prove they are not sanctioned to kill drug suspects. – Rappler.com

 

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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