MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers who usually have something to say about anything under the sun were uncharacteristically mum over the controversial killing of 17-year-old Kian Lloyd Delos Santos in an anti-illegal drug operation by the Caloocan police.
Except for opposition congressmen from the so-called Magnificent 7, partylist lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc, and a few who immediately expressed condemnation, almost nothing was heard from the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, who are mostly allies of President Rodrigo Duterte.
House leaders also have nothing to say when asked if the chamber will conduct an investigation on the incident and on the Duterte administration’s drug war. As early as July 2016, Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat filed a resolution to look into the spate of extrajudicial killings linked to the drug campaign. However, not a single hearing was conducted on the matter.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also did not reply when asked about the action of the House on the killings following a resolution issued by the majority bloc at the Senate that it would launch an investigation on the killing of Delos Santos.
Over the weekend, Baguilat called on his colleagues to speak out.
“We should put an end to this madness and the House of Representatives should not be used as an instrument for silencing the voices crying out for mercy,” he said.
Former Nueva Ecija Representative Eduardo Nonato Joson, now leader of the Citizen Power Movement, wrote the President a letter reminding him that “the welfare of the people is the supreme law.”
“You do not care what happens to you as long as you are doing your duty as President. The saying that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ does not register in your mind set, for you sincerely believe neither in heaven nor hell. Weather weather lang! Ikaw ang presidente at ikaw ang batas habang ikaw ang presidente (You are the president and you are the law as long as you are president). And you can do no wrong as long as you are doing right for the people. The Filipino people do not need a savior or a punisher-executioner, Mr. President,” he said.
“Tama na, sobra na ang pagpatay, Mr. President (Enough, there’s too much killing). Only you can stop the killings, for the imprimatur for the killings came from you. Government does not make war on its people, whatever the presumed motivations or transgressions are. The greatest leaders or warriors are those who did not have to go battle to win the war. Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi did it, and I believe that it is never too late to begin anew and learn from lessons of history,” Joson said.