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Senators join Edsa march to push for end to drug killings

Franklin Drilon - Edsa Shrine - B - 5 Nov 2017

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon joins the crowd at the Edsa Shrine on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo by PATHRICIA ANN V. ROXAS / INQUIRER.net)

Several senators heeded the call of the Catholic Church’s call for the nation’s healing, marching on Sunday with thousands of Filipinos opposing President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Sens. Franklin Drilon, Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino, and Risa Hontiveros expressed their support for the “Start the Healing” campaign staged by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) at the People Power Monument.

“Tuluy-tuloy lang ang pagmulat sa mga kababayan natin,” Trillanes said, referring to an estimated 20,000 people who gathered at the historic monument.

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[Our countrymen are continuing to gain awareness.]

Trillanes is among the organizers of Tindig Pilipinas.

“At itong mga tao rito ito yung mga kakalabanin niya. Ito yung magbibigay sa kanya ng cause para tigilan niya na ito [war on drugs],” he added, referring to Duterte.

[These are the people he would be fighting against. They are the ones who would give him cause to stop this war on drugs.]

In contrast to the crowd estimate of organizers, the Philippine National Police put the attendance at the event at 5,500.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV gives an interview on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, at the People Power Monument on Edsa. (Photo by PATHRICIA ANN V. ROXAS / INQUIRER.net)

Aquino, meanwhile, urged other Filipinos to stand their ground and speak up.

“Sana yung mga taong tingin naman nila mali yung nangyayari sa bansa, sana tumayo na rin sila at magsalita,” he said.

[I hope the people who think that what’s happening to the country is wrong would stand and speak up.]

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Bam Aquino - PPM - 5 Nov 2017

Sen. Bam Aquino talks to reporters on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, at the People Power Monument. (Photo by PATHRICIA ANN V. ROXAS / INQUIRER.net)

Hontiveros denied that the event had been marred by politics.

“Madali sa kanilang bansagan ang kahit anong alternatibo,” she said. “Wala pong usaping kulay dito. Walang usaping iisang organisasyon.”

[They can easily label any alternative presented. We’re not talking about political colors here. We’re not talking about any one organization.]

“At kailangan ma-imbestigahan [ang killings] at masingil ng accountability. Panahon na po para gumising sa bangungot na ito,” she added.

[And the killings have to be investigated and there has to be accountability. It’s time for us to wake up from this nightmare.]

Risa Hontiveros - PPM - 5 Nov 2017

Sen. Risa Hontiveros joins the crowd at the People Power Monument on Edsa on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo by PATHRICIA ANN V. ROXAS / INQUIRER.net)

Before the march towards the People Power Monument (PPM), which is just at the southern corner of Camp Aguinaldo on Edsa in Quezon City, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas celebrated a Mass at the nearby Edsa Shrine.

The peaceful program at the PPM was filled with socio-cultural performances from various groups.

Some of the attendees were priests, nuns and other members of the church community, representatives of Tindig Pilipinas, Akbayan, Bayan Muna, relatives of the victims of drug-related killings.

There were even drug dependents who had been rehabilitated, according to Aquino.

“Iba’t iba na ang mga grupong nagsasama-sama rito,” he said. “Kaya palagay ko panahon na para yung panawagang tigilan na yung patayan ay seryosohin at suportahan yung demokratikong karapatan.”

[A variety of groups got together here. That’s why I think it’s time that the call to stop the killings should be taken seriously and that democratic rights be supported.]

Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, as well as former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda attended the Mass and the march.

Villegas said the campaign, which consists of church activities, like praying the holy rosary, against alleged extrajudicial killings would run from Nov. 5 to Dec. 8. /atm

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