Dispatches from Crame I

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Dispatches from Crame I

Leila M. de Lima

Dispatches from Crame I By Leila M. de Lima

ISBN 978-621-95852-1-7 All rights reserved. The content of this publication may be copied, adapted, and redistributed provided that the material is not used for commercial purposes and that proper attribution be made.

Published by: The Office of Senator Leila M. de Lima Rm. 502 & 16 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City Tel.: (632) 552-6601 to 70 local nos. 5750 / 8619 Website: www.leiladelima.com

Cover art by Leila M. de Lima Published in the Philippines.

For my mother, who, to this day, is kept unaware of my suffering; For my late father, whose values have largely molded mine; For my children and grandchildren who give me the strength to keep on going; For my fellow defenders of human rights and democracy —they reassure me that I am not alone as the world is watching; Dedicated to the Filipino people, for whom I keep the faith despite the injustice of it all.

“No high concrete walls, barbed wires, or caged environment can silence me. I remain free in spirit and unbroken. I’m not giving up on my causes for truth, justice, and human rights.” —Senator Leila M. de Lima Global Thinker Awardee Foreign Policy Magazine 5 December 2017

What they say about the Senator and the book... “Minsan, sa isang pagtitipon kasama ng media, napatanong ako: Bakit kapag kritiko ko ang nagsalita, sinasabi ng iilan na meron siyang paninindigan? Pag ako naman ang nanindigan, ang komento, matigas ang ulo ko. Ngayon tila nauulit ito: Si Leila daw matigas ang ulo, samantalang ang mga tumutuligsa sa kanya, may paninindigan daw. Nung lumalaki ako, binigyang-diin sa akin na, ang pinuno dapat may klarong paninindigan. May direksyong patutunguhan. Kaya madali at buo natin siyang masusundan. Mahirap magkaroon ng pinuno na ang posisyon ay papalit-palit sa magkabilang-dulo. Makikita naman natin: Si Leila, klarong-klarong may prinsipyo. Sa pinagdadaanan niya, malinaw na tayo ang kanyang ipinaglalaban. Mainam namang maipadama natin kay Leila, na sa labang ito, hindi siya nag-iisa.” —Benigno S. Aquino III, former President of the Republic of the Philippines

“The book containing all of Senator Leila de Lima’s many-splendored dispatches from Camp Crame, where she remains unjustly detained— should serve to remind us all that not everyone is cowed by tyranny. In Kennedyesque cadence, her work goes on—for human rights and democracy even from her detention—the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream, shall never die.” —Rene Saguisag, former senator

“Holding on to her dignity against a central policy to dehumanize and destroy her entirely is what Senator Leila de Lima faces each day in the tight corners of her prison cell in Camp Crame. A year is almost over yet she remains whole. What keeps her strong? Against the viciousness of power is her faith in herself as a human person who has been given an angel, “God’s gift” she calls him, an angel who has taught her to love without condition and treasure each day they nurture this love together. As she draws inner strength from her angel, her courage through her dispatches is infectious and strengthens us increasingly, while it puts to shame the coward who can only sleep with her locked up in his jail. But his days are numbered and our numbers grow stronger each day.” —Etta Rosales, former chairperson of Commission on Human Rights

“Senator De Lima’s fearless advocacy for rule of law and human rights while behind bars due to a politically-motivated prosecution is a testament to her courage and adherence to universal values in the face of relentless efforts to silence her. Her voice echoes far beyond her prison walls and is an inspiration to those both in the Philippines and beyond who seek accountability for the thousands of deaths linked to the Duterte government’s murderous ‘war on drugs.’” —Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch

“These dispatches from Crame are testimonies to the greatness of spirit and the depth of insight of Senator Leila de Lima, jailed by a tyrant but hailed by all freedom loving people. We draw courage from her as we persevere to uphold democracy, speak out for human rights, and end the darkness that engulfs our nation.” —Karina Constantino David, former chairperson of Civil Service Commision

“Reading Leila’s Dispatches from Crame has always been a continuous source of inspiration and admiration for many of our countrymen. Despite the trumped up charges and a system undermined by fascism and fear, Leila has stood as a beacon of light and a tower of fortitude to those who seemed to have lost hope in this present darkness. Let all who come across Leila’s letters be comforted and moved by the fact that she, whose predicament is perhaps far more oppressive than ours, continues to fight for what is good, what is right and honorable for our country, and despite her incarceration, she has never wavered in her duties as a Senator, a friend, a sister and most of all, a mother.” —Edwin Lacierda, former presidential spokesperson

“Sen. Leila de Lima speaks plainly in these dispatches from jail. She calls out tyranny, atrocity, and abuse of power for what these are; with no equivocation. This clarity is bracing, fresh wind in the present environment befouled by lies, and by the coarse and brutal assertions of the leader who keeps her unjustly locked up. In that consistent voice and despite the hardships of incarceration, Sen. De Lima speaks to specific events and manipulations that shore up the de facto authoritarianism in the nation. Free Leila!” —Marian Pastor Roces, independent curator and social critic

“Sen. Leila de Lima is Exhibit A of the Duterte government’s weaponization of the rule of law; all good men and women know her innocence and true love of country are the shield that will protect her. Her letters from jail show her spirit is unbroken, her mind undimmed, her will undaunted. They are, like Rizal’s writings, like Mabini’s letters, the hard-won admonitions of the conscience of our time.” —John Nery, editor and columnist for Philippine Daily Inquirer

“Like a fearless correspondent reporting from the war zone, detained Senator Leila de Lima dutifully bears witness to all the atrocities and abuses that have happened under the Duterte regime. Aptly titled ‘Dispatches from Crame’, these are the prison notes of a courageous person who has staunchly refused to yield her mind and her conscience to her captors.” —Randy David, sociologist and columnist for Philippine Daily Inquirer

“Senator De Lima is true courage exemplified: continuing to speak the bitter truth to power, despite being unjustly deprived of her liberty. I am confident that she will be vindicated, and her dispatches from detention will remain concrete proof of her resolve to uphold human rights at the expense of her own freedom.” —Abigail Valte, columnist for Malaya

“If the Duterte regime thinks prison can break or silence Leila de Lima, it is mistaken. Her bold presence may have been desperately missed in the Senate, where she rightfully belongs, but her voice has managed—thanks to brave, faithful, and creative messengers—to break through the walls of Camp Crame and resound far beyond, if only on occasion. Now, here, in these ‘Dispatches from Crame’, Leila speaks her haunting mind, full-volume, to both her jailers and the nation at large. Listen!” —Vergel Santos, journalist

“When a good person is unfairly punished, we don’t expect them to give us, the free, a gift. But Senator De Lima has. The gift of character, and principle, and words we can cherish as we seek to be smart and meaningful ourselves. Thank you for your passion, strength, and generosity, Senator De Lima.” —Joe America, The Society of Honor

“The Duterte regime intended otherwise, but captivity has, in fact, freed her. The year in fetters failed to douse her fierce blue flame. These poignant dispatches are afire with faith, propelled by her just cause. They inspire and confront; they transcend her bounding walls. Let her torch ignite ours. Laban Leila!” —Candy Cruz Datu, Cham Clowder

“What a heroine we have in Senator Leila de Lima. Besmirched and tainted, she should have retreated into a world of her own, to forestall further attacks on her person. She could just have called it quits, for she has been shamed beyond imagining. But no. She soldiered on, and with the few resources at her disposal, she continues to be the voice of the people, a people thrown into confusion by forces whose virulence is comparable to none in Philippine history...your person, your works, your unequivocal stand on issues will be forever etched in the memory of a grateful nation.” —Wilfredo Villanueva, The De Lima Demeanor

CONTENTS PART I: “Dear loved ones” — Life in Detention & Personal Reflections Dear loved ones 1 Dear dad 1 Israel & Brandon 2 Blue warriors 2 My mother 2 A blessing 3 Hope 3 No regrets 4 5 My favorite nephew Marcel More time now 6 Cat lover 6 7 To all my fellow mothers 100 days 9 Happy Father’s Day 9 10 Prisoner of conscience 11 I’m not the only one suffering, fighting 13 Daragang Mayon

PART II: “I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice 16 I cannot be silenced 16 What destabilization? 17 Why blame the media? Red King 17 18 Why? 20 Transparency and accountability 21 Lies 21 Sorry state of his mind 23 On the P6.4-billion worth of shabu smuggled from China 24 Diversionary tactics 26 Skewed definition of “justice” 28 Attacks against the Chief Justice and the Ombudsman 29 Genocide orders from a coward 31 Bullies 32 Seek truth at your own peril 33 Untouchables 35 Blitzkrieg demolition of the justice system 36 A killer, a plundering thief, and a madman 38 Demented behaviour 39 Support for the passage of BBL 40 Woman-bashing in Congress 41 While the rest suffer 43 Speak up

PART III: “Stand up always” — Democracy & Sovereignty On Chinese Navy’s harassment of Filipino fishermen On Duterte’s rejection of EU aid Bullying of our democratic institutions China’s lackey 1,000 pesos Silencing dissent Exoneration of plunderers Corruption of Filipino values Revolutionary government West Philippine Sea Unholy alliance that points to China No to martial law extension Unravelling Duterte-China partnership On Malacañang’s lawyering for China Threat of military force to shut down media Fence-sitting Uphold our sovereignty What’s in a name?

48 48 48 50 53 54 56 57 59 60 61 63 64 66 67 68 69 71

PART IV: “I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution Probably safe I am innocent Stronger Kababayan Hope to carry me through “Agents of vengeance” On the “bargain” between government and drug lord convicts Right to a fair trial Pathological liar Abuse of power in plotting against a senator Grand conspiracy of lies Psychotic inventions On the SC decision dismissing my petition Discerning words of the honourable dissenting justices Grossest injustice Bilibid drug resurgence A judge’s inhibition State-sponsored trolling On my lead counsel Atty. Florin Hilbay

74 74 75 75 76 78 79 81 82 84 85 87 88 89 91 92 94 94 96

PART V: “Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings Stop impunity No to death penalty Stop cheering the madman

100 100 100

For the sake of our children Matobato and Lascañas Truth, 1st casualty of the drug war Desensitization Searching questions on the drug war “Bangkay sa Bangka” Stop the killings now! Change the headlines Misrepresenting penal laws Stop the killings or resign now Definition of EJK “No” vote to the UN resolution on Rohingya’s plight Warped logic On the rejection of aid from the European Union (EU) On Duterte telling Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi to ignore human rights

101 102 103 104 105 107 108 109 110 111 112 114 116 117 118

PART VI: “World is watching” — International Clamor for Truth & Justice European Parliament Thank you Europe On VP Robredo’s video message for the UN side event on EJKs They know the truth World is watching On the arrival of UN official Agnes Callamard in the Philippines On the 45-1 UNHRC vote calling to stop the EJKs in the Philippines Human rights defender Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Sen. Sonny Trillanes’ candor and courage European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights Liberal International (LI) Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) Women’s Caucus ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) Prize for Freedom Award Global Progressive Forum (GPF) Foreign Policy’s (FP) Global Thinker for 2017 Schizophrenic statements International Criminal Court (ICC)

122 122 123 123 124 125 126 127 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137


By Dr. Sylvia Estrada Claudio It is a cliché to say in forewords that one is extremely honored to be asked to write it.

I am extremely honored to write this foreword for Senator Leila M. de Lima.

Because, in so doing, I stand on the right side of history.

Someday, all will be called to account. Someday, people will want to know who among us stood against mass murder. This book documents quite a number of us who stood against the unconscionable massacre of innocent people. I am glad to be included in that roster. In these pages, the author documents and reacts to the burning issues of the day. She gives us the events, the people involved, and the facts. Then, she gives us her interpretations. Informed, well-analyzed opinions. She has, after all, led a distinguished career in government and is now a sitting Senator of the Republic. Every significant event in our national life since her incarceration is here. Those who understand, what this kind of documentation means in terms of finding accountability, forgiveness and peace for the nation in the future, would welcome this book. Those who should be held accountable should tremble at what this volume contains. The book calls the roll because the author is one of the leading figures who has stood her ground firmly. Certainly, she is paying a high price for it. As her psychologist (who is also a medical doctor), I can testify to the continuing violation of her human rights. She is essentially in solitary confinement. She cannot interact with other detainees. She is allowed no electronic devices. She cannot even have an air-conditioner which she needs for medical reasons. She is allowed limited hours to entertain guests and her staff. But all this can be taken away arbitrarily. As some of her letters will show, guests may be denied. I have seen these situations before during the days of the Marcos dictatorship. You are at the whim of your captors. The author has been the subject of the kind of lies that all despotic regimes propagate—lies that dehumanize those it would call “enemies” so that the violation of their rights, can be rationalized. Senator De Lima has been shamed and slut-shamed. She has been accused of the worst crimes. She has been turned into a monster by a propaganda machine that churns out division and hatred so that some may keep and use their power arbitrarily. This is done routinely for those alleged drug addicts that the government is killing. But good prison literature humanizes the detainee. It illustrates the broad human condition of oppression through the intimate details of the detainee’s experiences. In Senator De Lima’s dispatches, you will see not only the public servant and the human rights defender, but also the particular woman. Her trials are laid bare— her despair for a nation that has not risen in moral indignation, her heartbreaks for her children and her family, her longing for her old life, her favorite stray cat, her delight at seeing old friends, her missing her father who taught her the principles of truth, justice, integrity.

And so, this book is dangerous. Not just for her captors but for those who still refuse to see and condemn the carnage. It is dangerous because if you dare to read through the pages, you may find that the Senator is no monster. That she is a human being with equal nationalism, equal love for the poor, equal rights to fairness and justice. You may realize that she is not the monster they have painted. In which case, she may be innocent as she explains so eloquently here, as she has always proclaimed herself to be. At the very least, you may agree with her as all human rights institutions, foreign and local, have agreed so far, that her rights are being violated. The choice is yours. To open your heart to the Senator and the many she continues to represent, or to deny her. No one with a modicum of open-mindedness or compassion can read through these pages and deny her. I can only reiterate that I stand with her. I selfishly need my grandchildren and their children to understand that I, like Senator De Lima, did not agree to the murder of many. I cannot but thank her again for the honor of being by her side. If her weaknesses and sacrifices are laid bare in this book, yet the reader will come away not with a sense of despair but one of optimism and hope. The author herself overcomes every moment of doubt, every moment of sadness, every moment of weakness. She does so with a deep and abiding spirituality mixed with great moral courage, a compassionate heart and a sharp mind. As her psychologist, it is a great gift to witness this deepening transformation. The Senator suffers but prevails. And while her captors degrade themselves, she becomes a better human being. In this book, the reader will find definitive proof of Senator De Lima’s continuing transformation. Repeatedly, she understands that her trials are those of all other victims of human rights violations. Repeatedly, she notes that all the necessary steps and conditions that will bring her justice should be enjoyed also by all those who are prisoners of conscience. Always, she points out that while her conditions may be grave, the true and ultimate victims are those who have lost lives and those who have lost their loved ones. Despite her own miseries, Senator De Lima emphasizes that the first priority lies in putting an end to extrajudicial killings. Ultimately, this is not a book about the self. It is a book for all who suffer oppression. You who insist on death, read this book, and change or beware. Read this book, all who cower in fear and despair, so that you may find comfort.


Dispatch 1: DEAR LOVED ONES 1 March 2017 Dear all/loved ones: While I’m psychologically prepared for this, my whole being cries out for truth and justice...My heart also bleeds for all other victims of injustice—those who were also falsely accused and now cramped in severely congested jails. But God, who is all-knowing and infinitely good and just, will make sure that EVIL will not triumph...

I pray for more strength and fortitude.

Let’s all be strong...

Love you all... Dispatch 8: DEAR DAD 7 March 2017 9:20 p.m.

I keep thinking of my late father. Could he have imagined my situation now? The molding of my character, personality and values was largely my father’s labor. Did he have the foresight that his eldest daughter would be going through life’s trials of this proportion? The answer seems obvious to me. And I can only thank my dear dad for such gift of foresight and his perseverance in instilling in me an unbreakable fiery spirit. Miss you so much daddy…


“Dear loved ones” — Life in Detention & Personal Reflections

Dispatch 11: ISRAEL & BRANDON 9 March 2017 9:05 p.m. In these trying & most hurting times for our family, my special son, 33-yr-old ISRAEL & grandson, 10-yr-old BRANDON, are much more blessed than the rest. Their perpetual innocence & purity in spirit insulate them from the cruelty & irrationality of humankind. They have a world of their own which I imagine is one free of pretensions & bitterness. I draw much strength from Israel & Brandon, my angels… Dispatch 17: BLUE WARRIORS 13 March 2017 I was teary eyed upon seeing throngs of supporters at the Q.C. Hall of Justice chanting “LABAN LEILA”, “FREE LEILA”. Kept reminding myself—I need to be strong always for them.

Maraming maraming salamat sa aking mga BLUE WARRIORS! DIOS MABALOS! Dispatch 19: MY MOTHER 13 March 2017 8:55 p.m. My 84-yr. old mother has no inkling as to my current situation. What my brothers and sister have told her is that I’m abroad for an official business. Keep debating with myself—shall we tell her or not that her daughter is in prison? I’m sure that she has started to wonder why my foreign trip is 2


taking so long, given my preference for brevity of such trips. My siblings can no longer justify to her my prolonged absence. But knowing the truth about what was done to me by this vengeful President and his ilk will surely cause her misery and grief— an unnecessary pain. This is a real dilemma for our family. Dispatch 37: A BLESSING 23 March 2017 8:10 p.m. Chocolates and books (novels, prayer books and even coloring books) are the top presents I receive from my visitors on a daily basis. And I appreciate them tremendously. Personal notes and messages from people I know and don’t know (total strangers) bring so much joy to me as they are very uplifting. Indeed, the time I spend for reading, prayerful reflections, and mental calisthenics has doubled, if not tripled, in detention. I also have more time now to ensure my physical fitness thru regular exercise. In this light, I consider my present forced circumstance a BLESSING… Thank you Lord! Dispatch 39: HOPE 24 March 2017 8:40 p.m. A small group of elderly women came to visit me this afternoon. These are total strangers. Decent-looking and well-mannered, they claim to be parishioners from a church near Crame. To my amazement, they came across well-versed on the goings on 3

“Dear loved ones” — Life in Detention & Personal Reflections

in our country. With unsophisticated candor, they talked about Duterte’s rudeness, his cursing, his dark psychology and obsession with drugs, while neglecting other urgent concerns such as the economy, jobs and traffic. These women were also aghast about Duterte’s handling of the Benham Rise issue and sell-out to China. They expressed disdain towards Duterte’s men—Alvarez, Aguirre, Calida & Panelo—their arrogance and propensity to lie. Voters were clearly duped, so they concluded. I told myself as I feel it in my gut that there must be a multitude of like-minded citizens out there, sharing exactly the same sentiments. There must be a silent majority now. And so there is HOPE… Dispatch 46: NO REGRETS 28 March 2017 8:35 p.m. I’m a risk taker. I’ve always been. I believe in honesty and authenticity. I abhor superficiality, pretensions and hypocrisy. What you see is what you get. I took a risk when I ran in the national elections despite very meager resources and my vulnerability to retaliation or vendetta from powerful personalities who might have felt “wronged” by my official actions in previous capacities. I took a risk when I initiated a Senate inquiry on the spate of killings of suspected drug offenders, ignoring the contrary advice of well-meaning friends who deemed such initiative of mine as “suicidal”, given Duterte’s high popularity and his patent intolerance to dissent. I took a risk when I publicly admitted a previous relationship, knowing that people would not understand it and would thus judge me negatively about such episode in my personal life. 4


I took a risk when, rather than heeding suggestions to seek political asylum in a foreign country, I chose to face head-on my persecution and consequent illegal arrest, boldly proclaiming to the whole world that I’m honored to be a prisoner under this repressive regime. No regrets. Being honest with oneself is far better than losing one’s soul. Dispatch 51: MY FAVORITE NEPHEW MARCEL 31 March 2017 7:40 p.m. My favorite nephew, my only one, graduated today from Grade 12 in Ateneo. A silver medalist, or second honors. His name is Marcel. So proud of him. He’s truly gifted with intelligence and keen sense of discipline in his studies. I constantly tease him about his “nerdiness”. And guess what? He delights being called a “nerd”. As the only child, he’s rather sheltered, something I would caution his father (my brother) against. Real life is out there. And real life is not all good and beautiful. It’s also about struggles, despair, frustrations, and even betrayals. Marcel wants to be a lawyer like his tita and his late grandpa, his role models. He says he’s taking up Legal Management as a pre-law course. Couldn’t convince him to take A.B. History-Political Science, my own pre-law. I have no doubt he would succeed and excel in his academic pursuits. I pray for his well-being. My foremost wish? For him to imbibe a profound love for his country. He has his own message to me: “Wait for me, Tita.” Took a while before I understood what he meant. Congrats Marcel!


“Dear loved ones” — Life in Detention & Personal Reflections

Dispatch 52: MORE TIME NOW 1 April 2017 7:40 p.m. I’m no longer in a hurry. I don’t rush anymore. Prior to Feb. 24, on the day of my arrest, time is my no. 1 enemy. In everything I do—whether domestic chores or work-related, especially in public service, time is never sufficient. Vacation, or real restful vacation, is never in my vocabulary. Not anymore. At least not for now. Time is what I have now. More than enough time. More time to read, to pray, to rest and exercise, and to sleep. I was even watching the heavy outpouring of rain this afternoon here at Q.C. I feed and watch over stray cats, my new pets. I tell myself that I’m simply having a forced vacation, an involuntary sabbatical. This is also a “detour” in my life. And I’m not complaining. God, indeed, has his own ways, mysterious ways... Dispatch 61: CAT LOVER 7 April 2017 9:00 p.m. As some may know, I’m a dog lover. I have 13 dogs at home, of various breeds. Coco, a 6-yr.-old Japanese Spitz, the brightest and most sensitive of them all, is my favorite. He visits me once a week. And his every visit makes my day. When Coco is not here, my pets are stray cats, 6 stray cats. Except for one, they congregate in my quarters every night for dinner. I love feeding them. 6


But one of them comes alone, never together with the rest. I was told the other cats gang up on him everytime they see him. I named him Blackie. Well, he’s colored black, beautiful and mysterious black. Blackie is my favorite cat. Why? Because he’s different—a loner, an outcast, an underdog. I give him extra care. So, I’m also now a cat lover. More and more I’m convinced that this “detour” in my life is not accidental or by chance, but by providence. It’s an unexpected blessing… Dispatch 83: TO ALL MY FELLOW MOTHERS 12 May 2017 I wish to share these reflections for MOTHER’s DAY (May 14): The events of the last ten (10) months have given a whole dimension to my understanding of the burdens of motherhood. Every mother knows the challenges of keeping her children safe from harm, of raising them well, of giving them a good education, of being there for them during the best and the worst days of their lives and everything in between. The rewards of motherhood are built in to these very challenges: you experience both the joy and the pain. But not all mothers know the side of the burden that involves unabated and unmitigated grief—and that is, of course, for the better. From my own experience, I have had to suffer knowing that— because of the enemies and choices I have made as a public servant who has stayed true to my sworn duty to uphold human rights and the Rule of Law—my children and my grandchildren are suffering along with me. These were my personal and professional choices, borne out of my sense of morality and civic duty, yet my children and grandchildren are also paying for the consequences of my choices. Knowing that is very painful to me. No mother wants to bring even the slightest discomfort to their children—much less the sufferings as grave as they have had to go through lately.


“Dear loved ones” — Life in Detention & Personal Reflections

From the perspective of my mother—or what I can assume as going through her mind as the mother of a daughter who has not visited or seen her for several months now—there is the grief of not completely understanding what is happening; of sensing something is not right, but not knowing what it is. And then there are those who will never know the horrors of seeing their children before their time; of being executed like animals or of being dismissed as collateral damage because they were caught in the crossfire, or mistaken for someone else, in the hands of brutal executioners who have been given a license to kill with impunity under the thin guise of law enforcement operations. I, myself, do not know this grief personally, fortunately, but I have seen others suffer it first-hand. That is why I did what I did: I called out the extrajudicial killings that were happening because I could not abide even with one such death, one such casualty, because I know that there are parents, spouses, children who are suffering the loss on a personal basis. It’s a painful situation all around. Motherhood has its rewards, of course. A huge part of why I am still fighting, of why I haven’t given up and why I REFUSE to ever giving up, is because I want to give back to my children their good name; the vindication of being able to say, one day, that their mother is innocent, that she never received, directly or indirectly, even a single centavo from illegal sources, much less from the illegal drug trade; and the ability to continue holding their heads up high, knowing that their mother was fearless and selfless, when she accepted the punishments unfairly inflicted upon her as the price she was willing to pay for the return of sanity, of truth, justice, human rights and the rule of law to our nation. That is where I draw my strength to keep on going. To all my fellow mothers—stand up always for yourselves, for your children, and for what is good and just.



Dispatch 96: 100 DAYS 3 June 2017 8:40 p.m. I’m glad that none of my regular visitors has, so far, bothered to ask me this question—what is it like or how does it feel to be under detention? I would grope for the right words if so asked. I might even take offense. But if forced to come up with an answer to such a silly, if not unkind question, this is my answer—It’s worse than death. Yes, to be deprived of your physical liberty, even if temporary, and its concomitant indignities, and especially if you know within the deepest depth of your being that you’re innocent, evokes an indescribable yet overwhelming feeling of despair as well as revulsion. Today is my 100th day in detention, 100 days of gross injustice. An agony of an indefinite duration. But my spirit remains unbroken. I must keep the faith and finish the race. Dispatch 99: HAPPY FATHER’S DAY 18 June 2017 9:05 p.m. It was one of the very rare moments that people saw me crying, unabashedly. I became very emotional when I talked about my late father as I delivered my usual reflections during today’s Mass as concelebrated by three (3) priests. Sunday masses here in my detention quarters have always been special, made more special today as we celebrate Father’s Day. Last night, in the solitude of my little room, deep sorrow engulfed me as I realize how much I miss my dear daddy, my longtime mentor and role model, whose examples and admonitions greatly shaped my character. My tears were uncontrollable 9

“Dear loved ones” — Life in Detention & Personal Reflections

until my eyes closed for the night. I started crying again this morning right after the first sentence of my reflections/sharing, Homily time. My thoughts dwell on what my father would have done or be doing if he were still alive when this tragedy in my life struck. Sure, he would have been devastated. But no doubt, my father would have been relentless and passionate in defending his innocent daughter. As far as his physical energy would permit (he was afflicted with colon cancer when he died in 2012), my father would be tireless and ferocious in seeking justice for his daughter, and fighting for her freedom. Now that he’s gone, I imagine that he’s feverishly pounding on the Lord Almighty’s merciful heart for his daughter’s vindication. Happy Father’s Day, my dear daddy!


Dispatch 186: PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE 19 October 2017 Just a reflection— My consolation is that I’m living in a prison of truth and conscience, while my tormentors are living in a prison of lies and deceptions. In my 238 days now of a most unjust detention, depression has not visited me. Yes, at times, I’ve been upset, I’ve been angry and enraged, I’ve been sad and would even cry. But never depressed. I thank the good Lord for such a huge blessing.



Dispatch 226: I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE SUFFERING, FIGHTING 21 January 2018 My staff recently showed to me a transcript of the Special Report in ANC’s “Mukha”, featuring my current situation, which aired last January 10. Having lived through the events that the episode depicted, I was not expecting to be so moved by the way ANC handled the story. But, based on the transcript and prints of some of the accompanying shots, I found that ANC’s feature story was not only comprehensive but also unexpectedly moving. It gave me an opportunity to look at my situation from a different perspective, and see so many pieces fall into place. Yes, I saw myself in the program as the subject and, as some would say, the “face of dissent” in these dark days for Philippine democracy, but I also saw that I am far from being alone in this fight. I saw the faces of my staff, who are, day in and day out, doing their best to keep our office operational and responsive to the needs of the public we serve, which includes keeping me abreast of what is going on out in the world and what we can do about it. But what moved me the most in particular is seeing my youngest brother, Vicboy (“Macky” to his friends and officemates), sit before a camera and share heartfelt words of support for me and my cause, and also talking about the struggles that he, my other siblings and my family are going through because I have chosen this path. We have always considered him to be the smartest/nerdiest in the family, and the conscientious and ever-reliable kid brother. But what truly and clearly shined through in his interview for “Mukha” is his great capacity for compassion. In my absence this past year, he has taken up the torch of rallying everyone’s spirits—our family’s, friends’, supporters’ and even mine. Taking on that burden was something he did of his own accord and initiative, simply because he saw that we all needed it and he was willing and able to provide it. And, indeed, he has done, and is continuing to do, an amazing job.


“Dear loved ones” — Life in Detention & Personal Reflections

What moved me, even more, were Vicboy’s words and recollections about our father, to whom I owe everything that I am and have always aspired to be as a lawyer and a public servant. I recalled that he did warn me against running for public office when the prospect was just a remote idea years ago. And I recall that my father’s reservations were again brought up by the family when I decided to run for Senate in 2016—at the time, I was convinced that I was doing the right thing because becoming a lawmaker would open up a whole new avenue—a natural progression—that would allow me to promote my advocacies about justice and human rights even further. To this day, I believe that I made the right decision. But the way the special report laid down my history—from the upbringing I received from my parents, through the parade of powerful and influential people I had to go up against in the discharge of my various public functions, and up to my calling for an investigation into the spate of EJKs arising from the “War on Drugs”—I realized that there was an inevitability to it, too. The moment I accepted the principle that all men are equal, that it requires people of great dedication and integrity to deliver the sacrifices that public service demands—my destiny was writ. There was really no option, but to forge on and stand in defense of what I believe is right. Anything else would have been a betrayal of who I am. And I couldn’t betray myself any more than I can betray the public I serve. So here I am. And here we all are. I may be the one in detention, but I know I am not the only one suffering, nor the only one fighting. Even now, I can only hope that the Filipino people will soon realize—before it’s too late—not only the truth of the reality of EJKs, but also why authoritarian rule and the violation of the rule of law and human rights are destructive to our society and antithetical to who we are as a people. I can keep fighting, but we need to stand as one if we are to succeed in preserving our freedoms, our rights, our dignity, our security and sovereignty as an independent nation.



In the coming days, weeks, months and years, I believe that we will see more “faces” with eyes wide open, and standing for these ideals. Dispatch 231: DARAGANG MAYON 26 January 2018 Browsing over yesterday’s Media and Comms Daily Pouch delivered to me by my staff, I saw photos of Mayon Volcano spewing red hot lavas. Awesome! Still beautiful in her fury. That’s our Daragang (Lady) Mayon! I wish I could see her. I wish I could be with my fellow Bicolanos, experiencing these rare magnificent moments—a scary yet uniquely spectacular geological event which to many Bicolanos has a spiritually intimate meaning. Keep safe everyone, my dear kababayans…Nasa presensya nindo ang Mahal na Dios.




Dispatch 5: I CANNOT BE SILENCED 5 March 2017 I refuse to be gagged. Gagging me would be a violation of my rights. They cannot continue violating my rights. I shall continue to speak up on issues that matter. Relatedly, I note a slip up from the mouth of the comical and flamboyant CPLC, Salvador Panelo. In expressing support for a gag order, Panelo reportedly said that I should be prevented from “further destroying Duterte.” Such reinforces my belief that the things being done to me, especially my detention, are primarily aimed at stifling my criticisms against this murderous and vindictive President. I repeat—I CANNOT BE SILENCED. LEILA M. DE LIMA Dispatch 42: WHAT DESTABILIZATION? 27 March 2017 It’s called paranoia. Also insecurity. What destab are they talking about? What “triumvirate of plotters”? Stifling criticisms and shunning international condemnation, irrationality of behavior and policies, constant animosity towards the Church, sell-out of our sovereign rights over our maritime domain, and rejection of accountability for the heinous acts of summary killings—these are a clear recipe for self-destruction. So don’t look at us please...


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

Dispatch 48: WHY BLAME THE MEDIA? 31 March 2017 He blames everybody else except himself. His gross intolerance to dissent and criticisms is undoubtedly among the top qualities of this President. Duterte’s unabashed contempt to media and other critics is intensifying and his resort to toxic or vitriol language is at a seeming apex. Indeed, as today’s PDI editorial puts it, he has lost the argument. And I go further—he has lost his mind (and for quite a while already). Why blame the media when there is much of Duterte’s behavior and that of his circle of sycophants that warrants scrutiny and even censure. We are even seeing now infightings among his privileged men and women which, if left unchecked, can only harm the public good. Go fix first yourself and your own backyard Mr. President, before picking a fight with everybody else. Dispatch 76: RED KING 30 April 2017 This is an administration run on one man’s personal vindictiveness, its policies purely founded on his desire to avenge what he considers as personal affronts against him. In the same way that his foreign policy of making the Philippines a satellite state of China is simply borne out of his personal need for long-term political survival in a world that is increasingly demanding his immediate criminal accountability, Duterte now threatens a government assault on the Inquirer and ABS-CBN for supposed personal slights committed against him. This is an old man at the helm of government but with an EQ of a six (6) year-old. He disregards constitutional principles of press



freedom and democratic governance by a professional civil service corps just to satisfy his need for vengeance to avenge his being a victim of what purportedly amounts to a simple case of estafa, if at all, but by bringing the full force of government to bear on the supposed swindler, instead of simply filing a case in court. This is classic Duterte, where the personal becomes public policy. I am one of the very first victims of this President with the EQ of a 6-yr. old, when just because of my investigation on the DDS in 2009, a personal affront he never forgot, Duterte now as President ordered the whole government machinery to orchestrate the narrative that I am the country’s ‘number one drug lord’. I am now in prison because of this childish vindictiveness. So after the attacks on opposition figures like me, now comes the whole assault on press freedom, using the same full complement of the State’s coercive power to bear on the unfortunate media establishments that he deemed to have stepped on his toes. Where the leader of government uses public resources to avenge himself for personal slights, that is the very characteristic of a tyrant and a tyranny. Beyond fascism, this is boundless monarchical entitlement drawn from the dark ages of kings of old, of invoking the divine power of life and death over whosoever crosses the king and incurs his personal ire. “Off with his head” says the Red Queen of Alice’s Wonderland. This is our own Wonderland now, and Duterte is our Red King. Dispatch 94: WHY? 28 May 2017 much?

My fellow Filipinos, why do we allow him to get away with so

He brags about all the people he killed and had killed. He goes on television and tells cops to commit more killings. He curses at and disrespects people and institutions, just because they ask him to respect the law and deliver justice, and not respond to every problem


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

with even more heinous criminal acts. He promises to defend our sovereignty, but willingly surrenders more and more of our rights, territories and even the future of our children to foreign powers. Now, he jokes about allowing soldiers to get away with raping women. The more, the better. In the middle of a crisis that he himself has characterized as being of such gravity that it necessitated the declaration of Martial Law over the whole of Mindanao, he insults women, soldiers and our entire nation with a sick “joke” that once again draws back the curtain and allows us to see the beast that lurks behind. I am dismayed. I am furious. I am at a loss. My fury is impotent because there is one question I have no answer to: Why do my fellow Filipinos allow him to get away with so much? We who are a nation proud of our culture of dignity, civility and respect for one another— why are we now so willing to allow this sick mind to continue infecting our nation, including the minds of our children, with its perversity.

Kailan pa pumapayag ang mga Pilipino sa ganitong klase ng pambabastos at pambababoy sa ating kapwa tao? And our brave men and women of the armed forces—why allow them to be painted like beasts, instead of the selfless, courageous and honorable public servants that they are? Who says they want a pass for committing sexual assaults and other animal-like behavior? The commander-in-chief is obviously not a gentleman, but why allow them to be brought down to his level by his words? People choose to be passive, perhaps because they feel responsible for voting for him—but no. You are not responsible for what he does after you vote for him. You are, however, responsible for letting him get away with things like this with your silence. By electing him, he has not bought your souls and conscience—on the contrary, he now owes you his accountability. Speak up. Do not allow this to continue. This is not right. Say so. For the sake of all that we hold as sacred and deserving of respect, do not be passive in the face of monstrosity. Otherwise, in the end, we might find that his sickness has



become ours and our children’s. Dispatch 98: TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY 15 June 2017 Sec. 12, Art. VII of the 1987 Const. states that in case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. Malacañang might be taking this provision literally, if it is reserving any announcement on the President’s unscheduled “vacation” and cancellation of schedules until such time when the situation is already “serious”. Of course Malacañang is well within the constitutional bounds when it refuses to fully inform the public about the President’s “vacation”, but it is also its moral obligation to go beyond what the Constitution requires. This is called transparency and accountability, two words that are already lost to this administration and its senior cabinet officials. Until transparency and accountability become real in this administration, and not mere by-words spouted senselessly, rumors about the President’s condition will continue to abound. We do not need this at a time when the AFP is waging a war against terrorists in Marawi. The public needs to be fully informed. Knowing the truth about the President’s state of health is both a matter of public interest and national security. For the past several days, the men and women of our uniformed service have remained in their post, have continued to discharge their solemn duty to defend the Filipino people, and some have even made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Amidst their continued and constant service, WHERE is the President? Where is our Commander-in-Chief?


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

Dispatch 105: LIES 30 June 2017 This has been a year of lies, flawed policies and reckless violence by the State against the people. What has been the President’s go-to solution? More lies just to hide the lies, the incompetence and the bloodbath he has started. My detention is one of these attempts to divert the people’s attention from the lack of prosecution of real drug lords, of the failure to stop the proliferation of drugs, of the questionable transactions by which he is incrementally surrendering our sovereignty and selling the future of our people to foreign interests, of the poverty, rising unemployment and other hardships that our people are suffering from on a daily basis. I am the red flag that he waves at the Filipino people to distract them from his broken promises and their sufferings under his rule. One year. I can weep about my 127 days in detention, but my personal sufferings are nothing compared to what our people have suffered in one year of broken promises and misrule. If anything, I am the lucky one: I feel better sleeping in my detention quarters each night knowing I did what is right than living in luxury and false freedom, sleeping on a bed feathered with other people’s sufferings. Dispatch 122: SORRY STATE OF HIS MIND 25 July 2017 Just like his first SONA, and even worse this time, what we heard from President Duterte was not the true state of the nation but the sorry state of his mind that is full of anger, hate and profanity. Instead of being given a report on the government’s accomplishments over the past year and concrete plans for the future, the Filipino people were treated with the same old rubbish



rhetoric that lacks substance and sound policy direction. Duterte’s second SONA turned out again to be another venue for unloading his resentments and rants on certain sectors, especially his critics. His use of fake facts to question the ownership of Rappler smacks of repressing the free press, and sends a chilling effect to all those who dare report the truth. I could only cringe at how Duterte undermines human rights and the rule of law. He speaks as if he owns the whole country, and that the armed forces and the police are his own private armies.

Ito po ang SONA ni Duterte, na hindi na napanood o napakinggan ng mahigit sampung libong Pilipinong pinatay dahil diumano’y nanlaban at nadamay bilang collateral damage ng kanyang War on Drugs. Ni hindi man lang sila nabanggit ng Pangulo, at ang kanilang mga pamilya. Kung sabagay, aasahan ba nating magmalasakit ang isang pinunong sanay at manhid na sa patayan at karahasan? Gaya din ng kanyang sinabi: ang importante lang ay magawa niya at masunod ang gusto niya. He masks his miserable and spineless foreign policy towards China by digging up from our past the United States’ refusal to return the Balangiga bells, while failing to address the elephant in the room, China’s continued invasion and occupation of our territories in the West Philippine Sea.

Kung karamihan sa mga nasa Kamara, nagpalakpakan para sumipsip sa Pangulo, sigurado ako, marami sa ating mga kababayan ang napailing at napayuko sa kahihiyan dahil sa mga pinagsasabi ni Duterte. Duterte must be so pissed off that, despite their gargantuan efforts aimed at discrediting or demolishing my character and dignity, through slut shaming and fabricated charges, various international entities, reputable ones, continue to support my causes, even meriting successive visits to my detention quarters from some of them. I don’t care if Duterte, in his twisted and greatly prejudiced mind, thinks I have no credibility. What matters are the sentiments and opinions of decent and enlightened men and women. Truth is on my side. I am innocent.


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

Let me return the favor and ask Duterte the same questions. Do you think you even have the moral values and credible standing, after that garbage of a speech you have unloaded before us and the foreign diplomatic corps?

Wala ka nang tinirang kahihiyan para sa ating bayan sa harap ng buong mundo. Tila yata ang iyong sadya ay walanghiyain nang walang katapusan ang Pilipinas sa ibang bansa. Wala ka nang ginawa kundi bastusin ang Pilipinas at ang mga Pilipino. Ikaw na ang pinakamalaking traydor sa ating bayan. Yesterday, we as a people were once again subjected to the verbal abuse and pointless ramblings of a madman. But this is the true state of the nation—a country ruled by a murderer drunk with power, and 100 million helpless, pitiful subjects unable to escape from a nightmare. Dispatch 130: ON THE P6.4-BILLION WORTH OF SHABU SMUGGLED FROM CHINA 2 August 2017 The ongoing investigation on the large-scale smuggling of methamphetamine (shabu) from China betrays a glaring inadequacy of the anti-illegal drug program of the government. While our law enforcers focus their attention on going after street peddlers and drug addicts, less efforts have been placed on other, perhaps more important, aspects of the War on Drugs: supply and demand reduction. The obscene amount of shabu confiscated during a raid in Valenzuela was only identified after being informed by customs officials in China. Without such piece of intelligence, the contraband could have been distributed all over our country by now. This can only lead to two conclusions: first, that China is not doing enough to prevent the exportation of shabu from their country; and second, our Bureau of Customs is almost utterly incapable of preventing the entry of illegal drugs. During his testimony before the Blue Ribbon Committee, BOC



Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon admitted that they do not have the capacity to screen all incoming shipments. That while the rest of the world has the capability of x-raying 100% of all incoming commodities, we can only process 16%. That is a massive hole that exposes our local police enforcers to a steady supply of imported drugs well beyond their capability to detect. We already know that China is the biggest source of imported illegal drugs. If China is indeed sincere in their offer to assist us in our war on drugs, they should step up their efforts to stop the outflow of illegal drugs from their country. At this point, who knows how much more drugs came through the same channel with the drugs that were confiscated during the raid? If this administration is to succeed in the War on Drugs, it has to stop the wide-scale smuggling. Angry words and bullets are not enough. There has to be a policy that combats illegal drugs on all fronts and vigilance to properly implement them. All players must be well equipped to perform their functions. If we provide our police force with guns and bullets, we should provide our customs officials with proper equipment as well. To borrow words from Macbeth, our war on drugs, as it is, is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing except dead bodies. Dispatch 134: DIVERSIONARY TACTICS 11 August 2017 Every time a scandal hits his administration, especially if it is connected to him or somebody close to him, Duterte goes on a diversionary tact using his favorite punching bag, me. Just recently the name of the presidential son, Paolo Duterte, has been mentioned as one of the alleged protectors in the drug smuggling business during the recent Customs scandal, where P6.4B worth of shabu was discovered at the warehouse owned by one of the younger Duterte’s alleged close Chinese friends, a certain Richard Tan. Already, some quarters are calling the presidential son


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

“the lord of all drug lords”, especially in light of the serial elimination of alleged top drug lords by the PNP death squads of his father. Although a lot has yet to be uncovered and proven before any case is solidly built against Paolo Duterte, the controversy offers a delectable story that the President’s drug war is merely paving the way for his son’s rise to power in the criminal underworld as the country’s number one drug lord and smuggler. This is the big story that the President wants to disappear. The other day he has started his diversionary tactics by attacking my person again. Duterte is not satisfied that he has already imprisoned me. He keeps on getting back at me for lack of any accomplishments after more than one year into his term, and in light of scandals involving a member of his family, his first son, who has been well-known all throughout Davao City as the city’s smuggling king. More than just a rumor, this was also attested to by Edgar Matobato in his testimony during the Senate’s inquiry into the ongoing extra-judicial killings. Matobato admitted that he was used as a bagman by Paolo and the other top leaders of the DDS in paying off customs officials at the Davao ports in order to smuggle shipments of contraband, most probably including drugs. This story is being repeated again, although now in a national scale. The suspicious discovery of the shabu shipment and resulting botched-up seizure operation by the Bureau of Customs in Valenzuela City, rendering the whole shipment inadmissible in evidence against Paolo’s alleged Chinese businessman friend, sounds strikingly similar to the story narrated by Matobato. The Senate investigation reveals that there is more to this than meets the eye. And more and more there are indications that it involves the presidential son himself. In response to this, Duterte instead launched an attack on the EU delegation who has paid me a visit, and re-lived his amorous relationship with an imaginary sex video of me, which admittedly he keeps on watching, but this time incomprehensively throwing my own dog into the mix. This much can be decoded from his now familiar Fentanyl-induced rambling style of speaking.



Duterte claims he took a peek at my detention cell in Crame. I never saw him in Crame anywhere near my detention quarters. The only way he can see my detention cell is through a CCTV installed right on top of the small courtyard of my quarters. Apparently, the President has enjoyed secretly watching me through a CCTV monitor so much, just like a neighborhood peeping Tom, that he could not avoid sharing this experience with the world. Well, the world is not amused, especially not the EU, after he has called them fools merely for paying me a visit, instead of secretly watching me through a CCTV like he did. Duterte continues to cover up his failures, this time his own son’s possible involvement in the smuggling of drugs, and keeps on using his long-running obsession with my supposed immorality as a diversion. My suggestion to the President is this: Leave my dog alone. You have your own son to watch over and worry about. Dispatch 144: SKEWED DEFINITION OF “JUSTICE” 31 August 2017 As the poor and the defenseless are dying in the streets, while the rich, powerful and influential are shielded from the shoot-from-thehip brand of “justice” that has taken the life of thousands of victims, including minors like Kian Loyd Delos Santos, there is great and morbid irony in hearing the President complain about “selective justice” in his tirades against OMB Morales and CJ Sereno. He complains, for instance, that two Senators—who have been duly charged with involvement in the PDAF Scam, who have had the best legal representations and given all the opportunity to refute charges against them in various stages of the investigation and are, even now, defending themselves in the ongoing trials before the Sandiganbayan—are the victims of selective justice by OMB Morales. Only in the President’s skewed definition of “justice” are these rich, influential and powerful men the poster boys for injustice.


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

Clearly, Duterte would prefer that suspects be given swift justice— but something tells me that, in the case of these two senators with whom he is obviously sympathetic, he would likely prefer that they be given their freedom despite the ongoing trial. A trial that he, as a former prosecutor, ought to know could be very complicated given the length of time the scam they allegedly participated in was ongoing, the volumes of documents and the number of witnesses (including, presumably expert witnesses) involved. Since I would not make the mistake of underestimating the President’s credentials as a lawyer, I can only surmise that he twists the facts to suit his narrative—and his narrative requires two things. First, the eradication of the concept of “independence” in our independent institutions and offices, like the Office of the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court, which is why he wants to hasten the removal from office of two women who dare to hold on to their independence, integrity and impartiality in the face of a President who expects and demands blind loyalty and kowtowing from everyone. Second, he needs to divert attention from the major issues that he should be addressing, such as his admission of his inability to solve the drug problem, even despite the thousands of lives that have already been sacrificed at the altar of his bloody “War on Drugs”; his admission that he cannot cull corruption from his own ranks, including within the PNP who are at the forefront of the “War on Drugs”, and in key institutions like the Bureau of Customs, where the name of his son has—once again—been linked in smuggling activities; or the continuing creeping encroachment and invasion by China into disputed territories. There is, therefore, more than irony in the President’s complaint. There is an evil genius behind it. Clearly, he sees the writing on the wall: the day will come when he and his men will have to answer for their sins. When that day comes, he is making sure that the Ombudsman and the Judiciary are in his pocket. Until then, Duterte will use everything in his power to misdirect the people’s attention. But I refuse to be fooled. Mr. President, who are you to cry foul about selective justice?



Dispatch 152: ATTACKS AGAINST THE CHIEF JUSTICE AND THE OMBUDSMAN 6 September 2017 Duterte has shifted his gunsights on the Ombudsman and the Chief Justice because these strong women are in charge of the remaining independent institutions capable of checking the abuses of the President and his men. It’s no wonder that the attack on OMB Morales came at a time when cases have started being filed against the men of his administration, not to mention the members of his Davao Death Squad and his own son. It is not enough for him to simply wait for the end of the Ombudsman’s term middle of next year. In the case of the Chief Justice, the attack came with the endorsement of the impeachment complaint against CJ Sereno. The objective of course of the attacks is to eliminate the remaining institutional obstacles to Duterte’s exercise of absolute power. At the maximum, the plan is to remove the independent Ombudsman and Chief Justice and replace them with subservient allies. At the minimum, the intention is to keep them off-balanced and looking out for themselves, instead of performing their mandate of checking the executive’s exercise of his power and upholding the rule of law during these times of impunity. In the face of repression, it is easier to go with the flow of the despot’s designs rather than to protest and oppose. I was to serve as the first example and lesson for those who dare to go against the President and expose the bankruptcy of his political movement and the disaster that it spells for the country. This is also the reason why sycophants and lackeys now dominate top posts in government. The reward for Duterte apologists and rabid supporters are juicy, never mind if these people are the most incompetent individuals who could possibly be appointed to government office. This is a time when men and women of integrity and independence are persecuted, while con-artists, shysters and frauds are honored and glorified. These are dark times indeed, and Duterte’s impunity only assures us that this will continue to be a government of


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

the most depraved grovelers. With public officials like these, it is indeed an honor to be among the ranks of those who choose to stand with their principles, rather than those who bend the knee for a taste of power and corruption. Dispatch 153: GENOCIDE ORDERS FROM A COWARD 7 September 2017 The true mark of a coward is that he cannot stand by his own words and actions. After flooding the Philippine airwaves with declarations that his reign will be bloody, Duterte is now disavowing the very centerpiece of his platform of government: the killing of thousands of suspected drug offenders. He likened himself to Hitler and has publicly stated he would be happy to slaughter three million drug addicts. He is proud of this. He is proud of the Davao Death Squad. He is proud of being internationally known as the butcher of addicts. He gives instructions to his death squads on national television, that they should plant evidence of a firefight even when there is none to justify the execution, or to save on public funds by just disposing of bodies hogtied, instead of wrapped in packing tape. Kian’s killer cops were just following Duterte’s direct televised orders. They planted a gun on Kian and didn’t wrap his body in packing tape. Now, Duterte says, in response to Senator Hontiveros’ statement during the Senate hearing the other day, that Kian’s and Carl Angelo Arnaiz’s killings do not reveal a pattern of extra-judicial executions. He says that two killings do not establish a pattern. A coward and a shameless liar. Two killings maybe. But there are not only two killings. There are



thirteen thousand. Thirteen thousand dead in fourteen months at the hands of policemen and vigilantes do not only show a pattern of summary executions, they reveal a coordinated and organized implementation of a genocide project never seen before in this country. Duterte’s sudden turn-around from his aggressive endorsement of his genocide to a Pontius Pilate act of washing his hands clean of any responsibility for the carnage he has orchestrated is nothing but a cowardly act. This serves as a warning to the PNP and to its men who carry out Duterte’s genocide orders. The President does not stand by his word. After proclaiming that no policeman carrying out his genocide orders will be prosecuted and sent to jail, he has now sacrificed three policemen identified in the killing of Kian to placate the public outcry, and to save his own skin. Duterte does not only leave his men behind, he also disposes of them when they have already outlived their usefulness, as former DDS members who escaped their own executions would attest to. The sooner the PNP assassins realize this, the sooner they can save themselves, either from the reckoning that is to come, or from the hands of their fellow assassins. We no longer even need a pattern to prove Duterte’s genocide. We already have his public admissions and 13,000 bodies. Unlike him, we do not forget his words and actions. Neither does the world, the United Nations, nor the International Criminal Court. Duterte is fooling himself if he thinks he can still take back all his public admissions to save his own skin at the expense of the PNP men he has now left hanging out to dry. This is also why PNP Chief Bato dela Rosa is always crying, even using Sen. Hontiveros as his personal mother confessor. He knows that he and his men are already hanging from the clothesline, left out to dry by their President under the heat of the burning sun. There is only one lesson in this. It never pays to serve a man who does not stand by his word, one who is spineless.


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

Dispatch 156: BULLIES 11 September 2017 The only way Duterte can counter his son’s drug links is by killing the messenger. That messenger is Senator Trillanes. He has done the same to me, he will do the same to anyone who opposes and exposes him and his family for what they are, the entitled warlord family of Davao and now of the entire Philippines. In this sense nothing distinguishes the Dutertes from the Ampatuans. What they fall short of physical assassination, they make do with character assassination. Not that they are incapable of the former. God knows they are. In fact, the Ombudsman is already about to conduct a preliminary investigation on Matobato’s charges that Polong regularly asked the Davao Death Squad to assassinate just about anyone who angers him, including Richard King, his rival suitor to a woman. But Duterte’s threat this time against Senator Trillanes is both desperate and hollow. The senator has already agreed to sign a waiver for the Ombudsman and AMLC to look into his bank accounts. Sadly, the same was asked of the Dutertes at the start of the campaign, but they blinked in the face of the truth, that their family is hiding illgotten wealth in several bank accounts as exposed by Senator Trillanes. Duterte and his panganay continue to be bullies in the playground. They bully the smaller kids but when the smaller kid hits back, they run to the teacher with lies. This is not the President we deserve, one who cannot take what he dishes out. Senator Trillanes has accepted Duterte’s challenge and is executing a waiver. After more than one year of Trillanes’ own challenge, the Duterte family still refuses to execute their own waiver. It’s not difficult to tell who is hiding something here, and who is telling the truth. Duterte should stop bullying the AMLC to fabricate bank account records against his enemies and nemeses. He should instead ask the AMLC to once and for all reveal the true net worth of the Duterte



family. We might just be surprised to discover a Marcos-type stash of gold in the mountains, 10 billion pesos worth as Duterte once publicly boasted. Why be shy now Mr. President? Show your billions. Or are they already safe in China for safekeeping, while you sell our islands and the patrimony of this country to the Chinese? Dispatch 157: SEEK TRUTH AT YOUR OWN PERIL 12 September 2017 When I first stepped into the Senate more than a year ago, I was not just a neophyte lawmaker. I was a neophyte politician. But it didn’t take long for me to see that the power of the legislature—as considerable as it is—could be used not just as an instrument to bring out the truth, but could also be weaponized, ironically and dismayingly, in order to bury it. I saw this when, in contrast with the alacrity with which the House of Representatives granted immunity to convicted felons, and how readily the Senate granted protection to Kerwin Espinosa (and granted WPP coverage by the DOJ), the same Senate refused to extend protection to Edgar Matobato. I saw this when, in contrast to how eagerly some Senators sought to punish witnesses for contempt for not giving the answers that the Senators wanted to hear, the same Senators gutlessly allowed the President’s son and son-in-law to disrespect a Senator and the proceedings by acting and answering contemptuously. “No way!,” one of them sneeringly replied. That is on record. Yet not one of my colleagues had the spine to reprimand the witness. But the recent supposition by Senator Lacson that Mark Taguba’s change of heart came at the heels of his removal from Senate’s protective custody is a different level of betrayal of the Senate as an institution, of its mandate under the Constitution, and of its duty to the people. As despicable as denying protective custody is, the act of


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

withdrawing it after the witness had given information against a member of the First Family is a grave and shocking act of turning the Senate’s powers and prerogatives into weapons of oppression, tyranny and impunity. It is not only an overt threat against Mr. Taguba. It is, in fact, an unmistakable act of intimidation directed at the entire Filipino people: if you cross the Duterte Royal Family, there is no protection available to you. Not in the PNP, not in the DOJ, and not even in the Senate. You seek truth at your own peril. This I have come to learn the hard way. But I object, with every fiber of my being, to have this threat be directed at potential witnesses. Because the real victim here is not just public servants like me, or potential witnesses, but the Filipino people. I call on my colleagues to find it in themselves to use the Senate’s power, not to protect the President and his family, but to truly, honestly and sincerely find out the truth: who are the people behind this large shipment of shabu from China? No amount of intelligence funds and posturing will be enough to get to the bottom of this mystery if the Senate grants and withholds protection according to the whims of the President.

Mahiya naman tayo sa Sambayanang Pilipino… Dispatch 161: UNTOUCHABLES 14 September 2017 Duterte does a cop-out. After revealing to the public alleged foreign bank accounts belonging to Senator Trillanes, Duterte was caught flat-footed when the Senator took his challenge and executed waivers to the Bank Secrecy Law for the Ombudsman and AMLC to verify the bank accounts. In return, Sen. Trillanes asked for only one thing, that the President do the same thing, as he was already challenged more than a year ago. The macho man who has challenged Trillanes to a gun duel cannot even lift a pen to sign a waiver. He has adopted his own son Polong’s “palusot”, that they are not “uto-uto”.



This is of course another lame excuse to evade accountability and transparency. While Trillanes has accepted the challenge to be transparent, the Duterte father and son are hiding-in-tandem, afraid to be exposed for what ultimately is the truth about their family’s ill-gotten wealth and other illegal activities. The issue here is transparency and accountability. Both Dutertes have miserably failed in the face of the categorical challenge to be transparent and accountable. Polong demanded that he be given a chance to clear his name. When given such opportunity, all he did, upon the advice of his father, was to clam up and refuse to answer questions on his bank accounts and membership in the Chinese Triad. In the same fashion, his father is given the perfect opportunity to embarrass Sen. Trillanes by executing a bank waiver of his own. His response, like Polong’s: “No way.” These are public officials evading accountability, hiding their ill-gotten wealth, hiding-in-tandem. Of course, Duterte won’t issue a waiver because this will expose the Duterte family’s ill-gotten wealth. It will reveal the fact that the Dutertes of Davao are nothing but scammers, having scammed the people of Davao for almost 30 years, and now the entire country for the next five years. It will unmask this President’s duplicity, doublespeak, pretensions and deceptions. His much vaunted anticorruption stance, like his war on drugs, will be exposed as a sham. Three among the Duterte family are public officials. A mayor, a vice-mayor and the President. None of them acts like a public official in terms of transparency and accountability. They believe they are accountable to no one. They are above the law. They are untouchables. Only criminals are not legally accountable to the people, because they are criminals. It is not therefore surprising that the Dutertes think this way. More than public officials, they behave like criminals, albeit entitled and privileged, like Mafia and Triad bosses. They should all just resign their public offices and be full-time gangsters. At least then they will no longer be untouchables.


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

Dispatch 169: BLITZKRIEG DEMOLITION OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM 22 September 2017 Duterte now wants me charged for God knows what criminal offense that is remotely connected with the DAP. All the while he does not mind pulling strings in the judiciary first, to have the PDAF Scam con-artist Janet Lim Napoles acquitted from an appealed conviction for serious illegal detention upon the behest of his Solicitor General and, second, to have accused PDAF plunderer Jinggoy Estrada released on bail after the Sandiganbayan already ruled a long time ago that the evidence against Estrada is strong. Duterte has no conception of the justice system other than a tool for getting what he wants. From the very beginning he has already admitted to planting and manufacturing evidence when he was still a public prosecutor. So far, he has gotten away with all of this, which, ironically, somehow proves his point on how weak the justice system is in the Philippines for it to be prone to perversion by an officer of the court who is without scruples and who has no qualms about the consequences of his manipulations. Of course, strengthening the justice system was my focus when I was Secretary of Justice. But no amount of past efforts at modernizing the justice system can withstand a blitzkrieg demolition of this system by the highest government officials themselves, particularly the President and his Secretary of Justice. When the very core objective of an administration is the erosion and eventual eradication of the rule of law, justice is a lost cause. No justice system can survive that to be even a ghost of its old self. That is the situation in this country today. So what can one who is at the receiving end of all of these do, in the face of the calculated and methodical use of the law to destroy the opposition and silence dissent? Nothing much I suppose, except to take courage from St. Thomas More’s words that so long as the laws have not yet been completely flattened from one end of this country to the other, the Devil can still be defeated, because it is only the law that is preventing the Devil from destroying this country. Duterte knows this. He is after all, the Devil’s harbinger of chaos.



But before he can usher in his master, he must first flatten the laws of this country. This is why ripping the rule of law to shreds was his first agenda, and he thus proceeded to order the extermination of thousands without any accountability whatsoever. To a certain extent he has already succeeded. The Philippines is already the worst country in the world in the Global Impunity Index, according to a recent study. To a man like Duterte, who boasts about intentionally releasing fake evidence in a national televised interview, what are two more fake and fabricated accusations against me and Senator Trillanes. His country is already the worst in impunity. He might as well live up to this reputation and defend his title as the leader of the most lawless country in the world. But not to worry, the Philippines is still in the State of Lawlessness he has declared September of last year. That is why he made the declaration. It was his intention from the very start to keep the country in a lawless state, and to flatten the laws of the land, as the Devil in the story of St. Thomas More wants. Because when the Devil comes, nothing will stand between him and this nation. He is already here, of course, waiting for the last law to be cut down. Dispatch 174: A KILLER, A PLUNDERING THIEF AND A MADMAN 4 October 2017 Duterte is in panic. He is, in military jargon for a general gone berserk, on a scorched-earth policy. Like General Jake “Howling” Smith of his favorite Balangiga Bells, he is on a kill-and-burn rampage. This of course all started with the gutsy expose of the Ombudsman on his TWO BILLION PESO bank transaction records as documented by AMLC. Of course, these were all immediately damage-controlled by Malacañang issuing denials for AMLC, and Deputy Ombudsman backtracking, but only after the cat has already


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

been let out of the bag, so to speak. For one, the AMLC official denial only pertains to an investigation analysis and report, which it has not issued to the Ombudsman, but not to the bank transactions themselves, which the AMLC does not deny it has furnished the Ombudsman. Deputy Ombudsman Carandang did backtrack, but only after Duterte threatened him with hellfire “pag nagka-leche leche ang bansang ito,” meaning, when he takes the whole country with him when he goes down. This is only expected. In the time of Duterte, only a few good men are known to have balls. And Carandang displayed some, for a while at least. But Duterte challenging OMB Morales and CJ Sereno to resign with him is neither here nor there. These are two women with balls that even men in the time of Duterte have lost. The two have no reason to resign. They are perfectly in-sync with reality performing their jobs, while Duterte continues to suffer from a mental disorder of epic proportions. Under Duterte’s watch, the country’s international reputation has gone from high to zilch, and now not even his much-touted integrity is left to save his EJK campaign. His own son is being linked to the biggest drug-smuggling syndicate responsible for the entry of tons of shabu since he assumed the presidency, while official leakages on his family’s 2 billion-peso hidden wealth are proving Sen. Trillanes’s election campaign accusations against him as credible, if not entirely true. In the first place, Duterte himself already said the other day that the Ombudsman illegally obtained his bank records. This only means the bank records the Ombudsman exposed are authentic. Duterte’s supporters knew that he is a killer and will kill as President. It is only a matter of time before he is also proven to be just another thief. And if he is indeed proven to be a thief, where does that leave him then? A killer and a thief, like Marcos. But more than Marcos, a killer, a thief, and a madman, as only Duterte can be. No wonder the President is so upset. Tainted with corruption, he is left with nothing. Not kindness, not compassion, not honesty, not



integrity. He is not even good-looking. Yes, he has power, for now. But he knows that even that is about to end. Soon he’ll just be a senile old man seated in a corner, most probably of a jail cell, haunted by the ghosts of his victims. This is mortality knocking on Duterte. He may be a god now, but let’s face it, no man really is. Everyone still ends up under the ground. What is left of us is a legacy. Duterte’s is one that even his own grandchildren will not be proud of. Ten, twenty years from now, he will be remembered for what he is. A killer, a plundering thief, and yes, a madman. Dispatch 177: DEMENTED BEHAVIOR 6 October 2017 Infuriating! Unbelievably shameless! Ang kapal ng mukha! Hypocritical! Those are just some of the ways to describe the recent tirades, attacks and even overt threats of physical harm levelled by Mr. Duterte against the Office of the Ombudsman, particularly Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, who has been tasked to take on the incredibly sensitive, yet immensely important task of investigating Mr. Duterte’s alleged unreported or hidden wealth. First, he threatened the Ombudsman herself (and CJ Sereno) with impeachment, challenging both of them to likewise resign along with him. He next went after the Overall Deputy Ombudsman like a rabid dog that has gone full madness mode. He didn’t just threaten Carandang with legal action, he also explicitly threatened him with bodily harm. Imagine Donald Trump telling Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller to “start praying” (“magdasal ka lang, Carandang”) because he will “take him out first” (“uunahin kita”). And Mr. Duterte didn’t stop there, he went on to make claims that no sane President, especially one who studied law and is still in full possession of his faculties, would make. He claimed that he can summon the Deputy Ombudsman because the latter committed a


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

crime by looking into the allegations against him, i.e., by doing his job. Mr. Duterte also claimed that he can “go there and bring (Carandang) to the NBI.” He also said that Carandang must obey him. All of that, when all Mr. Duterte has to do is cooperate with the investigation if he truly wants to prove he is not a plundering thief. But those descriptors, behaviour and obvious double standards are par for the course for this so-called “President”. What should catch everyone’s attention is the progressively demented behavior he is exhibiting: poor judgment, loss of empathy, socially inappropriate behaviour, intensified vulgarity, lack of inhibition, inability to concentrate on the real issues, among others. These are all manifestations that are readily observable by anyone who has seen him and heard him speak and rant. He is losing it. I, therefore, think that it is about time that the members of the Cabinet seriously start looking closely at the President’s state of mind, and take action within the purview of the Constitution. Dispatch 190: SUPPORT FOR THE PASSAGE OF BBL 31 October 2017 I am in full support of the President’s call for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Based on the briefing which the former Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, Sec. Ging Deles, recently gave me and my staff, the current 2017 version of the draft BBL bears no radical departure from, as it is essentially the same, as the original 2014 version crafted during PNoy’s term. While not a perfect piece of document, the draft BBL represents a huge and monumental first step at addressing, in very concrete terms, the long-standing aspirations of our Muslim brothers and sisters. Their core aspiration is of course genuine autonomy



and meaningful self-governance. In my view, only some tweaking or fine tuning of a few provisions is needed so as to hurdle any constitutional challenge to this special piece of legislative measure. We cannot afford to miss this yet another big shot at peace and stability in the region. The urgency in actualizing the proposed changes in the governmental, political, fiscal and justice structures for the Bangsamoro people, to supplant the discarded, deficient ARMM set-up, is most felt now, hence, imperative, given the lingering and worsening threats of terrorism and extremism in the area. Time is indeed running out. I don’t see any other option, except chaos and more sufferings for the people, Moros and Christians alike, in the region. Dispatch 201:WOMAN-BASHING IN CONGRESS 23 November 2017 The House Justice Committee hearing on the Sereno impeachment is the second woman-bashing party in Congress. The first was mine of course. Chief Justice Sereno made the right decision not going to this circus in the House. I highly doubt she would have been treated any better or given a fair hearing even if she decided to attend. It is also most hypocritical, and nauseous, for a woman of unquestionable courage and integrity to be investigated by men and a woman of highly questionable integrity, with one even having been charged for corruption by the Ombudsman last year for the anomalous Cebu Convention Center contract. These are the same people who just last year took turns slut-shaming me and wanted to turn the House into a pornography exhibition hall, men like Speaker Alvarez, Committee Chairman Ray Umali, and Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas. Any House investigation led by these men is readily suspect as nothing but a political operation to persecute and demolish perceived enemies of their master in Malacañang.


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

Because the Sereno impeachment is a political operation of these Duterte lackeys, their judgment on the Chief Justice is a foregone conclusion. As one social media joke goes, this administration’s railroad project is not from Manila to Clark, it is only in the Batasan. The current House Justice Committee was, is, and always will be Duterte’s Kangaroo Court dispensing fake justice, as it continues to carry out the political demolition of principled women who dare stand up to the kakistocracy that this administration has become. Dispatch 215: WHILE THE REST SUFFER 3 January 2018 Intriguing and thought-provoking. That is how I view the latest SWS survey showing an increased/ improved satisfaction rating for Duterte among the A & B social classes. To be completely honest, I cannot fathom the reasons why the ultra rich—which I presume accounts for perhaps the best educated and informed members of society—would find satisfaction in what is happening in our country lately. A creeping martial and authoritarian rule. A “peace and order situation” where people are being killed in the streets and in their homes in deadly so-called “police operations” connected with the “war on drugs”. Rampant corruption and influence peddling being committed with impunity by those close to the President—with those who are caught merely being made to lie low for a while before being rewarded with appointment to other government posts. An abominable traffic situation that has already bled outside of the Metro Manila area. A strange and disturbing pivot to a foreign power that is known



for political repression, human rights violations and, perhaps most pertinently, a history (and, indeed, a persisting track record) of taking undue economic advantage of other countries, even going so far as to undermine our sovereignty and the integrity of our territory, and to blatantly exploit our natural resources. A leader who is intolerant to criticisms, who crushes dissent and has made vulgarity and bullying a standard behavior. Why would the ABs stand for these? Or perhaps I am asking the wrong question. Perhaps the right question is not “why”, but “who” and “what”. Who are these A & Bs? What are their interests? Perhaps the answer to “why” follows the answers to these. Perhaps they are satisfied with what’s going on because they are not adversely affected by the stuff that are happening to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Is it because theirs are not the sons and the daughters being murdered in cold blood? Is it because theirs are not the homes and the privacy being invaded, they with their high concrete and steel gates hiding behind the security of gated communities? Is it because theirs are not the homes being ravaged by martial law and armed conflict? Is it because they are not daily wage earners who have no choice but to battle through heavy traffic just to earn a measly living? Is it because they don’t even have to tolerate the traffic and other adverse conditions that the rest of us have to live with because they can simply hop on a plane and vacation anywhere else in the world


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

at any time of their choosing? Perhaps they are satisfied because they are, in fact, profiting from the situation. Is it because they are among those who have the ears of those in power? Is it because they are among the ultra rich who are said to have been graced by super low interest loans or financing from China? Is it because they are among the elite whose money and power can buy them a seat in a post-revolutionary government/ Charter Change era? Put simply, perhaps it is because money talks and those holding the reins of power listen. People were made to think that the past administration is evil because it was composed of rich, educated elites, so they chose a leader who they thought mirrored their identity. Hindi nila alam na balat-kayo lamang ang pagiging maka-masa ng administrasyong ito. In truth, as in any authoritarian regime that denounces the Rule of Law, it is the moneyed, powerful and influential people who rule, while the rest of the Filipino people suffer.

Kawawa naman ang sambayanang Pilipinas na karamihan ay walang ganung pera, kapangyarihan at impluwensya. Dispatch 242: SPEAK UP 13 February 2018 A few days before Valentine’s Day, Duterte has again demonstrated that he is a gift that keeps on giving—a gift as unwanted as misogyny, pointless violence, and assault against law, human rights and human decency inflicted upon an unwilling audience. It is reported that last week, Duterte boasted that he had, in the



past, ordered soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in the genitals. It seems to be implied that it’s but a fitting punishment because such women preferred joining rebel forces over raising children; he even allegedly went on to point out that “if there is no vagina, it would be useless.”

Kung ang isda ay nahuhuli sa bibig, it should be too easy now to catch what this man is all about. He is a sex-obsessed sociopath who thinks women are only useful if they can give birth and raise children, and it is manly to promote sexual violence. What Duterte said in the past, and to echo it again now that he has terminated peace talks with the CPP, is a threat. It isn’t a threat against the rebels. It is a threat against the soldiers he purports to lead and it is a threat against us, the Filipino people. It is a threat against soldiers because they are being “led” by a person who is unworthy of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them, much less as their commander-in-chief. Why? Because this is a man that would take the honor, dignity, integrity, patriotism and professionalism of a Filipino soldier, and manipulate it to satisfy his own brutality and bloodlust. They will be weaponized to become the very monsters and inflict the very same horrors that they have sworn to protect the state against. He is a corruption that will destroy the institution and the very essence of being a Filipino soldier. I will go out on a limb and say that that is not what they are sacrificing their lives and their family’s happiness for. Dear soldiers, brave men and women of the Philippine armed forces, let it not be. This President is a threat against us, the Filipino people. He is no protector. He is no leader. He is no “strong” man. He is a damaged man. I even pity him, because the damaged person he has become could not have come from healthy experiences. The man needs to seek professional help. I know that by expressing all these I risk calling to mind, once again, the misogynistic attacks I suffered at the hands of Duterte and


“I cannot be silenced” — Governance & Social Justice

his minions. I will be abused all over again, and my humanity and womanhood attacked and demeaned. The most advantageous path for me to take is perhaps to keep quiet and not draw more attention than has already been paid upon me and my personal life. But to do that is to accept the role of a victim—bowed, bent, broken and silenced. But that is not who I am. I am whole. I am not just a survivor, I am a warrior. I am a woman, and I refuse to be silenced. Certainly, I will not be cowed because there is more at stake here than my own personal comfort and interests. I will speak up for other women and say that we are more than the sum of our reproductive organs. We are human beings deserving of respect for our rights and dignity. I will not meekly sit in my detention cell and allow a vengeful, abusive and ill-minded person to make his brand of violence, brutality and sickness to become the “new normal” in Philippine society. No, this is not normal. This is not right. And people should speak up and say so.




Dispatch 70: ON CHINESE NAVY’S HARASSMENT OF FILIPINO FISHERMEN 24 April 2017 The attack by a Chinese naval vessel (apparently a navy ship, and not a coast guard vessel), as confirmed by Rep. Gary Alejano after interviewing the fishermen, is a worrisome development. This incident mirrors China’s newfound daring and boldness to discard of the conventional coast guard actions in enforcing its territorial claims. Such escalates the situation in the Spratlys, and should be strongly condemned by the Philippine government. The real potential threat is staring us in the face, and government’s indecisiveness in dealing with this threat that China brings to our national security could lead us to a tipping point where we could lose our rights to these maritime territories by default. We should neither wait indecisively, nor continue kowtowing to China, while China continues to chip away at our rights and on our hold on these territories. At the very least, our leaders must demand respect from their Chinese counterparts. Dispatch 88: ON DUTERTE’S REJECTION OF EU AID 19 May 2017 The withdrawal of outright EU grants and aid packages, mostly intended for Mindanao development, exemplifies the extent to which Duterte is willing to sacrifice the country’s well-being in exchange for his political survival in the world stage. He sells the country to China. In return, China gives him international support in his murderous rampage because China could not care less for human rights. Now, because of EU pressure against his EJK policy, Duterte would rather act the haughty and prideful Third World dictator and deprive Mindanao communities of what is already guaranteed


“Stand up always” — Democracy & Sovereignty

free assistance to Mindanao development. Duterte is refusing EU aid because he wants to go on killing petty addicts in his drug war. He would rather stay independent in his domestic policy of murdering civilians, rather than keep foreign aid from the EU that, in return, demands nothing other than that he stops the EJKs and starts respecting human rights. Free EU aid for human rights or onerous Chinese loans and giving up the Spratlys claims for Chinese international support to a murderous drug war? For any normal person the choice would be obvious. But Duterte is not normal. So he would rather choose the latter. He is running the country to the ground just to keep his personal bloodlust going, and he is taking every Filipino to the doghouse of global pariahs with him. Duterte doesn’t care if he isolates and ruins this country, so long as he can go on his merry way killing people for sport. Dispatch 123: BULLYING OF OUR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS 27 July 2017 Almost a unanimous Supreme Court has ruled that Sec. 18, Art. VII of the Constitution does not require Congress to convene within 24 hours following a declaration of martial law. Despite the fact that much confidence is placed in the wisdom of 15 high magistrates, still, one cannot help but wonder how a plain command written in clear and categorical language in the Constitution can hold such an opposite meaning among the learned justices. I am still waiting to be enlightened once the full text of the decision is finally released by the Court. The Constitution provides that within 24 hours from the declaration of martial law, Congress must convene if it is not in session. If it is in session, it must immediately proceed to deliberate on the President’s declaration of martial law. In its decision, the Supreme Court says that this is not so. This is not a command. Congress can choose not to convene to



deliberate on the martial law. An immediate reaction to this interpretation is that it greatly diminishes the anti-dictatorship and anti-martial law orientation of a Constitution crafted from the ruins of the Marcos Dictatorship. Section 18 providing for the convening of Congress after a martial law declaration is intended as one of the safeguards against any arbitrary declaration of martial law. It does not appear to be an option. It is a mandate upon Congress in the fulfillment of its role to protect constitutional democracy. Given the plain meaning of the Constitution which should override any obscure ConCom deliberations to the contrary, we cannot but speculate on other reasons on why the Court interpreted the Constitution in this manner. Maybe the bullying of our democratic institutions by the Duterte Regime, as exemplified by the threats of the President himself and the Speaker of the House on the judiciary, is just too much for these institutions to bear. With Congress, and now the Supreme Court, having failed their mandates as the defenders of our democracy and champions of the Constitution, the people are left with no alternative but to rely on their own sovereign power to continue the fight for their freedoms and a democratic society. Without any of our democratic institutions left standing to confront this mean and despotic regime, it appears that this fight is bound to be a long fight. Democracy and the people will still prevail in the end. But it seems this will take some time, and the steadfast commitment of all freedom-loving Filipinos. Dispatch 132: CHINA’S LACKEY 8 August 2017 Duterte’s need for an international ally and a superpower willing to ignore his government’s campaign of extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity in his War on Drugs has once again dragged the Philippines to an embarrassing position in the ongoing ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Manila.


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Instead of spearheading the ASEAN bloc in the hope of countering China’s bellicose posturing in the South China Sea (SCS)/ West Philippine Sea (WPS), the Duterte government has relinquished this role to Vietnam, despite the Philippines’ victory in the International Arbitral Tribunal case against China that rejected China’s Nine-Dash-Line claim over the entire SCS/WPS. The Duterte government’s client-state status vis-à-vis China continues to cost the Philippines its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claims in the SCS/WPS, including rights over fishery and energy resources, simply because China is willing to ignore the Philippine human rights crisis under Duterte and, at the same time, serve as the Duterte government’s remaining link to the international community, after PH global isolation due to its continued state-sanctioned human rights violations. In short, what the Duterte regime is doing in order to continue the killings in its War on Drugs is to basically give up our claims over the Spratly Islands, Scarborough Shoal, and our entire EEZ in the SCS/WPS. This is what the PH is giving up in exchange for China’s continued patronage of Duterte. The Philippines is probably the only country who has disowned its own victory in an international case of historical significance. It is ironic that after winning the legal battle against China’s ridiculous Nine-Dash-Line claim, the PH becomes the very first country to give up this victory and begin a policy of kowtowing to China, even granting it access not only to our EEZ territories, but also to our infrastructure projects as the main financial provider and contractor of the Philippine government. In so doing, the Duterte government has completely abandoned the PH’s erstwhile position of condemning and protesting China’s continuous intrusion into our territorial claims and EEZ entitlements. It has stayed meek and submissive to China’s artificial island-building within our EEZ and the militarization of the Spratlys territories. It has ignored the danger that China’s airstrips and missile systems pose to our national security, with the People Liberation Army’s Air Force and Navy’s increased capability to operate fighter jets and carrier transports and to shoot down PAF planes and blow up PN ships barely a hundred kilometers from Palawan.



This is the threat to national security that Duterte has inflicted upon us, only so he can indulge himself in his blood-thirsty desire to kill as many drug addicts as he can. The Duterte government and DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano have not only completely relinquished the Philippines’ lead role in ASEAN of countering China’s ambition of regional domination. They have accomplished more than that. The DFA under Cayetano has become China’s spokesperson in ASEAN, more than Laos and Cambodia, China’s traditional ASEAN allies. We have been reduced to being China’s lackey in the ASEAN, again in exchange for the superpower’s continued support despite the Duterte government’s international isolation. What we have now for a government is a Chinese puppet regime, ruling over the first banana republic of a one-party communist state. In the meantime, until the next Philippine regime-change, the lead ASEAN role in opposing Chinese hegemony in the SCS belongs to Vietnam. This includes demanding a legally-binding ASEAN-China Code of Conduct that would set strong terms on continued artificial island-building, full guarantee of the freedom of navigation for all countries, the dismantling of missile and other long-range weapons systems in the Chinese-occupied artificial islands—both surface-toair and surface-to-ship, and forbidding the use of the artificial island airstrips for Chinese fighter jets and bombers. I am confident that in the future the Philippines will rejoin Vietnam in guarding the SCS/WPS against Chinese domination, at least in the diplomatic and legal arena. Until then, we just have to tolerate this momentary aberration in our foreign policy that has no historical footing whatsoever, except a President’s personal need to survive international condemnation and isolation.


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Dispatch 158: 1,000 PESOS 13 September 2017

Sukdulan na talaga ang kahibangan nitong administrasyong Duterte. Sagad-sagaran na rin ang kapal ng mukha ng mga Kongresistang sunud-sunuran sa kabaliwan ng Malacañang. Isanlibong pisong budget para sa Commission on Human Rights? Sa gustong mangyari ng karamihan ng mga “kagalang-galang” na Kongresista, ginawa na rin nilang inutil ang CHR sa mandatong pangalagaan ang karapatang pantao mula sa pag-abuso ng gobyerno gaya ng pagpatay sa mahigit na labintatlong libong Pilipino. And Duterte has the gall to put the blame on CHR Gascon on why the CHR budget for 2018 was slashed to a meager 1,000 pesos! The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) also received the same miniscule funding. It can be recalled that Duterte himself wanted to have these agencies abolished as he attacked human rights advocates and threatened the bombing of lumad schools.

Wala na talagang tinirang kahihiyan si Duterte sa Pilipino at sa mundo. Pathetic. This is despotism at its finest. This is absolute arrogance of megalomaniacs. This is once again a clear proof of Duterte’s power hungry, morally bankrupt and crooked governance. Salute to the 32 Congressmen who voted against the ridiculous budget of CHR. To the 119 lapdogs of Duterte who supported the political persecution of CHR as well as the culture of fear and impunity of this government, shame on you.

Hindi isanlibong piso ang halaga ng karapatang pantao ni Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz, at Reynaldo de Guzman. Hindi isanlibong piso ang halaga ng karapatang pantao ng isandaang milyong Pilipino. I believe that my colleagues in the Senate will not tolerate this utter madness. For once, let us stand united against this insanity. The world is watching…




14 September 2017 Our democracy is under attack.

The looming impeachment of the Chief Justice, the threats to impeach the Ombudsman, the allotment of P1,000 budget for the CHR by the House of Representatives, the plot to file cases against Senator Risa Hontiveros, the threat to file charges against Bishop Ambo David, the removal from Senate protective custody of witnesses who dare bring up allegations of misdeeds against the First Family, the efforts to remove elected officials, including barangay officials to be replaced by presidential appointment—are all acts by which the pillars of our democracy are being toppled over and stomped into the ground. With every passing day, more and more blows are being struck against our democratic way of life. That these developments seem to be accelerating lately should come as no surprise: not after a huge shipment of shabu from China was discovered. Not after revelations of the possible smuggling and illegal drug trade links of members of the First Family have emerged. Those who want to obscure and bury the truth have to act, and they have to act FAST. I therefore cannot help situate the efforts to expel Senator Trillanes in this context. How did this row start in the first place? When Sen. Trillanes moved to have the First Son and Son-in-Law to appear before the Senate to answer questions regarding their alleged involvement in the shabu shipment. What objectionable actions did Sen. Trillanes make, except to give voice to his observations as a member of the Senate and a representative of the Filipino people, i.e., that the refusal to evensummon members of the First Family, who have been implicated by the testimony of a witness, is inconsistent with the Blue Ribbon Committee’s mandate. If that is unparliamentary conduct, then I


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guess some people’s conception of parliamentary conduct involves deference to interests other than the truth. That Sen. Gordon should not only seek to have Sen. Trillanes be punished, but in fact expelled, should be enough to show what is really at stake. If Sen. Gordon’s own cited precedents show that the act of a Senator of assaulting a colleague only merited suspension, why the extreme measure? Is his ego so fragile that bruising it merits the kind of retribution that wasn’t even warranted when another Senator’s very person was physically assaulted? The truth is this: Sen. Trillanes’s expulsion is not about punishing so-called “unparliamentary conduct”, but about silencing dissent. If a Senator is going to be expelled for uttering his observations as to the implications of a Senate Committee’s refusal to act—what kind of Senate are we even talking about? Ironically, Sen. Gordon himself got it right. What we will have is a mob. Mob rule: where the majority can silence the voice of dissent, the voice of the minority; and, with it, can drive another nail into the coffin of our democracy. The day the Senate expels a Senator for alleged acts that are not only in relation to the discharge of his duty as a member of the Senate, but whose purported gravity, in any case, comes nowhere near the gravity of other acts that have merited lesser penalty, is the day that the Senate becomes a mob. That will also be the day when thousands of EJKs would no longer be our biggest concern. Imagine that: rampant, systematic coldblooded murders being perpetrated against our own people—even victimizing our children—would no longer be the most chilling problem we now face. Because even such heinous crimes pale before the prospect of the murder of our democracy. If thousands of people are dying today, imagine how many more will die without even the semblance of democracy? It might be Kian, Carl, “Kulot” and thousand others yesterday; but it could be any one of you, your children, and your loved ones tomorrow. Without the CHR, without an independent Ombudsman, Judiciary



and Legislature—who will protect you? Dispatch 164: EXONERATION OF PLUNDERERS 16 September 2017 The exoneration of plunderers under this administration is almost complete. After the Marcoses, Enrile, Arroyo and now, Estrada, and the impending release of Bong Revilla and Janet Lim Napoles, Congress might as well decriminalize the crime of plunder and repeal the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act because they have become useless and worthless under Duterte and his virtual amnesty program for the country’s top plunderers. What is doubly alarming is that the trademark impunity of the Executive branch under Duterte appears to have found its way into the judiciary, that after a previous bail denial on the ground that the evidence against Estrada is strong, a reconstituted Sandiganbayan Division with Duterte appointees suddenly finds cause to set Estrada free not because they now find the evidence weak, but because the court thinks that Estrada is not a flight risk. Is the judiciary now introducing new procedure and doctrines just to accommodate the whims of the President? (As an aside, if that is now the reasoning of the courts, then I should be the very first person to be granted bail, after I even returned to the country from trips abroad knowing that I would be arrested the following month if I come back to the Philippines. When the time of my arrest came, I voluntarily surrendered to the arresting officers. If that is NOT being a flight risk, then I don’t know what is.) What we have now is an absolute dictatorship, with a President able to dictate on Congress and now, the judiciary, and with a Congress and a judiciary that allow themselves to be dictated upon as such. We might be going back to the Martial Law judiciary of the 1970s—a time when the subservience of the judiciary was symbolized by the Chief Justice serving as the umbrella-holder of


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Imelda Marcos—even without Martial Law. Defense Secretary Lorenzana just said that Duterte might just declare martial law next week. With a Congress and a judiciary like this, Duterte no longer needs to. We are already under a dictatorship, with Congress and the judiciary already under Duterte’s thumb. A martial law proclamation would just be a formality. Dispatch 188: CORRUPTION OF FILIPINO VALUES 30 October 2017

Grabe na ang korapsyon sa gobyerno. No, I don’t just mean corruption in government in the usual sense, but a more pervasive and invasive corruption of Filipino values that affects, not just our national coffers, but our national identity. These days our well-preserved values are being corrupted, contaminated and thrown into the garbage by some random dirty old men like Salvador Panelo, who make the most inappropriately disgusting jokes during an interview he was giving as a government official. His lack of self-awareness, or perhaps his lack of shame, even prompted him to drag the image of unsuspecting female students of a well-known Catholic school for girls as having been subjected to his verbal acts of lasciviousness. Even the Presidential Communications Secretary also recently made his own crass contribution to the corruption of the minds of our people, using words that should not be used in polite company, much less in a public gathering in a foreign country. But their actions and apparent mental state seem to be symptomatic of a prevalent corrupted mindset in our so-called government officials today: why be right when you can be wrong? Why be a good public servant when you can be a bad one? After all, even the President seems to get away with it. To say that it is disturbing and revolting is an understatement— but that is not even the point: who do those people think they are to reverse several centuries’ worth of honing, preserving and passing on



of our Filipino values? There was a time when we, Filipinos, used to be known for being big on values. Despite being serially colonized by foreign powers, we’ve resisted imbibing attitudes that we deemed a betrayal of our own core values of being family-centric, of being respectful to one another, and serving as good role models for the Filipino youth (hence, why we keep using the words “ate”, “kuya”, “manong”, “manang”, etc., even in reference to people we aren’t related to). That was something we were particularly proud of. And it’s not just for the sake of empty platitudes that we held on to those values. Sineseryoso natin ang pagiging mabuting halimbawa sa mga kabataan dahil alam natin na sila ang pag-asa at ang magtataguyod sa kinabukasan ng ating bansa. Kung tayo ay bulok, at bulok din ang ipapamana nating ugali sa kanila, aasa ba tayong magiging mabuti ang ipagbubunga nila sa hinaharap?

Sino sila para bastusin ang ating pagkatao bilang mga Pilipino? They have no place in a civilized society, much less in the ranks of Philippine government officialdom. In a world that makes sense, they would already have been censured. In a world where these people even have an ounce of self-respect, they would have already publicly apologized and resigned. Unfortunately, however, the truth is that they are just a reflection of the person they serve. No, they do not serve the Filipino people. They serve a baser master, one who revels in their obnoxious character and depravity. One who lets go of a man as decent as Secretary Abella. With the departure of Sec. Abella, I fear the even further decline of the level of discourse and language we could expect from now on from the President and his men. Truly, God save our country.


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Dispatch 194: REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT 10 November 2017 Those asking for a so-called RevGov or revolutionary government under Duterte should be careful what they wish for. A revolutionary government means the abrogation of the Constitution, the only thing that is keeping Duterte president of the country. Without the Constitution, there is no longer any legal basis for keeping Duterte in power. Without the Constitution, the AFP (possibly the only government institution that will survive without the constitution) is no longer bound to recognize Duterte as president, and might be inclined to grab power for itself and lead the country through a military council or junta led by its chosen generals. Unless Duterte’s sycophants are so sure of the AFP’s loyalty to their idol, they should therefore think twice before opening a pandora’s box to a military takeover. As far as I am concerned, the military has no particular reason why it should want to keep Duterte as President in the absence of the 1987 Constitution. His record in kowtowing to China and selling out the Spratlys is notorious among the generals and junior officers. The AFP has never felt any affinity to the number one external security threat to the Philippines. In the absence of Duterte’s constitutional mandate with the abolition of the Constitution, the AFP’s generals and junior officers have no reason whatsoever to continue tolerating a civilian leader who has not shown any resolve in asserting PH’s hard-fought victory before the Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague, hence, weakening the AFP’s external defense position in the country’s territories in the West Philippine Sea. Thus, in the event of an adventurist declaration of a RevGov by Duterte as supported by his fanatics, he might actually be the very first civilian leader to be overthrown or arrested by the military for the crime of coup d’ etat, regardless of the fact that he is President, because more than owing loyalty to the duly-elected President, the AFP is sworn to defend the Constitution, and the Philippines from all



enemies, foreign or domestic. Duterte’s looming call for a revolutionary government is now the most immediate domestic threat to the country. Its call for the abrogation of constitutional democracy flies in the face of the rule of law and national stability. The sooner the AFP realizes this, the better it can respond to this adventurist threat, if it does not choose first to grab power for itself. Who needs Duterte and his kakistocracy of the worst and banal of public officials, if the military has so much more talent to offer from its ranks than Duterte’s dysfunctional lot of “the best and brightest”? We should never welcome a military takeover. But because of this infantile call for Duterte to declare a revolutionary government, that is exactly what we might end up with, and Duterte’s head at the end of a stake. Dispatch 197: WEST PHILIPPINE SEA 14 November 2017 China keeps building, while our President behaves like a good lapdog to his Chinese masters and orders his own military to stop building sheds for troops defending the country’s sovereignty. The AFP should take note that their Commander-in-Chief is fast becoming, if he is not yet, the proverbial Manchurian Candidate. Since when has the AFP taken orders conveyed from the generals of the People’s Liberation Army? Since when has our military become a mere sub-unit of the PLA, our generals forced to swallow and follow treasonous orders that practically ask them to abandon their posts and betray the national interest? The upcoming ASEAN-China talks on a so-called Code of Conduct in the Spratlys will only reinforce the Philippines’ disadvantaged status quo position, vis-à-vis China’s unmitigated island-building and deployment of blue-water assets and Coast Guard in the area


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We have already won our claims at the International Arbitral Tribunal of the UNCLOS. That victory should serve as our framework insofar as bilateral and multilateral talks on the Spratlys is concerned. We are backed up by international law, the UNCLOS, an unprecedented victory in an international case, and the support of the world’s largest democracies. Only our Chinese lackey of a President continues to betray us and our victory, dragging with him the whole Armed Forces who still think they are following orders from a Filipino commander-in-chief, instead of a Chinese lapdog. The AFP should be aware that there might be no turning back from this policy of subservience or defeatism. It could be that the status quo of Chinese dominance and Philippines’ defaulting in the Spratlys is firmly irreversible. In the future, despite Duterte, it will only have itself to blame for this most unfortunate state of affairs, where the Filipinos’ own defenders, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has allowed itself to become a mere annex of the People’s Liberation Army, as led by China’s Manchurian Candidate in the Philippines. To the officers and men of the AFP, you have a long history of heroes and patriots. You should know treason when it rears its ugly head in your motherland. There is no more treasonous conduct and act of betrayal than relinquishing our Spratlys territories in the midst of an international decision saying we have every right to hold on to and defend those islands and atolls as part of our Exclusive Economic Zone, to the exclusion of China. Do not betray your people and your country in this watershed moment of our sovereignty and independence. Do not follow Duterte down his traitor’s path. Dispatch 198: UNHOLY ALLIANCE THAT POINTS TO CHINA 15 November 2017 More than Sassot, the other oddity during the ASEAN Summit is the curious role given by the Duterte Administration to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, from her hosting ASEAN delegates in the absence of Duterte, including Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar



State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, to speaking before the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, where she extolled the coming of the Chinese era where China purportedly will lay down its own rules as the new world leader. It appears that in lieu of the duly-elected Vice-President Leni Robredo, who was sidelined by the Administration from the ASEAN events, the government chose in her stead former President Arroyo, for reasons only Secretary Cayetano and the protocol officers of the DFA could fathom. Arroyo is known to be instrumental in the 2016 electoral victory of Duterte, and in exchange, the political conditions were set for the premature dismissal of her plunder indictment by her own Supreme Court appointees. The payback does not seem to end anytime soon, as the former President with a checkered record of corruption, plunder, and—like Duterte—selling off the country to China in graft-ridden deals and lopsided joint exploration schemes in the Spratlys, continues to figure prominently in this Administration, even ushered to take the place of the Vice-President in clear violation of diplomatic protocols. Clearly, Duterte still has use for Arroyo, and Arroyo for Duterte, beyond their common hatred for the Aquino Administration and myself, for my investigation of then Mayor Duterte and his death squad and the arrest of Arroyo after her foiled escape attempt in 2011. More than this common interest for vengeance against me, there is a deeper anchorage for this unholy alliance between Duterte and Arroyo, and it all points to China. Already the Duterte Administration is tying up Filipinos to a future of financial indebtedness to China for infrastructure loans, while Arroyo drumbeats China’s hegemonic role not only in the Philippines, but in the whole world. We all know what happened with Chinese infrastructure projects during Arroyo’s time. We only have to recall the NBN-ZTE scandal and the Manila-Clark railway fiasco. The unholy team-up seems bent on mortgaging the Filipino nation and its future generations to China, for a commission of course, if the past is to be any indication.


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The people must guard against the resurrection of Arroyo’s dead China deals, re-packaged as Duterte’s “build-build-build” projects, if only for the record of plunder and corruption that characterized them during the Arroyo presidency. Loaning our future to China, as avidly endorsed by Duterte and Arroyo, is not the way forward. It is the path to national suicide. Dispatch 211: NO TO MARTIAL LAW EXTENSION 12 December 2017 President Duterte has just asked Congress to grant him an e xtension of Martial Law in Mindanao for a period of one year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018. He cites the continuing acts of rebellion and terrorism in the island coming from the remnants of the Maute-ISIS, the BIFF, and the Abu Sayyaf. But the most extensive enumeration of alleged terrorist acts was reserved by Duterte for those committed by his erstwhile BFF when he was still Mayor of Davao City, the NPA. That Duterte has, for decades, befriended, coddled, and gave aid and comfort to the NPA in the Davao region is no secret. On several occasions as Mayor of Davao City, he urged businessmen to just comply with the demands of the NPA to pay revolutionary taxes. He has politically aligned himself not only with the movement but with its ideology as well, or at least the part of it that conveniently served his authoritarian streak. This brazen support of a sitting public official to what Duterte himself has now proclaimed to be a terrorist organization climaxed in the funeral March of NPA commander Parago in July 2015, when the body of Parago was paraded on the streets of Davao City in broad daylight, with the rebel army as escorts. Duterte, like a two-timing Judas, once betrayed his oath as a public official to support the NPA. He now dumps his erstwhile BFFs, the NPA, in exchange for the AFP’s support for his planned RevGov. After the AFP proved to be uncooperative in supporting the Bonifacio Day putsch of his Ka-DDS supporters, Duterte kicked off an AFP-



wooing campaign by declaring his former NPA benefactors “terrorists”. Now he wants a Martial Law extension to defeat the armed movement he himself nurtured, aided and comforted in the hills of Davao for decades. No one in government coddled the newlydeclared “terrorists” more than Duterte did. No one in government can be faulted more for the growth of the NPA in Mindanao than Duterte himself. Simply put, the enforcement of Martial Law for the purpose of ending the NPA rebellion cannot be left to the very person most responsible for emboldening the armed movement and enabling their expansion in Mindanao, especially in the hills surrounding Davao City. Duterte using the red scare to ask for an extension of Martial Law is opportunism exemplified. One who has supported the rebels (now “terrorists”) cannot be allowed to use their rebellion as an excuse for Martial Law and the imposition of more authoritarian restriction on civil liberties. I oppose any further extension of Martial Law in Mindanao. Martial Law powers cannot be given to the major enabler of the communist rebellion in Mindanao. Duterte should not be allowed to sweet-talk and bribe the AFP with the Martial Law candy to get their support for his authoritarian agenda. Duterte just wants the AFP to serve him as his loyal dogs, the same way the AFP blindly followed Marcos. We know how all of that turned out for this nation. Dispatch 213: UNRAVELLING DUTERTE-CHINA PARTNERSHIP 19 December 2017 Last week Malacañang announced that it will limit the participation of a third player in the telco industry to Chinese companies. This means that the government intends to exclude all other foreign companies from participating in the telco industry, no


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matter how more competent and more advanced their services and technology might be. This economically irrational decision can only be explained with the shift in our foreign policy that now heavily leans towards China. After all, both governments do not mince words in describing the present as a golden age of PH-China relations. This situation serves the Duterte administration well especially now that it has made the Philippines a pariah state in the international community because of its human rights record. Only China has both the international and regional clout to give legitimacy to this government in the global arena by continuously ignoring its human rights situation, after the Western democracies have already all but treated the Philippine government as a rogue state because of its disregard for human rights. This might be good for the present administration, but not necessarily for the future of the nation. The experience of countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia, and a host of other Asian and even African nations should serve as a lesson of how China ultimately demands for its pound of flesh once it decides to cash in. This is not to mention the security threat a Chinese telco poses to the country’s information and communication infrastructure. What will assure us that in the future, our national security and whole intelligence and defense systems won’t be compromised, if not under the complete control of a foreign government with national interests diametrically opposed to our own? This is one of the very reasons why the NBN-ZTE deal was scuttled under the Arroyo government, aside from the corruption issues that plagued it. Do we really want a country who has most interest in undermining our national security to have a major role in our public utilities, especially communications? Of course, this is no cause for worry for an administration bent on making the Philippines a Chinese satellite. Already the intention is to make China our center, shunning Western democracies, but without the economic independence and self-sufficiency of the other progressive ASEAN nations to enable us to stand our ground against the Chinese juggernaut.



The government intends to bury Filipinos in Chinese loans. But when the Chinese Shylock comes knocking in the near future, today’s leaders won’t be the ones to pay. It is the common citizens who will. Couple this with a communications industry heavily compromised by a Chinese presence, it is not entirely alarmist to envision our nation as a Chinese province, and Filipinos as second-class citizens of China, in the near future. We must stop this undesirable dystopia from becoming reality for our children and our grandchildren while we still can. Dispatch 224: ON MALACAÑANG’S LAWYERING FOR CHINA 17 January 2018 Beijing has just successfully engaged the services of a new law firm in the Philippines, the Duterte, Cayetano, and Roque Law Offices. As Philippine President, DFA Secretary, and Presidential Spokesperson, they are supposed to defend the Philippines’ interests in the West Philippine Sea and the Benham Rise. Instead, they not only allowed China to take over the Spratlys and Benham Rise, they are now lawyering for China and defending its occupation of the Spratlys and exploration of Benham Rise. For his part, Duterte made a mistake when he issued an Executive Order renaming the Benham Rise into the Philippine Rise. He should have renamed it China Rise, if all that he was going to do was offer it to China on a silver platter, after also surrendering the Spratlys to them. At the rate things are going, the Philippines’ Manchurian Candidate won’t leave any part of Philippine territory unavailable for Chinese occupation. What we have in Malacañang is not a Philippine President, but a Chinese Governor. On the other hand, as the new lawyer for China in Malacañang, Roque has conveniently forgotten basic principles in international law, as he now twists them to dismiss the Aquino Administration’s legal victory at the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal, saying China has no obligation under UNCLOS to comply with the tribunal’s ruling, and that China can do whatever it wants to do. Roque is precisely working


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under a framework that ignores international law, conveniently forgetting all that he learned in law school just to defend the interests of his boss Duterte and client, the Chinese government. In light of these developments, a full disclosure should be made by the Duterte, Cayetano, and Roque Law Offices on its TOR and engagement fees with China, because last we looked, the Filipino people were still paying their salaries as Philippine government officials. Duterte, Cayetano, and Roque cannot go on serving a foreign master while drawing their salaries from the Philippine government, aside from the fact that as Filipinos, they should not be allowed to get away with treason. That is, of course, unless they turn out to be Chinese citizens all along, then they should be held accountable as Chinese agents. We should be relieved from this situation where Filipino taxpayers are made to pay for the services of China’s lawyers and Chinese agents in the Philippines. The least we can do is to not allow ourselves get screwed with our own money. Dispatch 225: THREAT OF MILITARY FORCE TO SHUT DOWN MEDIA 18 January 2018 Roque’s tongue-in-cheek statement that Rappler should be thankful Duterte did not use the military to shut it down reflects the hubris that possesses the Malacañang spokesperson nowadays. It is likewise a veiled threat that Malacañang has no second thoughts about employing draconian methods to deal with public dissent and the free press. Roque has no qualms comparing his government to that of the Marcos dictatorship, the only regime that used the military to shut down newspapers. Roque is actually proud that his boss is capable of using the military to shut down newspapers, and he thinks the media should be grateful that inspite of this capability, Duterte is so kind enough not to do so.



Roque should be grateful that when the mob that storms Malacañang comes, the people won’t grind him for dog food, although they are capable of it, like they were capable of it when they drove the last demagogues out of Malacañang. He should not also be too overly boastful about his boss’s ability to use the AFP for dirty jobs, because when the time comes, the military is also not bound to be so kind to soft-bellied opportunists who treat the AFP as if it was their very own personal attack dog, especially when his only experience in battle is outscreaming opposing counsels. Dispatch 229: FENCE-SITTING 24 January 2018 The recent incident in Panatag Shoal exposes the difficulty of an AFP dealing with a Malacañang that is owned and controlled by China. The Palace Spokesperson brushes off China’s threat on a Philippine historical ally exercising innocent passage within its waters, saying Malacañang is not taking sides, while at the same time the Defense Secretary thinks that the US Navy ship’s innocent passage is protected under the freedom of navigation principle in international law. Roque is forgetting that the Philippines has a commitment under a mutual defense treaty with the US. And as far as we can recall, it has not yet entered into a similar military alliance treaty with China. So far, China’s alliance is only with its puppet Duterte, not with the Philippines. This is why the AFP is not bound to echo Malacañang’s dismissal of the country’s obligations to the US under the US-PH MDT. The AFP takes the country’s military alliance with the US seriously, and continues to observe it despite the occupation of Malacañang by Chinese agents. China threatens a military ally in PH territorial waters. Roque and Cayetano continue to lawyer for China by saying it is a matter between China and the US, and that China has the right to threaten a Philippine ally in Philippine waters because Malacañang respects


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China’s claim over Panatag Shoal. This is the long and short of Roque’s and Cayetano’s statements. Malacañang’s China lawyers have forgotten the PH’s defense treaty with the US, and like Chinese agents, have done everything to undermine it. Malacañang’s action does not represent the national interest of protecting military allies in PH territory. It represents China’s interests of fortifying its claim over Philippine territories. In exchange, China continues to sponsor and prop up its reliable puppet in Malacañang. Historically, such material contradictions in a country’s national affairs do not last for long. Either the Philippines is completely drawn into China’s orbit under a Chinese-controlled President, or it resists and fights for its own and its allies’ interests within its own territory. Malacañang’s fence-sitting and amnesia over the government’s political and military commitments under the US-PH MDT show that it intends to resolve this contradiction in favor of China. It is now the AFP’s call whether it will allow the interests of Malacanang’s transient Chinese puppet to override its own long-standing commitment to defend the national territory and push for regional security together with its allies. Dispatch 230: UPHOLD OUR SOVEREIGNTY 25 January 2018

Kamakailan lang, kinumpirma ni Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano na pinayagan ng gobyerno ang pagsasaliksik ng China sa Benham Rise, sa kabila ng patuloy na panggigipit at pag-angkin nito sa ating mga teritoryo sa West Philippine Sea. Sinabi na rin noon ng China, hindi raw natin pwedeng angkinin ang Benham Rise, kahit pa idineklara na ng United Nations na bahagi ito ng ating exclusive economic zone. Instead of defending our sovereignty and national dignity, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque time and again has proven that his Boss is owned and controlled by China. Roque insisted that China was right; that we do not have the capacity to explore



Benham Rise.

Hindi ba nila alam mahigit isang dekada nang nagsasaliksik ang mga Pilipino sa Benham Rise? Ano ba namang klaseng gobyerno ito? Ipinamimigay na nga ang ating mga teritoryo, napakababa pa ng tingin sa mga Pilipino. Binabalewala ang karapatang mabuhay ng libu-libong maralita nating kababayan, ipinagkakait ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag, niyuyurakan ang Saligang Batas para sa pansariling mga kapritso, at ngayon, talagang lantaran na kung ipamigay ang ating soberanya sa padrino ni Duterte na bansang Tsina. Ginoong Duterte: Kung may utang na loob ka sa China, huwag mong ipambayad ang dangal ng lahing Pilipino. As UP Professor and International Maritime Law expert Jay Batongbacal said: this government’s “denigration of Filipino scientists and Filipinos in general, claiming they cannot explore Benham Rise without China or Chinese money, is a total sham meant to disempower and demean Filipinos and their capacity and capability as a people.” In light of this, I will be filing a Senate Resolution to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the acts of the President and the Foreign Affairs Secretary allowing China to explore Benham Rise. To Duterte and his cohorts: Shame on you! Do not fool the Filipino nation! Stop being lackeys of China. For once, uphold our sovereignty and defend our national dignity. Dispatch 245: WHAT’S IN A NAME? 19 February 2018 What’s in a name? If Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque is to be believed, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. In the case of the Chinese


“Stand up always” — Democracy & Sovereignty

naming of submarine features in the Benham/Philippine Rise, a seamount would still be a seamount according to Roque, regardless of who names it or what name it is given. Like Chinese seafood, China can go on naming seamounts found within our country’s continental shelf, but it does not mean this would undermine Philippine maritime rights over Benham Rise. This is what Roque is saying. The problem with Roque’s statement is that unlike his favorite Chinese food, the Philippine continental shelf on its eastern seaboard is not hototay, siopao or siomai. Roque forgets his history, or is simply being intentionally absurd as a result of the government incompetence for which he has no ready answer. Countries and nations do not discover, occupy, or claim sovereignty over gastronomic delights. Germany did not invade France to claim sovereignty over French cheese. Spain did not sail three oceans and occupy the Philippines only to give sinigang a new name. When it comes to territory, whether terrestrial or maritime, names are given historically for the purpose of laying claim. When it comes to land and sea, naming is invariably an act of ownership, domination, control, or sovereignty. This is what China wishes to achieve in giving names to five features found in the Benham Rise. China is not interested in siopao or siomai. It is only interested in owning Benham Rise, as it attempted to own and aggressively claims ownership over the Spratlys, emboldened by the default of our current crop of leaders in asserting PH’s judicially affirmed sovereign rights. The Malacañang spokesperson might have just been hungry after missing lunch when he made his hototay statement. Nevertheless, his flippant remark on a matter of grave public interest and national security reveals this government’s complete cluelessness in handling threats and securing our interests in our maritime domains.



Dispatch 24: PROBABLY SAFE 15 March 2017 9:35 p.m. A recent visitor told me this: “All things considered, you are safer here in this walled and guarded place than you are outside.” This made me ponder. Such statement has some ring of truth. Yes, to a certain extent, I may be safe where I am now physically. But up to when will I truly be safe? I answer my own question with these thoughts—As long as I’m heard and felt, as long as people remember me, as long as the global community continues to set its eyes and raise a concerted voice of concern and condemnation about the extrajudicial killings and my persecution, I’m probably safe here and now. But it might be a different story once people begin to forget and abandon me... Dispatch 34: I AM INNOCENT 21 March 2017 I AM INNOCENT. I’m not a drug trafficker. I’m not a narcopolitician or a drug coddler. I can say the above a hundred times, a million times, and even a billion times. Because that is the TRUTH. On the other hand, LIES about me and my alleged drug links, even if spoken a hundred, a million and a billion times, can NEVER become the truth.

Ginoong Pangulo, lubayan nyo na po ako ng inyong mga kasinungalingan at kahibangan.


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

Dispatch 40: STRONGER 24 March 2017 9:10 p.m. As I become stronger each day, this is what I honestly think— I am their problem. I am their curse. Those evil elements who orchestrated this grand travesty of justice foisted upon me must now be shaking on their knees. Amidst their continued vilification of my person and honor, they don’t really know how to handle me. They know that they cannot persist in their lies and machinations. With the whole world watching, and more and more people gaining discernment about this regime’s capacity for evil, my tormentors must realize that locking me up in jail and stripping me of my rights is a huge mistake. They must tremble where they stand… Dispatch 102: KABABAYAN 24 June 2017 7:25 p.m. Some of my kababayans from Iriga City, mostly Manila-based, visited me recently, in groups and in succession. Another group came this afternoon. Without exception, each of them, man or woman, could not control his/her tears upon seeing me. (Mr. Wilfredo Villanueva, a brilliant and prolific writer/blogger, was witness to one such scenario.) They cried again upon leaving at the close of visiting hours. While deeply moved by such outpouring of emotions, I would be in my usual composed self, putting up a brave front, refusing to be drowned in the river of gloom.



I know why these kababayans of mine are in unison, bared their hearts out, agonizing over the fate that befell one of their own. They know me and my family (we’re full-blooded Irigueños). They watched me grow, in a happy and active childhood under the watchful nurturing of a highly respected disciplinarian father, consistently achieving academic honors, and going places, so to speak, starting with an exciting election law practice until endowed with unexpected appointments to crucial government posts and ultimately, an uphill yet successful run as a first time national candidate. They are proud witnesses to my life’s struggles and triumphs. And now this. To them, my present ordeal is simply unimaginable, unfathomable, and unbelievable. It’s an unacceptable aberration in my colorful life. They know and can attest that the things my accusers say I have done and/or capable of doing are not in my DNA. My fellow Irigueños feel my pain. They know I’m innocent. And that’s all that matters to me—people believing in me, strongly standing by and with me, keeping the faith...

Dios mabalos kaninyo ngamin! Ipangadyi ninyo tabi ako pirmi. (Thank you all! Please pray for me always.) Dispatch 110: HOPE TO CARRY ME THROUGH 9 July 2017 7:10 p.m. An Ateneo HS classmate of my nephew, part of a group of extremely bright young guys I fondly call “Proud Nerds”, recently gifted me with a gripping memoir, “Night”, of Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, the Auschwitz’s-survivor-turned-politicalactivist who passed away one year ago at the age of 87 years, and has been described as a “fighter” who “fought for the memory of the six million Jews in the Holocaust.” The dedication that accompanies the book is most striking. It goes: “The audacity of hope meets even the staunchest of prison bars. Hope.


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

And it will carry you through.” Yes, indeed. Hope is what I passionately cling to in these most trying times in an otherwise blessed life. Hope that I be released soon from this caged existence, and reunited with my loved ones outside of these intimidating walls… Hope that I regain my God-given freedoms and recover my daily life... Hope that my abundant supply of inner strength not dry up… Hope that the constant flow of moral support from friends and strangers alike will not dwindle… Hope that I remain whole and unbroken in the face of neverending adversities… Hope that those who still doubt my innocence and those who have swallowed hook, line and sinker the lies that are being peddled against me will, one day, be able to tell the difference between accusations and proof; that the utter absence of the latter speaks louder than the lies of men… Hope that the culture of hatred and lies fuelled by a massive multimedia-based propaganda machinery be dismantled and replaced with an empowered citizenry capable of compassion and critical thinking… Hope that the key institutions that prop up our freedoms and democratic way of life redeem their dignity and independence, and find the will to withstand both the threats of political pressure and temptations of power… Hope that people will not abandon Truth no matter how inconvenient; Justice, no matter how hard-won; and Human Rights, no matter the social status of those who claim it… Hope that the human slaughter ends now and the wheels of accountability and justice grind fast and decisively…



Hope that, as dark as this “night” seems to be, it stands as a promise of a brighter dawn to come… I hope that all these will not be mere wishful thinking. Hope springs eternal and hope is both my anchor and my moving force. Dear Lord, strengthen and fortify my hope to carry me through. Dispatch 126: “AGENTS OF VENGEANCE” 28 July 2017 I don’t know what to make out of this latest report that certain convicts have threatened to recant their testimonies should the Justice Secretary not reconsider his order to transfer them back from the medium to maximum security compound of the NBP. At first glance, and if true, it’s a cause for jubilation for me and those who believe in my innocence. But the same report went on to say that these convicts, who were among those who falsely testified about my alleged drug links during the House inquiry, re: the Bilibid drug trade, allegedly fear that “certain shadowy or unknown personalities” might do harm to them so as to force them to recant their testimonies. The insinuation is that these “shadowy or unknown personalities” are acting on my behalf and/or for my own interests. What baloney! Yes, there are shadowy and slimy characters out there, paid mercenaries, whose singular mission was to threaten, coerce, blackmail, bribe or otherwise induce or influence those convicts and other gullible individuals into lying and testifying about my alleged drug links. I call them the “agents of vengeance” contracted and deployed by Duterte and his cohorts, principally, SOJ Aguirre, SOLGEN Calida, PAO Acosta, as aided by the likes of Sandra Cam and Atty. Topacio, to undertake a massive evidence fabrication including subornation of perjury against me, in order to actualize Duterte’s


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

obsessive and vindictive agenda to lock me up in jail. And they succeeded.

And now, binabaliktad na naman nila ang istorya at pinapalabas na ako ang mananakot sa kanila para bawiin ang kanilang mga testimonya laban sakin. Ang titindi talaga nilang gumawa ng kwento at magpakalat ng mga kasinungalingan! But, amidst the incessant vilification and machinations from these Duterte operators, I remain hopeful that in due time, in God’s time, the truth will be known, the truth about this grand scheme of lies and deceptions. Time will come when, in an atmosphere of truth telling, these convicts and other so-called witnesses will come clean and disavow their respective perjurious statements. Can this happen soon? Most unlikely, for as long as these convicts-witnesses are within the control or at the mercy of the authorities. It will happen when the oppressive reign of this wicked regime ends. “Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.” (Mahatma Gandhi) Dispatch 127: ON THE “BARGAIN” BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND DRUG LORD CONVICTS 28 July 2017 The lawyer for the Bilibid witnesses just admitted recently before the media that the possible retraction of his clients’ witnesses against me is not a threat, but merely a reminder to Aguirre of the “bargain” that the government has struck with the convicted drug lords in exchange for their testimonies. The use of testimonies against me as bargaining chips for privileges and perks of Bilibid convicts-witnesses only proves that



these testimonies are all fabricated. The ease by which the convicts use their testimonies to extract favors from the authorities only reveals the transactional nature of the whole case against me. Criminal convicts with zero credibility and subject to the absolute mercy of Duterte and Aguirre were simply given the choice between an easy life and even pardon, or harassment or even death, in exchange for fabricated testimonies against me. The choice for them was easy, especially to those who were just waiting for the moment to exact their revenge on me, after I raided their kubols and segregated them in Building 14 when I was still DOJ Secretary. This is the value of the testimonies of the convicted criminals, as a bargaining chip for prison privileges, including the use of cellphones, wifi, TVs, airconditioners, etc., some gadgets of which are used in the continued operation of the Bilibid drug trade. In any court of law, these testimonies are worthless. This constitutes one of the grounds in the Ombudsman case I filed against Aguirre, viz., graft and corruption for giving undue privileges to the convicted criminals and for using their false testimonies in legal proceedings before the House, the DOJ, and ultimately, the courts. In the face of all this, Aguirre still has the gall to say that the threatened retraction is the handiwork of people who want to weaken and destroy the case against me.

Ginoong Aguirre, mahiya ka naman sa sarili mo, kung may natitira ka pang hiya para sa sarili at pamilya mo. Pinakulong mo ang isang inosente, gamit ang mga pekeng ebidensiya at testimonya. Ngayon ay ituturo mo pa ang tangkang pagbaliktad ng mga testigo mo sa mga taong walang kinalaman. Alam mo namang kagagawan mo lahat yang pag gawa gawa ng ebidensiya laban sa akin, alinsunod sa utos ng iyong Hari, si Duterte. Lahat na lang ng nanggaling sa iyo ay peke. Lahat na lang ng sabihin mo ay peke. This latest development is nothing but proof of my innocence, and the depravity of Aguirre’s person. Criminals and convicts are only expected to lie and perjure themselves in exchange for an easy and even profitable life in prison, especially if the reward is pardon or commutation of sentence. But not so for a lawyer and DOJ Secretary.


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

For Aguirre to undertake such brazen act of knowingly putting an innocent person in jail only reflects a character devoid of any integrity or morality whatsoever. Dispatch 149: RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL 5 September 2017 Like a thief who suddenly becomes self-aware that the evidence of his crime is sitting in plain sight, the President is attempting to surreptitiously, yet futilely, kick dirt to cover his crime by backtracking on his constant public lashings and attacks against me. Out of the blue, the President suddenly remembered the sub judice rule and why he, as Chief Executive, should know better than to make public statements that prejudge and undermine the presumption of innocence of an accused, whose case has already been filed by his own prosecutors before the courts. This, after women parliamentarians from the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), represented by lawmakers from Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong called on him to desist from politically persecuting me, and to set me free. In response, and after claiming ignorance as to what grounds he ought to do so, he suddenly invoked the fact that cases are already filed with the courts. “Out of the blue” is, of course, not accurate. I have no doubt that the President is suddenly exhibiting uncharacteristic discretion and self-restraint because of the observations made by former Senator Rene V. Saguisag, who has commented once again that there is no way that I could get a fair trial: not after the President and his men—but especially the President, who has the power of control and supervision over the Executive department, and the power to appoint judges and justices—have been publicly commenting on my guilt. As Sen. Saguisag pointed out, if a police officer, NBI investigator, prosecutor or judge wants to be promoted, or otherwise wants to avoid the wrath of an unhinged, vindictive and powerful man like Rodrigo Duterte, they would just follow what he had already publicly declared. And, up until now, as countless embarrassing recordings would attest



to, this President has had no qualms about persecuting me, of adjudging me guilty, and even sentencing me to go hang myself. No amount of backtracking can erase those shameful and shameless tirades now. By his own acts, he has prejudiced my right to a fair trial by effectively poisoning and impairing the independence of the courts. But his attempt, too little and too late it may be, only goes to show the strength and validity of the protestation made by the former Senator and respected human rights advocate. Alongside his weak attempt at self-correction, he nonetheless continues to peddle lies by pretending not to know on what grounds he should effect my immediate release. Such pretensions is unbecoming of the self-professed strongman that the President projects himself to be. Of course he knows on what grounds: on the grounds that the charges against me are all fabricated, based on the perjured statements of convicted felons; that even the perjured testimonies they provided are grossly inadequate to support the finding of probable cause; that the charges filed are even inconsistent with what little evidence the prosecution has; and, most of all, this is all part of my political persecution for daring to stand up for human rights and against EJKs. The President knows what he and his men have done. And he knows he has the power to order prosecutors to withdraw the cases against me in order to rectify a monumental wrong. Unfortunately, he does not have the guts to man up to it, and do what is right—free an innocent woman, and stop the killings of his own people. Dispatch 168: PATHOLOGICAL LIAR 21 September 2017 Raissa Robles tweets: “If President Duterte could lie so blatantly like that, what else has he fabricated?� A lot more! And netizens are now up and about, feasting on a


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

litany of presidential lies. For my part, I underscore these—Duterte LIED, and continues to lie about my alleged drug links (“leading narcopolitician”, “no. 1 drug lord”, “Bilibid drug trade queen”, “drug protector/coddler”, etc.). All the drug trafficking charges against me are fabricated, based on orchestrated lies; He LIED about the so-called drug matrix (Remember that laughable stupid piece of paper which culminated in Duterte’s apology to a Governor named in that matrix?); He LIED about the presence of a shabu lab in the Bilibid; He LIED about a US intel report supposedly proving my involvement in the illegal drug trade, a claim so incredulous that it might as well just originated from the planet Mars; He LIED about taking a peep at my detention quarters (not even his shadow was seen anywhere near my cell); He LIED about a sex video of which he’s so fixated about, bordering on perversion; He LIED about my dog being regularly brought by me to the office (I have never brought a dog to the office, whether CHR, DOJ or Senate). And why Duterte suddenly trained his sights at my dog remains a mystery to me; The latest LIE is about my alleged involvement in an alleged DAP anomaly, along with Sen. Trillanes. Wow! What kind of lies are Duterte and his evil lieutenants concocting this time? These are all blatant LIES, blurted out by Duterte himself, mostly in public events; LIES parroted by his obnoxious underlings and gleefully swallowed, and at times applauded by his fanatical throngs. And I need not remind about Duterte’s other ignominious remarks, almost unprintable words, attacking my womanhood, which show the vileness or baseness of the man’s character.



Malinaw po—Hindi lang mamamatay tao ang pangulong ito, kundi ubod po ng sinungaling. A big, pathological liar! A real sicko. Katanggap-tanggap pa ba ito sa ating mga kababayan? Dahil nabuking, inamin ni Duterte na imbento lang nya yung mga foreign accounts ni Sen. Trillanes. Magawa rin kaya nyang aminin na gawa-gawa lang lahat ang mga paratang nila sa akin? I may be asking for a miracle. Still, I pray for one… Dispatch 173: ABUSE OF POWER IN PLOTTING AGAINST A SENATOR 3 October 2017 Aguirre filing a personal case against Sen. Hontiveros with an office under his direct control and supervision shows the extent of the perversion of the justice system under the Duterte regime. The public prosecutor as hearing officer in the preliminary investigation of the criminal complaint is under the direct control and supervision of Aguirre as Secretary of Justice. In a true sense, Aguirre will be the judge of his own accusation against Sen. Hontiveros. This is justice now in the Philippines, Aguirre-style. In the first place, it was Aguirre who was caught—in plain public view during a televised Senate hearing no less—plotting against the Senator. Against all laws on anti-graft, ethics and moral standards for public officers, Aguirre instructed former Cong. Paras to file trumped-up charges against the Senator, again, with his office. Even setting aside ethical standards, Aguirre’s texted instruction to Paras was a blatant violation of R.A. No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, because Aguirre gave unwarranted advantage and preference to Paras, a private party, in the discharge of his official functions through manifest partiality and evident bad faith. Aguirre should be criminally charged before the Ombudsman, and this offense added to the list of criminal acts he is already accused of in the complaint I filed with the Ombudsman.


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

Aguirre decries that his privacy was violated. The right to privacy does not extend to the cover-up of criminal conduct. Even if the text message displayed in large font on his cellphone in a public hall full of media cameras was private, its display in plain view in a public place does not make it inadmissible evidence. Definitely, it is not covered under the Anti-Wiretapping Law, because conversations overheard without the use of devices but merely out of the carelessness and stupidity of the conversing parties, is not wiretapping. More so, criminal conduct that is overheard, or witnessed in plain view, as what Aguirre exhibited in the middle of a public hearing, must be reported, so that the criminal conduct may be prosecuted, as Aguirre should now be proceeded against before the Ombudsman as a matter of course. Aguirre is not the victim here. He is the willing participant in a criminal enterprise. He is the principal by direct participation in the malicious persecution of Sen. Hontiveros by using all the power and influence of his official position as the Secretary of Justice. (Sounds familiar?) It is a blatant misuse and abuse of the powers of his office. This is the Secretary of Justice plotting the filing of trumped-up charges against a Senator, charges that he himself will pass upon by virtue of his official duties. And he was caught doing it in plain view of the public. This is no different from someone sniffing shabu inside his car in a parking lot and getting caught by the security guard. The shabu-sniffer cannot claim that his right to privacy was violated. Under this government, people get shot in the head for such public displays of criminal conduct. But that kind of justice is only for the powerless. For the powerful like Aguirre, they don’t get a bullet in the head, and a cardboard saying “Abusadong Opisyal, Huwag Tularan”. Dispatch 176: GRAND CONSPIRACY OF LIES 6 October 2017 Though I have developed a semblance of a daily routine while living under detention for 225 days now, my reflections sometimes still make a turn towards feelings of isolation. Not just in the physical



sense, but also in the moral sense, thinking that many people don’t know what it’s like to be so unjustly, publicly and unrestrainedly oppressed and vilified by the most powerful man in the country. And no one ever should, really. No one should ever be the subject of this grand conspiracy of lies. No one should have to live under a continuous state of persecution for taking a stand against summary killings, human rights abuses and tyranny. No one should have to suffer being falsely charged (with the absurd allegation of being the biggest “Drug Queen” in the country, no less!), her good name maligned, and her innocence put into question based on the fabricated stories told by supposed “witnesses.” At times, I wonder if I’ll ever find vindication. Then comes the revelations of Senator Sonny Trillanes, through his privilege speech, exposing the acts of private operators who orchestrated (and are still orchestrating) the demolition job against him, including the peddling of falsified bank accounts. It is as if a light was suddenly switched on, giving me hope for vindication. It appears that he had independently corroborated a modus operandi that I myself was warned about when all this was just starting. Credible sources warned me that some operators—hacks and shady characters—have been hired and paid by very powerful and extremely well-funded patrons to destroy me, to do the bidding of Duterte, as then newly installed President. With the backing of Duterte’s henchmen, chiefly, Aguirre, Calida and Acosta, these operators embarked on a massive fabrication of evidence by collecting so-called “witnesses”, who are no more than persons, mostly convicted felons, whom they have coerced, pressured, threatened, blackmailed, paid or otherwise unduly influenced into giving perjured testimonies against me. I wish I had the tenacity, resourcefulness and connections (particularly within the security sector) of Senator Trillanes. For the longest time, the challenge has been to expose this grand conspiracy of lies. Now, gradually, bits and pieces of information are being


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

verified and pieced together, and the truth is emerging: I am not alone. I am not the only one targeted by this grand conspiracy of liars. And I am not the only victim in this scenario. In truth, we are all the victims here. Because all of this is meant to silence dissent and, ultimately, give free reign for this administration to do whatever it wants with impunity. The truth is out there. It just needs to be recognized before it’s too late. I just have to pray for that day of reckoning to come. Dispatch 179: PSYCHOTIC INVENTIONS 7 October 2017 Pursuing further my thoughts as expressed in one of yesterday’s dispatches from Crame (No. 176)— I strongly suspect that this Daniel “Snooky” Cruz, whom Sen. Sonny Trillanes exposed as the peddler of alleged foreign bank accounts of mine (as peddled sometime last year), and recently, of Sen. Trillanes, is the same source of Duterte’s outrageous claim, as blurted out in a private dinner with some members of the Senate majority few months ago, that the info about my alleged drug links came from US intel (US Embassy, State Dept. or DEA? Take your pick…). Such info was in turn excitedly shared with media by gullible Senators present in that dinner. From Sen. Trillanes’s privilege speech, it appears that “Snooky” professes (or more appropriately, misrepresents) himself to be well-connected to the U.S. Embassy, a former federal agent kuno. Most likely, it’s this guy also, a typical operator, who peddled the concocted story about the US intel confirming my purported connections to the illegal drug trade. It’s either that or just another of those now too-common Duterte psychotic inventions.



I call on the NBI to thoroughly investigate this “Snooky” Cruz and his activities, and upon confirmation of his swindling ways, to refer the matter to the National Prosecution Service, for appropriate action. Fake bank accounts. Fake info. And yes, fake, perjured witnesses in a grand conspiracy of lies. It’s indeed a reign of fools, liars and demons. And this regime is now working doubletime towards consolidation of power… That I clearly see. Dispatch 181: ON THE SC DECISION DISMISSING MY PETITION 11 October 2017 I am deeply saddened and pained by the Supreme Court decision dismissing my petition. I had hoped that the justices who decided against my petition can feel the pain of someone who is sent to prison and yet is innocent of any crime, and has merely fallen victim to the strong arm of the State and the President’s deeply-rooted vengeance against her. The SC’s majority decision tells us the extent to which Dutertism has distorted reason, suppressed the truth and rejected the primacy of conscience. The decision legitimizes oppression and political persecution. I take heart though in the thought that six (6) dissenters—all venerable magistrates—stood their ground. I honor them with a profound thanks and admiration for their courage and fealty to their sworn duty. My lawyers will of course file a motion for reconsideration, and will continue to appeal to the sense of fairness and justice of the Court. There is no other recourse but to go on fighting, especially when one is innocent as I truly am. Every day spent behind bars on bogus charges brings pain and untold sufferings. But it also


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

strengthens resolve. Every single moment in prison serves as a reminder to me of the injustice being committed on thousands of others out there who are not only deprived of their liberty, but of their very right to exist. To go on fighting is the least I can do for them and their loved ones. On a more personal reflection, I say this in all candor—While I deeply yearn for it from day one of my most unjust detention, I have no illusion about attaining vindication for as long as my persecutors remain in power. If it fulfills God’s purpose that I’m deprived of my liberty indefinitely, I completely and unqualifiedly accept it. I’m letting go and let God work in His own divine ways. I ask only for more fortitude for myself and for my family. I humbly ask for continued prayers and support. Dispatch 187: DISCERNING WORDS OF THE HONOURABLE DISSENTING JUSTICES 20 October 2017 Just finished reading all six (6) dissenting opinions in my Supreme Court case. I ended up teary eyed and deeply moved by the wise and discerning words of the honourable dissenting justices. More than erudite dissertations on the legal issues of jurisdiction, probable cause and the lis mota of a drug trading or trafficking charge under RA 9165, the opinions are outstanding in their vigorous assertion of the primacy of constitutional issues and substantial justice over rigid technicalities. The individual indictments separately expressed by the dissenters vis-à-vis the charges against me—“one of the grossest injustices”, “pure invention”, “fake charge”, “laughable”, “deeply disturbing”, “plain and simple injustice”, “quintessentially the use of the strong arm of the law”—are reflective of each dissenter’s deep grasp of the context and



extraordinary circumstances that characterize my case and the serious ramifications that underpin the majority ruling. Their lamentations on the unjustness of the Velasco ponencia reveal the dissenters’ underlying belief in my innocence, which is, to be completely honest, most important to me on a personal level. It means so much to me, knowing that people believe in my innocence and my causes. If they have not done so yet, I urge my friends and supporters to find time to go over the dissenting opinions so they can fully appreciate the “grossest”, if not colossal, injustice perpetrated against my person. One cannot emphasize enough the magnitude of the persecution done, and is still being done, to me by this regime. The reality that I’m constantly being deluged by public pronouncements of the President and his henchmen vilifying my honor and womanhood, and have to contend with “institutional bombardment” from all 3 branches of government (to borrow the words of Dean Sta. Maria) is there for everyone and the whole world to see. The legal attacks thrown at me are from all fronts—criminal, ethics, disbarment and election protest cases—as this vindictive President, who has vowed to “destroy” me, obviously desire not only for me to “rot in jail” but even stripped of my professional license and my electoral mandate. Is there a case of injustice more phenomenal or unprecedented? The only thing I can cling to now is HOPE…. Hope that a few more Justices of the Supreme Court would be convinced of the merits of our position once our plea for reconsideration is presented to them. Hope that they find both the wisdom and the fortitude to vote equally according to the dictates of their reason and to the counsel of their conscience—either one of which would lead them to see the blatant lies, and the sheer and apparent acts of abuse of power committed in this case. Hope that they realize that to make an innocent person suffer the


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

rigors of trial—when the State has not even legitimately discharged its burden of, at the very least, truly proving probable cause—is already, by itself, its own form of injustice. Hope that each one of them—veteran and newly appointed members of the Supreme Court alike—will realize the huge stakes that are involved in this case, over and beyond what it means to me personally as one falsely accused, and even beyond what it means to this President and this regime, who wants to silence and make an example out of me in order to inspire fear and blind obedience from others. Hope that they have no illusions that this is an isolated case, affecting no one else but me, and is, in fact, a far-reaching case that will haunt not just this generation of Filipinos, but even the next. Hope that they realize the destructive consequences on the rule of law and, ultimately, our democracy if a separate and co-equal branch of government appears to be timid and tractable in the shadow of the might of the Executive. And, finally, Hope that at the end of all these, with God’s grace and mercy, something beautiful awaits this country. Dispatch 205: GROSSEST INJUSTICE 6 December 2017 Very serious charges? Yes, the charges that the DOJ and its cohorts, upon Duterte’s command, have managed to put together based on perjured or coerced testimonies are ostensibly “very serious” as they are non-bailable. But these are bogus, invented, fabricated or trumped-up charges. Otherwise put, they are anchored on lies, orchestrated lies. A pure fairy tale of my alleged complicity in the illegal drug trade. And the very fact that the prosecution is in a confused state of mind, now seeking to “amend” the Information, originally from Illegal Drug Trading to Conspiracy to Commit Drug Trading, is a telling



proof of the fakery of the charges. Both the DOJ and OSG cannot figure out, as they cannot agree, on what exactly are they accusing me of! The patent infirmity of the original Information was plainly and intensely articulated by some of the dissenting Justices in the recent 9-6 decision of the Supreme Court on my Petition. According to them, the defects or deficiencies of said Information are such that render my arrest and detention void from the very beginning. No amount of lies, or no matter how many self-confessed drug lords and convicted felons or any other so-called witnesses my persecutors may persuade or threatened to lie against me, it will not change the fact that I’m innocent. The world knows that I’m innocent. Hence, as this “grossest” \injustice is being perpetrated in full view of the entire world, to paraphrase Justice Carpio, institutions around the world felt morally compelled to provide any meaningful succor, in solidarity with my causes. That is the very essence of the various recognitions, all priceless, accorded me, the latest being those from the Liberal International (LI) and Foreign Policy (FP) magazine. As Amnesty International’s motto aptly puts it—“when injustice happens to one person, it matters to us all.” Dispatch 216: BILIBID DRUG RESURGENCE 4 January 2018 Suspicious events bordering on the maleficent continue to hound President Duterte’s all-out war on drugs. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) recently confirmed that illegal drug trading inside the National Bilibid Prison has been rejuvenated and that one of the inmates allegedly managed to facilitate the entry of at least one (1) ton of shabu into the country last November. How can this government succeed in its “unrelenting” campaign to end illegal drugs menace when it could not even stop convicted drug lords under its custody from conducting their business?


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

As Justice Secretary, I knew that these high profile inmates should be stripped of the luxuries and logistics they obtained through bribery and should be segregated from the rest of the Bilibid inmate population, thus, the raids on their “kubols” and their eventual transfer to a more isolated and secure compound late 2014 up to 2015. We in the past administration also jumpstarted the plan to transfer Bilibid from its current severely congested and dilapidated site to a modern prison facility which we believe would come a long way in addressing the pestering problem of prison-based criminality. But instead of pursuing or building on these initiatives, this administration, desperate in its fabricated charges against me, struck a deal with these convicted drug lords—their testimonies of lies in exchange for the restoration of their privileges which enabled them to resume their illegal drug operations. It was a perfect pact with the devil which was instrumental in my unjust detention. It also exposed this regime’s war on drugs as fraud with only the powerless and competitors as targets, while allies and those willing to “cooperate” remain scot-free and given posts in government. Just last month, Duterte asked the public to give him another year to solve the illegal drugs problem. That was the fourth deadline he set for him to deliver on his key campaign promise and “save” the nation from what he considers the root cause of Philippine society’s troubles. However, the resurgence of drug trading in the National Penitentiary and the 6.4 billion shabu smuggling controversy are two major indicators that we are being taken for a ride, big time, and at a very high cost for the more than 13,000 Filipinos killed and their kin. It is insulting for political leaders to hide behind such obvious deceit but it is also equally alarming if their constituents believe and cheer their lies.



Dispatch 222: A JUDGE’S INHIBITION 16 January 2018 The news of the inhibition of Judge Guerrero is a welcome one. We do not rejoice that it became necessary to ask for the inhibition of a member of the judiciary, but circumstances, and especially the way she has thus far handled the case, have shown that it had to happen if justice has any chance of being truly and faithfully served. This is not just my own personal fight, but a fight to make sure that the justice system is not being exploited by the rich and powerful as a tool to oppress their enemies. If it can be done to a sitting senator to silence and destroy her, it can be done to anyone, especially the most vulnerable. We count this as a step in the right direction, but we have to remain vigilant in ensuring that constitutional and human rights are not again trampled upon. Judges, after all, are among those who ought to be at the forefront of our fight for justice. Dispatch 237: STATE-SPONSORED TROLLING 2 February 2018 For a very, very long time—in fact, ever since the systematic attacks against me started last August 2016—I have been waiting for one thing, one thing only: vindication. In many ways, I have been vindicated this past year: not just by the various awards and recognitions I have been honored with, acknowledging my plight as a human rights defender under attack, but also by the very acts of my persecutors. Duterte has, by his own admission, proclaimed himself to be the President of False Accusations, when he admitted and even boasted that he makes up lies against his enemies, like the fake Singaporean bank accounts he falsely attributed to Senator Trillanes.


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

Now, I am again vindicated, this time before my colleagues in the Senate and the whole world, through the statement made by Ms. Maria Ressa during the hearing on fake news last Tuesday. Nung binabasa ko yung transcript ng statement ni Ms. Ressa, parang nagliwanag ang mundo ko! Here is proof that I am not just making up the persecution against me. Seeing the pattern brought on a Eureka! moment: (1) allege corruption; (2) sexualize the target; and (3) call for the arrest of the target. Repeat ad nauseam because if you repeat it enough times, lies become truth, and truth becomes lies. Yes, that is exactly what happened to me! When Ms. Ressa mentioned the hate messages she received, I even had flashbacks to the thousands of hate messages I received through phone calls and text messages, after the House of Representatives hearing exposed my mobile number to the public. There is immense relief to see what was done to me be laid down and shown to be a systematic operation by people who not only train for it, but also have the backing of the State. There is even a term for it: “state-sponsored trolling”, indeed! And, apparently, there are training centers for it: in China and Russia, where Ms. Ressa said Secretary Andanar will send PNA and other agencies to train.

Kakila-kilabot isipin that we are at the mercy of a global syndicate of authoritarian governments and rulers, who are attacking what they hate most—democracy and freedom—by killing its most important foundation: TRUTH. Sawa na silang pumatay ng paisa-isang tao, o manira ng paisa-isang tao, they are now attacking the whole Philippine nation, as we know it. By killing Truth, they will turn our free citizenry into slaves of dictators and authoritarian rulers. The term this calls to mind is “gaslighting”—a form of



psychological manipulation aimed at gaining more power by making the target question his or her reality. It is a common tactic of abusers, dictators, narcissists and cult leaders. It’s a slow and methodical process. You see, this is a horror story. And I am not even the real victim. What was done to me is just one piece of the bigger plan to gaslight the Filipino people. I commend Ms. Ressa and everyone who are speaking against the spread of fake news. You are the real heroes of this generation. Dispatch 244: ON MY LEAD COUNSEL ATTY. FLORIN HILBAY 17 February 2018 In exactly a week, I would be “celebrating” one full year in detention. It’s been 12 months, but 12 months that felt like an eternity to me, personally, waiting for truth and justice to prevail, but has gone by so fast for the rest of the nation, whose attention has been pulled from one issue to another. Time passed by like a looped wire; it seems to occupy but a short space, until you unravel it and discover its true length. It seems surreal, therefore, to realize that it hasn’t even been 1 year ago since a member of my staff first ventured to contact former Solicitor General Florin T. Hilbay, asking him if he would be interested and willing to stand as my counsel before the Supreme Court, in connection with my Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition. Within a week or so he came to visit me here, and the rest, as they say, is history. But it was never simple. Life rarely is. He had just agreed to defend someone whom the President himself has targeted for “destruction”. He had taken a great risk—personal and professional—when all he had to go on is his belief in my innocence, the falseness of the charges against me, and the need to defend human rights defenders against political persecution.


“I am innocent” — Innocence & Political Persecution

I perhaps more than anyone, understand the predicament he placed himself in. He had placed himself in the crosshairs of those who hate dissent. Bold move. Indeed. I have known Florin professionally since he was first appointed as Assistant Solgen, and more closely when he rose to the post of Solgen. Even then he was already known to me to be a brilliant constitutional law expert, who topped the 1999 Bar Exam, and had credentials that included being a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Boston College, an LL.M degree from Yale Law School, and fellowships at the Asian Law Institute at the National University of Singapore, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, and Silliman University. Yes, from the Holy Child Catholic School in Tondo, Manila, all the way around the world on a tour of academic brilliance. As amazingly impressive as all that sounds, that doesn’t even begin to define this man.

Dahil gaano man katalino, kalalim mag-isip at kabilib-bilib ang pinag-aralan ng isang Florin T. Hilbay, hindi pa iyon ang kabuuan ng tunay niyang pagkatao. One of the stories that has stuck in my mind about Florin is what he said when interviewed after it was announced that he had topped the Bar Exam. Apparently, he wasn’t even keen on becoming a lawyer, even going so far as to say he hated lawyers, because he thought there was a lack of “decency” in the profession. That one word, to me, defines who Florin T. Hilbay is. He may be a brilliant lawyer, but that pales in importance compared to his being a decent man. I would say that, if it weren’t for decency, this man would have never taken on the Herculean and yes, risky task of defending my cause, not just in front of the Supreme Court, but also before the whole nation. Our fight was, is, and is shaping to continue to be an uphill battle. We are literally fighting against the odds, and the whole machinery of the government.



Yet, he hasn’t even lost steam. Tuloy pa rin ang laban. He has taken up the cause of other defenders of democracy like Jover Laurio/PAB and the fight to question the extension of Martial Law over the whole of Mindanao until the end of 2018. He even uses his social media platform to bring the Constitution and the true meaning of democracy closer to the people. That tells you something about a man. And, that tells me he is a true Filipino hero. Not in the dramatic and epic way that our soldiers and past revolutionary leaders, for instance, are heroic—but in the down-to-earth way of democratized heroism. O yung pagkabayani na kayang-kayang tularan at abutin ng kahit sinoman, basta may paninindigan lamang. A hero in the way Ralph Waldo Emerson defines a hero, one who “is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.” He stands for patriotism, having come back to the Philippines to help bring decency back in the legal profession, despite the opportunities his education undoubtedly opened up for him. And he is still fighting even when he has seen how hard the fight is going to be.

Si Florin ay TNP. Tunay na Pilipino. Someone we can be proud of because, in the words of Bob Dylan, he is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.



Dispatch 13: STOP IMPUNITY 11 March 2017 It’s time for the entire nation to listen, and open their eyes on what LASCAÑAS and MATOBATO had so far revealed and shall further reveal…Before it is too late for us and our children. STOP THE KILLINGS…STOP THE LIES…STOP IMPUNITY! Dispatch 32: NO TO DEATH PENALTY 20 March 2017 With the grace of God, I fervently plead for my early freedom from this most unjust detention based on false and fabricated charges. I am desirous of a chance to participate in the Senate deliberations on the death penalty once sessions resume, and to cast my vote thereon. My vote is an absolute and unqualified NO to death penalty. From any standpoint—ethical, moral, philosophical, legal and constitutional, the death penalty is WRONG, hence, unacceptable. In all fervor and earnestness, I shall fight against the reimposition of the death penalty. As Pope Francis has plainly expressed: “The commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty.” Dispatch 36: STOP CHEERING THE MADMAN 23 March 2017 I hope they realize this—Liability for atrocities under international human rights law, including the Rome Statute, extends not only to the actual perpetrators or direct participants in such


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

heinous acts, but also those who tolerate and condone them, more so incite and encourage them, as well as those who do nothing about the prevalence of massive EJKs despite knowledge thereof. Yes, failure to act, meaning, failure or refusal to investigate and prosecute, and worse do a cover-up such as thru barefaced denials or half-baked, prematurely terminated probes, also gives rise to liability. Sooner or later, the long arm of the law, domestic or international, will catch up with the chief architect of the mass murders and his enforcers and cheerers. Stop cheering the madman! Dispatch 55: FOR THE SAKE OF OUR CHILDREN 14 April 2017 Like the death penalty, my opposition to the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) is unflinching and unqualified. Let’s not punish our minor delinquents. Let’s punish the adult criminals and syndicates who lure and exploit them, and the parents who wantonly neglect them. In keeping with human rights principles, children who run afoul of the law ought not to be treated as criminals, but as victims themselves. The solution is not the lowering of the MACR, but the full effectuation of the language and spirit of the Pangilinan Law, a beautiful law. No excuses this time, the favorite being the paucity of resources esp. at the LGU level. You and I, the government and our society bear the collective responsibility to ensure that the next generation be spared from a bleak future. Let’s start by ending the prevailing culture of bloodbath, lies and



impunity. For the sake of our children and theirs. Dispatch 92: MATOBATO AND LASCAÑAS 24 May 2017 It is unfortunate that the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs chaired by Sen. Lacson has held that SPO3 Arturo Lascañas’s second testimony was not credible, inspite of the fact that it corroborates the previous allegations of Edgar Matobato. Some of my colleagues previously scoffed at Matobato and his story for allegedly being incredible and wanting in corroboration. Now that another conscience-stricken DDS insider, in the person of Lascañas, has joined Matobato in doing a most perilous act of publicly confessing their participation in a criminal enterprise called DDS, again my colleagues, with due respect to them, have feigned disbelief. The committee report attempted to discredit the testimony of Lascañas by presenting evidence of negative official records and applying the presumption of regularity of official acts. However, it is not the correct way to approach it as there is nothing official in the operations of the Davao Death Squad. It is precisely because the DDS operated outside the bounds of justice system that their activities are considered criminal. Their targets were simply identified by Duterte under the pretense of administering justice and they executed them without even looking into their boss’s allegations. Anyone who has watched the Senate examination of Matobato and Lascañas, after he recanted, will readily see that the President’s allies in the Senate are bent on discrediting them even before they fully presented their case. They presented Matobato and Lascañas with an impossible task of convincing a panel committed to misunderstanding them simply because they are accusing the President.

Mahirap ho talagang gisingin ang mga taong nagtutulugtulugan lamang.


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

Dispatch 100: TRUTH, 1ST CASUALTY OF THE DRUG WAR 20 June 2017 I join my colleagues led by Sen. Ping Lacson, Chair of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, in condemning the DOJ for its highly questionable action in downgrading the double murder charges vs. Supt. Marvin Marcos, et al. to homicide. How can the DOJ, thru USEC Reynante Orceo, not see and appreciate the presence of the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation, and even abuse of superior strength, in the execution of such criminal act which bears the hallmarks of summary execution? What does it make of the Senators and the NBI probers (who were convinced of the culpability of Marcos, et al. for murder), if people simply accept DOJ’s conclusion that “nothing in the records” could prove evident premeditation? Something tells me that the DOJ’s initial adoption of NBI’s recommendation was just for show, a charade, so as to please or satisfy the Senate and the public. The actual game plan though was to downgrade the charges, as done now, and ultimately weaken the case vs. those rogue police officers and men. This disturbing development only serves to bolster my suspicion that Marcos, et al. were actually carrying out an order to liquidate Mayor Espinosa, and that such order came from the top, the very top. Call it a speculation, or even paranoia, but I’m almost certain that there must be something Mayor Espinosa knew or about to do relative to his son Kerwin’s so-called “pink book” or “blue book” that underlied the mastermind’s decision to kill the Mayor. Such pink or blue book, whichever, insofar as it includes my name is certainly spurious—as spurious and fabricated as all the other so-called evidence the DOJ purports to have as to my alleged involvement in the drug trade, either within or outside Bilibid. Could it be that Mayor Espinosa was about to tell the truth or showed signs of revealing which names genuinely belong to Kerwin



Espinosa’s list of drug protectors/beneficiaries and those that do not? Was the father killed as a warning to the son so the latter could fully “cooperate”, as he did, in concocting all those lies about me and my alleged dealings with him (who I absolutely do not know from Adam)? I’ve been asking this, and still no answer—How come Kerwin Espinosa, who has admitted under oath his big time drug-dealing activities, is not being charged, or even investigated? Who are the true partners in crime and protectors of Kerwin Espinosa and his drug syndicate? Are they being investigated at all? Can anyone please look into all these. PLEASE... I say this again, and more emphatically—The first casualty in this so-called War on Drugs is the TRUTH. Dispatch 101: DESENSITIZATION 22 June 2017 It’s distressing to note that news coverage of summary killings, still happening on a daily basis, has been scarcer, hardly meriting any prominence in our dailies. Is this a case of news fatigue, or worsening desensitization of the public’s consciousness? Yes, there are occasional reportage about awards from prestigious outfits for iconic photos or images (and I’m truly proud of the Pinoy photojournalists bagging those awards). However, except for EJK cases with human interest dimensions, we don’t get to read about them anymore in most papers. We don’t even know what’s the current running totals of the EJKs. Suddenly, the authorities have turned timid in their disclosure of the official body count of those killed during police operations and those slain by unknown assailants or vigilantes.


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

Are the figures being deliberately downplayed, and the whole EJK landscape sanitized? Are the official statistics being understated thru the ruse of reclassifying or renaming the actual category of the crime, or altogether outright non-recording? Remember that our authorities are allergic to the term EJK. What about the unreported cases of EJKs? I keep hearing about them in certain urban areas like Caloocan and Taguig. If actual incidents of summary executions are unreported, then so-called official figures cannot be truly reflective of the exact extent and magnitude of the carnage. Unreported killings translate to corpses being unaccounted for. Where are they? Have they been dumped or thrown away in some river, bay or ocean (ala Samal Island) or buried in mass graves (ala Laud Quarry)? I urge people to start asking questions and demand for transparency and accountability. And let’s not stop asking until we get the answers, truthful answers. Without them realizing it, by their silence or apathy, people have become complicit to these rampant killings. Dispatch 109: SEARCHING QUESTIONS ON THE DRUG WAR 4 July 2017 They told us that they are fighting a War Against Drugs, but thousands of people have died, yet no major drug lord or syndicate has been exposed, investigated and prosecuted. On the contrary, many self-confessed ones have been given a free pass in exchange for falsely testifying against the President’s most vocal critic. They told the people that I am the Drug Queen because, without me, illegal drugs would not be traded within the New Bilibid Prison (never mind that I was the one and only Secretary of Justice to personally conduct a major raid precisely to combat such illegal activities in the NBP), yet this Administration’s Secretary of Justice



now admits that, despite my detention and the measures they have taken, the drug problem in the BuCor remains unabated. When our leaders feed us lies to hide their incompetence and real agenda, our only hope as a people of ferreting out the truth lies in asking the right questions. And that is the beauty and importance of Bishop Pablo Virgilio “Ambo” David’s recently reported expression of disappointment over the government’s so-called “War on Drugs.” He asked whether our authorities have identified even just one of the cartels here in our country. No, they have not. “Why is it that only the poor or ordinary people end up being the victims?” Why, indeed? With all these killings, “Has any of these cases been solved? Even just one?” None. Not a single one. If petty crimes can be detected and solved with the use of technology like CCTV cameras, Why is it that “the murders, the people who abduct and kill the helpless, these are not seen on CCTV cameras... Are they invisible?” No, they are not. But they and the sufferings of our people are only invisible to those who are willfully blind and apathetic. Bishop Ambo makes his point by urging us to think. “If this is a war, who is the enemy?” Who, indeed? The answer is there if we but open our eyes to see it for what it is. This is a man of the cloth who does not condemn the effort to eliminate a social scourge, but its hypocrisy and falseness.


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

I hope and pray that these questions, though they may not produce immediate answers, would at least inspire more religious, political and social leaders to speak up, and more of our people to start thinking for themselves. These unsolved summary killings are as much our problem as that of the victims and their families. This is our nation that is decaying and dying because, not only is this Administration lying to us about the true and bloody results of their “War on Drugs”, they are poisoning us with their chosen panacea for our problems: death and violence.

Tayo-tayo rin ang nagkakamatayan. Ang karahasan na inihahasik ng Administrasyong ito ay babalik at madidirekta rin sa atin. Ilang buhay pa ba ang maibubuwis bago tayo magising? Na hindi droga ang sinisikil at dinudurog ng Administrasyong ito, kundi tayo rin? Our search for the Truth starts with people like Bishop David, who ask searching questions and open their eyes to the sickening Truth: that we have been duped by a false and twisted promise of change. Dispatch 128: “BANGKAY SA BANGKA” 29 July 2017 I have received reports, same as the one reported by Al Jazeera in its article yesterday (“Philippine police ‘dumping bodies’ of drug war victims”), that some fishermen were hired by police authorities to dispose bodies in the Manila Bay—bodies of suspected drug offenders killed in the Duterte regime’s War on Drugs. It can be recalled that this is the same pattern of killings that Davao Death Squad (DDS) insider, Edgar Matobato, confessed to the Senate. Per Matobato’s testimony, aside from dumping dead bodies at the Laud/Ma-a Quarry Davao City, they also disposed bodies in the deep waters of Samal Island. This is clearly part of President Duterte’s promise that “he will kill drug pushers and do-nothings, dump them in Manila Bay and fatten all the fish there.”



Kailan lang, mayroon ding naiulat na ginagamit ang mga ospital para itago ang mga pagpatay. Ngayon naman, ang isa pang modus: “Bangkay sa Bangka”. No wonder the number of deaths in the War on Drugs has not been updated or altogether been kept from the public. Extrajudicial killings are still happening in the streets, but this time, mass murder by rogue police officers and hired assailants is done through another strategy to hide the real magnitude of EJKs. This also signals a new policy of the police: getting rid of bodies to get away with murder. It was also not long ago when a South Korean businessman was forcibly taken and killed by police officers under the guise of a drug arrest in what came to be known as “Tokhang-for-ransom”. His body cremated and his remains flushed down the toilet. In connection to this “Bangkay sa Bangka”, I will be filing a Senate Resolution calling for an investigation on this deplorable practice, and put an end to these brazen acts of killings and desecrating bodies. In his 2nd SONA, Duterte vowed to continue his regime’s unrelenting War on Drugs. Katumbas ito ng pagpapatuloy ng walang habas na patayan at karahasan ng DDS sa Davao noon, na ginagawa na rin ngayon sa buong Pilipinas.

Nasaan ang konsensya niyo, Ginoong Pangulo?” Dispatch 135: STOP THE KILLINGS NOW! 19 August 2017 32 sa Bulacan. 25 sa Maynila, 24 sa Camanava. Iyan po ang bilang ng mga naiulat na patayan sa loob ng apat na araw sa Kamaynilaan. Hindi pa kasama dito ang mga pinatay sa mga probinsya at mga liblib na lugar, ang mga di-natagpuang bangkay na marahil itinapon sa ilog o itinago sa mga ospital. Mahigit 81 buhay sa apat na araw. Ganito ang pagmasaker sa lipunan ni Duterte at ng mga berdugong handang pumatay ayon sa utos ng Pangulo. Ganito ka-adik sa pagpatay si Duterte na pinuri pa


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

ang pagpatay sa 32 tao kada araw. Kabilang sa mga pinaslang ang Grade 11 at 17-taong gulang na si Kian Loyd Delos Santos. Nanlaban daw si Kian. Nagpaputok ng baril kaya tinuluyan. Pero ang nakita sa CCTV camera, kinaladkad muna ang bata ng mga pulis bago paslangin. Ang lungkot sa pagkamatay ng mga gaya ni Kian ay natatabunan ng panghihinayang sa kanyang buhay, at ng galit kung bakit hinahayaan lang ang ganitong karumal-dumal na mga pagpatay. Isa lang si Kian sa mahigit 12,000 Pilipinong pinatay ng palyadong War on Drugs. Buhat nang naging Pangulo si Duterte, lalong lumakas ang loob at lumago ang negosyo ng mga mamamatay tayo. Sa “One Time Big Time” na operasyon ng kapulisan, tila naging pakyawan ang bayad sa mga berdugo. Parang may kompetisyon sa mga istasyon ng kapulisan: Kung sinong pinakamaraming pinatay sa magdamag, may naghihintay na parangal sa Malacañang. Sukdulan na ang kademonyohan ng mga nasa likod ng patayan. Kung mananahimik lang tayo, lalo na ang mga nasa gobyerno, patong-patong na bangkay pa ang matatagpuan, na lalong magpapatibay sa pundasyon ng trono ni Duterte bilang hari ng mga berdugo. Tama ka Duterte. Hindi ka habambuhay na Pangulo. Kung di ka man managot sa batas ng tao, mananagot ka sa batas ng Diyos. Tatatak sa kasaysayan ang termino mo bilang termino ng isang Pangulong sinapian ng dyablo, na ang gobyerno’y walang konsensyang pumapatay ng kapwa Pilipino.

STOP THE KILLINGS NOW! Dispatch 139: CHANGE THE HEADLINES 23 August 2017 Every time the Duterte government faces a major blunder on its failed policies, the President and his cohorts seem to divert the issue rather than address it. Either Duterte will curse me and other human



rights advocates, or he will create a scenario to change the headlines.

Tingnan po natin itong isyu ukol sa nahuling P6.4 bilyong halaga ng shabu sa Bureau of Customs kung saan nadawit ang anak ng Pangulo na si Paolo Duterte. Kung gaano kadaldal si Duterte sa iligal na droga at pagpapatay sa mahihirap na nahulihan diumano ng kapiranggot na gramo ng shabu, ay siyang tahimik naman niya sa eskandalo ng tone-toneladang droga na nakalusot sa Customs. Then suddenly, we were shocked by the PNP’s “One Time, Big Time” operations which resulted to the bloodiest week in Duterte’s War on Drugs. This has claimed more than 80 lives in 4 days, including that of 17-year-old student Kian delos Santos.

Buti na nga lang po, nailabas ang kuha ng CCTV camera ilang sandali bago ang brutal na pagpatay kay Kian. Sa kagustuhan nilang mapatay ang apoy sa eskandalo ni Polong, ay lumikha pa sila ng mas malaking sunog sa isyu ng EJK. Truly, God works in mysterious ways. Bantayan natin ang mga usaping ito. Huwag nating hayaan na paikut-ikutin lang tayo ng Pangulong duwag na sagutin ang mga tunay na isyu. Dispatch 147: MISREPRESENTING PENAL LAWS 2 September 2017 In his recent statements, Duterte, while hurling unstatesmanlike insults on the UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Killings for doing her job, not only misrepresented French law, but also Philippine law. He misrepresented that our penal laws follow a purely retributive philosophy, and made grossly ignorant and reprehensible attacks on the humanity of people who find themselves in conflict of the law and under the jurisdiction of our correctional system. In truth, our penal system—particularly our laws and the penalties that lawmakers painstakingly calibrated to impose on offenses— attempts to balance out both the penal and restorative aspects of an ideal correctional system. As it should—because the penalty has to be


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

commensurate to the crime, and once served, it must leave the person capable of being reintegrated into society. That’s why it’s called both a penal and correctional system, not a slaughterhouse. I am surprised that the President doesn’t know better when the mantra of his fraternity is: “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”, often called “lex talionis”. The mantra means “law that exacts the same amount.” Not the exact same thing, of course, because literall exacting the same thing will leave our country in a cycle of retaliation, and with a society that becomes sicker and sicker with every act of retaliation. “Lex talionis” simply means that punishment should not exceed injury. It actually calls for “moderation” in our system of crime and punishment. A term that is perhaps something the President does not understand, just as he doesn’t understand that he, as the President, is our leader—not our executioner and butcher. If there is anyone who needs to learn about penal management, it is the President. He and everyone who works in the implementation of our correctional system ought to educate and train themselves to think like wardens or caretakers, like shepherds that do not abandon those who have lost their way. Instead, they opt for the easy and lazy solutions: kill them all. Kill them because they are nothing but animals. No, criminals are not animals. At least, not all of them descend to the level of thinking of an animal. If anyone is an animal in this scenario, it is he who looks at the poor and sees easy prey; it is he who looks at people and sees lesser beings. That is not the kind of person we should entrust with livestock, let alone people’s lives. Dispatch 154: STOP THE KILLINGS OR RESIGN NOW 7 September 2017 Amidst the killing spree of minors, I challenge the President once again to give a direct, categorical and public order to the entire police force, and others acting upon its direction, to STOP THE KILLINGS NOW!



Otherwise, I dare him to RESIGN NOW! To all those who are directly involved in, and those who sanction, these barbaric and satanic acts, may you all burn in hell… Under a civilized and modern society, States are supposed to protect the rights and welfare of the youth and keep them safe from harm, but under the Duterte regime, they are slaughtered like wild animals in a hunting game.

Sa aking mga kababayan—hinding-hindi ho dapat tayo sumasang-ayon sa kasamaan. Ano na ho ba ang nangyayari sa ating bilang isang lahi mula nang naluklok sa pambansang kapangyarihan si Duterte. Enough with this madness! No more Kian, Gelo and Kulot need to die. Let us act now! Dispatch 180: DEFINITION OF EJK 9 October 2017 The PNP and Malacañang claim that there are zero EJKs under the Duterte Administration because as defined in Administrative Order No. 35 issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III, the term “extrajudicial killing” only covers the killing of members of cause-oriented militant organizations and media. Secretary Andanar went further. He said there can be no EJK in a country that does not recognize “judicial killing” due to the abolition of the death penalty.

Ginagago na naman tayo. Puro lang panggagago. Ang puno’t dulo ng pamahalaang ito ay puro kagaguhan. AO35 did not seek an all-encompassing definition of EJK. It defined EJK for purposes of the objective for which it was issued, the creation of an inter-agency committee that would investigate the killings of activists and media personnel which were the prevalent cases of EJKs during the Arroyo Administration. It was to limit and to make clear that the mandate of the committee was not to investigate any and all cases of EJKs but only those that involved activists and


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

media personnel slain during the Arroyo Administration and even under the Aquino Administration, albeit with the latter registering much fewer no. of incidents. A.O.35 had to be clear about the nature of the EJKs it was to investigate in order to be effective, lest the urgency of investigating the kind of rampant EJKs then committed under the immediately preceding administration of President Arroyo would lose focus. I should know. I drafted AO 35. Of course, it was then farthest from my mind to spell out in big capital letters and large fonts that AO 35’s DEFINITION OF EJKs WAS ONLY FOR PURPOSES OF ITS OPERATIONALIZATION AND IMPLEMENTATION, i.e., the investigation by the inter-agency committee of the killings of activists and journalists, and not for purposes of freeing public officials from accountability for statesanctioned murder. I did not, because I did not know then that the Administration succeeding the Aquino Administration will be populated by hustlers, wags and falsifiers who think they can get away with murder if this proviso in AO 35 is written in small font only. Besides, I did not know then that such succeeding regime will be that of the murderous Duterte who, like his stint as Mayor of Davao, will be targeting drug offenders and petty criminals for summary execution, hence, the non-inclusion of such specie of EJKs in the operational coverage of AO35. It is not even worthwhile anymore to engage Malacañang in this kind of amateurish but perverse word games, except for the fact that they still are in control of government and the life of this country. Because when our top government officials have no remaining selfrespect whatsoever to even try to mask their lack of moral and intellectual integrity, there is no longer any hope left. Secretaries Abella and Andanar, the PNP and yes, Secretary Cayetano (the originator of the tactic in muddling AO35) can pretend that Duterte and his administration can get away with 13,000 EJKs through wordplay. But they can pretend only for so long. Already the writing is on the wall. No amount of spin and deception can cover-up



the double-digit plunge of Duterte’s popularity in one survey period, a plunge that came precisely from the people’s belief and fear that anyone of them or their loved ones can now be the victim of EJKs anytime. Because of the government’s EJK policy, most Filipinos now think that they can die anytime. And when Duterte’s much-ballyhooed promise of security and order turns into the people’s uncertainty as to their own survival from marauding police vigilantes, it becomes clear that this administration is no longer fooling anyone. All they are fooling are themselves, in their belief that they can get away with the murder of thousands. Dispatch 199: “NO” VOTE TO THE UN RESOLUTION ON ROHINGYA’S PLIGHT 20 November 2017 135 “YES” votes; 26 abstentions; 10 “NO” votes. That was the result of the vote taken on a UN General Assembly committee draft resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar last week. A “Yes” vote would have been an unequivocal reaffirmation of a nation’s commitment to honoring the value of human lives, and of its obligation to ease human suffering where it exists in the world. Two years ago, I could have stated with confidence which vote the Philippine government would NOT have taken. After all, our commitment to human rights, international humanitarian law, and particularly to helping the plight of the Rohingya boat people was already made clear as early as May 2015. I remember having proposed a concerted effort and regional action that could include the sending of a rescue ship or two in order to save those who are dying at sea, and offered to share best practices with Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, borne out of our past experiences in sheltering up to 2,700 Vietnamese boat people after the Vietnam War in the 1970s, and once providing asylum to 1,500 Jewish refugees who had been denied asylum in other countries.


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

It deeply disturbs and disappoints me that we have basically turned our backs to our own history as a nation of being a staunch defender of human life. We now hold the questionable distinction of being among the 10 nations to have voted against protecting it. Why? Malacañang says because a yes vote would have worsened an already complex situation. This from a government whose leadership attempts to sell itself as “fearless” and “decisive”. It chose to stand by while people are dying, in genocide magnitude, because to do something is to worsen the problem. What hypocrisy, and, most of all, what cowardice. Some believe that, at the very least, we should have abstained from voting, out of diplomatic deference to a fellow ASEAN member. I agree that that would have been the less objectionable course of action—as opposed to the outright “no” vote. But that would still not satisfy what I know to be the true spirit of the Filipino people: matapang, tumatayo para sa tama at nagtatanggol sa naaapi. We Filipinos stand for our values—and I believe that a “yes” vote would have been more consistent with them. And it isn’t as if we are condemning the Myanmar government— we only seek to make our voice heard as to where we stand. After all, the text was already put on hold for a year out of respect for the efforts being made by the new Myanmar government to address the situation. Unfortunately, the delay only meant an escalation of the violence, without a foreseeable end to the humanitarian crisis. That is where the world stood when the vote was taken last week. And we should have taken a firmer stand. I suspect that the real reason for the government’s “no” vote is not out of diplomacy, but out of fear. It fears that a mirror will be held to its face, and it will be made to see how monstrously it has been treating its own people. It knows that it has lost any moral ascendancy to call out state abuses being committed against its own people. It is not a case of calculated diplomacy, but a case of people saying nothing when they dance with the devil. I lament the state that this regime has brought us down to.



Dispatch 200: WARPED LOGIC 22 November 2017 Secretary Cayetano’s warped logic on the Philippines’ Rohingya vote in the UN masks the real reason for the Philippines’ “no” vote. And this is simply to avoid having the finger pointed at the Duterte regime for its own quasi-genocidal crimes against humanity in its drug war. Indeed, what right has the Philippines to call on Myanmar to allow international aid to the Rohingyas when its own President regularly curses and bad-mouths UN officials whenever investigation on his regime’s EJKs comes up. Cayetano says the Philippines voted “no” on the UN Resolution to allow international aid and action to the Rohingyas so it would not intimidate Myanmar, which could preclude the entry of international monitors observing the Rohingya situation on the ground. Cayetano’s logic is simply this: To help the Rohingyas, we must vote not to help them. Stupid as it sounds, it is classic Cayetano, the King of Oxymorons, who once said that we are as safe as Singapore because bodies are falling like flies on our streets in his master’s campaign against drugs. No amount of doublespeak can justify the Philippine vote, because it is only in accord with the current regime’s policy against human rights and international accountability for crimes against humanity. Cayetano’s President, in so many public speeches even way back, already declared war on human rights. The Duterte regime’s vote against the Rohingyas is therefore only in harmony with its murderous policy that condemns human rights by killing its own citizens. Cayetano need not use warped logic to justify the Philippine vote. He only has to be consistent and cite his government’s record that this Philippine administration no longer recognizes human rights, whether domestically or anywhere else in the world.


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

Dispatch 234: ON THE REJECTION OF AID FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) 31 January 2018 Duterte’s rejection of aid from the European Union amounting to 383 million pesos, and possibly an additional 2.4 billion pesos, is how much he is arrogantly willing the people to suffer in the pursuit of an EJK policy in his drug war. Duterte makes it appear as an act of independence, when it is actually the response of a government that is increasingly becoming a rogue State among the community of nations. This is just one side of the cost of Duterte’s EJK policy and rejection of human rights. The other is the surrender of PH territories to China in exchange for China’s support regardless of his human rights record and murderous policy in the war on drugs. While he rejects free aid and grants from the EU supposedly in the name of preserving the country’s sovereignty because of the EU’s human rights concerns, Duterte has unqualifiedly abandoned Philippine territories in the West Philippine Sea to China in exchange for loans to finance a debt-driven economic program, without questions asked on the country’s human rights situation. The abomination in Duterte’s foreign policy is patent. He will not accept free aid from countries that ask him to stop killing Filipinos, but will surrender territory to a government that will ignore his murders. He even has the effrontery of advising a fellow ASEAN leader to ignore human rights advocates which, in plain terms, is an incitement to commit more crimes against humanity in the region. This fixation on his freedom to commit murders is losing us territory to China and free aid from the EU, when all that is asked of his government is what any civilized nation is only expected to commit to in these modern times: observe and protect human rights, and stop killing your own people. In simple terms, what Duterte is telling the international community is to let him go on killing his own people. He will be generous to those who do, and arrogant to those who do not, even if



it means the surrender of Philippine territories to those who do and the rejection of billions in foreign grants from those who do not. Our foreign policy is now reduced to one man’s inexplicable lust for blood and his disregard for the value of human life. Dispatch 236: ON DUTERTE TELLING MYANMAR’S AUNG SAN SUU KYI TO IGNORE HUMAN RIGHTS 1 February 2018 President Duterte again showed his disregard for human rights when he admitted telling Myanmar State Counsellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to ignore human rights advocates calling on the Myanmar government to stop its ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. There is something fundamentally wrong in a national leader advising another to ignore human rights. It is a throwback to the dark ages, and it simply does not belong in the 21st century. The world has far advanced since the dark ages in establishing the universality and inalienability to all peoples of the right to life and the right to selfdetermination. Duterte wants to single-handedly reverse this achievement of humanity by spreading his own philosophy of inhumanity and dehumanization to the whole world, one world leader at a time. Of course, Mr. Duterte has time and again minced no words in expressing his disdain for human rights. He simply does not care about them. What is astounding this time in his conduct is that he is now urging other leaders to follow suit by ignoring the very foundation of post-World War II civilization: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its appurtenant covenants on civil, political, social and economic rights. Duterte seems to be no longer contented to merely limiting his anti-human rights position within the Philippines. He now appears to be interested in exporting it to other countries. He should be very careful, since exporting criminal conduct such


“Stop the killings” — Human Rights & Extrajudicial Killings

as encouraging ethnic cleansing and the rape and murder of minorities is another international crime that he might not wish to add to his list of crimes that might soon be attended to by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. As of the moment his crimes might be limited to the Filipino people. Once he goes international, he might find himself branded under international law as an enemy of mankind. Of course, the lack of foreseeable action by the ICC on Duterte’s crimes encourages in the President a false sense of confidence, and the chance of him dying first before even an international indictment touches him adds to this. For the moment he might have nothing to worry about. Only the Filipino people will have to carry the international embarrassment of having their leader step on the world stage and humiliate not only the United Nations’ core principles, but also the UN itself. To the world, this is what our leaders have become. We must remind our international friends that this is not who we are, and that Duterte does not represent us when he urges and encourages other world leaders, such as a Nobel Peace Prize winner no less, to ignore human rights.



Dispatch 26: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 17 March 2017 I’m deeply heartened by the collective initiative undertaken by the European Parliament in calling for my immediate release; condemning the rising incidence of EJKs and pushing for an independent international investigation into such unlawful killings and other violations under the Duterte regime’s brutal war on drugs. This latest action from an international body (following similar statements from other reputable global organizations) is but a tangible proof that the rest of the world do care about what’s happening in our country today. It’s not at all an interference with our country’s internal affairs, but rather an aggregate assertion of the universal values of truth, justice and humanity. When will our own public institutions manifest their own ability for courage against the prevailing culture of lies and impunity? When will civil society and our citizenry muster enough courage to say, and say it loudly, that summary executions are never right? Dispatch 28: THANK YOU EUROPE 18 March 2017 Going over the transcripts of statements during the European Parliament Plenary Session relative to my case has tremendously lifted my spirits. These are learned men and women from various parts of the continent believing in my innocence and championing the causes of truth and justice for the 7,000 plus Filipinos who are victims thus far of the State-sanctioned/State-inspired EJKs. Lies and deceptions don’t work with, and are rejected by enlightened minds. Thank you Europe! Thank you World!


“World is watching” — International Clamor for Truth & Justice

Dispatch 31: ON VP ROBREDO’S VIDEO MESSAGE FOR THE UN SIDE EVENT ON EJKS 20 March 2017 VP Leni shaming our nation via her video message before a meeting of a UN body? What nonsense!!! Why can’t these sycophants, both inside and outside the President’s circle, accept the ugly truth that the Duterte regime has been inflicting ignominy upon itself before the international community for the unabated summary executions and other antihuman rights policies. The whole world knows exactly what’s going on here... Dispatch 50: THEY KNOW THE TRUTH 31 March 2017 No, Mr. President. They’re not naïve. Not at all. Those European Parliament members calling for my immediate release and describing the charges against me as “fabricated”, “spurious” and “invented”, know what they’re talking about. They know a case of political persecution when they see one. While ostensibly the charges against me are criminal offenses—drug trafficking (!!!)—and not a political one, the same are completely bogus as they are anchored on coerced, false testimonies, courtesy of your wicked lieutenants and operators. They saw how you unleashed your arsenal of foul means, including invectives and misogynistic attacks against me. That yours is a deep-seated personal vendetta is too transparent that only the blind and the dumb would fail to see.



The men and women of the EU would not risk their individual reputation and that of the political parties and/or the governments they represent if they’re not convinced of my innocence. They know the truth, Mr. President. They don’t buy your lies about me. So do a silent majority of your people. Dispatch 59: WORLD IS WATCHING 7 April 2017 In all sincerity and humility, I thank the IPU, particularly its Governing Council, for seriously and swiftly taking up my case and for having expressed its deep concern about my arrest and detention. I thank and honor them for their easy grasp and discernment of my and the country’s situation. I’m humbled by the actions of the IPU and other highly reputable institutions such as the European Parliament, and their recognition of the questionable and sham character of the charges against me. Enlightened men and women as they are, the IPU wisely takes issue on the very public statements of Duterte and his Secretary of Justice which undeniably partake of prejudgment which “flout the principle of the presumption of innocence”, hence, grossly violative of my constitutional and human right to due process. Yes, distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the IPU and the European Parliament, I have been persecuted, and continue to be persecuted by the Duterte regime. I have been falsely accused and my character severely demeaned. That’s why I’m intensely glad and grateful that the whole world is watching.


“World is watching” — International Clamor for Truth & Justice

Dispatch 78: ON THE ARRIVAL OF UN OFFICIAL AGNES CALLAMARD IN THE PHILIPPINES 6 May 2017 True to form, the Duterte Administration chose to react to the arrival of Ms. Agnes Callamard in an out-of-proportion and suspiciously defensive manner. She is here in the Philippines as a guest of FLAG, as an academic resource person, not in her capacity as UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Killings and, therefore, not in order to conduct a fact-finding mission into the EJKs. But, apparently, it does not matter whether a person actually did what the Duterte Administration is accusing her of—all it matters is that the President feels he has been offended and undermined, so they will take unnecessary steps to make life difficult for her anyway. Here is a woman who wants to help our nation and our people by sharing her knowledge and insights with members of our community, including legal professionals and students, and this is how the Duterte Administration responds—like they have something to hide. Like 9,000 victims of summary killings perhaps? This is the attitude of a guilty conscience. A truly upstanding and brave leader would have officially invited her a long time ago, without all the absurdly onerous and unnecessary conditions. But, of course, such a reasonable and just stance would be too much to ask from this Administration, which is too busy killing its own people to ever have the courage to look seekers of Truth in the face.



Dispatch 82: ON THE 45-1 UNHRC VOTE CALLING TO STOP THE EJKS IN THE PHILIPPINES 9 May 2017 It was a double-slap on the PH delegation to the UNHRC when in a vote of 45-1, the UNHRC delegates urged the Philippines to take the appropriate actions to stop the EJKs in the country. Obviously, the UNHRC completely ignored the fictional boasts of Cayetano on the human rights accomplishments of the Duterte regime. While most of the report embodied accomplishments of the PNoy administration, the UNHRC delegates were not about to be fooled, as they were able to distinguish between PNoy’s accomplishments and the opposite reality of summary executions that now pervades in the country. The delegates also called on the regime to allow UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard to investigate the EJKs under Duterte regime. This is the second part of the double-slap. After criticizing and cursing Callamard for appearing in the CHR anniversary and attending the FLAG forum on the drug war, the government is now asked to invite back Callamard. It’s time for Malacañang to swallow its pride and stop all the foolishness. Spouting fictional numbers and condescendingly lecturing brilliant HR defenders on the definition of EJK doesn’t work as the images of bloodied corpses on city pavements is already seared in the mind of the international community. It will take Cayetano and Malacañang some time to recover from this double slap. Hopefully, the lingering pain and ringing in the ears will teach them never, ever to play around with the UN human rights bodies again, and that of its officials like Callamard. On a positive note for Malacañang, Duterte’s sell-out of the Spratlys and the West Philippine Sea to his Chinese masters has paid off, as China is the lone state delegate that chose to side with its lackey, Duterte.


“World is watching” — International Clamor for Truth & Justice

Dispatch 86: HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER 17 May 2017 8:40 p.m. I’m a human rights defender under threat. And so Amnesty International (AI) has aptly acknowledged in its latest global report on a class of selfless workers and advocates called human rights defenders. I’m a proud human rights defender. For actively opposing the brutal war on drugs and for standing up to the abuses of the Duterte regime, I have been subjected to an unprecedented smear campaign and demonization, including misogynistic attacks launched by Duterte himself and his misguided deputies. I’m now in jail because I refuse to be cowed in fear or in silence. My consolation is there are many other human rights defenders spanning across continents who are also being threatened or attacked for simply speaking up and fighting for what is right. What does it make out of a world with an increasing number of besieged human rights defenders, defenders who need help themselves against abusive governments and other tormentors? It’s a world losing it soul… Dispatch 91: INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU) 24 May 2017 I am really honored and thankful to the members of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, led by Fawzia Koofi (Afghanistan), Fazle Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh) and Rogier Huizenga, manager of IPU Human Rights Programme for visiting me today to check on my condition and assess the cases filed against me. As I mark my 90th day in detention, meeting with the IPU delegates and talking about various matters with them gives me hope and encouragement. I assured them that even though I am detained



and despite this government’s relentless attacks against me, I will continue to fight for what is just and right; that I am doing all that I possibly can to continue fulfilling my duty as sitting Senator of the Republic of the Philippines. I also discussed with them my petition to allow me to participate in the voting on major legislative measures, such as opposing the re-imposition of the death penalty. This IPU visit is another proof that indeed, the world is watching. Let us continue calling the Duterte regime to stop the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, to stop violating our Constitution and our fundamental human rights, and to stop killing our democracy. Dispatch 103: SEN. SONNY TRILLANES’ CANDOR AND COURAGE 28 June 2017 6:40 p.m. Just finished reading the transcripts of BBC’s interview with Sen. Sonny Trillanes, which transcripts formed part of today’s COMMS Pouch delivered to me daily by my staff. Having no TV and internet access, I was curious about such interview, esp. so that I’ve been reading rather negative or unflattering comments relative thereto mostly in the social media, as picked up by mainstream media. I knew it. It’s all a spin. The unsavory comments are but part of an intensified black propaganda engineered by the dark forces. I may not have watched the actual interview, but after going over the transcripts, I honestly say that Sen. Sonny handled very well and admirably, the tough questioning by a host who was playing devil’s advocate. With characteristic candor and moral courage, Sen. Sonny’s responses were to the point and his views on the core issues sound


“World is watching” — International Clamor for Truth & Justice

and valid. Sen. Sonny hits it in the jugular when he asserted that the Filipino public’s lack of awareness of the reality on the ground and the Duterte regime’s effective propaganda machine account for Duterte’s high popularity thus far. So what so-called “meltdown” are the online bashers and haters talking about in describing Sen. Sonny’s performance? Verily, Duterte’s minions thrive on disinformation and deceptions. They twist facts and distort reality. They fabricate stories. They lie... They lie a lot. When will this present-day national scourge end! To Sen. Sonny, mabuhay ka! Press on... Let us never give up. Dispatch 116: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS 19 July 2017 I am deeply grateful to the 12-member delegation from the European Union, led by the four (4) Members of the European Parliament (MEP), namely: Soraya Post (Sweden), Adam Kósa (Hungary), Josef Weidenholzer (Austria), and Rikke Karlsson (Denmark), who visited me today at my detention quarters. I personally thanked the MEPs for expressing indignation and serious concerns over my arrest during their plenary session in Strasbourg, France last March. They stood firm in saying that the charges filed against me were fabricated and subsequently called for my immediate release through their European Parliament (EP) Resolution. My guests looked into my condition as a “prisoner of conscience”, deprived of liberty for defending human rights, opposing the brazen killings and flagrant violations of human dignity in the wake of Duterte’s murderous war on drugs. I asserted before them my absolute innocence of the accusations against me.



We also discussed the human rights situation in the country and several legislative measures such as the re-imposition of death penalty and the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility—both of which I strongly oppose. Once again, these visits from international institutions prove that indeed, the world is watching closely what is happening in our country under the Duterte regime. The US Congress will even hold hearings on the widespread human rights violations across the globe, including the Philippines. This regime, therefore, should better shape up and stop living in a fantasy world where it believes it can do anything based on one man’s whims. The growing clamor for accountability will ensure that justice will catch up to them. Dispatch 118: LIBERAL INTERNATIONAL (LI) 22 July 2017 I thank the Liberal International (LI) Human Rights Committee Chairman Markus Löning for visiting me today, together with the representatives of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Philippines. The LI President himself, Dr. Julie Minoves-Triquell, was supposed to be part of the group but he was denied entry for purported lack of clearance from PNP higher-ups. I feel bad about this because a proper and timely request was made by my staff. Given the stature of Dr. Triquell in the international diplomatic sphere, this particular incident can be a potential cause for embarrassment for our authorities. In any case, the dialogue with my guests went very well as it was very engaging. We discussed various pressing issues across the globe. I expressed my heartfelt gratitude to them for lending their voices in denouncing the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, for seeking action from the European Union (EU) against what they called as President Duterte’s “illiberal state” because of the


“World is watching” — International Clamor for Truth & Justice

continuing violations of fundamental rights and rule of law, and for condemning my arrest brought about by Duterte’s personal vendetta and political persecution. As they checked on my condition as a prisoner of conscience, I stressed my innocence and asserted that my arrest and detention are founded on orchestrated lies and fabricated evidence. I told them that despite the continued attacks and lies against me by this regime, I still manage to perform my duty as a sitting Senator by filing bills and resolutions, but I desire a more active involvement in law-making through participation in the voting particularly on major measures. It is clear: The whole world knows the appalling situation in the Philippines, and it is only a matter of time that Mr. Duterte and his cohorts be held accountable for their injustices and for perpetuating the culture of impunity, fear and violence in this country. Fake news and this regime’s propaganda cannot hide these from the international community. Dispatch 146: COUNCIL OF ASIAN LIBERALS AND DEMOCRATS (CALD) WOMEN’S CAUCUS 1 September 2017 Despite the relentless attacks and outright lies thrown against me by the evil Duterte regime to destroy my dignity and womanhood, I am grateful that many people have expressed and continued to vouch for my integrity. Just yesterday, leaders of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) Women’s Caucus, namely, the current Chair Jayanthi Balaguru (Malaysia), former Chair of the Hongkong Democratic Party, Emily Lau, and Vice Pres. of the International Network of Liberal Women (INLW) and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) Maysing Yang, visited me to check on my condition as a “prisoner of conscience”. I am very grateful for their very warm and gracious words of encouragement and support. I do not know them personally, and though it was our first time to meet, I easily felt from our discussion



that we are kindred spirits—women who uphold human rights and value democratic principles. Expressing concern over my continued detention, they believe, and rightly so, that I was detained on politically-motivated and trumped-up charges. They firmly hold the view that such travesty of justice is unprecedented here in the Philippines which has long been considered a model for democracy in Asia. We also discussed the very dubious moves against Ombudsman Morales and Chief Justice Sereno—putting in question the full term of office of the former and the filing of impeachment complaint versus the latter. They also noted how our democratic institutions, including the media, are now being threatened under the growing authoritarian rule of Duterte. Together with other highly reputable and international organizations, CALD has also condemned the brazen killings in our country that has claimed over 12,000 lives, as well as the relentless political persecution against me by this vindictive President. To my fellow women, countrymen and to all the people of goodwill around the world, let us remain vigilant, stand up for what is just, and defend our human rights and democracy. The growing clamor for accountability will ensure that justice will catch up with Duterte and his cohorts. Try as they might to cover up their abuses and vilify human rights defenders, but the world, the UN and the ICC are watching and cannot be fooled. Dispatch 166: ASEAN PARLIAMENTARIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (APHR) 20 September 2017

“Martial Law na ba?” This was my immediate reaction when the delegates of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) led by Tian Chua and Charles Santiago, both members of Parliament of Malaysia, together with members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives, Reps Tom Villarin and Teddy Baguilat, Jr., were not allowed to see me yesterday, despite compliance


“World is watching” — International Clamor for Truth & Justice

with the 10-day prior notice rule. This is not the first time though that an international visitor was barred from entering my detention quarters. Last July 22, Liberal International (LI) President Juli Minoves was also prevented from visiting me due to an “administrative excuse.” This time, my staff were told that the papers got stuck at the level of the Office of the Directorate for Intelligence Services. Apparently, it’s not the fault of the Custodial Center officials but of “higher ups”. I ask—why was there no action on the request of the APHR delegation which was a virtual denial of such request? Was it because of the strong statement APHR issued sometime last month, and reiterated at a presscon yesterday, denouncing my unjust detention and calling for my immediate, unconditional release? I further ask: Why is this regime doing this? They have already incarcerated me based on trumped-up drug charges, persecuted me with all the lies to destroy my dignity and womanhood, and now, they are denying my visitors, in particular, foreign leaders, to speak with me. I brace for more acts of repression as this regime parries mounting public outrage and protest actions over successive and pervasive issues of incompetence, corruption and impunity. But I will not be cowed... Dispatch 191: PRIZE FOR FREEDOM AWARD 2 November 2017 It’s an enlightened world out there. I wish I can say the same about our country’s officialdom. When bogus drug charges wantonly weaved by the Duterte regime has put me behind bars 252 days ago, I felt like everything I have worked so hard for as a human rights and justice advocate was



being ripped away by lies and evilness. Words cannot fully express the pain I go through each day of a most unjust detention. Apart from fulfilling a tyrant’s personal vendetta, the singular goal of detaining me is clear—to silence and cripple me in this fight for human rights and rule of law. But this latest accolade bestowed by the Liberal International (LI), and preceded by momentous resolutions from the European Parliament (EP) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), all condemning my political persecution and calling for my immediate release, can only further fire up my spirit. Despite the continued demonization and persecution, with virtual judicial imprimatur, I will never lose heart and will never abandon my convictions. Unbowed and unbroken I shall remain. Thank you LI! Thank you world! Dispatch 196: GLOBAL PROGRESSIVE FORUM (GPF) 11 November 2017 My heartfelt thanks to European Parliamentarians NORBERT HANS NEUSER (Germany), ENRIQUE GUERRERO SALOM (Spain) and their colleague in the Global Progressive Forum, PAOLO ALBERTI (Italy), for their attempted visit to me this morning. Since there was no action on their request duly made even beyond the 10-day prior notice rule, these foreign dignitaries were effectively denied access to me. Third time it happened that foreign guests of mine were barred, and not accorded even the courtesy of a formal response to their requests. What’s happening? These cannot be mere instances of administrative lapses and/or incompetence on the part of PNP authorities. It’s already a deliberate policy of oppression and violation of my rights.


“World is watching” — International Clamor for Truth & Justice

These dignitaries are my guests. There is neither rhyme nor reason to deny them their right to visit and check on my condition. No law or rule bans such visits. These are not terrorists or in any way threats to national security or public order. These are dignitaries of considerable stature in their respective countries, and even globally as members of the Global Progressive Forum. This is so wrong and unjust. I demand respect for my rights, among them visitors’ access, as a detention prisoner who is constitutionally presumed innocent, as I am truly innocent, and as a sitting and working Senator of the Republic. Dispatch 206: FOREIGN POLICY’S GLOBAL THINKER FOR 2017 6 December 2017 More than the award itself bestowed by the Foreign Policy magazine as one of the 50 Global Thinkers (or reThinkers) for 2017, after a similar award last year, what touched my emotions (and caused tears to fall) are the countless congratulatory messages I got (mostly via FB as printed and delivered to me by my staff) soon after news broke about the prestigious award. Diverse words and varied styles of expressing sentiments mostly from people I don’t know or hardly know, all conveying one central message to me—Hang in there. Never give up. You’re not alone as the world is watching. That’s all I need. Now, I can cease pondering on the poignant words of Lady Catelyn Stark in George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Clash of Kings’: “I want to weep. I want to be comforted. I’m so tired of being strong. I want to be foolish and frightened for once.” Thank you all for the deep comfort. Thank you Foreign Policy!



Dispatch 208: SCHIZOPHRENIC STATEMENTS 9 December 2017 “Leave us alone and we will solve the problem. We do not enjoy killing our own countrymen. It is not a good policy but we are besieged [by] something which is very terrible,” said Duterte. Presidential spokesperson and self-styled human rights lawyer Harry Roque must be feeling very stupid. While he was proclaiming before the assembly of ICC state parties in New York that the ICC has no jurisdiction to investigate Duterte “unless it can be shown that the state party is unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute” the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, his boss has just admitted that, indeed, his administration has a policy of killing Filipinos suspected of drug use and peddling. It’s a no-brainer. How can the ICC expect the Duterte Administration to take jurisdiction over the prosecution of EJK crimes, when the President has already admitted that it is the very policy of his administration to kill Filipinos? Mr. Roque cannot go around this using the Fentanyl excuse. The President looked sober when he purportedly rued his policy of killing Filipinos, even as he supposedly takes “the extra mile” to find another solution to the drug problem. The President did not look crazy when he told a food festival audience in Pampanga that indeed it is the policy of his government to kill Filipinos in his drug war. He was as sane as could be during a lucid interval. Mr. Roque will of course spin his and his boss’s simultaneous schizophrenic statements to whatever outlandish ends again. But then Duterte is not a schizo. He has always been clear about murder as his method in solving the country’s drug problem. It is only his spin doctors who make him look like a schizo when they say he’s just joking. Again, Duterte didn’t look like he was joking during the food festival. In fact, he never joked about himself NOT being a murderer. He has always been proud of it. And thousands dead in the country, including Davao City c/o the DDS, attests to this.


“World is watching” — International Clamor for Truth & Justice

So there, Mr. Roque. Your own boss just gave the ICC the condition you laid down for its intervention in investigating and prosecuting Duterte for his murderous drug war. With the President’s admission that his administration cannot possibly investigate and prosecute the drug war murders, precisely because it is his government’s policy to carry out such murders, we can now stop pretending that you are still a human rights lawyer and that your words still carry any weight in the ICC state parties’ assembly.

Nahubaran na sa entablado ng mundo ang iyong pagpapanggap na isa kang tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao. Alam na ng lahat na ikaw na ngayon ang tagapagtanggol ng pangunahing mamamatay-tao sa buong mundo. The response of the international community has always been clear. Stop the killings, and prosecute the President and all those responsible for promoting and defending his self-admitted policy of killing Filipinos. Of course, the President will not do this, and you, Mr. Roque, will not stop defending his murders. This is why your only way out is to withdraw from the ICC. I just hope you don’t honestly think that you and your boss can get away with murder so easily just by withdrawing from the ICC. I am sure all your years of schooling and scholarship have not made you into such a simpleton. Justice will always be done Mr. Roque. You, for one, should know that. Dispatch 241: INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC) 9 February 2018 “No crime goes unpunished.” This is the working principle in modernized democracies. The decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to start a preliminary examination on the Philippine situation—preliminary to an investigation that will eventually charge this government, its leaders and all those complicit in the mass murder of thousands in its so-called drug war—is the fulfillment of a hope and a dream.



It is a wish granted that indeed no crime should go unpunished, even in countries ruled by strongmen and self-avowed dictators, where those culpable for the gravest crime of mass murder can no longer be prosecuted in their own domain because of the reign of impunity. Malacañang must have been confident that it will never come to this. Ironically, it was also wishful thinking on their part that the OTP-ICC will simply remain blind to the situation in the Philippines, despite the outcry from local and international human rights institutions, the international media, and courageous citizens who decided to stand up for the poor and powerless who are the primary victims of the Duterte regime’s campaign of mass murder and social cleansing. Malacañang’s initial response hopes to spin the announcement of the OTP-ICC as nothing that would alarm the President and all those complicit in the mass murders. This is again false bravado. If there is anyone who knows that the OTP-ICC does not initiate criminal proceedings without serious deliberation and factual basis, it is the Malacañang spokesperson himself, a self-proclaimed international human rights lawyer who turned stooge to the most prolific mass murderer in the world today. Malacañang will continue to spin this in the days to come, even as the process of the preliminary examination unfolds. And like what Duterte did with the DDS in Davao during the 2009 CHR investigation, they might actually lie low for a while and order a temporary stop to the extra-judicial killings by the PNP death squads, in the hope to assuage the ICC Prosecutor that it is doing something to stop the killings, or even to fool her that there is actually no government-sponsored and funded program of social mass extermination. But even these cosmetic options will not free Duterte from the reality that sooner or later, he might actually be charged with the mass murder of civilians as a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute. This might be the beginning of his and his regime’s international isolation as a rogue criminal regime, its leaders and


“World is watching� — International Clamor for Truth & Justice

officials complicit in the murders hunted down and open to arrest in all signatory countries of the Rome Statute where they happen to set foot on. This will mean diplomatic isolation and a breakdown of the conduct of our foreign relations, except with condoning countries like China who wish to extract the maximum capitulation from the Duterte government in so far as our territories and EEZ resources are concerned. More than that, this might actually be the beginning of the end for the Duterte kakistocracy. I fully support the announcement of the OTP-ICC to start the proceedings on the Duterte regime in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Rome Statute. I am confident that in the process of examination, it will become clear that any hope of domestic accountability and prosecution for the thousands of killings is non-existent, and that only the mechanism of the ICC under the Rome Statute can exact justice on Duterte and all the men and women complicit in the greatest reign of homicidal terror this nation has ever witnessed.


Philippine Senator Leila M. de Lima, a human rights defender, remains detained inside the national police headquarters in Camp Crame since February 24, 2017. The fiercest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous war on drugs has been incarcerated solely on the basis of fabricated testimonies by convicted criminals and trumped-up drug charges filed against her by the government without any material evidence. Even from behind bars, De Lima continues to receive awards and recognition for her efforts in defense of freedom and human rights, as local and international groups call for her immediate and unconditional release. Despite her unjust detention, the former Justice Secretary and former Commission on Human Rights Chair continues to perform her legislative mandate by filing bills and resolutions. However, De Lima is still prevented from voting and deliberating in the Senate. Some foreign dignitaries were also denied from visiting the Senator in prison. The unprecedented political persecution against De Lima has not silenced her. With no television, cell phone, computer, or any communication device in detention, she continues to speak out for truth, justice and democracy through her handwritten dispatches.

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