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Dispatches from Crame II:

Faith, Hope, and Love

Leila M. de Lima


Dispatches from Crame II: Faith, Hope, and Love By Leila M. de Lima

ISBN 978-621-95852-5-5 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: 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

Published in the Philippines.


For the least, the last and the lost among my countrymen, I continue to fight for you. For my family who give me strength, I will never give up. For those who keep praying for my freedom, my deepest gratitude goes to you.


“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.� -1 Corinthians 13:13


FOREWORD What do an anonymous blogger and an unjustly jailed Senator have in common? An appreciation of language, a respect for words, and a belief that, lined up well, these words can generate ideas that can be both elegant and useful…and improve our lives. Words are the place where emotions meet reason and emerge as life’s lessons. A flower is beautiful, yes? We see color and shape and pick up the scent. But it takes language to interpret that beauty so that we can understand it. And share it. I will not dwell on the politics or legalities of Senator De Lima’s unjust imprisonment other than to say that her case reflects poorly on her jailers, showing them as small, mean-spirited people who go out of their way to diminish Filipino humanity rather than raise it up. I want to focus instead on Senator De Lima’s persistent use of words while in prison, a form of artistic expression that has given her freedom of thought…and freedom of spirit…while her physical frame is confined to a small room. We readers are privileged, thanks to her writings. We get to stand beside her and understand the full meaning of what it is like to have one’s freedoms stolen. Thanks to her writings, we are witnesses both to her frustrations and to the hopes, new ideas, and strong ideals that emerge from the tip of her pen. Every word we enjoy has been handwritten by the Senator. No shortcuts. No typewriter, no speaking into the intelligent keyboard. Each word has been scratched out on a piece of paper. Can we take the time to read them? It takes discipline on our part to pause from the rush-rush


that has become our way of reading modern media. It takes determination to give proper care to the hundreds of daily notes, legislative proposals, and arguments published by the Senator. It was kind of her to consolidate and organize so much writing in this second book, to make our reading easier. The Senator and I share something else other than an appreciation of language and words. We believe in principles as the foundation for good living. Good living is not selfish living. Good living is based on ground rules that take care of ourselves, yes, but in a way that connect us to the greater community around us. Our family, our church, our city, our nation. Both of us also share the idea of a strong, healthy, good-thinking, well-behaving, prosperous Philippines. Senator De Lima got an iron-woman’s foundation in good principles during her earlier work heading the Philippine Commission of Human Rights, a job both brutal and thankless for the conflicts that arose. She had to deal with peoples’ natural inclination to judge and deride others, their insistence on foul judgments and foul deeds no matter who might be hurt. She worked diligently, dealt firmly with the pushback, and put rules and compassion and fair play back into Filipino thinking. So as you read through her book, take note of the constant anchors, the principles, that give her messages clarity and consistency: Trust in laws as the way to bind a community to good behavior, fairness, decency, and prosperity; Trust in our essential goodness as humans, and recognition of our natural shortcomings; Dedication to hard work; Compassion for others, especially the kids and disadvantaged; Patriotism as a sacrifice, not reward;


Impatience with those who cheat or take shortcuts or are lazy; Knowledge and reason, over emotion, as the best way to solve problems. Well, as I cite that last line, I acknowledge that Senator De Lima and I are alike in another way. We are not unemotional people. While her arguments are impeccably logical and well-informed, behind them are the passions of a person who genuinely cares about the Philippines and Filipinos. I think passion is the energy that motivates the principled person to stick with those principles through the hardest of times, when they are challenged at every turn. When day seems dark, and night impossible. So as you read the Senator’s ideas, her visions, her recitations from a cell, her wise lawyerly and humanistic guidance, do let your own passions roam free for a time. Let her lift you up, too, as a believer in the goodness and promise of being a principled Filipino.

Joe America

The Society of Honor


PREFACE It is said that nothing makes time crawl the slowest than counting it pass by. If that is true, then, during the whole duration of my unjust detention thus far, I have clearly been doing everything but count the days of the deprivation of my freedom. The launch of this second compilation of my Dispatches from Crame marks the 2nd anniversary of my arrest. Seven hundred thirty-one (731) days in detention. Seven hundred thirty-one (731) days since I walked out of the Halls of the Philippine Senate, and peacefully surrendered myself to the custody of those sent to arrest me. Seven hundred thirty-one (731) days since I was free to address the Filipino people directly on my own terms. I believe it would be unthinkable for anyone who has not personally experienced detention to understand how it is to survive as a prisoner. In that case, I am the lucky one. I am blessed because I am only a prisoner in the sense of being a prisoner of conscience who is being subjected to unjust physical restrictions. Yet, in every other sense of the word, I am freer than I have ever been. I am free to think. I am free to feel. I am free to defend what is right. I am free to hold my head up high, knowing Truth is on my side.


The key to my freedom lies not in the hands of my captors. It lies in the pen I hold in my hands. Very soon after my arrest, I started writing. Thoughts, reactions, personal reflections, calls to action to my fellow Filipinos, rallying cries for my fellow defenders of human rights and democracy and, hopefully, humble beacons of hope and inspiration for those suffering oppression or are otherwise in need of it—writings that eventually became known as “Dispatches from Crame”. Now approaching the 500 mark, these dispatches became a chronicle of virtually my daily life. If read chronologically, the reader can almost chart my precise mood on that particular day. There were days when I felt thankful and blessed, such as when I was finally visited by my mother for the first time in two years. Days when I felt a surge of hope, such as when I was reacting to recognitions and expressions of support here and abroad, when addressing future lawyers, and congratulating those recognized for their heroic work of the past years, like my fellow defenders of democracy. Days when I felt strong passions. Ecstatic. Furious. Determined. Defiant. Unfading love for my country. Indefatigable will to serve our people. At times, despairing, too, such as when I was denied the opportunity to witness my son’s graduation, when others requesting the exact same thing and facing worse charges were granted that privilege and more. But in the process of choosing the dispatches to include in this compilation—a challenging necessity because there are simply too many to choose from—I was surprised to see how many subjects I have had the chance to cover: from the unconstitutional removal of the Chief Justice to the shortage of rice and inflation our people had to endure. I realized that this compilation could just as easily be a chronicle


of the daily travails of our people and the situation of our nation. That’s when I saw what these otherwise random collection of thoughts truly are, and what they can potentially be. They are proof of the passage of Time, for me and for the nation. They are concrete manifestations of a citizen’s Timely and contemporary reflections on the challenges our nation is facing, and thus a collection of insights that I and others could draw from in my work as a legislator, as a defender of human rights, rule of law and democracy, or simply as a productive Filipino citizen. They are a dedication to the Timelessness of Truth, for it is my way to preserve Truth that cannot be manipulated by fake news or buried by the lies of tyrants. Dr. Jose Rizal got to write his Last Farewell. Following his example, I get to write about the Philippine situation from the eyes of an unjustly detained prisoner of conscience. I get to write my Dispatches from Crame. A huge gift I give to myself, and a humble one—for what it may be worth—to you, Dear Reader, for the here and now, and for the hope of a better future. Time. Timely. Timeless Truth.

Senator Leila M. de Lima


CONTENTS

Part I :

Faith in democracy and the rule of law

On the filing of a quo warranto case against the Chief Justice

1

Peace-building

2

On new appointments to the justice ministry, police and military

3

Test of integrity

4

Election protests for propaganda ends

7

Press freedom in Duterte’s time and fake news

9

Commission on Human Rights

10

Judicial tyranny

12

The integrity of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales

13

The dismissal of Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang

15

Naked tyranny, rape of justice

16

Aquino, Diokno, Tañada—noon at ngayon, subok na maaasahan

17

Appeal to first-time voters

18

Justice Carpio, a leader the judiciary deserves

19

Ang talino at prinsipyo ni Romulo Macalintal

20

Florin Hilbay, more than equal to the Senate task

21

Sakripisyo para sa bayan ni Mar Roxas

23

The moral courage of Gary Alejano

24

Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, the face of social justice

25

Oposisyon Koalisyon and the conspiracy of hope

26

A prelude to nationwide martial law

28

Congratulations Maria Ressa! Salute to “The Guardians”!

29

Project Makinig, time to listen

31

The “fearless four” and the imperative need for an independent judiciary

32

Inquirer’s Filipinos of the Year for 2018

34

“So-called Enemies of the State”

36


Part II: Hope

springs eternal with truth on my side

To the President’s defenders and enforcers

41

Pasasalamat para sa “Buwan ni Leila”

42

Self-preservation over truth-telling

43

Biggest joke of all

44

Tell the truth, Espenido!

45

Questions on the dismissed charges against drug personalities

47

For truth’s sake

49

War against De Lima

51

#BabaeAko

53

“Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender”

55

Denial of a mother’s plea to be with her son in his graduation

56

On the alleged vindication of DOJ’s prosecution against me

58

Human rights and accountability

60

Denial of my plea to speak the truth about the ICC withdrawal

61

Bring it on!

63

Feeding stray cats

64

Child-like heart

66

Errand boys

67

Convicts as witnesses

68

Mom’s visit, best Christmas gift

70

Justice: A pre-New Year’s reflections

71

“Weather-weather lang yan”—a false narrative

72

Persistent demonization and character assassination

75

Col. Marcelino knows I am innocent

76

Opinion of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD)

78

[SPECIAL PAGES]

Part III: Love

for my country and the Filipino people

20,322 dead so far

109

Death squad diplomacy

110 111

Psychopathic dictator


Avalanche, really?

112

China’s defense of Duterte’s withdrawal from the ICC

114

Lamentations of the urban poor in relation to the citizens’ voting power

116

Gordon’s political manifesto

117

On NFA rice shortage and related controversies

119

A tyrant’s will to deport Sister Patricia Fox

121

To future lawyers: Excellence. Honor. Integrity.

123

The Bedan roar

125

Mindless application of the law

127

No other country but China

129

Neither a president nor a leader

130

Duterte’s attacks on the Church and women

133

Discrimination against a deaf couple

134

Myopic small-town mayor worldview

136

On the silence of the Catholic Church

138

New policy of arresting “tambays”

140

Protect our children from the madman

141

Duterte’s 3rd SONA

143

Pagkamatay ni Allan sa kamay ng kapulisan

144

Katarungan para kay Kian

145

Duterte’s hypocrisy and mockery

146

Not the time for gimmicks

149

Tragic heroism of a Bicolana teacher

150

On the appalling prevalence of political dynasties

151

The courage and fortitude of Bishop Pablo “Ambo” David

153

On the third telco player & cronyism

154

In further solidarity with Bishop Ambo. Defy. Resist. Fight.

155

Stop the bullying

156

Time to be angry. Time to say “enough”.

158

Protecting the people from tyrannical leaders

160

Worsening jail congestion and related ills

161

To lower minimum age of criminal responsibility is to debase our humanity

163

A real menace to society; Time to speak out

165

[SPECIAL PAGES]

Authored Bills and Resolutions

168


“My enemies have already done their worst. And I thank them for making that mistake. It placed me somewhere I could not have reached without their help: in the company of giants and immortals.� Leila de Lima 24 February 2018


“She faces obstacles and difficulties that would make stronger men shudder, yet Senator Leila is not constrained and limited by them. She draws strength from her ordeal and finds ways to give voice to the people’s cries, prison and all.”

-Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo


PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

Dispatch 254 ON THE FILING OF A QUO WARRANTO CASE AGAINST THE CHIEF JUSTICE 7 March 2018 SolGen Calida claims that the filing of quo warranto proceedings against Chief Justice Sereno is “an act of kindness to a fellow lawyer,” because it will avoid what he referred to as the “indignity that the late Chief Justice Renato Corona suffered at the hands of politicians who unjustly convicted him.” The statements of SolGen Calida are an affront to the Senate and to the Filipino people. It is pure hubris on the part of this Solicitor General, and an affront to our Senate for him to say that the Senate is an unjust institution. Under the principle of checks and balances, our Constitution has solely granted the power to try and decide all cases of impeachment to the Senate. It is improper and contemptuous for the SolGen to demean the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, before the trial even began. It is precisely in furtherance of the right to due process and the rule of law that the impeachment court is created, as to afford our impeachable officials their day in court. It is, most importantly, the process that the Filipino people demand be followed, in accordance with the Fundamental Law that they ordained and promulgated. To demean the constitutionally appointed process of impeachment is to insult the Filipino people. It is, furthermore, historical revisionism and propaganda to suggest, without basis, that the removal from office of the late, former Chief Justice was an unjust act “at the hands of politicians.” He was not just given his day in court, he was, in fact, ably defended by a stellar team of defense lawyers, led by no less than a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the late, great Serafin R. Cuevas. The trial was witnessed all over the world, after which then CJ Corona was convicted for a very specific and proven reason: for 1


PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

omitting substantial amounts of his wealth in his SALN. Out of 23 Senators, 20 found him guilty—belonging to different political parties—when only 16 was needed for a conviction. This is undisputable. To suggest otherwise is to peddle more lies and “alternative truths”, and is an even greater insult to the intellect of the Filipino people, who witnessed it all. The sickeningly blatant attempt to fool the people is made even more apparent, given that many of the 20 who voted for conviction are now aligned—officially or otherwise—with the present Administration, including, now Senate President Koko Pimentel, Senators Escudero, Honasan, Lacson, Legarda and Sotto, and now DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. (The rest were Senators Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV, then Senators Pia Cayetano, Lito Lapid, Manny Villar, Edgardo Angara, Teofisto Guingona III, Sergio Osmeña III, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla, Jr.) At the time, the people demanded compliance from the lowest government employees up to the president himself to sign the waiver for disclosure of SALNs, but instead of hearing the people’s call for stricter anti-corruption measures and greater accountability, here is this Administration threatening and silencing those who are vocally critical of the abuses being committed by this Administration. Who does Mr. Calida think he’s fooling? This is not an “act of kindness”. This is textbook political persecution, and attempt to rape, pillage and murder the Constitution—and the sovereign power of the Filipino people—right before our very eyes. Dispatch 256 PEACE-BUILDING 9 March 2018 Violence solves nothing. The latest move of the Duterte administration to declare 600 individuals including progressive legislators and a UN special rapporteur as “terrorists” would only instigate more violence in our country already reeling from the bloodbath incited by this government’s war on drugs. 2


PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

Peace-loving Filipinos should remind the President that suspected drug addicts and political dissidents are not termites that he can “exterminate to save the house.” These are human beings. He should address the root causes of the country’s problems instead of harassing and killing people. One of the few positive steps of this administration was when it pursued peace talks with the rebels. But this radical policy shift of totally annihilating the insurgents puts in doubt its intention from the very beginning of the dialogue. This legal offensive launched by the DOJ, which is reminiscent of the IALAG mechanism adopted by the Arroyo administration, signals the return of heavy-handed tactics which are potentially violative of the Bill of Rights. President Duterte should understand that peace-building is a painstaking process and that there are legitimate grievances such as injustice, poverty and lack of economic opportunities fuelling insurgency in the country. It’s not too late to go back to the negotiating table if this government is really sincere in looking for non-violent means to address the communist rebellion in the country. Unless, that is, Duterte’s true intention is to establish an authoritarian regime that eliminates dissent and kills democracy. Dispatch 276 ON NEW APPOINTMENTS TO THE JUSTICE MINISTRY, POLICE AND MILITARY 7 April 2018 Much as I doubt the sincerity of the reasons why President Duterte let go of Secretary Aguirre, the new appointments made by him are as good as they can get under this administration. Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra to the DOJ, Director Oscar Albayalde to the PNP, and Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez to the AFP are good choices. They are all men of honor, competence, and integrity. 3


PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

Hopefully, despite the President, Guevarra can bring back true dispensation of justice at the DOJ, bereft of any partisan and persecutorial agenda; that Albayalde can return respect for human rights and genuine police work at the PNP; and that Galvez can once more assert the defense of Philippine territories in the West Philippine Sea against China and effectively pursue the peace agenda in our internal security concerns. I wish these gentlemen all the luck in their new appointments, with the unsolicited advice and guidance of a senior public official like themselves that their loyalty lies first with the Constitution and the Republic, and second only with the President who appointed them. Gentlemen, there is no dishonor in doing what is right and firmly standing by it. You will be remembered for not how you serve this President, but for how well you serve your country, and your people inspite of him. Dispatch 280 TEST OF INTEGRITY 12 April 2018 The oral arguments held the other day, during which the Chief Justice was directed by her colleagues to appear and testify personally, was very eye-opening…in a very disturbing way. Foremost because the spectacle showed exactly why it is unprecedented. It is unprecedented because it is highly doubtful that the Framers of our Constitution intended a proceeding that is difficult to consider as wholly impartial—during which where personal interests, grudges, animosities, uncomfortable professional dynamics and histories boiled up to the surface—would be the means by which a member of the Supreme Court can be ousted by her colleagues. It is unprecedented because it would take a really shameless Solicitor General to even attempt to pit the members of the Supreme Court against each other, through a move that would give him, and the interests he represents, an undue upper hand in all future business he has before the Court. The Supreme Court—or 14 of the members—is being asked to exercise 4


PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

jurisdiction and to function as a trier of facts over which an issue which, if a sufficient number of them (i.e., just 8, at least) so decide to oust the Chief Justice, there would be no other forum for further appeals or redress through another reviewing body because, being the court of last resort, there is no other court that can tell the SC that it ruled unwisely or abused its power. It will thus function as both a court of first and last resort. Therefore, 8 or more members, none of whom were elected by the Filipino, might just do the unthinkable and undo what a constitutionally mandated body, the JBC, and an elected official, the President, had done, in a proceeding where those involved in the selection and appointment process are not even impleaded. That is a prospect that is so prone to abuse that it is terrifying to imagine. These are just the theoretical problems. The reality, as it unfolded the other day, is even more disturbing. The Chief Justice was basically put on the witness stand and forced to answer questions from colleagues with whom she has a personal and, apparently as to some, less than easygoing relationship—something that is not unexpected given that their mandate as an institution and as individual members of the Court mean that they are expected to butt heads, when necessary, over critical legal issues. The proceedings, especially those involving the CJ’s personal testimony, uncomfortably seemed like an interrogation, during which her counsels were verbally and directly berated for conferring with her because it annoyed some justices, under a situation where it isn’t even clear if her counsels were allowed to object to certain lines of questioning. Not even those charged with the most heinous of crimes under our current criminal justice system has been subjected to such an unstructured, for lack of a better word, interrogation. Add to this the fact that the manner and substance of the questioning of some members of the Court, some even making not-sosubtle personal digs at the CJ that seemed irrelevant to the issue at hand, seemed to manifest deeply held resentments, if not outright contempt, for the CJ that, to an onlooker, seemed to negate their possession of the cold impartiality of an unbiased judge.

5


PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

In fact, if this were a real jury, it may very well be that many of them would already be disqualified, not the least because some of them were, at some point, her rivals to the post she now holds. In fact, to a spectator, it would seem that some of the statements and qualifications that were made appeared to be laying the foundation for distinguishing their own case (i.e., as to the sufficiency of their submitted requirements) from that of the CJ. The nightmarish surreality of what could happen to our judicial system is beyond comprehension. It’s almost as disturbing as realizing that we have a SolGen who can’t even explain, in his own words, his understanding of what “integrity” means. I remain hopeful that the proceedings the other day is not necessarily an indication of how the justices and, thus, the SC, will eventually rule. All members of the Court still have the opportunity to prove that they have the self-awareness to recognize their own inclinations, susceptibilities and personal feelings, and the courage to set them aside and surrender their own hubris in order to protect the independence of the Judiciary and be the champions of the Rule of Law. They still have the chance to rise to the challenge of proving themselves to be the sober, impartial arbiters of fairness and justice that they are mandated to be, and that the nation needs them to be. It is perhaps poetic that the core issue is not even the SALN, but the possession of integrity. In this case, it is not just the CJ’s integrity that is being put to the test. I am hopeful that they—each of them as individuals and collective as an institution—will prove themselves as having that all-important qualification.

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PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

Dispatch 281 ELECTION PROTESTS FOR PROPAGANDA ENDS 12 April 2018 The Marcos propaganda machine is on full gear in the election protest case Bongbong Marcos filed against Vice President Leni Robredo. This was probably always Bongbong Marcos’s gameplan. The key in this propaganda strategy is misinformation to undermine the 2016 elections. This is ironic not only for Bongbong, but for the Marcos family as a whole. These are the same elections that put Duterte in power and who, in turn, revived the moribund Marcos’s claim to history by paying tribute to the Marcos legacy and allowing the dictator’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. What is sauce for the goose should also be sauce for the gander. But the Marcos argument is that while the elections reflected the true winner for President, its results produced a fake winner for Vice President. According to the spin, this is proven by wet ballots, missing audit logs and voters’ receipts, pre-shaded ballots, and grass inside ballot boxes. The allegations are of course patently inconclusive to prove anything remotely related to cheating, much less cheating in favor of VP Leni, that no self-respecting election lawyer would repeat the Marcos propaganda. Only empty vessels like Mocha Uson are ignorant enough to echo the propaganda in copy-pasted form, without even bothering to change the Marcos propaganda press release for some semblance of originality. The truth is that up to the present, and at this late stage of the entire VP election protest saga, Bongbong Marcos is still unable to present any categorical evidence of cheating in VP Robredo’s favor, whether perpetrated by her or on her behalf. Like Francis Tolentino’s election protest against me, Marcos’s protest relies entirely on the acoustics of a well-oiled propaganda blitz. Both are based on empty charges, and repeat the perennial election loser mantra that the evidence that proves that they were cheated is the fact that they lost. It is an argument based on the tautology that losing 7


PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

is equal to having been cheated, when the explanation can be as simple as the more probable occurrence, and which almost always is the fact, that more voters voted for their opponent than them. The bitter truth that cannot be accepted by election losers is the fact that they actually lost, and that their opponents can actually be incapable of cheating, unlike them. This is the second tautological argument of election losers. It goes like this: “Like me, everybody cheats. The fact that I lost means I was cheated.” Well, maybe sometimes they lost because they didn’t cheat enough. Regardless, whatever tautological argument Marcos uses, the law requires proof. Wet ballots are not enough. Allegations of pre-shaded ballots are not enough. So-called findings of audit logs and voters’ receipts not found inside the ballot boxes are not enough. Grass inside ballot boxes is not enough. Resigning Head Revisors is not enough. Like Tolentino, Marcos cannot win his election protest by acoustics alone. Every election lawyer knows that. You win election protests by showing proof during the recount and revision that you actually got more votes than your opponent. Tolentino failed to do that, as I garnered more additional votes than him during the recount/revision. Let us see if Marcos can do better than Tolentino, although I highly doubt that. After automation, successful election protests became hard to come by, precisely because of the difficulty of vote-padding and shaving in the Statements of Votes, where wholesale election cheating was usually done in the past, i.e., during the canvassing of election returns. Not a lot of election protests were successful in proving such kind of wholesale cheating, the kind large enough to reverse election results, since the advent of election automation. There is no reason why this time it would be any different for either Marcos or Tolentino. They should stop exploiting their respective election protests for propaganda ends. They should just admit that they simply lost, and concede. That’s what gentlemen would do.

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PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

Dispatch 297 PRESS FREEDOM IN DUTERTE’S TIME AND FAKE NEWS 3 May 2018 Today, we pay tribute to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving as the messengers of truth: the members of the press. Reporters, camera men, and the crew behind news teams, all of whom work day in and day out, taking risks to keep us informed of the state of the country and of the world. Even before President Duterte came into power, unfortunately, our country has been known to be a dangerous place for journalists in the same league with Iraq and Afghanistan, both embroiled in civil strife for decades now. Many Filipino journalists made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of truth and accountability of those in power and yet just a few years later, they have become nameless and nearly forgotten. Who among us could still remember media persons killed because they exposed corruption and wrongdoings like Dr. Gerry Ortega of Palawan and Marlene Esperat of Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao? Or has anyone of us still recall even just one name of those journalists killed in the infamous Maguindanao Massacre? This sad reality contributes to impunity that further endangers the lives of truth seekers, especially under the current administration.

Sa katunayan, lalo pang tumindi ang pag-atake sa media nang maluklok si Duterte na allergic sa mga kritisismo na dapat sana’y normal lang sa isang demokrasya. Tingnan na lang po natin ang ginawang panggigipit sa Rappler, ang pagbabawal kay Pia Ranada at Maria Ressa na makatuntong sa Malakanyang at makapag-cover sa mga aktibidad ng Pangulo. Dobleng sampal din po sa propesyon ng pamamahayag ang ginagawang paggamit ng administrasyong ito sa fake news upang linlangin ang mamamayan at usigin ang mga tumututol tulad po ng ginawang pagsira at paghusga sa aking integridad. Fake news undermines the integrity and tears the fibers of the journalism profession. In the process of peddling lies, purveyors of fake news have exerted efforts to discredit established media outfits and personalities so that their lies will prevail. 9


PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

By distorting the truth, Duterte’s troll army has managed to project their master as a benevolent but disciplinarian father of the nation but in truth, he is an authoritarian ruler aspiring to be a dictator for life. Social media mercenaries were also instrumental in this government’s controversial programs such as the war on drugs and its attacks on human rights and democratic institutions like the Commission on Human Rights and the Supreme Court.

Ngayong araw, muli nating pagnilayan ang kahalagahan ng malayang pamamahayag sa isang malusog na demokrasya. Responsible journalism allows people to make informed opinions on issues, guides their participation in public decisions and address immediate problems and strategic concerns that determine the fate of our nation. As we join the world in commemorating World Press Freedom Day, we join the fight against media repression and against the proliferation of fake news. Lies, manipulated harassments are the main weapons of fascists and dictators but in the long run, they are no match to truth and democracy. Dispatch 301 COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS 5 May 2018 Today marks the 31st year of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the most maligned and ridiculed government institution at the instigation of no less than President Duterte himself since the very beginning of his term almost two years ago. On this day, let us strongly remind Duterte that it was the mother law of the land that mandated the creation of this office, and that among the State Policies found in Art. 2 is: “The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” The framers of the 1987 Constitution ensured that this would not just remain on paper, by tasking the State to establish the CHR under Art. 13, Secs. 17-19.

Pero bakit po mismong ang pinuno ngayon ng ating gobyerno ang lumalabag sa probisyong ito ng ating Saligang Batas? At hindi lamang 10


PART I: FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW

po binabale-wala ang CHR kundi may aktibong kampanya at tuloytuloy na atake ang administrasyong ito upang gawing inutil ang CHR sa paggampan ng tungkulin nito. Ilang taon din po akong namuno at kumilos sa loob ng institusyong ito kaya masakit sa kalooban ko ang nangyayari. Hindi ba’t dito rin nagugat ang galit sa akin ni Duterte dahil mayor pa lang sya ay inimbestigahan ko na ang mga extra-judicial killings sa Davao. During my stint with CHR, I had a first-hand experience of its importance as a redress mechanism and as a refuge, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized among our citizens when their rights are threatened and violated.

Personal ko pong narinig at nasaksihan ang hinaing ng mga urban poor na kahit walang maayos na konsultasyon at sapat na relokasyon ay basta na lang dine-demolish ang kanilang mga barung-barong. Pumunta rin po ako sa mga kapatid nating katutubo na sa kabila ng panunuhol, pananakot at karahasan ng mga mining companies, ay buong tapang na pinagtanggol ang kalikasan, ang kanilang kabuhayan at lupaing ninuno. Yes, that was how I internalized the value of human rights, the very concepts that Duterte abhors so much that he and his minions have plunged our country into the worst human rights crisis, as Human Rights Watch (HRW) puts it, since Marcos’ regime. Still, I am not disheartened, because the CHR of today, despite the intimidation and pressure from Malacaùang, remains defiant and active working towards full respect, promotion and fulfilment of our rights. Personally, I am proud that it did not flinch nor was silenced when Duterte allies in Congress threatened to give CHR a zero budget. To the CHR officials and personnel, I commend you for continuing to hold the line for human rights. We may be in a dark time now but I know that this country and the global community will never run out of brave and compassionate people that despite overwhelming odds will never falter in the fight for human dignity and freedoms.

Tuloy po ang laban para sa dignidad at karapatan ng bawat isa!

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Credit: Cebu Daily News

Dispatch 305 JUDICIAL TYRANNY 11 May 2018 The Supreme Court decision ousting Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is probably the greatest travesty of justice committed by the High Court since the 1973 case of Javellana v. Executive Secretary, where the Supreme Court then ushered in the era of the Marcos Dictatorship. This one ushers in another era of another dictatorship as the Court once again puts an end to the last gasps of a dying constitutional democracy. Signed by justices who themselves hurled complaints and grievances against the Chief Justice and who testified against her before the House of Representatives, the decision carries the judge-jury-executioner type of justice that is only handed down by kangaroo courts. This is the sum and substance of the Court’s action ousting Sereno. No amount of legal sophistry and gobbledygook can hide the fact that 12


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the Court not only violated the constitutional provision that members of the Court can only be removed by impeachment. More than that, the decision in effect proclaimed the Supreme Court as supreme over the Constitution itself. Beyond interpreting the Constitution, the Court is now the editor of the supreme law, changing it whenever the Court deems it to be so convenient under the guise of interpretation. The Supreme Court wants to be the law of the land and rule through judicial tyranny. President Duterte now has his partnership. But this partnership won’t last long. There can only be one absolute despot, and it will not be the justices of the Court. The majority of the justices would like to think that they had just made the Supreme Court more powerful with Sereno’s ouster. Quite the contrary, they have just destroyed it together with the rest of the judiciary. Nothing will now stop Duterte from finishing off the rest of our democratic institutions. St. Thomas More said that the devil can be stopped so long as the laws of the land are not entirely mowed down, because it is the law that stands between us and the devil. Sereno was not given the benefit of law. The Court has cut down the supreme law of the land just to remove her. We might have just witnessed the cutting of the last law that still stands between us and the devil. Dispatch 350 THE INTEGRITY OF OMBUDSMAN CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES 26 July 2018

Nalulungkot po akong masaksihan ang pagtatapos ng termino ni Hon. Conchita Carpio-Morales bilang punong Ombudsman, matapos ang pitong taon ng kapuri-puring serbisyo sa taumbayan. Ombudsman Chit could have chosen to enjoy her time with her grandchildren after retiring from the judiciary in 2011. Instead, she chose to take on the tremendous challenge of leading the Office of the Ombudsman, and of repairing its then damaged integrity under a predecessor who had valued debts of gratitude to former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. 13


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Ombudsman Chit did this, because she wanted to assure her grandchildren that, in her own words, “tomorrow will be a better day.”

At totoo nga, naging tapat siya sa kanyang pangako. Under her watch, the Office of the Ombudsman reduced its case backlog drastically. In fact, Ombudsman Chit sacrificed her weekends just to work on cases, saying that justice itself demanded this. The delivery of justice, she said, meant acting quickly on citizens’ petitions and grievances, yet measuring painstakingly how each decision would impact the entire justice system.

Nagtagumpay si Ombudsman Chit sa paghubog ng isang kultura ng integridad sa kanyang kagawaran. Nagabayan niya ang kanyang mga imbestigador at mga prosekutor na hindi bumigay sa panggigipit ng mga pulitikong hayok sa kapangyarihan at walang pananagutan sa taumbayan. Kaya naaangkop lamang na nagawaran siya ng Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service noong 2016. After restoring the image of her office, Ombudsman Chit was then forced to deal with a new President who clearly holds the rule of law in contempt, consistently disregarding it in most of his actions. Whoever will replace her will have big, big shoes to fill. Her legacy should not be wasted by the next Ombudsman. We may never again see this level of integrity in our public officials—or at least not for a long time. Definitely not under this Duterte administration where justice has been so twisted to the extent that drug lords, vigilante killers and corrupt officials remain untouched while thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings were left to fend for themselves. Not only that. The justice system was weaponized so that Malacañang could go after critics like how they fabricated drug charges against me in a failed bid to silence me. Ombudsman Chit is one of the few bright lights left in the leadership posts of a government enveloped in encroaching darkness. Nakakalungkot meron na namang mawawala sa mga natitirang liwanag sa ating pamahalaan.

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She may be a private citizen now, but she continues to be a brave warrior for justice and accountability. Just take note how she, on her last few days in office, took parting shots against the highest court that ‘nipped in the bud’ the plunder case against Gloria Arroyo. To Ombudsman Chit, thank you for your years of exemplary service to the people. Your grandchildren are waiting. I hope that you will be able to make up for the lost time. Dispatch 353 THE DISMISSAL OF DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN ARTHUR CARANDANG 3 August 2018 The dismissal of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Malacañang tells us several things.

Carandang by

First, Duterte has no respect for the law. The Supreme Court already ruled that the President has no disciplinary power over the Ombudsman deputies. Duterte does not care about this. Second, Duterte is telling incoming Ombudsman Martirez that he is better off not to question Malacañang’s usurpation of the Ombudsman’s disciplinary authority over his Deputies. Third, Duterte will stop at nothing to prevent the world from finding out the true extent of his hidden wealth and that of his family, amassed through years of corruption and illegal activities, including the drawing of public funds for ghost employees and other questionable City Hall expenses as flagged by the COA. Fourth, Duterte’s action exemplifies how impunity is running this government, and how closer to a dictatorship we have become, ensuring the impotence of independent investigative bodies like the Office of the Ombudsman, unless Martirez does the right thing and stands up to Malacañang’s challenge. Lastly, Duterte is deathly afraid of being exposed as the corrupt public official that he truly is, and will stop at nothing to go after Carandang or any other government investigator who dares to make him accountable 15


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to the people. There will be no accountability for Duterte as long as he is in power. A government position to him is nothing but a platform for abuse and impunity. That is how he has always seen public office, whether as mayor or president. Dispatch 374 NAKED TYRANNY, RAPE OF JUSTICE 6 September 2018 Political persecution is something we always expected from Duterte. What we did not expect is the swiftness of how our institutions would be coopted and our laws bastardized by an authoritarian President. The effects of amnesty, the principle of double jeopardy, and the judicial nature of arrest warrants have long been established in our legal system. We did not expect that it will take only one strongman to demolish the legal system and all its fundamental principles in one fell swoop. This is what Duterte has achieved in ordering the arrest of Senator Trillanes without any judicial warrant, despite a case dismissal that has become final and executory, and with the illegal goal of putting him in double jeopardy. The criminal case of Sen. Trillanes for the crime of coup d’ etat has been closed years ago. It has long been dead and buried and, because of the amnesty granted to him, long forgotten. Amnesty, like death, extinguishes all criminal liability. There is neither a crime nor a criminal case to speak of. Not even the court that tried Trillanes’s case can bring it back from the dead. But these are different times. This is the age of Duterte, where anything can be made to stand on its head, where the law can be twisted any which way Duterte wants, where institutions like the AFP, PNP and the DOJ will readily follow illegal orders, and where dead cases can be brought to life. When neither finality of judgments nor the proscription against dou16


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ble jeopardy can protect citizens from State persecution, then we have indeed reached that point when we can say that we are now under a naked tyranny. No matter how the government’s lawyers legitimize the tyrannical act with their bastardized version of what the law is, this unprecedented action against Sen. Trillanes will remain to be an illegal and a profoundly deceitful act. No army of lawyers large enough, and stupid enough, can defend it. No amount of legal verbosity and pedantry can justify it. It is nothing less than an assault on the law and the rape of justice. And just like women, who are raped not because they are beautiful but because there are rapists, justice is raped in the case of Senator Trillanes, not because justice deserves to be raped, but because there is a rapist out there. His name is Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and he wants to be first in line in the gang-rape of justice by this government. We will never forget all the others who fell in line behind him. Dispatch 388

AQUINO, DIOKNO, TAÑADA—NOON AT NGAYON, SUBOK NA MAAASAHAN 26 September 2018

Ninoy Aquino, Pepe Diokno at Lorenzo Tañada. Mga pangalang nakilala noong panahon ng diktadurang Marcos dahil sa kanilang katapangan at kabayanihan. Malaki ang naiambag nila sa pagkamit ng kalayaang mayroon tayo ngayon. Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno at Erin Tañada. Mga pangalang nakikilala naman ngayon sa panahon ng bagong diktadura ni Duterte dahil sa kanilang paninindigan at paglilingkod sa mamamayan. Ipinagpapatuloy ang mga nasimulan ng kanilang mga bayaning kapamilya. Malaki ang naiiambag at maiiambag pa nina Sen. Bam Aquino, Dean Chel Diokno, at Cong. Erin Tañada sa pagbawi ng ganap na kalayaan at dignidad ng ating bayan. Yesterday during a simple yet meaningful session of the Liberal 17


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Party’s National Executive Council (LP NECO) held in a basketball court in Quezon City, Sen. Bam, Dean Chel and Atty. Erin were named in the initial list of the party’s candidates for Senator in next year’s midterm elections. As with the cheering crowd in the venue and the many more supporters and allies who have learned about the good news, I am extremely elated about the announcement of their names, names which are “super brands” in Philippine politics and history. They are all my good friends, and they are people I truly admire. Sen. Bam is a dependable ally in the Senate minority, and has made an indelible mark as a champion of education, entrepreneurship and technological innovations in our country. Dean Chel is one of my lawyers par excellence, and a partner in many battles for our people’s civil liberties and basic freedoms. Cong. Erin is a respected party leader, and has been a generous spokesperson and fellow exponent of our shared advocacies for democracy, human rights and rule of law in our country. The Liberal Party has indeed made the perfect choices for their Senatorial candidates. The decision is symbolic as it is well considered. Sen. Bam Aquino, Dean Chel Diokno and Atty. Erin Tañada represent the very best and the very brightest who are willing and able to engage in a brave brand of politics as much as they embody the virtues of servant leadership. Sila at ang mga kagaya nila ang kailangan natin sa yugtong ito ng ating kasaysayan. In his book, “Courage!”, my good friend Prof. Ed Garcia listed the three (3) best qualities and traits that a good Filipino leader should have, namely: character, competence, and courage. Yan ang mayroon sina Sen. Bam, Dean Chel at Cong. Erin. Hangad ko ang tagumpay nilang tatlo na magiging tagumpay rin ng bayang Pilipino. Dispatch 394 APPEAL TO FIRST-TIME VOTERS 1 October 2018 A few days ago, my only nephew, Marcel, became a first-time voter. He was among the many who endured the long lines and punishing heat in Comelec offices in different parts of the country. Last Saturday was the last day of registration of voters for next year’s 18


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elections. At gaya sa ibang mga deadline, kilo-kilometrong pila ng mga naghahabol na mga tao—karamihan ay kabataan—ang nakita natin. Procrastination is a bad trait. Pero, sabi nga nila, mas maigi pa rin ang umabot kahit sa huling araw kaysa naman hindi.

Mahahalagang bagay ang nakataya sa pagiging botante. No less than the power and privilege to participate in elections, referenda and plebiscites is given to a voter. And it is through these political exercises that the destiny of our country is being shaped and defined with the kind of leaders that we elect and the program of government that we choose. Walang ibang pagkakataon, kundi sa halalan, nararamdam natin na ang tunay na makapangyarihan ay ang sambayanang Pilipino. Pantay-pantay rin ang karapatan ng lahat sa pagboto. Anuman ang edad, kasarian at katayuan sa lipunan, may parehong pagkakataon ang bawat isa na makibahagi sa pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng halalan. These awesome truths—that sovereignty truly resides in the people, and that every voter has an equal chance to vote and to effect changes— should have special meaning at this time in our nation’s history. In a dying democracy, in the face of rising authoritarianism—the kind that destroys and disorients—this is the most opportune time to regain what’s left of our dignity as Filipinos and remains in our civilized society, through the power of the ballot. Let that power speak the truth and call out the excesses and abuses of authority. Let that power confront and correct all the lies, deception and corruption that blacken the Filipino soul.

Kay Marcel at sa mga bagong botanteng Pilipino: Salamat sa inyong pagsisikap na makilahok. Gamitin ninyo ang bago ninyong kapangyarihan sa pagboto para sa katotohanan, katwiran at katarungan sa ating lipunan. Nasa inyo at sa iba pang mga botante ang kinabukasan ng ating bayan. Dispatch 401 JUSTICE CARPIO, A LEADER THE JUDICIARY DESERVES 15 October 2018 Amidst issues of great national importance that call out on the 19


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members of the Judiciary to preserve their independence and to do their part in upholding the Rule of Law and our Democracy, I am happy and relieved to find out that Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio has accepted the nomination to be the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. While it is indubitable that he possesses the legal acumen and reasoning prowess to merit appointment to the highest judicial post in the country, it is his integrity and active patriotism that I respect the most. He has been passionately, consistently and proactively defending our sovereignty against foreign incursions—physical, economic, political and otherwise. He has shown that being a patriot is not inconsistent with maintaining the dignity and neutrality of a magistrate as, in fact, defending and advocating for the preservation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity are essential aspects of the solemn duty that every public official undertakes whenever they take the oath to protect the Constitution and our system of government. I sincerely believe that Justice Carpio is the leader that the Judiciary deserves, and the champion of the Rule of Law that the Filipino people need. Dispatch 405

ANG TALINO AT PRINSIPYO NI ROMULO MACALINTAL 17 October 2018

Anu-ano ang dala-dala ng isang Romulo Macalintal sa 2019 eleksyon, sa ating oposisyon, at sa Senado? Napakarami. Napakamakahulugan. I’ve known Romy Mac since my years of practice as an election lawyer before. Ilan-ilan lang kami noon sa ganitong field of law practice kaya madalas na kami-kami lang din ang magkakaharap o magkakasama sa mga kaso. Natural, dahil mabait si Romy Mac, naging magkaibigan kami. I even recall my happy experience of having collaborated with him when we lawyered for VP Leni before the National Board of Canvassers in May 2016. I have seen up close how Romy Mac works, how he deals with the 20


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authorities, his clients, the opposing party, and the general public. I’m deeply impressed. He’s a highly competent and trustworthy counsel and advocate. S’ya yong tipong gusto mong makakampi at makasama sa panig mo kapag may laban ka.

Higit sa lahat: Romy Mac is highly principled. Uncompromising. Devoutly Christian. You may disagree with him on some points of law and matters of evidence, but you cannot question his values and moral scruples. Kaya respetado s’ya ng kanyang mga kliyente, ng kanyang mga kapwa abogado, at ng kanyang mga nakatrabaho. Hindi lang s’ya magaling, kundi matino. At hindi lang s’ya matino, kundi mahusay. Kaya asset sya sa oposisyon. Dala-dala nya ang talino at prinsipyong lubhang kailangan ngayon sa ating Senado. Higit pa rito: He’s carrying the banner for the underprivileged and marginalized sectors, such as our senior citizens and persons with disability (PWD). At marami na syang napatunayan sa kanyang mga adbokasya patungkol dito. He is a true champion of the least, the last and the lost among us. Sa madaling salita: bitbit ni Romy Mac ang dunong, dibdib at puso. S’ya ang kailangan natin sa Senado. Dispatch 406 FLORIN HILBAY, MORE THAN EQUAL TO THE SENATE TASK 17 October 2018

“Nasaan ang kabataang mag-aalay ng kanilang kasibulang buhay, ng kanilang adhikain at sigasig sa kabutihan ng bansa? Nasaan ang siyang puspusang magbubuhos ng dugo upang hugasang lahat ang ating kahihiyan, ang ating mga kalapastanganan, ang ating kabalintunaan?” 21


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Mga linya ito ni Padre Florentino sa El Filibusterismo ni Gat Jose Rizal kung saan hinahanap n’ya ang kabataang handang maglingkod sa bayan. Napapanahon ngayon ang hamong ito kung saan ang “kahihiyan”, “kalapastanganan”, at “kabalintunaan” na kagagawan ng kasalukuyang pamahalaan ay tumatawag pa rin sa atensyon at kahandaan ng ating mga kabataan. Among the young leaders today who are living up to the challenge of Padre Florentino, who are willing and able to answer the call of service to the country and its people, a true champion stands out. He is Florin Hilbay. Brilliant, dynamic and courageous, Florin epitomizes what’s best and brightest of today’s Filipino youth, the kind that fires up the resistance and fuels the drive to regain what’s rightly ours: dignity, equality, and decency.

Si Florin ay matalino, matapang, at maprinsipyo. I have proven it countless times as I have personally observed how he works, and how he tremendously values the causes that he espouses—whether as SolGen, law professor, and one of my counsels. Alam ni Florin na ang mga ipinaglalaban nya ay higit pa sa kanya. Alam n’ya na ang lahat ng talino, tapang at sigasig na nasa kanya ay kailangan n’yang gamitin sa tama at makatwiran. And, Florin Hilbay is more than equal to the task. He exceeds any expectation.

Nang nalaman kong tatakbo si Florin sa Senado, kampante ako sa kanyang kakayahan at kahandaan. Kumpyansa rin ako na malaki ang kanyang maiiambag sa oposisyon at sa mga kinakatawan nito: isang dinamikong alternatibo sa bulok at palpak na pamamahala; isang nararapat na pamalit sa berdugo, sinungaling at tiwaling gobyerno. Kay Florin Hilbay at iba pang lider-kabataan: salamat sa inyong prinsipyo, sakripisyo at pamumuno. Kayo ang dapat nasa Senado at Kongreso para sa bayang Pilipino.

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Dispatch 407

SAKRIPISYO PARA SA BAYAN NI MAR ROXAS 18 October 2018 If there is one thing I learn about leadership in all my years in public service, it is this: Leadership is largely about making sacrifices, about serving the people with selflessness, with the need to place the common good ahead of personal interests. I have come across so many good leaders—I even had the opportunity to work with some of them—observing that each has a different personality and style. One of them is exceptionally good. He clearly stands out because of his consistent sense of selfless service for the people. He is Manuel Roxas II, or simply Mar Roxas. We’re familiar with Sec. Mar’s life story. In 1993, at age 36, he abandoned a lucrative job in investment banking in New York, and went home to Capiz to run as congressman and finish the term left by his brother, who prematurely passed away while in office. In 2009, after getting assured of being LP’s standard bearer, he gave way to PNoy to run for President in the 2010 elections. And, then, just 2 days ago, coming out of his happy semi-retirement in politics for more than 2 years now, he filed his candidacy for Senator in the next year’s elections. In his own words, which I copied from a transcribed version of the video he posted on FB: “May dahilan ba para ipagkait ko ang tulong ko sa mga nangangailangan? Wala. And so here we are. I don’t have any quit in me and I won’t quit on our country.” I had the chance to talk to Sec. Mar several days after my birthday last August. It was a Sunday when, as usual, he brought delicious homecooked food. I did some convincing for his Senate run, saying that many are hoping for it. He said he’s seriously considering, but needed to further reflect. It was thus quite a relief, an indescribable joy, hearing that Sec Mar filed his COC.

Kung tutuusin, wala na talagang kailangan pang patunayan si Sec Mar sa kanyang kakayahan, katalinuhan at sinseridad sa pagiging lingkod bayan. Beteranong Senador na Ama ng maraming magagandang batas sa edukasyon, kalusugan, negosyo, pamumuhunan at trabaho. Res23


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petadong kalihim sa ilalim ng 3 Pangulo na nag-iwan ng mahuhusay na programa at proyekto sa Trade and Industry, Transportation and Communications, at Interior and Local Government. Hinding-hindi matatatawaran ang husay, galing, at katapatan sa tungkulin ni Sec Mar. Sa kabila ng lahat ng kanyang mga nagawa na, at kahit hindi na n’ya talaga kailangan pang sumabak muli sa pulitika ay etong muli si Sec. Mar. Nagsasakripisyo. Inaalok muli ang sarili—talino, sigasig, karanasan at kakayahan—para sa kapakanan ng sambayanan. Suklian sana natin si Sec Mar ng ating suporta at patuloy na pagtitiwala. S’ya ang isang lider na kailangan ng ating bansa ngayon. It is his brilliance, his brand of principled politics, and his servant leadership that we badly need in our Senate today. Kay Sec Mar: Maraming salamat muli sa iyong patuloy na sakripisyo para sa bayan. Mabuhay ka! Dispatch 408 THE MORAL COURAGE OF GARY ALEJANO 22 October 2018 Moral courage is a rare commodity in our country. Under the current climate of fear and terror in an emergent authoritarianism, seldom do we find someone—especially a politician—who has the guts and grit to speak truth to power and call out the excesses of authority. Gary Alejano belongs to that unique breed of courageous leaders. Naninindigan nang buong tapang at karangalan. Tunay na mandirigma at pinuno.

Hindi ito nakapagtataka. Halos alamat na ang katapangan at kagitingan ni Gary. Noong siya’y sundalo pa, tinanghal s’yang bayani sa kanyang matagumpay na pagtugis sa mga bandido at terorista. Marami rin ang humanga kay Gary, na kasamahan ni Sen. Sonny Trillanes at iba pang mga sundalong Magdalo sa pagsiwalat at paglaban sa katiwalian at pag-abuso ng gobyernong Arroyo. Sa kasalukuyang Kongreso, buong tapang na tumitindig si Cong. Gary sa mga kalapastanganan ni Duterte at kanyang mga alipores na pinatunayan sa paghain n’ya ng impeachment complaint laban sa Pangulo, pagsumite ng reklamo sa ICC ukol sa mga patayan sa drug 24


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war, at maraming resolusyon at pahayag kontra sa pagbenta ng soberanya at interes ng Pilipinas pabor sa mga Tsino at maraming insidente ng korapsyon sa iba’t ibang sangay ng pamahalaan. And, Gary Alejano is not just a brave politician. He has the strength of character that inspires hope and uplifts the spirit of the people around him. I’ve personally witnessed this a number of times, like when he visited me last February during the first anniversary of my unjust detention, when he attended a get-together of friends and allies for my birthday last August, and when he relayed occasional messages for me. All these gestures—especially the encouraging words from him—have helped buoyed my spirit and motivated me to keep going.

Kaya labis akong natuwa sa pagtakbo ni Gary para Senador. S’ya at ang mga katulad n’ya ang lubhang kailangan ng bansa sa ngayon. Matapang. Maprinsipyo. Nagbibigay pag-asa. These extraordinary times in the life of our nation demand an extraordinary brand of politics, of a kind that is brave and principled yet remains grounded. We need leaders who have the will and capacity to confront the powerful, and the imagination and ability to lead the powerless. They will not shirk in their responsibility to the people, even as they have to make decisions on the basis of conviction not expediency or political survival. We badly need such leaders in this time and place. We badly need Gary Alejano at the Senate. Dispatch 414 SAMIRA GUTOC-TOMAWIS, THE FACE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE 25 October 2018 You may not know SAMIRA GUTOC-TOMAWIS, but she knows us. You may not be familiar with her face, but she’s the face of the ordinary Filipina. Samira first broke into the national consciousness on 22 July 2017, when she valiantly spoke before the joint session of Congress that resolved to extend the martial law in Mindanao. A Maranao and Bangsamoro

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woman leader, she recounted the stories of abuses suffered by the Bangsamoro people resulting from the Marawi siege and the martial law in Mindanao.

May 22 bangkay na Muslim na hindi malibing-libing ng 60 araw na. May isang 20-anyos na special child na binuhusan ng mainit na tubig ang kamay habang pinupukpok ng baril. May 26 na mga lalaki na matapos iligtas ay piniringan, pinaghubad at marahas na na-interrogate. May isang buntis na nakipagsiksikan sa social ward ng ospital na nasaksakan ng gamot nang maraming beses at nagresulta sa kamatayan ng kanyang sanggol. Samira’s stories must be told and re-told. At ang kanyang mga kwento ay dapat namang mapakinggan ng bayan at aksyunan ng mga kinauukulan.

Ngunit higit pa sa mga kwento ay ang kwenta ng nagkukwento, si Samira mismo. Samira represents the deepest aspirations of our people, the dreams and longings of the women, the minorities, and other marginalized and vulnerable groups in our society. She is the face of social justice. She is the strong voice of reason, passion and compassion aching for every one of us to have a seat at the table.

Dala-dala ni Samira ang lalim at lawak ng pambansang diskurso, ng kinakailangang pagmamalasakit upang tugunan ang pangangailangan ng bawat isa, upang mahanap ang ganap at pangmatagalang solusyon para manumbalik at tumatag ang demokrasya sa Pilipinas at maibangon ang dignidad ng Pilipino. Pakinggan natin si Samira. Bigyang-puwang natin ang kababaihan at minorya. Si Samira ang kailangan para sa isang Senadong para sa lahat. Dispatch 415 OPOSISYON KOALISYON AND THE CONSPIRACY OF HOPE 26 October 2018 The politics of hate and fear brutalizes us. But it need not paralyze and subdue us. It can be confronted and addressed with our will and

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determination. It can even catalyze a common sense of purpose, unleash resistance and resolve, forge unity, and engender hope that things may change for the better.

Ito ang aking paniniwala. Ganito rin sa tingin ko ang ang naging tema at direksyon ng talumpati nung isang araw ni VP Leni Robredo nang ipakilala nya ang Oposisyon Koalisyon para sa eleksyon sa Senado sa susunod na taon. Sinabi n’ya: “Tinitingnan lang natin yung walo, buhay na ulit iyong pag-asa sa ating mga puso. Tinitingnan natin yung walo, sasabihin natin hindi pa naman ubos iyong pag-asa sa pulitika. Mayroon pa tayong pagkakataon para linisin kung anumang dumi ang nandiyan.” Yes, looking at Oposisyon Koalisyon (OK), you’d agree that, despite these dark times, hope still lingers. The coalition itself is a concrete expression of hope, borne from an emerging will and a growing determination of our people to turn back the tide of hatred and the wave of terror that engulf our socio-political landscape. More than the individual personalities, it is what the opposition slate represents and articulates as a collective that really count for more at this time and in this place.

Silang walo ay kumakatawan sa kakayahan at kahandaan ng oposisyon na tindigan at ipaglaban ang mga tunay na isyu ng bayan: kahirapan, pagyurak sa mga karapatan, paglapastangan sa demokrasya at soberanya, at kawalan ng katarungang panlipunan. Silang walo ay malinaw na alternatibo sa bulok at palpak na liderato ng kasalukuyang administrasyon. Silang walo ay maningas na sulo ng pag-asa sa dilim at lagim ng kasalukuyang pulitika. To continue unleashing a new kind of politics, we in the opposition must reach out and engage the broadest masses of our people, trust in the wisdom of our countrymen, and learn to work with them to secure not just electoral victories, but the bigger triumph of rebuilding our nation. Makinig. Matuto. Kumilos. If we are to conspire to keep the hope alive for our country and people, we can decisively turn back the politics of hate and fear. We can reverse the tide of death, destruction and disorientation in our midst. ALEJANO. AQUINO. DIOKNO. GUTOC. HILBAY. MACALINTAL. 27


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ROXAS. TAÑADA. I pray for the success of OK. I pray for a better future for our nation. Dispatch 426 A PRELUDE TO NATIONWIDE MARTIAL LAW 28 November 2018 With election campaign season fast approaching, the objective behind the issuance of Memorandum Order No. 32 on the deployment of additional troops to Samar, the Negros Island, and the Bicol Region on account of “lawless violence” is highly suspect. Although the President has the power to call out the AFP in case of lawless violence, the timing of the additional troop deployments being so close to the campaign season worries us that there are sinister motivations behind the President’s move. For a President that has staked his legacy on maintaining peace and order, Duterte is spending most of his time in office under a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence. This same declaration is what he uses to justify extraordinary measures to respond to what otherwise are just “sporadic acts of violence”, as MO 32 itself admits. Sporadic acts of violence do not constitute lawless violence. This is why the MO remains suspect. It might be intended and used for purposes other than its avowed objective. One of them is influencing and controlling the conduct of the election campaign. Mobility is one of the most important things in an election campaign for any candidate. A candidate has to reach out to the farthest corners of the country in order to get his or her message across to the people and to convince them to vote for him or her. However, the presence of additional troops in certain areas would mean greater control by the military over such area. The military can therefore restrict access to certain areas in the provinces that are the subject of MO 32, under the guise that these areas are unsafe either because of military operations against “lawless elements” or because of the threat posed by the presence of rebels. 28


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The provinces mentioned in MO 32 are areas where the opposition still maintains a significant presence, especially in the Bicol Region. Curtailing the movement of opposition candidates not only in these areas but in other provinces as well will certainly affect the reach of their campaign and the chances of their candidacy. Severely restricting their movements on grounds of national security would indeed be a convenient excuse. Military control can also be used to restrict the exercise of the right to vote, with the aim of effecting a low voter turnout in opposition areas. We still hope that this will not be the case, and that the AFP will remain true to its constitutional mandate and not engage in partisan politics for the benefit of administration candidates and Duterte’s allies. What is worse of course is if MO 32 is used as a prelude to the declaration of Martial Law nationwide. If this happens, then the chances of holding clean and honest elections in May 2019 is as good as dead. The right to suffrage is one of the last remaining basic rights that we still enjoy relatively unimpaired despite the current conditions of political repression and human rights violations under the Duterte regime. We cannot let it suffer the same fate as it is the only remaining voice we have to protest and resist authoritarian rule. Dispatch 434 CONGRATULATIONS MARIA RESSA! SALUTE TO “THE GUARDIANS”! 14 December 2018 There are heroes among us. And though they may not wear capes, they do wield powerful weapons in the form of their words and their endless commitment to truth. And these are the people that Time Magazine chose—very rightly—to honor as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year: a group of people that are simply labeled, “The Guardians,” i.e., the journalists who have been speaking truth to power, and who, as a result, have become victims of retaliation and suppression. They face the scariest of villains for they are the most dangerous 29


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enemies of the public: the politically and economically powerful, who choose to wield their power and influence to subjugate the rest of humanity to further their own, already well-padded, interests. Mayayaman at makakapangyarihan na, nagpapayaman at naghahabol pa ng mas malawak at walang hanggang kapangyarihan. Vampires who greedily suck the lifeblood of society. Yet these heroes continue to fight the good fight—even to the very end, literally—because they realize that they have the greatest of missions: to defend Truth, Freedom, Democracy and Humanity. They are the last stand of the ordinary people. Yet, they are often never recognized. And, worse, they are rarely defended in return when they are the ones who need defending. But sometimes the people do take notice. Unfortunately, it takes the worst acts of oppression and suppression to get the people cheering for their heroes. Of the four covers published to recognize these heroes, two covers, namely, the cover with Ms. Maria Ressa of Rappler and the Reuters journalists who exposed the slaughter of the Rohingya people, represent Defender of Truth who have been imprisoned or criminally charged for trumped-up charges that are intended to neutralize them; while the other two, namely, Mr. Jamal Khashoggi and the five journalists from the Maryland newspaper, The Capital, represent people who have been neutralized and silenced permanently. Yet, that is the greatest weapon of these heroes: attempt to silence them, and their cause just becomes stronger. In the face of oppression and even death, their voices resonate even louder. More importantly, the stories they tell are now heard all over the globe. It is a great honor to us Filipinos that Ms. Ressa has been recognized as among the bravest and effective of these heroes. It is an honor to us Filipinos, not just because she is one of us, but more importantly because she, along with her colleagues in Rappler, has been fighting for us. She is not doing it for glory, or for money. She does it simply because the Filipinos deserve to know the truth. She is, by any measure, a real “People’s Champ.”

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Congratulations to Ms. Ressa! May you continue to fight the good fight. Someday the Filipino people will realize the debt it owes to every single honest-to-goodness journalist, who perseveres in bringing the Truth to the people, even at great personal expense. Dispatch 441 PROJECT MAKINIG, TIME TO LISTEN 26 December 2018

Isa sa pinakabatayang pangangailangan ng tao ay ang umunawa at ang maunawaan. At ang pinakamabisang paraan para makaunawa ay ang makinig. Sa loob ng nakalipas na sampung (10) linggo, umpisa noong Oktubre hanggang ika-15 ng Disyembre, isinagawa sa pamumuno ng Liberal Party ang Project Makinig. Pakay nito ang makalap ang mga kwento, pangarap at pangamba ng mga kababayan natin—maging anuman ang kanilang kasarian, edad o katayuan sa buhay. Meron lamang silang ilang volunteer nang magsimula na umabot sa mahigit 6,000. Mula sa ilang daang usapan lamang noong una, nakaipon ang Project Makinig ng 150,000 conversations mula sa mahigit sa 100 lugar sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa. Tunay na kahanga-hanga! What is also amazing, alongside these achievements of Project Makinig, is the revelation that came from both sides of the volunteers and the people they interacted with: listening is indeed a bridge that can link all of us as a people. We can learn together and teach one another with the stories that we tell each other, along with our fears, longings, and aspirations. There is a common yarn that runs through our tales, a hope that binds, a yearning that unites us: Tungo sa isang bayang tunay na malaya, at isang lipunang para sa lahat.

Sa isang panahon at lugar na pilit tayong nilulunod ng ingay ng propaganda, dagundong ng takot at daing ng pangamba, ang katiwasayan at kapalagayang-loob na dala-dala ng pakikinig ay akmang-akma at naaangkop. Hindi nagtataboy kundi nag-iimbita. Hindi nag-uudyok 31


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ng pagkakahati-hati kundi nag-aanyaya sa pagsasama-sama. Sa gitna ng marahas na kilos at pananalita ng nasa kapangyarihan, at sa harap ng nakabibinging kabastusan at kapusukan ng mismong nasa pamahalaan: kapanatagan at pag-asa ang dala-dala ng mahinanon at taimtim na pakikinig sa isa’t isa. I commend the people behind Project Makinig, especially the volunteers. You are proof that we can rely on citizen action in this dark and cacophonous period of our history. I pray that the momentum and gains of Project Makinig will be sustained and multiplied everywhere.

Mahigpit ang aking paniniwala: hindi lahat ng panahon ay panahon ng pagsasalita. Ngunit lahat ng oras ay oras ng pakikinig. Dispatch 445 THE “FEARLESS FOUR” AND THE IMPERATIVE NEED FOR AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY 9 January 2019 No society can call itself truly just and free without an independent judiciary. On the freedom of the courts depends so much the exercise of our liberties. On the moral authority of the judiciary relies so much of the quality of justice that we pursue. And, an independent judiciary rests largely on the integrity, competence and uprightness of its judges. The Philippine Daily Inquirer honored four (4) courageous judges as Filipinos of the Year 2018. No accolade is more fitting for the “Fearless Four”: Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judges Rodolfo Azucena, Jr. of Caloocan City, Arlene Lirag Palabrica of Tagum City, Alexander Tamayo of Malolos City, and Andres Soriano of Makati City. Judge Azucena convicted three (3) police officers for the extrajudicial killing of minor Kian delos Santos. Judge Palabrica ordered the immediate release of the group of activists led by Ka Satur Ocampo and Rep. France Castro, who were arrested by the military after bringing food and supplies to the beleaguered teachers and pupils in a “Lumad” school in Davao del Norte. Judge Tamayo convicted former Major Gen32


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eral Jovito Palparan and two (2) subordinates for the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of UP students Karen Empeùo and Sherlyn Cadapan. Judge Soriano denied the DOJ’s applications for arrest warrant and hold-departure order on Sen. Sonny Trillanes.

Napapanahon at angkop ang pagkilala sa magigiting na hukom na ito. Patunay sila na sa gitna ng dilim at lagim ng kasalukuyang panahon at pamumuno ay may ningas pa rin ng pag-asa mula sa ilang nananatiling malalaya at matatapang na instrumento ng katarungan. Babala rin sila sa mga abusado at mapaniil. Inspirasyon naman sila sa iba pang mabubuting kawani ng pamahalaan. The Code of Judicial Conduct underscores judicial independence as a pre-requisite to rule of law. Indeed, not only is it a requirement for the maintenance of public order, judicial independence is a cornerstone of constitutional democracy. It assures freedom to the individual; it guarantees the right of determination and development of a people; it safeguards against the persecution and other abuses by the different branches and functionaries of government.

Sa isang malaya at matatag na hudikatura ay makakaasa ng patas na pagtrato ang lahat—maging ang mga magbubukid, manggagawa, katutubo, babae, kabataan, mahihirap, aktibista, kritiko at iba pang naisasantabi at inaapi. An impartial and competent judge always independently acts on the basis of facts and evidence and in accordance with a conscientious understanding and application of the law, free from any extraneous influence or pressure. I therefore salute Hon. Judges Azucena, Palabrica, Tamayo and Soriano and others in their league. May your tribe truly increase! May you serve as exemplars and inspiration to workers in the public sector, diligently treating public office as a public trust, painstakingly striving to regain public confidence in our institutions, and valiantly asserting our democratic values and principles as a people. A hope-filled New Year!

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Dispatches 446 INQUIRER’S FILIPINOS OF THE YEAR FOR 2018 10 January 2019 After issuing Dispatch from Crame No. 445 yesterday, I couldn’t help reflecting further on the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s choice for Filipinos of the Year 2018—the four (4) “courageous judges” who were honored for “rendering judgments that satisfy the people’s clamor for justice, at a time when key institutions or their stewards seem to be under political pressure or payroll.” For all that the voting process was reportedly “hardly contentious”, the implication is deeply unsettling. To be clear, the recipients are truly well-deserving of the honor, and so are all the other nominees, and I laud the PDI for its choice. But this compels us to ask an unsettling question: why are judges—officers of the least political of the three branches of government—being honored for doing what is supposedly the most basic and simplest definition of what they are duty-bound to do? This question becomes even more pressing in light of the most recent decision of Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati—RTC Branch 150, to deny the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Senator Sonny Trillanes questioning the earlier ruling that there was “factual and legal basis” for President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 revoking the amnesty given to Sen. Trillanes by then President Benigno S. Aquino III on the ground that no application for amnesty was filed. This ruling is a deeply disturbing reminder of the state of our justice system as the judge basically abdicated his duty as a trier of facts and as an officer of justice, as it flies in the face of evidence to the contrary. These include a reporter who testified that he saw Sen. Trillanes apply, and the fact of the amnesty itself, which triggers this Administration’s favorite presumption: the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty. If an amnesty has been issued, there is a presumption that the same was issued in the regular performance of duty. It is not up to Sen. Trillanes to prove anything because said application, by its nature, was supposed to be filed and turned over to the custody of the government, which now issued a self-serving Presidential Proc34


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lamation suddenly denying its existence. Since it is a self-serving declaration, the least that the Makati judge ought to have done is to require the Government to rebut the presumption of regularity of the issuance of the amnesty. Until and unless such presumption is rebutted, it is NOT Sen. Trillanes’s burden to prove that it does exist. And, in fact, he did prove it anyway by presenting the reporter who was reporting on events as they happened long before any controversy ever arose. This is supported by other evidence, such as a certification from the Department of National Defense (DND) stating that Sen. Trillanes IV submitted an application for amnesty, wherein he admitted specific crimes, such as mutiny. These evidence are key since the application is in the custody or under the control of adverse party. Instead, the judge ruled that he is “not convinced that there is still a need to conduct a reception of evidence to rule on the factual issues…” Oo nga naman, it is hard to convince someone who has willfully averted his eyes from the truth. Sayang si Judge Alameda. If only he had the courage to stand up for truth and justice, and against the tyranny of weaponizing the law to perpetuate oppression, maybe he, too, would have been named Filipino of the Year. All he had to do was the bare minimum—and yet, apparently, that is too much to ask of a judge these days, esp. those handling high-profile and sensitive cases. These days when facts and logic seem to have no place in this repressive regime, where even courts are being bullied into becoming weapons of tyranny. Injustice, indeed, is not merely the absence of justice, but the perversion of it that turns right into wrong, and wrong into right. We have, indeed, fallen into an upside-down world and the monsters are real. So, this year, 2019, we need more heroes to emerge. More heroes like the judges who were ultimately chosen, but also like the other nominees, who are all in their own ways Filipinos of the Year 2018. This isn’t supposed to be a competition where only one can win. We need all the heroes that are brave enough to step forward. Though they may be hailed as such for doing the simplest thing, we know that they deserve the recognition because when things get tough, it takes persons of character to even keep going. So yes, I hope that each Filipino emerges as a hero in 2019—even if it is 35


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“just” to do the right thing under difficult and tempting circumstances. Even if it is simply because they went out to use their votes wisely by not selling their votes for a pittance, and instead choosing leaders who know what a public servant is and who are willing to be that for us Filipinos. That’s how I hope the Filipino of the Year Award for 2019 will be decided. A year when every Filipino stood up to be a hero for himself and for others. Perhaps it is high time that we stop looking to others to save us, and about time that we see the hero in our own reflection. Because heroism isn’t in the act of doing the right thing, but in the courage to choose to do it against fear and temptation. Dispatch 448 SO-CALLED “ENEMIES OF THE STATE” 12 January 2019 Duterte once again displayed his patent disdain for human rights when he called human rights defenders (HRDs) as “enemies of the State.” Combine this label with his previous threats and this will most likely make human rights advocates targets for harm, harassment or even liquidation. Expectedly, the spokesperson clown Panelo would justify Duterte’s statements as a mere “hyperbole” or even joke. But no amount of rationalization would undo this conditioning of the President and his lackeys that could endanger the lives of HRDs once his fanatical followers, misguided security forces and death squads take Duterte’s cue seriously. Even before this ominous pronouncement, human rights groups report that 85 HRDs have been murdered under the Duterte regime, including Benjamin Ramos, lawyer of farmer victims of the Sagay Massacre in Negros Occidental.

Sino ba ang mga HRDs? Bakit tulad ng mga pari, galit na galit sa kanila si Duterte? Ano ba ang papel nila sa lipunan? Human rights defenders are those who selflessly fight for the rights of 36


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others. They arduously and persistently check and speak out against abuses of power of those in government, safeguarding people’s rights to live in dignity. HRDs exist to fight and counter usurpers and aspiring dictators like Duterte, the real enemies of the State. Duterte is, after all, the instigator of thousands of extra-judicial killings and crass misogyny. He has undermined and co-opted key democratic institutions to persecute critics like myself. Even plunderers were resurrected under Duterte’s watch. He even resorts to blasphemies and incitements to kill bishops in his intensified attacks versus the Church and the Catholic faith. His constant insults and threats versus UN functionaries have jeopardized our standing in the community of nations. Worst of all, he has treasonously sold us out to China for refusing to assert the Hague ruling in exchange for dubious loans. Since the restoration of democracy in 1986, only President Duterte has managed to single-handedly ruin the social and moral fiber of the Philippine society.

Dahil mga HRDs, ang oposisyon at ang simbahan ang patuloy na nagsasalita laban sa mga pag-abusong ito sa kapangyarihan ng kasalukuyang administrasyon, sila rin ang patuloy na inaatake ni Duterte at laging malalagay sa peligro. Given Duterte’s incessant and dangerous tirades against human rights workers, the push for the enactment of the Human Rights Defenders Bill becomes even more urgent and compelling. But what is even more pressing is for the Filipino people not to be intimidated and continue to assert their democratic rights and dignity since they are the ultimate HRDs.

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“Your detention is the biggest symbol of what is wrong with our country; but your faith and courage is also the best symbol of hope for what we can do to heal this land.�

-Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas


PART II HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL WITH TRUTH ON MY SIDE

Dispatch 248 TO THE PRESIDENT’S DEFENDERS AND ENFORCERS 26 February 2018 There are many lessons that I have learned in my 1 year in detention. First, never underestimate the damage that can be done by the spread of misinformation. Second, there are people who are literally paid to do so; they are tireless in spreading their lies because that’s how they become rich, powerful or, at least, how they get “in” with those who are actually rich and powerful. So, no matter how tiresome it might get to contradict their lies, it must be done. For Truth has a way of letting itself known—but only if people tirelessly champion it, even when their feet are held to the proverbial fire. So here I am again, having to contradict the lies, propaganda and false narrative being peddled by Duterte and his henchmen, most recently through the statements of his spokesperson, Harry Roque, who has been so “kind”, “upstanding” and definitely “un-petty” in greeting me a “happy anniversary”. Happy, indeed. I am sure Malacañang is happy to see me suffer. But I don’t feel sorry for myself. I know I am here because I stood for what is right. But I really do feel sorry for Harry Roque. He used to have some semblance of credibility. He held himself out as a defender of the oppressed; a human rights lawyer. Now, it seems he has sold his own identity in exchange for a possible Senate run. Mr. Roque, I understand, aspires to one day call himself a Senator. There is nothing wrong with that per se. But just because he has bartered his dignity and reputation as a human rights lawyer, in exchange for a senatorial berth in the President’s party, it doesn’t mean that everyone are willing to go down that path.

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I, for one, did not go down that path. I value my dignity and independence more than that. No matter how many times Duterte, Alvarez, Roque, Aguirre, Calida, Acosta, Jimenez, Sandra Cam and other political operatives label me as a narco-politician, it will never be true. The plain truth is I am under detention, not because I am the “mother of all drug lords”—ha!—but because Duterte feared being held accountable for the bloodshed he had brought down with his war on drugs, and he— and his allies who have been at the wrong end of a DOJ investigation while I was SOJ—have been frothing at the mouth to get even. So, Mr. Roque may pretend all he wants that he speaks truths—but that is all it is: a pretense. Slowly, eventually, inevitably, the Truth will set me free. But it will shackle Roque and his cohorts in shame. I am innocent. They are not. Dispatch 249

PASASALAMAT PARA SA “BUWAN NI LEILA” 28 February 2018 Lubos po akong nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng mga tumulong upang maging matagumpay ang “Buwan ni Leila” o ang paggunita sa ika-isang taon ng aking di-makatarungang pagkakulong. Nakaabot po sa akin ang ingay at lakas ng panawagang isinisigaw ng mga pagtitipong kasama ang Free Leila Movement (FLM) at iba pang mga grupo, sektor at mga indibidwal na sumuporta. Labis po akong natuwa sapagkat pinatunayan nitong marami at dumarami pa ang mga naniniwalang ako ay inosente at biktima lamang ng mapanupil na rehimeng Duterte. Natitiyak ko pong nababalisa na ang gobyernong ito sapagkat nararamdaman na nila ang pagtutol ng sambayanan sa ginagawa nilang pagbaluktot sa katotohanan, mga demokratikong proseso at hustisya para makontrol ang kapangyarihan. Ngunit mahaba pa po ang laban at mabigat ang hamong hinaharap

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natin. Kailangan natin ang dobleng sipag upang maimulat ang kaisipan ng ating mga kababayang dahil na rin sa kahirapan ay nainip at natukso sa mga kasinungalingan ng isang nangangarap maging diktador, at diktador na nga ngayon. Maaaring nagtatanong kayo kung kelan matatapos ang kadilimang ito, hindi ko rin po alam. Ngunit matibay ang aking paniniwalang kailanman, hindi maaaring magtagumpay ang kasinungalingan laban sa katotohanan. Tuloy po ang laban! Muli, marami pong salamat sa inyong lahat. Mahal ko po kayo. Dispatch 251 SELF-PRESERVATION OVER TRUTH TELLING 2 March 2018 Nakita ko po yung Feb. 25 Twitter post ni Nancy Carvajal hinggil sa pagamin nung close driver/bodyguard ni Kerwin Espinosa na diniktahan lang sya na i-ugnay ako sa amo nya. Simula na kaya ito ng tinatawag kong “truth telling� na matagal ko nang hinihintay? Sana po. Dati ko na pong alam at matagal ko nang sinasabi na gawa-gawa lang lahat ang pagsasangkot nila sakin sa iligal na droga. Tungkol kay Kerwin Espinosa na hindi ko naman talagang kilala, alam rin po ni S/Supt. Jovie Espenido na wala akong kinalaman sa kalakaran sa droga at pilit lang nila akong sinangkot sa usapin ng mga drug dealings ni Espinosa. Hindi nya po siguro aaminin yan, sa ngayon. Pero alam ni

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Espenido ang katotohanan. Ganun din sa Bilibid drug trade. Lahat ng mga paratang nila na diumano’y sangkot ako o kasabwat ako ng mga drug convicts ay malaking kasinungalingan at panlilinlang sa taumbayan. All those so-called witnesses who testified and will testify, linking me to the illegal drug trade have been pressured, threatened or otherwise induced and coached into lying. Kailangan nilang magsinungaling para sa pansariling pag-iingat o pangangalaga (self-preservation) at para rin sa kaligtasan ng sarili nila at ng kanilang mga pamilya at manatiling buhay. May mga trumabaho po sa kanila, sa utos na rin ni Duterte. Matindi po ang kasalanan nila, hindi lang po sakin kundi lalong-lalo na sa sambayanang Pilipino. Hindi man sila mapanagot sa ilalim ng batas ng tao, hindi ho sila makakalusot sa pagpapanagot ng Poong Maykapal. No one escapes Divine justice. Dispatch 262 BIGGEST JOKE OF ALL 14 March 2018 The travesty of the fake war on drugs is that it has never eliminated drug lords or the sources of drugs. It has always targetted those at the lowest level of the drug chain, dealing on them the capital penalty of death without trial and on mere suspicion. In the meantime, big-time dealers like Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Co are given a free pass for supposed lack of evidence, even if two of them admitted to being drug lords under oath. There can be no excuse to both the PNP’s and the DOJ’s failure to bring real drug lords to court and before the bars of justice. They seem to have no problem filing fake drug cases against political opponents of the Duterte administration like me. It appears that the law enforcement and justice machinery of the government under this administration has

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PART II HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL WITH TRUTH ON MY SIDE

already forgotten how to file and prosecute real drug cases. They have become such experts in filing fake drug charges that they have become completely incompetent in the case build-up and the filing of real ones. This makes the drug war useless, as it is fake. The dismissal of the cases against Lim, Espinosa and Co—and let’s not forget the exclusion from the Criminal Informations filed against me of the other self-confessed Bilibid drug lords who turned witnesses against me—is just another instance of the fake drug war, after the failure of government to go to the bottom and find the mastermind of the 6.4 billion smuggled shabu shipment. If the Duterte government is consistent in anything in its drug war, it is in the lack of interest in going after the drug lords and drug deals that matter. In the meantime, thousands are killed for possession of a few ounces of shabu, most of it even planted after a supposed shootout. It should be clear by now that Duterte’s drug war is a big joke, except that the thousands killed in its name are not laughing. Because they are all dead. It is only the real drug lords like Lim, Espinosa, Co and the other Bilibid drug inmates who are laughing—laughing all the way to the bank. And the biggest joke of all? The government tried to hide the dismissal of the cases from the public since December of last year. And now Duterte is pretending to huff and puff at this dismissal. It’s either they were hiding it because they were complicit in the deal with the drug lords (including the deal for the perpetuation of their lies against me), or they are so incompetent as to be completely ignorant of the dismissal a full three months after the fact. The corruption, or the incompetence—pick your choice—is incredible. Dispatch 263 TELL THE TRUTH ESPENIDO 14 March 2018 Consider this as an open letter.

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Ginoong/Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido: Nabasa ko po sa isang online news item yung pahayag nyo na malaki ang magiging epekto sa kaso ko ang DOJ Resolution na binabasura yung kaso laban kay Kerwin Espinosa. Salamat naman at nagpapakita ka ng pagkabahala sa mga kababalaghang pangyayari ngayon—ang pag-abswelto sa mga tunay na drug lords na sina Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, Peter Co at iba pa. But you should do or say more than that. You must reveal what you know about this whole charade. You must reveal the truth about me being falsely implicated by Kerwin Espinosa, and even by yourself, to Espinosa’s drug dealings.

Nalaman nyo po siguro yung binulgar kamakailan lang ni Nancy Carvajal, an investigative journalist, sa Twitter na inamin sa kanya sa isang interview kay Marcelino Adorco, yung driver/bodyguard ni Espinosa (at syang tumayong star witness sa kaso sa DOJ), na nadiktahan lang sya para ituro akong sangkot din sa droga. Hindi ho ba ganun din ang nangyari sa yo, Ginoong Espenido? Diniktahan ka lang ng nakakataas sa yo na isama ako sa so-called list of alleged protectors/beneficiaries of Kerwin Espinosa. At alam mong walang katotohanan yang pagsangkot nila sakin kay Espinosa. May mga pinagsabihan ka po tungkol dito. Ang hamon ko po sayo ngayon ay sabihin nyo na rin po yan sa buong mundo. Magpakatotoo na po kayo. Don’t you get it? You and others, like Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Co and Bilibid drug convicts, are just being used as pawns in this fake and insane War on Drugs, just to satisfy a madman’s bloodlust and his vendetta against his nemesis. You hold yourself out as a diligent and highly committed enforcer of the law, a passionate crime-buster. But law enforcers should not be law breakers. You break the law when you summarily execute human beings, irrespective of their guilt. You break the law when you perjure yourself into implicating an innocent person in a wrongdoing, let alone a drug-related offense.

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You also claim to be God-fearing. Where then is your conscience? Be not a servant of the devil… Dispatch 267 QUESTIONS ON THE DISMISSED CHARGES AGAINST DRUG PERSONALITIES 19 March 2018 This time, PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is talking sense when he laments about DOJ not advising them that the case vs. Kerwin Espinosa, et al. was weak when PNP and DOJ are supposed to be a “team”, under one family, the Executive Branch. Agree. That’s why I’ve been pushing for a Criminal Investigation bill which seeks a fusion of the work of both investigators and prosecutors to strengthen case build-up and ensure a higher success rate in criminal investigations and prosecution. Unfortunately, said bill, like others I filed, does not seem to merit the attention of the current Chair of the Senate Justice Committee. But let me digress. Media has, in the past few days, been reporting about Kerwin Espinosa’s “story” in a Senate inquiry that he gave me P8 million. Media, of course, is just recalling what transpired in that inquiry. But I wish that there’s more context and narration of the total picture in these media items. Yes, Kerwin did say that he gave money to me through Ronnie Dayan, a claim that the latter struggled to “corroborate.” But it was all too clear to anyone listening that their testimonies were laden with glaring, material inconsistencies. Why? Because both lied. And that’s why the case against Espinosa, Dayan, and myself, based on their Senate testimonies, were junked by the DOJ at the PI level, for lack of probable cause. The handling prosecutors could not figure out which of the two starkly contrasting

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versions is acceptable. In short, both testimonies, concocted and perjured as they were, cancelled each other out.

Ngayon naman, sinabi ng CIDG na binawi ni Kerwin yung kanyang testimonya sa Senado. That’s why CIDG had to rely solely on the testimony of Kerwin’s former driver / bodyguard. Teka muna. Kung binawi nya yung pag-amin nya bilang drug lord, malamang binawi rin nya yung kanyang sinabi tungkol sakin. And why reveal such retraction only now? Why was DOJ also mum about such retraction? More questions pls—

Sino ba ang nag-pressure kay Kerwin para imbentuhin yung salaysay nya tungkol sakin? Si Sandra Cam ba na syang nagsundo sa kanya sa Abu Dhabi? Sino ba ang nag-pressure kay Ronnie Dayan para magsinungaling rin? Yun bang mga opisyal ng PNP na nag-escort sa kanya from Pangasinan nung nag “surrender” sya? O si Sandra Cam na naman? Ito pa ho—Sino ang nag-utos kay Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido na panindigan yung kasinungalingan na protector ako ni Kerwin at kasama sa sinasabing blue or pink book daw? Ikaw ho ba, Gen. Bato? You tell us this—Duterte, upon learning DOJ’s exoneration of the drug lords, punched the Palace wall? Kung totoo yan, dahil siguro nakikita na nya na unti-unti nang gumuguho yung bundok ng mga kasinungalingan nila tungkol sakin.

Bakit nyo sinisisi si Aguirre na sumusunod lang naman sa utos ng inyong Boss “to destroy de Lima at all costs”? Yun nga lang, masyadong garapal at palpak yung buong operation na ikinasa ni Aguirre, katulong ng mga katulad ni PAO Acosta, Dante Jimenez, Sandra Cam, Topacio, etc. So, what’s next? Kill them all (Espinosa, Dayan, Rafael Ragos, Peter Co, Herbert Colangco, Jaybee Sebastian, etc.), so as to silence them permanently and to keep them from exposing this monumental tapestry of lies, this huge scandal which resulted in the “grossest injustice

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ever perpetrated in recent memory” (to quote Justice Carpio)? Alam nyo kasing di nyo matatago nang matagalan itong iskandalo na ito.

Ako, papatayin nyo rin? Huwag naman sana. Lalo kayong mabubuking at siguradong uusigin ng taumbayan at ng buong mundo… At mananagot kayo! God forgive all of you… Dispatch 282 FOR TRUTH’S SAKE 13 April 2018 Many questions linger in my mind about the whole DOJ-Kerwin Espinosa-Peter Lim-Peter Co affair. But let me focus first on Kerwin Espinosa. Where is Kerwin Espinosa now? Still with the Witness Protection Program? Is there still basis for his continued WPP coverage? Didn’t this guy, as CIDG has revealed, recant already his previous testimony at the Senate? And, I assume such testimony where he admitted to his drug dealings as Region 8’s biggest drug lord and pointed to so-called cohorts and protectors of his, was the very basis of his admission into the WPP. If that is the case, wouldn’t his reported recantation serve to nullify his WPP coverage on the ground of serious breach of his agreement with the government as represented by then Justice Secretary Aguirre in his capacity as the WPP Chief Implementor? To put it plainly—what is now the raison d’être for Kerwin’s WPP admission if he already disowned his previous admissions relative to his status as a big-time drug lord and his drug connections? I also wonder why the DOJ kept such fact of recantation under wraps. Up to now, DOJ has neither confirmed nor denied what the CIDG has

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disclosed, rather unwittingly. Why? Is it because they wouldn’t want the public to know that such recantation most probably included his perjurious claim that I am one of his alleged protectors and an alleged beneficiary of P8M drug money? Necessarily and logically, such a fictional tale having been disowned, it would appear that Kerwin’s entire testimony before the Senate was under duress. Let’s not forget also Marcelo Adorco’s own admission (as told to investigative journalist Nancy Carvajal in an interview) that he was coached into pinning me down. Who was/were responsible for their coerced stories? Who coached or threatened them to implicate me? Are Kerwin Espinosa and Marcelo Adorco (wherever they are) safe now? I ask this because, as variously reported by media, there have been successive serial killings of individuals associated with Kerwin. Per our count, there are at least 9 such Espinosa-related killings, to wit: 1. EDGAR ALLAN ALVAREZ, one of Kerwin’s alleged drug sources, killed on 11 Aug. 2016, inside the Leyte Regional Penitentiary in Abuyog; 2. ROGELIO BATO, JR., Kerwin’s former lawyer, killed last 24 Aug. 2016, in Tacloban City; 3. ANNALOU LLAGUNO, Kerwin’s ex-wife, killed last 30 Sept. 2016, in Cebu City; 4. MAYOR ROLANDO ESPINOSA, SR., Kerwin’s father, killed last 5 Nov. 2016 inside his jail cell in Leyte; 5. FERDINAND RONDINA, an alleged bagman of Kerwin, killed last 6 Jan. 2017, in Ormoc City; 6. JAKE BOLANIO DELA CRUZ, Kerwin’s brother-in-law, killed last 8 Aug. 2017, in Davao City; 7. NELSON “Jun” PEPITO, Kerwin’s former driver-bodyguard, killed last 1 Dec. 2017, in Albuera, Leyte;

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8. JONAH JOHN UNGAB, Kerwin’s lawyer, killed last 19 Feb. 2018, just outside the Cebu City Hall of Justice after a hearing with his client (If I recall correctly, this lawyer assisted Kerwin during the Senate hearings); and 9. MAX MIRO, Kerwin’s right-hand man, killed last 10 March 2018, in Ormoc City. Who are killing Kerwin Espinosa’s minions? Their cohorts in the illegal drug trade? The authorities? Kerwin’s real protectors/benefactors, which include government officials and men in the uniformed sector? Or, are they killing them as a warning to Kerwin, wanting him silenced for knowing too much, and also to prevent him from exposing the truth about my innocence? Are there ongoing investigations, genuine ones, into these killings? What is their status? One thing is sure though. No one is investigating, or will dare investigate, the circumstances surrounding this whole mystery, particularly Kerwin’s fabricated story about my links to him and his drug trade. Would it be too much to ask the new DOJ Secretary, the incoming PNP Chief, and also the Senate to dig deeper into all these? FOR TRUTH’s SAKE. I hope people realize that there is here a grand cover-up…

*Author’s Update: Jesus Tulin, believed to be a hitman of Kerwin Espinosa, was also killed on 18 October 2018. He was shot inside a beach house in Albuera, Leyte where he served as caretaker. Dispatch 286 WAR AGAINST DE LIMA 18 April 2018 I am deeply disappointed by the announcement yesterday that the Supreme Court has denied my Motion for Reconsideration of its

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earlier Decision to dismiss my Petition for Certiorari questioning, among others, the validity of the original charge filed against me by the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors before the RTC of Muntinlupa, Br. 204, and the jurisdiction of the regular courts to hear and decide the same. I am disappointed but hardly surprised. After all, my legal team, led by former Solicitor General Florin T. Hilbay, has more than ably presented and argued our position that the allegations in the Information amount to no crime at all. After all, none of the inculpatory allegations are attributable to me; they all pertained to the self-confessed drug lords who allegedly traded illegal drugs and delivered money to persons other than me. At most, the allegations amount to bribery, which falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan to hear, try and decide. It is disheartening because our case is clearly meritorious. And I say that as plainly and as objectively as I possibly could. No one who has read the records and the Information filed by the DOJ can make a mistake about that. In fact, even as the Supreme Court voted—9 to 6—to dismiss my Petition, the separate opinions of the members of the Court showed that there was absolutely no consensus as to what is the true nature of the charge against me. Only five (5) of the nine (9) justices agree that the crime charged is Illegal Drug Trading (the original accusation of the DOJ), not Conspiracy to Commit Drug Trading (the subsequent accusation of the OSG). Some members agreed that it amounted to, at most, bribery. Therefore, it is difficult to understand how an impartial tribunal can allow a citizen to remain under detention when even they themselves cannot agree on the nature of the charge. Is that not the very definition of lack of due process? That, basically, is the question we posed in our MR. I would, therefore, be very interested to see why the SC denied it. And I withhold further comments until I have seen and read its ruling. In any event, the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors has “amended” the Information. This is a clear admission that they are unable to allege, much less prove, the corpus delicti that would qualify the case against

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me as “drug charges”, whether consummated or mere conspiracy. How can I be charged for either offense when the prosecution hasn’t even said what type of drugs was allegedly traded? Or how much of it was traded? Or who are the buyers and sellers? Yet, beyond all reason, that’s what I am to be charged with. It is legally untenable, but politically predictable: it must be drug charges simply because that is a non-bailable offense. Worse is the blatant failure—nay, refusal—of the DOJ to prosecute and hold accountable the self-confessed drug lords. They even withdrew the charges against the co-accused who admitted that he received money from the inmates! Presumably, that is the deal that was struck in exchange for their false testimonies against me. And this makes this whole miscarriage of justice even more sickening. But all these merely prove that my case is not about prosecution, but persecution. They don’t care about charging me with the “correct” offense. They don’t even care about holding real drug lords accountable. This is not about winning the “War against Drugs”. All they really want is to detain me indefinitely, in order to prevent me from performing my mandate as a duly elected Senator of the Republic. This is about winning the “War against De Lima.” Nevertheless, I vow to continue fighting for my innocence. Because I am innocent. No lie can ever change that fact. Someday I will attain my vindication, and all the lies—especially the lies about the deaths of the thousands of victims of the so-called “War on Drugs”—will be exposed, and the butchers, tyrants and oppressors will be brought to answer for their crimes against the Constitution and against humanity.

Tuloy ang laban! Dispatch 311 #BABAEAKO 24 May 2018 #BabaeAko, katulad mo na may angking talino at puso upang aktibong

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kumilos at lumaban para sa bayan at karapatan ng mamamayan. Pantay ang ating karapatan at walang sinuman ang maaari itong yurakan. Hindi si Duterte na duwag sa kababaihan. Hindi ang sistemang patriyarkal na pinayayabong ng palpak niyang pamamalakad. #BabaeAko, I remain defiant despite my unjust detention and political persecution of the Duterte regime. Gusto akong patahimikin ng rehimeng Duterte dahil sa pagbatikos ko sa mga patayang kaugnay ng giyera kontra droga at sa iba nilang mga kasalanan. But I will not be cowed. Lumalaban ako! #BabaeAko, binabastos at sinisiraan ng rehimeng Duterte dahil sa aking mga paninindigan. Hinihikayat ko ang mga kapwa ko babaeng tutulan ang pagmamaliit at pag-alipusta sa halaga at dignidad nating mga kababaihan. Lalaban tayo!

Credit: Edge Davao

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Dispatch 315 “MOST DISTINGUISHED HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER” 29 May 2018 I am deeply humbled to learn that Amnesty International has chosen me for its first Ignite Awards for Human Rights as the “Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender”. It is with great honor to receive this latest accolade as recognition for my unwavering stance on human rights despite my continued unjust detention and political persecution. I view this as another vindication from all the trumped-up charges that have been fabricated by the Duterte regime not just to destroy my person and integrity as a staunch critic of the government’s bloody war on drugs, but also, and more importantly, to divert attention away from the truth about the extrajudicial killings and official abuse that are, to this day, being committed with impunity. I thank Amnesty International, its Philippine Section, and its other country offices for their steadfast resolve to promote and protect human rights, especially during these times of silencing dissent and increasing attacks against human rights and its defenders. The work that you do serves as the light that not only allows the truth to shine through, but also serves as an inspiration for us, individual human rights defenders, and ignites the fervor of our people for justice under the rule of law. Our shared goals and cooperation only prove that no tyrant can stop us. No matter how influential and powerful those who violate our dignity and human rights are, our strong will and determination will always prevail; truth and justice will always succeed. I dedicate this award to all human rights defenders, who tirelessly fight for the dignity of, and respect for the Filipino. I look forward to further working with the Amnesty International and like-minded groups and individuals in promoting and advancing our causes for human rights, democracy and rule of law. Our common calling in these trying times is to serve as the bright light

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of hope that keeps the darkness brought by apathy and ruthless selfinterest at bay. Therefore, together, may we ignite a firestorm in the hearts and minds of more and more people, that tyranny may never again find a foothold in society. Dispatch 318 DENIAL OF A MOTHER’S PLEA TO BE WITH HER SON IN HIS GRADUATION 3 June 2018 In the 465 days that I have been detained thus far, di ko na mabilang ang mga pagkakataon na dinapuan ako ng lungkot. May mga panahon rin, lalo na noong unang mga buwan, na gabi-gabi ako napapaluha. There were countless nights that I cried myself to sleep, praying to God for the strength to endure. But, then, a new day comes and, in the bright light of the morning sun, my hope is renewed and I go about my day as usual: reading, working, writing, conversing with my visitors, feeding the stray cats, and, always, always, praying. And never, not a single time, did I find myself regretting the choices I’ve made that brought me here. I knew I did the right thing in not being intimidated by this regime into silence. But today, today is one of the saddest days of my most unjust detention. Today is the graduation of my son, Vincent Joshua, from law school. My son, whom I love and am very proud of. This is that day that we, as a family, and I as a parent, have been looking forward to for years now. And never did I imagine I wouldn’t be able to be there with him, bearing witness to his triumph, and being what all mothers by definition are meant to be: the number one cheerleader and supporter of their child, as they achieve one of their lifelong dreams. To Vincent, I want to tell you, my son, that I am so happy and so proud of you.

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You have hurdled your law studies under challenging circumstances— as a family man, as a father to two very young children, the elder of whom has autism, as a very patient and loving younger brother to a special brother, and, not to mention, the silently suffering son to a controversial mother, who is now a victim of persecution. These are no ordinary circumstances. Law school, by itself, is no cakewalk. Lesser persons would have given up on their dreams, and taken the easier way out. But not you. You are made of sterner stuff. I am both humbled and proud of the man you have become. You and your kuya make me a stronger person. I’ve missed a lot in the last 15 months. But this is the closest I have ever come to owning up to regret. Because this is not about me, but about my child. It is a very tangible loss to both of us. One that can’t be brought back, even when the time comes that I am vindicated and freed. This day will pass, and we will never have it back. In my 465 days here, I have done my best not to ask for special favors. Even for this, all I asked was to be accorded the same humanitarian consideration that was shown to other high-profile detainees, who were allowed to attend their children’s graduation, their father’s birthday celebration, etc. The unjustness and double standard is just too much to bear. And the reason given, that I am a flight risk, is so blatantly false that they might as well not have bothered to try to justify it at all. Ako na siguro ang pinakamalayo sa flight risk sa mga bilanggo dito.

Ilang linggo bago ako nila kinasuhan at inaresto, umalis ako ng bansa. At kahit alam kong itutuloy nila ang maitim nilang balak na ipakulong ako, bumalik pa rin ako. Kusa at mapayapa akong sumuko nang ako ay ipaaresto. Yan ba ang “flight risk”? If there is anything at risk of flying away, it is my faith in the goodness of those in power. They who have the authority have forgotten their obligation to use it for good, for justice; and have become enamored with the power they have to play with people’s lives.

Pinaglalaruan nila ang buhay ko at ng pamilya ko.

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I guess I just have to accept the fact that this regime cannot be benevolent towards me, to put it very mildly. As I write this, I am almost ashamed to say that I am crying. Ashamed that my tears would be seen by my oppressors as some sign of weakness. That I would be bringing some pleasure to them knowing how much they have hurt me and my family. Pero tao lang ako. At kahit gaano katibay ang pagkatao ko, may hangganan din ang kakayanan kong pigilin ang damdamin at luha ko. I cry as much for myself, as a mother who missed her son’s graduation, as I do for everyone who have known the pain of not being with their families on a daily basis and even on very special, once-in-a-lifetime occasions. I feel your pain and my heart aches just as yours do. I also cry for those who have known what it means that “no good deed goes unpunished.” Truly, we have to endure the “punishment” of doing the right thing. But we must never forget that we also enjoy the best reward for it: a clear and guilt-free conscience. I might cry tonight, but I will slumber at peace with my God and my conscience. I wonder if those who are so petty and heartless as to deny a mother this small chance at being with her son can say the same thing. Dispatch 321 ON THE ALLEGED VINDICATION OF DOJ’S PROSECUTION AGAINST ME 9 June 2018 Former DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II claims that the Supreme Court decision denying my Motion for Reconsideration on the legality of my arrest and detention is a vindication of the DOJ’s prosecution against me. Aguirre’s record of baseless accusations should be the only basis for the credibility of the DOJ charges against me. Throughout his term as SOJ—which has, thankfully, ended sooner than later—Aguirre was wellknown for his outrageous accusations against a variety of individuals

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and personalities, including a Congresswoman and a former Senator for supposed bribery of the convict witnesses against me, Senators for their supposed conspiracy in the Marawi uprising, and South Korean embassy personnel’s alleged involvement in a syndicate. Aguirre threw accusations wildly and without regard to the position he held, making himself a laughing stock of the Duterte Cabinet. That is a feat by itself. Not satisfied with the fabricated drug charges against me, he accused me of almost every crime that happened during his term, like the Resorts World attack and the Bilibid prison riot. As DOJ Secretary, Aguirre was nothing but a lawyer under the service of the Davao criminal syndicate led by Duterte. He was simply the Davao Mafia’s lawyer, who earlier on defended the Davao Death Squad leaders to prevent the exhumation of DDS victims from the Laud Property in Brgy. Ma-a, Davao City. Upon capturing State power, this Mafia syndicate lost no time in using the entire State machinery to make criminality the new normal, by legitimizing extra-judicial killings, exonerating their big-time partner shabu smugglers and drug lords, and institutionalizing large-scale corruption in government. Aguirre himself was never made to account for his role in the 50 million-peso Jack Lam shakedown that he ordered his Bureau of Immigration underlings to execute. Aguirre knows how he fabricated every single piece of testimony against me, from arranging the House of Representatives circus of Bilibid convicts, the stabbing of Jaybee Sebastian and other Bilibid 19 convicts who then still refused to testify against me, the special privileges given to the convicts who did testify against me, the coercion and intimidation of DOJ officials and employees who refused to implicate me, up to the manufacturing of fictitious and non-existent BDO bank accounts which, up to now, have not been shown to actually exist and contain money that belongs to me. The SC’s denial of my Motion for Reconsideration does not mean that Aguirre or the DOJ is vindicated in filing charges against me. It only means that the Davao criminal syndicate that has captured State power in 2016 has not only been using the power of the executive department to eliminate their sworn enemies, like myself, but was also able to extend its influence as well to the judicial branch of government.

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The Acting Chief Justice himself called that decision “one of the grossest injustices ever perpetrated in recent memory”, definitely not because it vindicates the DOJ, but precisely because it was a great travesty of justice that six (6) members of the Court refused to sign.

Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Dispatch 357 HUMAN RIGHTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY 8 August 2018 I am deeply disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court denying my motion, as supported by my co-petitioners, to personally argue the case on the government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute / International Criminal Court. Humbled and honored by the confidence reposed in me by my colleagues in the minority, I remain in earnest to be able to argue on an issue of transcendental importance that has both grave national and international implications.

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Human rights and accountability. These are the two torches that I have carried this past decade. Truly, taking on such a task of arguing before the SC in this case would be a natural progression of my decade-long twin advocacy for upholding human rights of all persons, and the holding of public officials accountable to their abuses against the people they ought to serve. The case is very personal to me since it reflects the hostility of the President to international human rights institutions and officials with whom I closely identify with as former CHR Chair. I felt that in arguing this case before the Court, I would also be defending them and fighting for the cause that we all hold close to our hearts: human rights and human dignity. My request to personally argue the case was also borne out of a desire to highlight the importance of the Philippines’ continued status as a State-Party to the Rome Statute, and why Duterte is deathly afraid of it. This is Duterte ensuring impunity for himself. The withdrawal from the ICC is a self-serving act of the President, and is the best reason why the Constitution could not have contemplated that one man alone should be able to revoke and abrogate a whole nation’s solemn obligations to the international community. Through our Petition, we, the minority bloc, are simply asserting the Senate’s constitutional role in treaty making and un-making. With this development, my co-petitioners and I will now decide on a proper course of action to ensure that we will be duly heard by the Supreme Court. Dispatch 370 DENIAL OF MY PLEA TO SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ICC WITHDRAWAL 29 August 2018 A citizen and sitting Senator is accused of conspiring to engage in the trade of an unspecified amount or type of drug, purely on the say-so of

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convicted felons. No corpus delicti has been produced or even alleged. She is presumed innocent. She has no violent history. Neither has she tried to evade justice. In fact, even when she was already under severe political attacks and experiencing real threats to her personal security, she promptly came back, with no delays whatsoever, after traveling abroad. Yet, whenever she asks for furloughs—primarily to discharge her mandate as a Senator—they are always denied. Because she’s a security threat, a “high” flight risk. Meanwhile, there is a man who is accused of participating in the planning and execution of the massacre of 58 people. 58 dead bodies thrown into a pit as if their lives were but garbage being disposed in a landfill. It is a crime as violent as any our country has seen. All so that a political opponent cannot contest the accused’s clan in the then upcoming elections. Bail has been denied because the evidence of guilt is strong. Yet, when he asks to go on furloughs to attend personal events in posh hotels, the request is granted. It is obvious, given the facts, that there is a double-standard, even injustice at play here. It is obvious that the denial of my request to argue on my own behalf, as petitioner before the Supreme Court, to question the validity of Duterte’s unilateral withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, has no basis in fact or in law. The denial is purely political. I simply cannot understand how attending a wedding can trump appearance in an important case with grave constitutional and political implications in the court’s hierarchy of considerations in granting furlough to detention prisoners. As disheartened and disappointed as I am, I know that neither I nor my fellow petitioners carry any blame. We exhausted all possible remedies. We even suggested to the Supreme Court to allow the use of existing technology in order to negate any fears that I may escape. As if! All our reasonable requests were denied. Discretion exercised without any basis in fact or law. They simply do not want me to, again, speak the truth about Duterte’s attempts to evade accountability for his blood-soaked regime. Because that is what the ICC withdrawal is all about. He unilaterally withdrew NOT because it was in the national interest.

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Duterte withdrew because remaining under the ICC jurisdiction is not in his personal, selfish interest. He fears that his time to pay for his crimes has come. And yet I am the flight risk? I have killed no one. I have smuggled and sold no drugs. I have not profited from the national coffers. That is why they want me silenced, away from the spotlight. Only evil fears the light. Only Duterte and his minions fear the ICC. Dispatch 379 BRING IT ON! 10 September 2018 Last Friday, I received a Subpoena from NBI requiring me to appear before it in connection with the investigation of a purported extrajudicial confession of Kerwin Espinosa for alleged violation of RA 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. There being no copy of the purported extrajudicial confession attached to the one-page Subpoena, I have no idea what allegations or accusations are—again—being made against me. From what I know, any alleged involvement between me and Kerwin Espinosa has already been the subject of a preliminary investigation by the DOJ, which resulted in the dismissal of charges—as it very well should have been. Thus, I can only assume that I am—again!—being falsely accused and being made to face trumped-up charges because this administration needs to cover up the rampant incompetence, abuse and corruption that have been the ONLY true defining hallmarks of the Duterte Administration.

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Shabu shipments are being smuggled under their very noses, rice smuggling and hoarding are creating a crisis affecting millions of Filipinos, inflation is at a historic high affecting the entire Philippine economy. Sa amin nga raw sa Bicol, 12.5% ang itinaas ng presyo ng bigas at 19.2% ang itinaas ng presyo ng gulay! … And what do they do? They revert to their usual strategy: pick on Senators Trillanes and De Lima! “Classic” moves from a bully’s playbook. Why solve the nation’s problems when they can, instead, attack the opposition? I say, bring it on!

Habang niloloko nila ang taong bayan, nandito lang ako. Nakakulong man, nagtratrabaho pa din para sa Bayan. Lumalaban pa rin sa mga naaapi. Nagtatanggol pa rin sa Batas at Konstitusyon na tunay na tanggulan ng Sambayanang Pilipino. As infuriating as these constant attacks are, I accept the challenge and vow to prove my innocence.

Balang araw, lalabas ang katotohanan—sino sa amin ang sangkot sa smuggling ng ilegal na droga? Sino ang nagnanakaw sa kaban ng Bayan habang ibinebenta sa dayuhan ang ating kalayaan, kasarinlan at kinabukasan? Sino ang nagluluto ng Revolutionary Government laban sa sarili n’yang pamumuno? Isa ang sigurado ako: Hindi po ako yun. There will always be a day of reckoning. Dispatch 391 FEEDING STRAY CATS 29 September 2018 I was alarmed and dismayed when I read about alleged circulars issued by the management of posh condominium complexes in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) prohibiting residents and employees from feeding stray cats, and even going so far as to impose penalties for “violations” thereof.

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It may sound strange to some, but there is something inherently inhuman about forcing people to ignore their instinct to care for other creatures who are weak, helpless and in need of care. There is something utterly dehumanizing—and, if I may say so, monstrous—about punishing people because they harbor altruistic and unselfish emotions, such as the basic instinct to feed a starving creature. It is possible that the strong objections I immediately felt when I read the news about such circular is because I have, in the last 583 days, grown fond of my own stray cats here in the PNP Custodial Center. I have always considered myself a dog-lover, but under these trying circumstances, I have found a new love and passion for protecting the stray cats that have adopted me as their “human,” as much as I have adopted them as my constant companions. They have different personalities, but they are all the same in that they understand friendship and companionship, much like a human would. They understand that I feed them because I care for them and, in turn, they are amiable, playful and, more often than not, obedient. In their own way, they are also caring towards me. They seem to sense when I need company, and when I would prefer to be alone as I work, read or write. One particular cat, whom I call “Blackie”—who proudly wears the many battle scars earned from surviving the harsh life of stray—is even fiercely protective. The bond between humans and God’s other creatures is an innate one. Therefore, I deem it unnatural and, in fact, dangerous to foster such a hostile attitude towards stray cats. They will be condemned to a slow death by starvation and neglect, not because nobody wants to help and feed them, but because those who are inclined to are threatened with punishment. In a world that is moving ever nearer towards apathy, cultivating this level of heartlessness is the last thing we need. I wonder if the reason for the proposed ban and penalty is based on considerations of what would be most convenient for the management. Perhaps they think that starving out the cats will result in them dying out and eliminating a “problem” for the management. But sometimes

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what is “convenient” is the opposite of what is “right”. Especially if convenience comes at the price of a life—even the life of a creature as small as that of a stray cat. After all, what defines the kind of human beings we are is how well we treat even the smallest of God’s creatures. Dispatch 393 CHILD-LIKE HEART 1 October 2018 Today is the feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux, also known as Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. I’ve been learning a lot about this “greatest saint of modern times” from my daily devotional readings. She teaches us that it’s our nothingness or littleness that attracts Jesus to us. That Jesus is closest to the “little souls”: the humble, the powerless, the weak and the broken. You and I can be a legion of little souls, following St. Therese’s “little way” of total confidence in God. St. Therese exhorts that while we live ordinary lives, we can have extraordinary faith, or one that “hopes against hope.” Hoping against hope is what resonates with me most. I hope against hope for an early deliverance from persecution and for freedom. And I hope against hope that the darkness and brokenness that envelop our society today will soon depart us and give way to light and pure humanity. This I pray to the great and child-like heart of St. Therese. Amen.

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Dispatch 403 ERRAND BOYS 17 October 2018 It may not be enough to pay for what they did to me, but one by one, my persecutors and tormentors, those who maligned my reputation and attacked my honor on orders of Duterte, are being dropped like hot potatoes, also by Duterte himself. One by one, former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, the triumvirate of former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, former Deputy Speaker Rudy Farinas, former House Justice Committee Chair Reynaldo Umali, and now, former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, were all discarded by Duterte even after dutifully serving as his errand boys in his personal vendetta against me. All had their respective roles that they played during the House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade. Each one of them knows the lies that they peddled and the fabricated nature of the testimonies brought against me. These are the same lies and fabricated charges now being used by the DOJ and its prosecutors in the drug cases filed against me. Certainly, there is no dearth of dishonorable men and women who will readily do Duterte’s bidding, after the likes of Dante Jimenez, Sandra Cam and Persida Acosta. After all, Duterte makes sure that I continue to suffer in jail. For this, he has to make sure that the Bilibid witnesses against me are kept secured and properly rehearsed by the DOJ prosecutors with their false testimonies. The recycled appointment of former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon to the BuCor after the resignation of Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa is just another step in ensuring that the NBP inmates being used against me continue to be coddled and given special treatment, or pressured and threatened, at least until they finish falsely testifying against me. All those who continue to pursue this persecution should take a lesson from those who came before them. If they think they will be rewarded by Duterte at the end, they only have to look at what happened to Aguirre,

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Alvarez, FariĂąas, Umali and Roque. Duterte discarded these ambitious sycophants as easily as he had used them, as soon as they had served their purpose. There can be no reward in doing injustice to innocent people. In the end, truth and justice will always catch up.

Credit: Philippine Star

Dispatch 418 CONVICTS AS WITNESSES 7 November 2018 Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says there are no convict State Witnesses being used against me because no convict has been discharged as such under Sec. 17, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court. He seems to be ignorant that this is not the only legal provision that turns a person into a State Witness. State witnesses are not only provided for in Sec. 17, Rule 119 of the

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Rules of Court, but also under Sec. 10 of RA 6981, the law on Witness Protection Security and Benefits Program (WPSBP) that Guevarra is supposedly administering as Justice Secretary. Guevarra should read that specific provision in the law. It is prefaced as “State Witness”, and it provides for the circumstances, conditions, and qualifications on how one becomes a State Witness under the WPSBP. This was the provision used by the DOJ and Guevarra’s predecessor, Vitaliano Aguirre, to turn the convicted Bilibid inmates into State Witnesses, albeit illegally, because the crimes they were convicted for involve moral turpitude. According to Sec. 10 (e) of RA 6981, criminals convicted of such crimes are not qualified to turn State Witness. Guevarra has no excuse in not knowing the status of these criminal convicts as State Witnesses under his witness protection program. His prosecutors are using them illegally as witnesses against me. His department granted them immunity illegally so they can testify against me. His agency illegally excluded them from the criminal charges filed against me, even if they are the ones who actually confessed to illegal drug trading, and should have been the first to be charged.

Ano ba ang sinasabi nila na ordinary witnesses lang ang mga yan? Hindi ba, kaya pinasok sila ng DOJ sa WPP ay para mabigyan, at nabigyan nga, ng immunity bilang State Witnesses? It’s plain common sense and logic. Malinaw na hindi naman sila papayag na mag-testigo kung wala silang immunity. Ang immunity na iyan sa ilalim ng WPP Law at iba pang mga pinangako sa kanila ni dating SOJ Aguirre, bukod sa matinding pressure sa kanila, ang motibo nila sa pag-testigo laban sa akin base sa mga kasinungalingan. Isa pang malaking tanong—Kung totoong ordinary witnesses lang sila, ibig sabihin wala silang immunity, bakit hindi sila kinasuhan ng DOJ kahit malinaw na inamin nila ang pagkasangkot nila sa Bilibid drug trade? This is more than prosecutorial misconduct! I don’t think a Justice Secretary can plead ignorance of the law as an excuse, as what Sec. Guevarra is doing now by citing the Rules of Court,

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instead of the very Witness Protection Law he himself is administering as Justice Secretary. Dispatch 440 MOM’S VISIT, BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT 24 December 2018 I had an incredible moment yesterday. I got my best Christmas gift. My Mom, who’s clueless about my situation, visited me for the first time. A most surprising and unexpected visit. She came, unannounced, at around 9:00 a.m., or right before our regular 10:00 a.m. Sunday Mass, accompanied by my brother Nonoy and our aunt, Mama Lils. Having missed each other for almost 2 years, we cried while hugging each other. It was a conspiracy of sorts among my siblings who decided recently that it’s time to come clean and tell our Mom where her eldest daughter is. They finally told her I’m in Camp Crame. But her state of dementia (she’s now 86 years old) failed to grasp the real import of such a revelation. It blocked her from reality, with all its pains. A stroke of Divine Providence. So much so that when we started bonding, my Mom repeatedly asked, in semi-trance, where we were. She had no idea that this is a detention facility. My brother and I then realized the futility of full disclosure. It no longer matters to our Mom where I am or what was done to me. All she wanted was to see me, and vice versa. It was an answered prayer for both of us. God, indeed, has His own ways, different from ours. He throws in His own surprises. God is great, all the time…

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Dispatch 442 JUSTICE: A PRE-NEW YEAR’S REFLECTIONS 29 December 2018 “What is ‘justice’?” is a question that many people all over the world apparently wondered about this year, it being the top lookup at Merriam-Webster.com (with the entry being searched 74% more than in 2017), resulting in its declaration as the Word of the Year by the online dictionary. Needless to state, being detained for 674 days now based on fake charges meant to silence my criticisms of the Duterte Administration, I have caught myself pondering the same question. Moreso ever since Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, in his dissent to the decision to dismiss my Petition for Certiorari, described the cases against me as “blatantly a pure invention”, thus making my continued detention “one of the grossest injustices ever perpetrated in recent memory in full view of the Filipino nation and the entire world.” Apparently, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention agreed, going by its Opinion that asked the Philippine Government to, among others, release me immediately. I, of course, would be the most surprised, as it is next to impossible, if this Administration ever does the right thing and release me. But it only makes me ponder about the word “justice” and its antonym, “injustice”, even more. What I realized are the following. Justice is metaphysically what this rock called “Planet Earth” is physically to us humans. In simplest terms: it anchors us, preventing us from hurtling dangerously and uncontrollably into space. In the words of Aristotle, “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” Justice elevates us and gives true meaning to the virtues we aspire to. What is power without justice? Tyranny.

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What is peace without justice? Repression. What is productivity without justice? Slavery. What is prosperity without social justice? Exploitation. What is exploration without environmental justice? Disaster. Worse, I realize that “injustice” is not, in fact, the complete absence of justice. It is the abuse, misuse and perversion of justice. In other words, it is the evil witch pretending to be Lady Justice. It is La Usurpadora. And just like the way it is depicted in art, the usurper is, in very concrete ways, more dangerous than the usual villain. If the villain is in plain sight, we can fight it. If it is disguised as something we hold dear, we will eventually find ourselves stabbed in the back for it fools people into trusting it, giving it more opportunities to do the greatest harm. So, really, what we should takeaway from 2018 is that we should be more careful about the people we trust. The greatest harm comes from the enemy we did not immediately recognize, the one that perpetrates the gravest acts of betrayal of public trust. It takes many forms, one of them being “Injustice”. Dispatch 449

“WEATHER-WEATHER LANG YAN”—A FALSE NARRATIVE 13 January 2019 For two years now, the advent of a New Year painfully brings to mind the impending anniversary of my detention. In six weeks, I would be under detention for two full years. 2 years of unjust detention as a prisoner of conscience. Guilty of nothing more and nothing less than the sin of “doing the right thing.” I have developed a new pet peeve. It used to be clerical errors: I have an eagle eye in spotting typographical and grammatical errors. Now, what really irks me is when people—most of them well-meaning, but unintentionally infuriating—attempt to summarize my unjust detention and political persecution as a consequence of the political

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climate. “Weather-weather lang yan, Leila.” It infuriates and hurts me—this unfair oversimplification of what I am going through. It even implies that, when I was under better political climate, I did as my enemies now have done to me. I protest! Vehemently and indignantly. I have persecuted no one for political reasons or personal vengeance. I have killed no one. I have stolen nothing. I have sold or traded no drugs. I have not conspired with anyone to engage in any criminal activity. I confess to one thing and one thing only: I made powerful enemies by performing my mandate without fear or favor. I am here, under detention, for no other reason than our efforts then at accountability led us up a trail that reached powerful and influential personalities: a former President, a Senate President, Senators, Congressmen, local government chief executives...and now even an incumbent President. Under my leadership, the DOJ and its attached agencies simply went where the evidence took us. And despite recent developments— including puzzling and suspicious acquittals—I am certain that Filipinos know the truth of the matter: elections and billions of taxpayers’ money were stolen. As for me, if anyone wants to truly scrutinize and seek the corpus delicti of my alleged crimes, really, you will find no drugs, no money trail, no illicit or unexplained wealth. Instead, look at my public service record. There you will find the investigations that were conducted under my term as CHR Chair and DOJ Secretary, my privilege speeches, the resolutions I filed, my writings, interviews and statements. Those are my “sins”. This is not a matter of “weather-weather”. Even when the political winds blew in my favor, I suborned no false testimonies, I fabricated no evidence, I invented no false and baseless charges—as proved by the fact that the Office of the Ombudsman filed cases after its own investigation, and the decision of the Sandiganbayan

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in a recent case of acquittal was far from unanimous. Even when the weather was fair for me, I held nothing more sacred than Truth, Justice and the Rule of Law. I am reminded of former US Attorney General Elliot Richardson, who is perhaps better known as “The Martyr of Watergate”—the head of the US DOJ who chose to resign than heed President Richard Nixon’s order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. At about the same time that the US President was under investigation for the Watergate scandal, three federal prosecutors came to him to report that their corruption investigation has revealed that the official who is first-in-line to succeed the President, Vice Pres. Spiro Agnew, was engaging in extortion and bribery activities. AG Richardson was a Republican cabinet member, serving a twice-elected Republican President and his very popular Republican running mate. Knowing the peril that the White House was under because of the Watergate scandal, the 3 federal prosecutors fully expected AG Richardson to tell them to shut the investigation down—after all, the worst time to indict a Vice President is when the President is about to be impeached and possibly indicted too. To their surprise, AG Richardson said no such thing. He didn’t decide based on political climate or political affiliation. He decided based on what is right. Just as I did. Time and again. For that decision, AG Richardson received the John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official. This February, I will receive an award that I will proudly accept: my second year as a prisoner of conscience. So, please, spare me the “weather-weather” false narrative.

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Credit: The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists

Dispatch 452 PERSISTENT DEMONIZATION AND CHARACTER ASSASSINATION 21 January 2019 Another disciple of Hitler propagandist Goebbels who advanced the evil principle that a lie repeatedly uttered becomes the truth, Presidential Spokesperson Panelo chimed in, after Bong Go and Mocha Uson, in their drug narrative about me. Panelo was recently quoted referring to me as “criminal in nature”. He also insists that I remain incarcerated because the evidence against me is “strong”. No! I remain in jail because that is what Panelo’s master, Duterte, wants. Never mind my innocence. Never mind the fake evidence fabricated against me. Never mind the manufactured testimonies of criminal

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convicts. They don’t care about the truth. All they care about is power, flexed through lies, deceptions, and oppression. Come to think of it, what do we expect from this clown? Like his immediate predecessor, this presidential mouthpiece only parrots what his principal dictates, including slanders. More than being hurt, I am infuriated by the persistent demonization and character assassination I get from these presidential underlings, obviously upon Duterte’s orders. In fact, it is Duterte who is “criminal in nature”. What can be more criminal than the murder of thousands of human beings using the state apparatus as an instrument to enforce his policy of summary execution of targeted civilians? This is what the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED) pointed out in its report about the Philippines being fifth among countries with the most number of civilian fatalities, thus making it “one of the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian”. No amount of denials and propaganda from Panelo can hide this plain fact from the rest of the world. Unfortunately for Panelo, the world is not populated by Duterte sycophants like him. The world sees the truth as it is. It would take more than a clown like Panelo to convince it otherwise. Dispatch 465 COL. MARCELINO KNOWS I AM INNOCENT 9 February 2019 I am glad that Marine Col. Ferdinand Marcelino has found the courage to speak out and assert anew his innocence on the drug charges previously filed against him. Indeed, being falsely accused is most painful. I know exactly, without any exaggeration, how it feels to be falsely accused. Perhaps what many people do not know is the previously dismissed charges against Col. Marcelino were then revived in order to pressure him to falsely testify against me. His and my experience only goes to show the malevolent strategies utilized by the Duterte government to persecute and target innocent individuals who are perceived to be enemies as well as those who they think ought to be silenced. He was a collateral victim of this government’s vindictive actions against me,

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despite his track record of integrity in going after criminals as a PDEA official. But I must say that what Col. Marcelino has experienced is only half, if not less, of what I experienced and continue to experience under this Administration. In my case, I was subjected to all sorts of public shaming, vilification, and character assassination. The entire machinery of government was tapped in a massive operation just to manufacture criminal charges against me and put me in jail indefinitely. A long line of convicted criminals was recruited as perjured witnesses against me in exchange for privileges and special treatment, and for them to stay alive. I am glad that Col. Marcelino’s ordeal is over. Mine, however, continues. Ang pakiusap ko lang sa kanya ngayon ay ito—now that he is a free man, may he continue to have the courage to always stand up for what is true, right and just. Huwag sana siyang magpagamit kanino man para idiin pa ako sa mga kaso. He knows I am innocent.

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“To allow the continued detention of [De Lima] under this Information is one of the grossest injustices ever perpetrated in recent memory in full view of the Filipino nation and the entire world.�

-Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio


UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTION OPINION

A/HRC/WGAD/2018/61

Advance Edited Version

Distr.: General 30 November 2018 Original: English

Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its eighty-second session, 20–24 August 2018 Opinion No. 61/2018 concerning Leila Norma Eulalia Josefa De Lima (Philippines) 1. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was established in resolution 1991/42 of the Commission on Human Rights. In its resolution 1997/50, the Commission extended and clarified the mandate of the Working Group. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/251 and Human Rights Council decision 1/102, the Council assumed the mandate of the Commission. The Council most recently extended the mandate of the Working Group for a three-year period in its resolution 33/30. 2. In accordance with its methods of work (A/HRC/36/38), on 20 February 2018 the Working Group transmitted to the Government of the Philippines a communication concerning Leila Norma Eulalia Josefa De Lima. The Government has not replied to the communication. The State is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 3. The Working Group regards deprivation of liberty as arbitrary in the following cases: (a) When it is clearly impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty (as when a person is kept in detention after the completion of his or her sentence or despite an amnesty law applicable to him or her) (category I);

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(b) When the deprivation of liberty results from the exercise of the rights or freedoms guaranteed by articles 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, insofar as States parties are concerned, by articles 12, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 27 of the Covenant (category II); (c) When the total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial, established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the relevant international instruments accepted by the States concerned, is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character (category III); (d) When asylum seekers, immigrants or refugees are subjected to prolonged administrative custody without the possibility of administrative or judicial review or remedy (category IV); (e) When the deprivation of liberty constitutes a violation of international law on the grounds of discrimination based on birth, national, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, economic condition, political or other opinion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or any other status, that aims towards or can result in ignoring the equality of human beings (category V). Submissions

Communication from the source 4. Leila Norma Eulalia Josefa De Lima is a national of the Philippines born in 1959. She lives in ParaĂąaque, the Philippines. She is a lawyer and a senator.

Context and background 5. The source reports that, in May 2008, Ms. De Lima was appointed Chair of the Commission on Human Rights. In that role, from March 2009, she investigated extrajudicial killings allegedly carried out by the Davao Death Squad in Davao City under the then Mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, who had

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reported links to that organization. 6. According to the source, from July 2010 to October 2015, Ms. De Lima served as Secretary of Justice. During her term, Ms. De Lima’s actions led to the incarceration of a former President and three senators, as well as the filing of criminal cases against several congressmen, all for plunder and corruption.1 7. In addition, the source reports that, on 15 December 2014, Ms. De Lima led a raid on the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, which is also known as the New Bilibid Prison. This raid was motivated by a desire to confiscate contraband items, isolate 19 identified drug lords and gang leaders, also known as the “Bilibid drug lords” or “Bilibid 19”, and paralyze the drug network that existed in the prison facility. The operation resulted in the extraction and transfer of the 19 drug lords, the seizure of drugs, firearms, cash and other contraband items and the dismantling of the luxurious private quarters. 8. The source indicates that several of the Bilibid drug lords filed cases with the Ombudsman and the Court of Appeals against Ms. De Lima. Reportedly, their lawyer is one of Ms. De Lima’s detractors. In addition, the lawyer is also the counsel of the former President who is in detention, as mentioned above, and who expressed a desire to see Ms. De Lima in jail. The source also contends that the lawyer has talked to his clients and their networks, and prepared potential willing witnesses to testify against Ms. De Lima in exchange for their preferential treatment under the new administration, including possible executive clemency. Allegedly, some other inmates also agreed to provide “coached testimonies” against Ms. De Lima in exchange for prison amenities and privileges. 9. The source further alleges that, on 28 September 2016, some of the 19 drug lords who had initially refused to testify against Ms. De Lima were stabbed during a “prison riot” at a building belonging to the New Bilibid Prison, which exclusively housed the Bilibid 19 and another individual. 1

The Working Group notes that it found Ms. Arroyo’s deprivation of liberty arbitrary in its Opinion No. 24/2015

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10. According to the source, Ms. De Lima was elected as a senator on 9 May 2016. On 13 July 2016, Ms. De Lima filed a resolution calling for an investigation into extrajudicial killings during the President’s war on drugs. In addition, on 11 August 2016, Ms. De Lima announced that she would lead the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights in conducting an investigation into the extrajudicial killings. The source alleges that, thereafter, the President told reporters in Davao City that he would destroy her in public and began daily accusations and sexist insults. 11. Reportedly, on 19 September 2016, Ms. De Lima was ousted from her position of Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights through the efforts of senators allied with the President.

Investigation, arrest and detention 12. According to the source, on 19 August 2016, a resolution was filed in order to investigate the proliferation of the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison while Ms. De Lima was Secretary of Justice. Allegedly, the President released a so-called drug matrix purportedly showing that Ms. De Lima was at the heart of the drug trade operations inside the New Bilibid Prison. Ms. De Lima dismissed all the allegations. 13. The source explains that, on 20 September 2016, the House of Representatives commenced an inquiry pursuant to that resolution. At the hearing, the residential address and telephone numbers of Ms. De Lima were publically disclosed on national television. This triggered a flood of hate messages and death threats against her. Reportedly, members of the House of Representatives also asked insulting questions about her personal affairs and threatened to show a fabricated “sex video” supposedly of her. The Secretary of Justice then questioned witnesses, who were mostly the Bilibid drug lords against whom Ms. De Lima had undertaken the operation. 14. According to the source, on 7 November 2016, Ms. De Lima filed a petition for writ of habeas data before the Supreme Court seeking to stop the President from divulging

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private details about her personal life and using them to degrade her dignity as a human being, a woman and a senator. To this day, the Supreme Court has yet to deliberate on this petition. 15. Allegedly, in December 2016, three criminal complaints for illegal drug trading were filed against Ms. De Lima with the Department of Justice. The source claims that the evidence presented before the Department of Justice was the same evidence as that presented by the Secretary of Justice during the congressional hearing on the Bilibid drug trade. The source alleges that the Department of Justice considered whether there was sufficient evidence to charge Ms. De Lima in court after the Secretary of Justice had already prejudged Ms. De Lima’s guilt during the congressional hearings. Therefore, the source claims that the Secretary of Justice and the Department of Justice acted both as prosecutor and judge in the determination of probable cause to charge her in court. Indeed, the source explains that, under national laws, the Department of Justice, when acting as a preliminary investigator, acts as a judge and must decide independently and impartially. For the source, this was violated when it was the Secretary of Justice himself who presented witnesses and effectively “prosecuted” Ms. De Lima in a trial by publicity at the congressional hearings. 16. In addition, the source explains that the Department of Justice chose to exercise jurisdiction over the criminal complaints against Ms. De Lima, even though the independent Office of the Ombudsman had exclusive jurisdiction over them. Under national law, the preliminary investigation of alleged crimes committed by public officials of a certain category, to which Ms. De Lima belongs, is exclusively under the jurisdiction of the independent Ombudsman. The source points out that this demonstrates the lack of independence of the Department of Justice. 17. The source also reports that, during the preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice, Ms. De Lima filed several motions questioning the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and requesting the transfer of

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the preliminary investigation to the independent Office of the Ombudsman. Ms. De Lima’s motions were ignored by the Department of Justice’s Panel of Prosecutors, who are directly under the control of the Secretary of Justice. The Panel did not issue any written order or ruling on Ms. De Lima’s motions. Instead, it continued to exercise jurisdiction and proceeded to determine probable cause and to file cases in court against her without giving her the opportunity to question the purely testimonial nature of the evidence against her. 18. In addition, the source alleges that the Panel of Prosecutors did not personally examine the witnesses against Ms. De Lima. They relied on the affidavits and transcripts of the congressional hearings on the Bilibid drug trade without examining the credibility of witnesses who had been convicted of various criminal offences and who, by law, were even prohibited from being presented in court as State witnesses. The Panel of Prosecutors also ignored the absence of the most important evidence, namely the drugs. Even though national law and jurisprudence require the identification and presentation of the drugs traded as corpus delicti, the Panel of Prosecutors proceeded to file criminal information for illegal drug trading against Ms. De Lima with the courts, knowing that it was impossible to prosecute such a charge without presenting the drugs traded as evidence. 19. On 17 February 2017, the Secretary of Justice announced that charges had been filed against Ms. De Lima and several other individuals for alleged violations of illegal drug trading punishable under section 5, in relation to sections 3 ( jj), 26 (b) and 28 of the Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002), prohibiting the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of illegal drugs”. 20. On 20 February 2017, Ms. De Lima filed a motion to quash, citing the (a) the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court’s lack of jurisdiction over the offence in question and the Panel of Prosecutors’ lack of authority over the case and (b) the fact that the allegations and the recital of facts, both in the Information and in the Department of Justice’s joint reso-

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lution, did not allege the corpus delicti of illegal drug trading. 21. The source reports that, on 23 February 2017, despite the unresolved motion to quash, Regional Trial Court Branch 204 issued an order of arrest against Ms. De Lima. On 24 February 2017, Ms. De Lima presented herself to the arresting officers of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. 22. According to the source, the offence with which Ms. De Lima was charged was non-bailable under national law. Article III, section 13, of the Constitution provides that all persons, except those charged with offences punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The penalty for the fabricated offences against Ms. De Lima is life imprisonment or the death penalty. 23. The source further explains that Ms. De Lima filed, before the Supreme Court, a petition for certiorari and prohibition on 24 February 2017, requesting the Court to annul the order of arrest, the warrant of arrest, enjoin the trial court judge from proceeding with the case and restore the statuses of the parties prior to the issuance of the order. 24. Reportedly, on 10 October 2017, the Supreme Court issued a decision in which five justices stated that the relevant charge was illegal drug trading, three other justices believed that the charge should be conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading, and one justice indicated that the charge could be either of the two. The remaining six justices believed that the charge should be a bailable charge of bribery or no charge at all on the basis that it might be a complete fabrication altogether. Despite these divergent views, the majority of the justices (nine) decided that Ms. De Lima should continue to be detained, even though they were not sure what exactly she was in jail for and even while the Government was sorting out for itself the proper charges to file against Ms. De Lima. After issuing this decision, the Government proceeded to amend the charges against Ms. De Lima,

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from illegal drug trading to conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading. 25. The source emphasizes that only one of the Bilibid drug lords who testified against Ms. De Lima has been charged as a co-conspirator. 26. In addition, despite the proposed amendment of the charges against her, Ms. De Lima continues to be detained by orders of three regional trial courts that are yet to decide whether to allow the amendment of the charges, and whether the amendment is supported by the evidence on record. On 16 November 2017, a third warrant of arrest for illegal drug trading was issued against Ms. De Lima. Furthermore, on 4, 22 and 23 January 2018, three judges recused themselves from the case. 27. Finally, the source reports that, since being detained, Ms. De Lima has been refused certain visits and her request for furlough to participate in Senate hearings, most notably on the recent drug-related killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, was rejected. In addition, the source claims that some of the documents given to her are routinely inspected or confiscated as they are considered “propaganda material” or “signs of protest”. Legal analysis

Category II 28. The source claims that, in the case of Ms. De Lima, certain rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been violated, in particular the rights guaranteed by articles 7, 10, 11 (2), 12 and 19. 29. The source claims that the members of the House of Representatives violated Ms. De Lima’s rights, under the pretext that they were investigating the proliferation of illicit drugs in the national penitentiary. Moreover, this inquiry was carried out with egregious acts of discrimination against Ms. De Lima because of her womanhood. Such action im-

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pinged her right to due process and equal protection before the law. The source alleges that the multiple threats to her womanhood, public humiliation and the acts to shame a female legislator further corroborate this claim. The source refers mainly to public humiliation that blighted her womanhood, to threats of publicly exhibiting a manufactured video of her supposed intimacies, to the questions asked to witnesses to shame a female legislator and to the public disclosure of her residential address and contact telephone numbers, which resulted in death threats and hate calls. 30. The source also alleges that, contrary to article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the charges brought against Ms. De Lima were created in response to the actions she took as Chair of the Commission on Human Rights. As such, she investigated the alleged acts of the Davao Death Squad. In 2016, once elected as senator, Ms. De Lima filed a resolution that called for an inquiry into the deaths that had coincided with President Duterte’s campaign against illicit drugs. 31. The source further claims that the President, with the assistance of his Secretary of Justice, singled out Ms. De Lima from among several of his vocal and persistent political critics, and deprived her of liberty as an alleged drug lord. The source cites a number of statements from the President indicating that he treated her with contempt in every public speech, and labelled her as the public official responsible for the proliferation of the New Bilibid Prison drug trade. In a number of other statements, he reportedly expressed a willingness to destroy Ms. De Lima and made degrading comments about her and her private life. After her arrest, the source claims that the President continued making prejudicial statements against her. 32. Moreover, the source claims that the evidence and charges against Ms. De Lima were manufactured and fabricated upon the orders of the President. The source alleges that 7 of the Bilibid 19 are the main witnesses against Ms. De Lima. All are convicted criminals serving life sentences for various crimes, such as robbery with murder, kidnapping

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and drug trading. 33. In addition, according to the source, in May 2016, Ms. De Lima was informed that a group of individuals had started going around the New Bilibid Prison to solicit incriminating testimonies to be used against her, regarding any supposed irregularity that had taken place in the national penitentiary during her term as Secretary of Justice. Reportedly, a legal officer from the Bureau of Corrections attested to the fact that inmates who had testified against Ms. De Lima were now housed at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Custodial Centre and enjoyed increased prison privileges. 34. The source also contends that multiple employees from the Department of Justice, an informant involved in the 2014 raid and employees of the Drug Enforcement Agency have been threatened, intimated or pressured into testifying against Ms. De Lima. Namely, in August 2016, the Secretary of Justice forced and intimidated two Department of Justice employees into admitting ownership of bank accounts that they supposedly held for Ms. De Lima. The source reports that, after being confronted with bank transaction slips, which ultimately turned out to be fake, the two Department of Justice employees denied ownership of the bank accounts and refused to testify against Ms. De Lima. 35. Moreover, the source reports that, following the President’s orders, the Secretary of Justice pronounced the guilt of Ms. De Lima in public even before any formal government investigation had been conducted against her. 36. In the same vein, the source claims that the Secretary of Justice and the President carried out a public smear campaign against Ms. De Lima. Prior to her arrest, the Secretary of Justice had told the media that Ms. De Lima had kept money seized during the 2014 raid on the New Bilibid Prison, that there were documents from the Anti-Money Laundering Council showing that there were bank transactions that could link her to drug syndicates operating from the New Bilibid Prison and that all the evidence pointed to Ms. De Lima having ac-

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cepted drug money. According to the source, those are reckless accusatory pronouncements as he has failed to present any evidence. Moreover, as mentioned above, the Secretary of Justice acted as the prosecutor against Ms. De Lima in the inquiry of the House of Representatives into the Bilibid drug trade when he presented and conducted the direct examination of the Bilibid witnesses, even before a formal preliminary investigation had been conducted by the Department of Justice. This constitutes, for the source, a case of prejudgment by the Secretary of Justice, whose department was to eventually file criminal charges against Ms. De Lima based on the very same testimonies of criminal convicts presented by its Secretary during the inquiry of the House of Representatives.

Category III 37. The source alleges that Ms. De Lima’s fair trial rights have been violated insofar as, even before the beginning of her trial or before any charges were filed before the courts, she had been found guilty in a trial by publicity by the authorities. The source claims that this amounts to a clear case of political persecution and violation of her right to a presumption of innocence.

Category V 38. The source claims that Ms. De Lima has been deprived of her liberty for reasons of discrimination. Ms. De Lima was subjected to insults and shaming by congressmen taking turns in asking her misogynist questions and making misogynist statements against her during the official congressional hearings, which were broadcast live on national television and radio. 39. Ms. De Lima has previously been the subject of a joint urgent appeal (PHL 5/2017) issued on 27 March 2017. The Working Group acknowledges the Government’s reply of 11 April 2017.

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Response from the Government 40. On 20 February 2018, the Working Group transmitted the allegations from the source to the Government through its regular communication procedure. The Working Group requested the Government to provide detailed information by 23 April 2018 about the current situation of Ms. De Lima and any comments that it might have on the source’s allegations. Moreover, the Working Group called upon the Government to ensure Ms. De Lima’s physical and mental integrity. 41. The Working Group regrets that it did not receive a response from the Government to this communication, and the Government did not request an extension of the time limit for its reply, as provided for in the Working Group’s methods of work. Discussion 42. In the absence of a response from the Government, the Working Group has decided to render the present opinion, in conformity with paragraph 15 of its methods of work. 43. The Working Group has in its jurisprudence established the ways in which it deals with evidentiary issues. If the source has established a prima facie case for breach of international requirements constituting arbitrary detention, the burden of proof should be understood to rest upon the Government if it wishes to refute the allegations (A/ HRC/19/57, para. 68). In the present case, the Government has chosen not to challenge the prima facie credible allegations made by the source. 44. The Working Group wishes to reaffirm that the Government has the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the right to liberty of person and that any national law allowing deprivation of liberty should be made and implemented in conformity with the relevant international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other applicable international or regional instruments.2 2

See General Assembly resolution 72/180, fifth preambular paragraph; Commission on Human Rights resolutions 1 991/42, para. 2, and 1997/50, para. 15; and Human Rights Council resolutions 6/4, para. 1 (a), and 10/9.

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Consequently, even if the detention is in conformity with national legislation, regulations and practices, the Working Group is entitled and obliged to assess the judicial proceedings and the law itself to determine whether such detention is also consistent with the relevant rules and standards of international human rights law.3 45. The Working Group also wishes to reiterate that it applies a heightened standard of review in cases in which the rights to freedom of movement and residence, asylum, thought, conscience and religion, opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, participation in political and public affairs and equality and non-discrimination; the protection of persons belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities is restricted; or human rights defenders are involved.4 Ms. De Lima’s role as a prominent human rights defender for over a decade in the Philippines requires the Working Group to undertake this kind of intense and strict scrutiny.5

Category I 46. The Working Group will first determine whether it is impossible to invoke any legal basis to justify Ms. De Lima’s arrest and detention from 24 February 2017 that would render it arbitrary in terms of category I. 47. At the outset, the Working Group wishes to stress that pretrial detention should be the exception not the rule and a detainee should be entitled to periodic judicial review of his or her detention. In the present case, the Working Group revisits the incompatibility of a non-bailable offence under Philippine law, which precludes consideration — or reconsideration on a periodic basis — of a detainee’s See opinions No. 94/2017, para. 47; No. 76/2017, para. 49; No. 1/2003, para. 17; No. 5/1999, para. 15; and No. 1/1998, para. 13. See, for example, opinions No. 13/2018, para. 22; No. 3/2018, para. 40; No. 94/2017, para. 49; and No. 57/2017, para. 46. Domestic authorities and international supervisory bodies should apply the heightened standard of review of government action, especially when there are claims of a pattern of harassment (see opinion No. 39/2012, para. 45). See also General Assembly resolution 53/144, annex (Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms), art. 9 (3). 5 Human rights defenders, in particular, have the right to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through those and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to such matters (see General Assembly resolution 53/144, annex, art. 6 (c)). See also opinion No. 8/2009, para. 18. 3 4

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individual circumstances, with international standards.6 48. The Working Group reiterates that pretrial detention must be based on an individualized determination that it is reasonable and necessary taking into account all the circumstances.7 Pretrial detention should not be ordered for a period based on the potential sentence for the crime charged, rather than on a determination of necessity; courts must examine whether alternatives to pretrial detention, such as bail, electronic bracelets or other conditions, would render detention unnecessary in the particular case.8 The Working Group thus concurs with the fact that “automatic rejection of the applicant’s applications for bail …, devoid of any judicial control of the particular circumstances of his detention, [is] incompatible with the guarantees”9 of article 9 (3) of the Covenant. 49. The Working Group also notes that article III, section 13, of the Constitution provides that: “all persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law.” Rule 114, section 4, of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which reflects the said constitutional provision, stipulates that: “all persons in custody shall be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or released on [recognizance] as prescribed by law or this Rule (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court, and (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment.” The Working Group notes, in this regard, that the alleged drug-related offences against Ms. De Lima are punishable by life imprisonment. 50.

Furthermore, the fact that the Philippine courts, including

6 See opinion No. 24/2015, paras. 36–40. 7 Human Rights Committee, general comment No. 35 (2014) on liberty and security of person, para. 38, cited in opinion No. 24/2015, para. 37. 8 General comment No. 35, para. 38. See also A/HRC/19/57, paras. 48–58. 9 European Court of Human Rights, Piruzyan v. Armenia (application No. 33376/07), judgment of 26 June 2012, para. 105, cited in opinion No. 24/2015, para. 37.

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the Supreme Court in its controversial split decision of 10 October 2017, denied Ms. De Lima bail in accordance with the relevant national legal provisions does not prevent the detention from being arbitrary.10 In the view of the Working Group, pretrial detention without an individualized determination of the risk of flight, interference with the evidence or the recurrence of the crime, as well as consideration of less intrusive alternatives, such as bail, electronic bracelets or other conditions in accordance with the principle of necessity and proportionality, is devoid of legal basis. 51. The Working Group considers that Ms. De Lima’s pretrial detention, which has already lasted more than 17 months since her initial arrest on 24 February 2017, illustrates the importance of this fundamental legal principle concerning personal liberty. 52. The Working Group also finds another reason to question the legal basis for Ms. De Lima’s pretrial detention: the Philippine law effectively prevents periodic re-examination of the continued reasonableness and necessity of pretrial detention in the light of possible alternatives.11 53. The Working Group therefore concludes that Ms. De Lima’s pretrial detention, in violation of article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 9 (1) and (3) of the Covenant,12 lacks a legal basis and falls under category I.

Category II 54. The Working Group recalls that freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of thought and conscience are fundamental human rights enshrined in articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 18 and 19 of the Covenant.13 55. The Working Group notes that the Human Rights Com10 11 12

Opinion No. 24/2015, para. 37. General comment No. 35 (2014), paras. 12 and 38. See also article 12 of the Human Rights Declaration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 13 See Kang v. the Republic of Korea (CCPR/C/78/D/878/1999), para. 7.2. See also articles 22 and 23 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.

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mittee, in paragraph 34 of its general comment No. 34 (2011) on the freedoms of opinion and expression, stated that restrictions on the freedom of expression must not be overbroad and recalled that such restrictions must conform to the principle of proportionality, be appropriate to achieve their protective function, be the least intrusive instrument among those that might achieve their protective function and be proportionate to the interest to be protected.14 Moreover, the Committee, in paragraph 38 of the same general comment, emphasized that all public figures were legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition and that States parties should not prohibit criticism of institutions, such as the army or the administration. 56. In the same vein, the Working Group notes that the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression reiterated that the right to freedom of expression included the expression of views and opinions that offended, shocked or disturbed. 15 Even the statements considered unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste by the authorities are entitled to protection. In addition, the Human Rights Council, in its resolution No. 12/16 (para. 5 (p) (i)), stated that restrictions on discussion of government policies and political debate were not consistent with article 19 (3) of the Covenant. 57. The Working Group considers that Ms. De Lima’s deprivation of liberty resulted from her personal conviction and public statements regarding extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.16 In the view of the Working Group, the source has amply shown and the Government has not disputed that Ms. De Lima’s statements on the widespread and systematic campaign of extrajudicial killings in the context of the war on drugs have triggered measures of reprisals against her that included a criminal investigation conducted by the Department of Justice and her detention. 58. By the same token, the Working Group is also of the opinion that Ms. De Lima has been subjected to detention as 14 See opinion No. 3/2018, para. 49. 15 See A/HRC/17/27, para. 37. 16 The death squads in the Philippines,

in particular in Davao, have been an international concern for some time. See A/HRC/11/2/Add.8, paras. 18–23.

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a result of the exercise of her right to take part in government and the conduct of public affairs under article 21 of the Universal Declaration and article 25 of the Covenant.17 59. Ms. De Lima has served successively as Chair of the Commission on Human Rights, Secretary of Justice and senator during which she consistently pursued an investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings by death squads, first in Davao under then-Mayor Duterte, and later nationally under his presidency. The Working Group notes that the Government did not dispute the source’s claim that Ms. De Lima was ousted as Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights by the President’s political allies on 19 September 2016 after the announcement on 11 August 2016 that she would lead an investigation into the suspected extrajudicial killings. 60. The Working Group also finds that the current administration, including the President, has shown unfavourable intentions towards Ms. De Lima. The Working Group expresses its serious concerns about the unfavourable remarks made publicly by the President and his allies against her after she expressed her intention to investigate the extrajudicial killings under the so-called war on drugs. The Government did not rebut these allegations. 61. The Working Group therefore considers that Ms. De Lima’s deprivation of liberty is arbitrary under category II, as it resulted from her exercise of the rights and freedoms guaranteed under articles 18, 19 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 18, 19 and 25 of the Covenant.

Category III 62. Given its finding that Ms. De Lima’s deprivation of liberty is arbitrary under category II, the Working Group wishes to emphasize that no trial of Ms. De Lima should have taken place. However, since the trial did take place, the Working Group will now consider whether the alleged violations of the right to a fair trial and due process were 17

See also article 25 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.

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grave enough to give her deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character, so as to fall within category III. 63. The Working Group recalls that everyone charged with a penal offence enjoys the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public trial by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law at which the accused has had all the guarantees necessary for his or her defence in accordance with articles 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration and article 14 of the Covenant.18 64. However, in the present case, the source alleges, and the Government does not dispute, that the Secretary of Justice prejudged Ms. De Lima’s guilt in a trial by publicity during the congressional hearing on the Bilibid drug trade before the Department of Justice, which must decide independently and impartially when acting as a preliminary investigator. 65. In this regard, the Working Group agrees with the assessment of the Human Rights Committee that all public figures are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition.19 Ms. De Lima should be no exception. Nevertheless, the Working Group considers that judicial officers must conduct criminal investigations in an independent and impartial manner, and respect the presumption of innocence.20 It is difficult to deny that the conduct of the Secretary of Justice, as the nation’s chief justice, raises doubts about his adherence to this cardinal rule for a fair trial. 66. The Working Group is also highly concerned by the recent attacks on the independence of the judiciary. The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers expressed grave concerns about the President’s public threats against Chief Justice Sereno and warned that her dismissal, which followed those threats, was sending a chilling message to other judges.21 The Working Group observes that such an assault on judicial independence casts doubts on Ms. De Lima’s chances of receiving a fair trial. The Supreme Court’s nine-six decision of 10 October 2017 to uphold 18 Ibid., article 20 (1). 19 Human Rights Committee general comment No. 34 (2011) on the freedoms of opinion and expression, para. 38. 20 See opinion No. 43/2018, para. 90. 21 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Judicial independence in Philippines is under threat, says UN human rights expert”, 1 June 2018, available at www.ohchr.org/SP/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23163&LangID=E.

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her pretrial detention, as well as the failure of the Philippine courts to entertain Ms. De Lima’s habeas data petition of 7 November 2016, adds to the Working Group’s concerns. 67. In the light of the foregoing, the Working Group concludes that the violations of Ms. De Lima’s rights to a fair trial are of such gravity as to render her deprivation of liberty arbitrary, falling within category III.

Category V 68. The Working Group will now examine whether Ms. De Lima’s deprivation of liberty constitutes illegal discrimination under international law for the purpose of category V. 69. First and foremost, the Working Group notes that Ms. De Lima has been a consistent critic of Mayor-cum-President Duterte’s alleged death squads in his war on drugs. Ms. De Lima called for an investigation into the extrajudicial killings as the Chair of the Commission on Human Rights, as Secretary of Justice and as Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The Working Group notes that she is entitled to protection as a human rights defender.22 70. In the discussion presented above concerning the application of category II to the present case, the Working Group has already established that Ms. De Lima’s deprivation of liberty resulted from her exercise of the right to political participation, and freedoms of opinion and expression and thought and conscience. The Working Group cannot help but notice that Ms. De Lima’s political views and convictions are clearly at the centre of the present case and that the authorities have displayed an attitude towards her that can only be characterized as targeted and discriminatory. Indeed, she has been the target of partisan persecution and there is no explanation for this other than her exercise of the right to express such views and convictions as a human rights defender. The Government did not refute any of these allegations. 71. The Working Group also notes that several Special Rap22 See the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, arts. 9 and 12.

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porteurs have observed that human rights defenders who have worked on the cases involving the Government’s war on drugs have also suffered harassment and threats as a result.23 72. In addition, the Working Group expresses its particular concern at the sexist statements and attacks on her personal life by President Duterte and his political allies that cast serious doubt on the Government’s solemn undertaking to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights as set forth in article 3 of the Covenant. The Working Group thus considers that Ms. De Lima has also been targeted and the subject of attacks and discriminatory language due to her gender. 73. For these reasons, the Working Group considers that Ms. De Lima’s deprivation of liberty constitutes a violation of articles 2 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 2, 3 and 26 of the Covenant24 on the grounds of discrimination based on political or other opinion, as well as her status as a human rights defender and as a woman. Her deprivation of liberty therefore falls under category V.

Preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court 74. The Working Group notes that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has decided to open a preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines to analyse “crimes allegedly committed in this State Party since at least 1 July 2016, in the context of the ‘war on drugs’ campaign launched by the Government” in particular the allegation that “since 1 July 2016, thousands of persons have been killed for reasons related to their alleged involvement in illegal drug use or dealing” and that “many of the reported incidents involved extra-judicial killings in the course of police anti-drug operations”.25 75. The Working Group considers that Ms. De Lima’s case is 23 See AL PHL 12/2017. Available at https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=23340. 24 See also ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, arts. 2 and 4. 25 “Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, on opening preliminary examinations into the situations in the Philippines and in [the Bolivarian Republic of ] Venezuela”, 8 February 2018. Available at www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=180208-otp-stat.

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not an isolated incident. In this regard, the Working Group observes that, under certain circumstances, widespread or systematic imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty in violation of the rules of international law may constitute crimes against humanity. The Working Group urges the Government to rescind its notification of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, which was deposited with the Secretary-General on 17 March 2018. 76. The Working Group reiterates the International Court of Justice’s dictum in 1980 that “wrongfully to deprive human beings of their freedom and to subject them to physical constraint in conditions of hardship is in itself manifestly incompatible with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as with the fundamental principles enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. 26 The conventional and customary prohibition of arbitrary detention has been authoritatively recognized as a peremptory norm ( jus cogens) of international law by the Human Rights Committee in paragraph 11 of its general comment No. 29 (2001) on states of emergency, as well as paragraphs 51 and 75 of the Working Group’s deliberation No. 9 (2012) concerning the definition and scope of arbitrary deprivation of liberty under customary international law.27 77. The Working Group recalls that the corollary obligations erga omnes of protection “bind all the States which compose the organized international community” in a horizontal dimension and “bind both the organs and agents of (State) public power, and the individuals themselves (in the interindividual relations)” in a vertical dimension.28 Hence, the See United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1980, p. 3, at para. 91, cited in opinions No. 30/2018, para. 40; No. 94/2017, para. 52, footnote 9; No. 76/2017, para. 56; No. 63/2017, para. 51; No. 37/2014, para. 32; No. 22/2014, para. 18; and No. 10/2013, para. 23. See also Ahmadou Sadio Diallo (Republic of Guinea v. Democratic Republic of the Congo), Merits, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 2010, p. 639, at paras. 75–85, and Separate Opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade therein, at paras. 107–142. 27 See opinions No. 63/2017, para. 51; No. 10/2013, para. 32; No. 16/2011, para. 12; No. 15/2011, para. 20; and No. 24/2010, para. 28. See also Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States (Washington, D.C., American Law Institute, 1987), § 702, comment n, and §102, comment k, listing (a) genocide; (b) slavery or slave trade; (c) the murder or causing the disappearance of individuals; (d) torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; (e) prolonged arbitrary detention; and (f) systematic racial discrimination as definitive peremptory norms. 28 See Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Juridical Condition and Rights of Undocumented Migrants, Advisory Opinion OC-18/03 of 17 September 2003, requested by the United Mexican States, Concurring Opinion of Judge A.A. Cançado Trindade, paras. 74–85, at para. 77. Available at www.corteidh.or.cr/docs/opiniones/seriea_18_ing.pdf. 26

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duty to comply with international human rights standards that are peremptory and erga omnes norms, such as the prohibition of arbitrary detention, rests with all bodies and representatives of the State, all officials, including judges, prosecutors, police and security officers, and prison officers with relevant responsibilities, and all other natural and legal persons.29 78. In accordance with paragraph 33 (a) of its methods of work, the Working Group refers the case to: the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, and requests the Government to translate and publish the present Opinion. Disposition 79. In the light of the foregoing, the Working Group renders the following opinion: The deprivation of liberty of Leila Norma Eulalia Josefa De Lima, being in contravention of articles 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 2, 3, 9, 14, 17, 25 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is arbitrary and falls within categories I, II, III and V. 80. The Working Group requests the Government of the Philippines to take the steps necessary to remedy the situation of Ms. De Lima without delay and bring it into conformity with the relevant international norms, including those set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 81. The Working Group considers that, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the appropriate remedy would be to release Ms. De Lima immediately and accord her 29

See, for example, opinions No. 40/2018, para. 49; No. 94/2017, para. 73; No. 91/2017, para. 102; No. 83/2017, para. 90; No. 76/2017, para. 85; and No. 1/2016, para. 43.

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an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law, including her reinstatement in the positions from which she was ousted. 82. The Working Group urges the Government to ensure a full and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Ms. De Lima and to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of her rights. 83. In accordance with paragraph 33 (a) of its methods of work, the Working Group refers the present case to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. 84. The Working Group requests the Government to disseminate the present opinion through all available means and as widely as possible. Follow-up procedure 85. In accordance with paragraph 20 of its methods of work, the Working Group requests the source and the Government to provide it with information on action taken in follow-up to the recommendations made in the present opinion, including: (a) Whether Ms. De Lima has been released and, if so, on what date; (b) Whether compensation or other reparations have been made to Ms. De Lima; (c) Whether an investigation has been conducted into the violation of Ms. De Lima’s rights and, if so, the outcome of the investigation; (d)

Whether any legislative amendments or changes in

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practice have been made to harmonize the laws and practices of the Philippines with its international obligations in line with the present opinion; (e) Whether any other action has been taken to implement the present opinion. 86. The Government is invited to inform the Working Group of any difficulties it may have encountered in implementing the recommendations made in the present opinion and whether further technical assistance is required, for example, through a visit by the Working Group. 87. The Working Group requests the source and the Government to provide the above- mentioned information within six months of the date of the transmission of the present opinion. However, the Working Group reserves the right to take its own action in follow-up to the opinion if new concerns in relation to the case are brought to its attention. Such action would enable the Working Group to inform the Human Rights Council of progress made in implementing its recommendations, as well as any failure to take action. 88. The Working Group recalls that the Human Rights Council has encouraged all States to cooperate with the Working Group and has requested them to take account of its views and, where necessary, to take appropriate steps to remedy the situation of persons arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, and to inform the Working Group of the steps they have taken.30

[Adopted on 24 August 2018]

30

See Human Rights Council resolution 33/30, paras. 3 and 7.

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“The charges against Senator Leila de Lima are pure fiction. She has been singled out and targeted for nothing but her courageous opposition to President Duterte’s appalling policies. We consider her to be a prisoner of conscience and urge the authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally.�

-James Gomez, Amnesty International


“If injustice could be done to Leila, a sitting Senator, injustice could be done to anyone. One therefore is challenged to make a personal inquiry: What could I do; and if I have done something, is it enough?�

-Former President Benigno S. Aquino III


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Dispatch 247 20,322 DEAD SO FAR 26 February 2018 The data released by the DILG as cited in Senator Trillanes’s recent privilege speech is troubling. The DILG data mentioned a total of 20,322 killed in the War on Drugs. Of these, 16,335 are classified as deaths under investigation, PNP’s cold-hearted euphemism for vigilante killings and targeted assassinations. These gruesome statistics, coming from no less than the government in charge of the drug war, clearly show that Duterte’s drug war is meeting his quota of at least 1,000 dead nationwide for every month that his regime is in power. This means that for Duterte’s 18 months in office when the data was released, with 20,322 dead cited as an accomplishment of the drug war, an average of 1,129 Filipinos are killed every month, or 37 human beings per day. Multiplied by six years, this means that Duterte would be near his figurative target of 100,000 dead bodies turning Manila Bay red by the year 2022. I say figurative in the sense that back then during the campaign, we were thinking that certainly, he must be exaggerating. With these statistics, it becomes clear that 100,000 dead turning Manila Bay red with blood was not merely a figure of speech for Duterte. It was a campaign promise, the only campaign promise that Duterte is delivering on like clockwork. Apparently, 16 million voted for this, some of the 20,322 dead included in those who voted for Duterte. We now wonder how many more of those 16 million voted for their own murder as the death squads continue to meet Duterte’s quota. More importantly, we wonder how many more of those who did not vote for this mass murder are going to end up dead. Not that it matters. Murder is murder, regardless of who the victim is. This is what we have forgotten as a nation. We welcomed death into our homes, and he is not leaving anytime soon.

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By the time the total body count is finally in, whether 80,000 or 100,000, we must ask if there is still anything left of us as a nation, one with a soul, other than one consisting of 100 million accomplices led by a single mass murderer. In the end, this is what the world will remember us for, unless we put a stop to this madness by bringing the principal and his enablers to justice, whether in our own courts, or the one in The Hague. Dispatch 253 DEATH SQUAD DIPLOMACY 5 March 2018 Unlike Cayetano who has to sell Duterte’s drug war to the world like a second hand car salesman, human rights defenders only have to let reality and the truth speak insofar as state-sanctioned extra-judicial killings are concerned. And reality and the truth show that as of the latest PNP body count, 20,322 human beings had so far been killed in Duterte’s drug war since July 1, 2016. Cayetano of course has to impress his boss that he is delivering results, especially after the start of the ICC prosecutor’s preliminary examination on the Philippine situation, and the exhortation of the UNHRC members that the Duterte regime should uphold human rights and stop the summary executions. But saying that I never charged his boss in court while I was Secretary of Justice is Cayetano’s lame defense of his boss’s human rights record, especially after Matobato’s and Lascañas’s detailed accounts of then Mayor Duterte’s murders have been heard by the whole world. Cayetano is fooling only himself if he thinks he is able to convince the international community that killing Filipino civilians in order to “save” the Philippines is justified under international law. Executing defenseless suspects and children without trial is not a case of national defense. It is simply state-sanctioned cold-blooded murder and a crime against humanity.

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It is becoming clearer by the day that the Duterte regime would need more than a Cayetano to convince the world with its excuses and lies. After all, Cayetano is no Adlai Stevenson or Carlos P. Romulo or Albert del Rosario. And that instead of the truth, the core of his message is the lie about a drug war that has not eliminated drugs and the drug supply, only poor suspects, among them children. The messenger is only as good as the message. Not even an accomplished diplomat can peddle barefaced lies to an international audience, much less a thick-faced neophyte. By acting as Duterte’s merchant of death to the world, Cayetano is giving Philippine diplomacy and diplomats a bad name, and an indelible international embarrassment that would take the DFA years to recover from. Dispatch 258 PSYCHOPATHIC DICTATOR 10 March 2018 The Duterte government’s hostility against Rappler is a classic trademark of a vindictive and tyrannical government telling media to toe the line. Just weeks ago, Rappler’s license was revoked and its operations now hangs in the balance pending appeal of the SEC decision. Still not satisfied, Duterte has banned Rappler’s Pia Ranada from Malacanang complex and, now, wherever the President goes, Ranada has been disallowed to cover the event. And then these—tax evasion and cyber libel cases. This is a clear case of harassment and persecution not just of Rappler but of media in general. Media as the fourth estate is being tamed, if not silenced, right under our very noses. There has been a deliberate jugular attack against Filipinos’ democratic rights and fundamental freedoms considering the crucial role of a free press in disseminating information, articulating diverse opinions to ensure checks and balance, and providing platforms through which citizens could communicate with their government and engage with their leaders.

Ang pag-atake sa media kasama ang kasalukuyang pagpipilit ng gobyernong

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tanggalin sa Supreme Court si Chief Justice Sereno at ang aking unjust detention ay malinaw na patunay na tayo ngayon ay nakapailalim na sa isang “authoritarian regime” kahit walang pormal na deklarasyon ng Martial Law sa buong bansa. Duterte’s incessant acts of aggression and savagery against the democratic opposition and our independent institutions, including the press, reveal what he really is: a psychopathic dictator and an incorrigible despot. Sinisimot nya ang ating demokrasya. Sinasaid nya ang ating mga karapatan. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, in their very authoritative book “How Democracies Die”, describe perfectly the behavior of an authoritarian, as someone who: rejects the democratic rules of the game; denies the legitimacy of political opponents; tolerates or encourages violence; and is ready to curtail civil liberties of adversaries and critics— including media. Duterte, as a present-day demagogue, definitely fits the bill. What then is the antidote to an autocratic leader? An enlightened and engaged citizenry infused with a consuming zeal for the rule of law, democracy, and human rights. A movement of freedom-loving people who struggle for truth, justice and nation-building, reinforced by a free and unfettered media. Dispatch 265 AVALANCHE, REALLY? 17 March 2018 Harry Roque has this delusion that following Duterte’s decision to withdraw the Philippines from the ICC, it is now “the beginning of the end” for the ICC, as he now also expects “an avalanche of other states leaving” the ICC.

Avalanche talaga? Ok ka lang Mr. Roque? Naka-Fentanyl ka na rin? So far, the only nation that has successfully left the ICC is Burundi.

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Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh withdrew his country from the ICC last October 2016, but his successor President Adama Barrow immediately restored Gambia’s membership in the ICC in February 2017 after his predecessor’s election defeat, thereby ending two decades of repressive rule. South Africa tried to leave under President Jacob Zuma, again unsuccessfully, after its High Court declared that the executive act was unconstitutional without parliamentary approval. Zuma has been removed from office since then and has been charged with corruption just yesterday. What is clear is that the heads of state who tried to withdraw from the ICC are those who fear prosecution and trial at the ICC for widespread human rights violations during their reign. The only country that the Philippines has for company in leaving the ICC now is Burundi, after Gambia rejoined the ICC and South Africa’s High Court nullified Zuma’s withdrawal. Yes, the Philippines is now Asia’s own Burundi, after the Duterte government announced its withdrawal from the ICC.

Mr. Roque, i-google mo ang Burundi. Iyan ang pinagyayabang mong bansa na kahanay ngayon ng Pilipinas sa pag-tiwalag sa ICC. As for the “avalanche” of nations that will follow suit, Roque must be hallucinating. No, Mr. Roque, Duterte’s withdrawal from the ICC is not the “beginning of the end” for the ICC. It is the beginning of the end for Duterte. No, Mr. Roque, countries will not be leaving the ICC because the Duterte government is “the number one defender of human rights and democracy in the world.” It is precisely the opposite. Countries will be staying put in the ICC because they don’t want to be identified with the Philippine government under Duterte which is now the number one human rights violator in the world. Just listen to what Duterte is saying every day, especially after the “onetime, big-time” operations that killed Kian Lloyd delos Santos. Duterte said the more people that are killed, the better, and that the police should

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kill 32 more people every day. Just look at Aldrin Pineda, the 13-yearold boy from Tondo who was shot and killed by a policeman while playing in his neighborhood. He was just buried yesterday.

Mr. Roque, magpalinis ka naman ng tenga mo. Mukhang wala kang naririnig sa mga pinagsasabi araw-araw ng berdugong Pangulo mo. Number one human rights defender ba kamo? Kahit si Duterte inamin niya na basura sa kanya ang human rights. Kahit si Duterte inamin niya na kahit kailan wala siyang pakialam sa karapatang pantao. Subukan mong ipasabi sa Pangulo mo ngayon na nirerespeto niya ang karapatang pantao, na ipaglalaban niya ang karapatang pantao, kung hindi siya mamilipit at masunog sa kanyang kinatatayuan. No right thinking nation or leader will follow the lead of your deranged President except perhaps those who are also likely candidates for ICC investigation and prosecution.

Avalanche ka dyan. Dispatch 274 CHINA’S DEFENSE OF DUTERTE’S WITHDRAWAL FROM THE ICC 4 April 2018 Duterte is the greatest thing that ever happened to China’s expansionism in the West Philippine Sea. The President of the erstwhile independent Philippine Republic, which is now no different from a Chinese province under Duterte, has probably saved the Chinese government billions of yuans in national security, intelligence, and military spending after Duterte single-handedly turned over Philippine possession of the Spratlys, Scarborough Shoal, and even Benham Rise to China in a silver platter. The Chinese simply could not believe their luck in having such a lapdog as the President of their erstwhile bitter rival over WPS territories. It is therefore not surprising that of all the countries in the world, only

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China has supported Duterte’s withdrawal from the ICC, despite Harry Roque’s hilarious claim that an “avalanche” of nations will support the Philippine withdrawal by also withdrawing from the ICC. For China, Duterte is a godsend. It will do whatever it takes to keep Duterte in power, and this includes preventing an ICC warrant of arrest from ever touching him. China is supporting Duterte against what it alleges as ICC politicization not because it believes in the Philippines’ independence to craft its own policy against illegal drugs. If there is any country that has undermined Philippine sovereignty in the past several years, it is China. China is supporting Duterte against the ICC for no other reason than because he is the closest China ever came to having a puppet in the Philippines. China is therefore only defending its puppet against his international accountability in the murder of 20,000 (and still counting) human beings in a fake drug war. What is therefore hilarious about China’s defense of Duterte’s “independent” drug war policy is that China itself is not doing anything to stop the flow of drugs into the Philippines. If China is truly sincere in eradicating the drug problem in the Philippines, all it has to do is to stop the shipment of shabu from China to the Philippines, and hunt down the Chinese drug lords operating in the Philippines and seize their assets in China. But China is not doing that. Its drug lords continue to pour shabu into the Philippines, while its puppet Duterte wages his fake war on drugs by killing poor Filipinos. We all know that early on, Duterte allied with China because he knows that human rights is never a consideration of China. It couldn’t care less about human rights. All that Duterte had to do then to make himself indispensable to China was to be the puppet that China needed in the Philippines. And Duterte’s bargain all worked out well for China. The least that China can therefore do for Duterte is to defend him against the ICC and protect him from international accountability for the mass murder of his own people. Of course, China is doing all of this for itself, because without Duterte, it loses its puppet and ever reliable ally who just surrendered territories in the Spratlys. Aside from China, no other country in the world has

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any reason to support Duterte’s withdrawal from the ICC, because only China has a billion yuan reason to do so. As aptly put by a blogger, treason is the biggest sin, among many, of this President. Dispatch 277 LAMENTATIONS OF THE URBAN POOR IN RELATION TO THE CITIZENS’ VOTING POWER 7 April 2018 Among the various sharings made by the attendees of the Easter Sunday mass, held at the reception area of this facility, the most striking and powerful one was made by a known female champion for the rights and welfare of the urban poor sector. She expressed her dismay, perhaps even disgust, about the current state of affairs, particularly lamenting why no one seems to be fighting for the urban poor—na s’yang mga pangunahing nabibiktima ng War on Drugs, TRAIN, Endo, atbp. According to her, they’re just there—waiting for leaders to mobilize them for action.

Bakit ganun? Ang mga urban poor ang mga mabilis lapitan at gamitin ng mga politiko tuwing election, pero pagkatapos ng election kinakalimutan na nila? She lambasts politicians na mga mahilig mag-ala Poncio Pilato o naghuhugas ng kamay sa mga panahon na kailangan sila ng taumbayan. This reflection got me thinking and my reflections lead me to one conclusion: Nasa boto ng bawat Pilipino ang pag-asa ng pagbabago. Without it, the status quo will never change: the poor will always be poor, while the rich get richer. And yet, though people have been voting for decades, why are we still in a state where the poor are used during elections and promptly

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discarded thereafter?

Mahirap mang sabihin at aminin—at marahil maraming magagalit dahil sa aking sasabihin—palagay ko ay tungkulin kong sabihin ang mapait na katotohanan. Nagagamit, naaabuso at napagsasamantalahan ang mahihirap dahil na rin sa pumapayag silang magpagamit tuwing halalan. They vote for politicians that they know are not worthy, who are the same politicians who courted them during elections and ignored them the rest of the time. Why? Because many people forsake the true value of their vote, and sell it at a bargain during elections. It’s easy to lambast politicians—and they deserve it. But trapos will be trapos. If they fool us once, shame on them. But if we keep voting for them, who do we blame? There are good citizens out there, but they don’t get a chance to serve because voters would rather vote for bombastic personalities, who make promises that we all know are too good to be true. Or, in my case, when we do get voted in office, we ourselves promptly become victims of oppression and political persecution. That is precisely why people will be waiting in vain if they are waiting for politicians to mobilize them for change: it is not in their interest to emancipate the poor from poverty because leading them on during election season is a cheap way to gain and remain in power.

Nangangako ang mga pulitiko ng pagbabago. Malaking panlilinlang lamang yan dahil ang tunay na makapagdadala ng pagbabago ay ang taumbayan mismo. Dispatch 284 GORDON’S POLITICAL MANIFESTO 16 April 2018 The Gordon Dengvaxia Report is not a legislative investigation report. It is Gordon’s personal political manifesto demonizing former President Benigno S. Aquino III and his administration.

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There is one sentence in the summary of the Senate Blue Ribbon Report on the Dengvaxia investigation that reveals the pathological manipulation and hostility exerted by the Committee Chairman in order to come out with a shameless Anti-Aquino Manifesto disguised as a Blue Ribbon Committee Report. In this summary, Gordon said that PNoy simply didn’t care for Filipino children in ordering the use of the Dengvaxia vaccine. According to him: “This is in keeping with the character of the President [Aquino]. During the Mamasapano tragedy, he didn’t even visit the body [sic] of the fallen SAFs.” (at p. 12) First off, what does the Mamasapano incident even have to do with the Dengvaxia investigation? Second, even Gordon’s assertion that PNoy “didn’t even visit the body [sic] of the fallen SAFs” is a blatant lie. On the night of the arrival of the SAF 44 remains in Manila, President Aquino presided over a memorial service where he paid his respects to each and every fallen SAF commando and thereafter spent hours talking to their families. Third, the Blue Ribbon Dengvaxia hearings, of course, definitely did not tackle the Mamasapano incident to enable President Aquino to defend himself from whatever insinuations Gordon would like to demonstrate about PNoy’s behavior with regard said incident in relation to the Dengvaxia issue, assuming there is even any relation. Gordon simply cannot get over President Aquino and the Mamasapano incident. He just had to take it out on the former President using the Dengvaxia investigation. The whole gist and design of the Gordon report is to inculpate PNoy, without any mention whatsoever of the testimonies and documents presented by PNoy and his officials during the hearings. It is as if PNoy and his officials were never there at the Blue Ribbon Committee hearings. It is the exact opposite of what Gordon did in the Senate EJK investigation report. While he exerted all efforts to exculpate President Duterte in the EJK investigation, he single-mindedly indicted President Aquino in the Dengvaxia investigation, both without any pretensions at objectivity whatsoever. The Gordon Report is as malicious as it is pre-ordained. It is madeto-order in accordance with Gordon’s political agenda. Like most of Gordon’s so-called legislative investigations, the Dengvaxia hearings

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were as much a farce as they were a political witchhunt. In this sense, the Gordon report is no different from, but instead is in perfect harmony with, the legendary hysterics of PAO Chief Persida Acosta. The Blue Ribbon Committee Dengvaxia Report is Gordon’s personal diatribe against former President Aquino. Nothing more, nothing less. I will not wonder if only a few Senators, or none at all other than Gordon signs it. Dispatch 289 ON NFA RICE SHORTAGE AND RELATED CONTROVERSIES 20 April 2018 The controversy surrounding the NFA and the incomprehensible rice shortage happening under Duterte’s watch would seemingly lead to one of two explanations: either Duterte is a deluded, incompetent patsy, whose own underlings and trusted friends are running circles around him, taking advantage of the trust that the old-but-inexperienced man has given to them; or he’s a wily and corrupt manipulator, who allows smuggling syndicates and their influence peddlers to run rampant in his government with impunity, while he takes the Filipino people for a ride, including members of his own Cabinet, who have misplaced their faith in his promise of “change”. It seems that it has to be one or the other. Why? Because based on corroborated and even documented in-fighting among members of his inner circle, Duterte has had more than one occasion to either prevent the anomalies in the NFA from happening, or halt them before they caused grave damage to the Filipino people. He could have prevented it because, as far back as March 2016, the Bureau of Customs, where Jason Aquino previously worked, publicized notices warning the public about his insalubrious character and bad track record—yet he was nonetheless appointed by Duterte as NFA Administrator 9 months later. Perhaps because Jason Aquino is reportedly close to Bong Go and to Duterte’s son, Paolo. Whatever the reason, Duterte ignored BOC’s advice, believing himself a far wiser judge of character than Jason Aquino’s own colleagues and superiors.

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In March 2017, Duterte had good cause to keep a close eye on his appointee, when no less than his good friend and Cabinet Secretary, Leoncio Evasco, Jr. himself, cried foul about Jason Aquino’s defiance of his orders on extending rice importation through the minimum access volume (MAV) scheme. It would be interesting to note who Jason Aquino’s backers are that he feels free to defy the orders of an alter ego of the President. Again, Duterte had an opportunity to halt the shenanigans in the NFA when, in Sept. 2017, Senator Lacson filed a complaint against Aquino as NFA Administrator for graft and economic sabotage, after he issued post-facto import permits that allowed the release of $680,000 (P34.04 million) worth of rice in the Cagayan de Oro port in May despite lack of permits and payment of duties. Yet, Aquino remained in his post, mostly unscathed by the revelation of such blatantly suspicious actions. Teflon Jason, indeed. The President even defended and expressed trust in him. Yet, following this and perhaps precisely because of this manifest vote of confidence, CabSec Evasco recently submitted a Memo to the President revealing even more anomalies, including Teflon Jason’s diversion of rice intended for hurricane-prone areas in Eastern Visayas, only to be sold to Bulacan rice traders. It would be interesting to see what Duterte does—or does not do—in light of this. Time and again, he has chosen to close his eyes to the problems in the NFA. What is known is that his wilful inaction has brought us to this situation, where we are experiencing a rice shortage that may or may not have been especially induced in order to justify a Government-to-Government (G2G) importation of rice—an opportunity that influence peddlers and so-called “deal brokers” might exploit in order to squeeze out commissions, kickbacks and transaction fees.

Magandang itanong kung sino ba ang makikinabang sa mga nangyayaring ito sa NFA at sa gobyerno ni Duterte.

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For sure, it isn’t the Filipino farmers because Duterte is favouring G2G as opposed to G2P, as recommended by CabSec Evasco, which would have meant that the government would be buying from farmers’ cooperatives, hopefully, legitimate ones. For sure, hindi rin ang taumbayan dahil hindi na nga umuunlad ang lokal na produksyon ng palay at napag-iiwanan na tayo ng ibang bansa, napapamahal pa ang bilihin dahil sa “rice shortage” na dulot ng kapabayaan ni Duterte, at ang kita na napupunta sana sa gobyerno bilang taripa o import duties ay napupunta lamang sa mga smugglers. Follow the money, ika nga. Sino-sino ba ang nasa likod at ang mga sinasandalan ng mga smuggler na ito? These are all interesting questions, but there is a bigger and more longterm question that also needs to be asked. What is the Duterte Administration doing to really help the farmers? To upgrade their productivity? To make sure that they are being groomed and given enough support to someday help the Philippines become self-sufficient and to, once again, become truly and completely competitive with other rice producing countries? Baka parang pangakong “End to Endo” lang yan, o pangakong ipaglalaban ang ating karapatan sa West Philippine Sea—na pawang mga pangakong napapako lamang?

Ginoong Duterte, how far will you go to protect those who abuse and exploit the positions you have given them? Kelan mo naman proprotektahan ang taong-bayan? Dispatch 291 A TYRANT’S WILL TO DEPORT SISTER PATRICIA FOX 26 April 2018 The deportation of Sr. Patricia Fox, a human rights defender who lawfully entered and stayed in our country under a missionary visa, says a lot about the state of democracy in our country. It is clear that, as things are currently being run, the rule of law bows to the will of a tyrant.

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But, more than that, it exposes how this Administration is systematically doing its best to insulate us from the outside world, especially those who have enough malasakit for our countrymen to come in our defense when we are being oppressed by our own government. It clearly shows the bias of this Administration against foreigners who defend human rights, and in favor of foreigners who care nothing for it. It won’t be long until we will be no different from the people of other nations who are so used to being the victims of repression in their own countries, they would not recognize abuse in others, let alone have the inclination or means to fight against it. They want us to become a country of lost sheep, so they are getting rid of those who are simply doing their missionary’s work of guiding us towards good and away from evil. It is also clear that such an act is just another step towards ensuring the impunity with which this Administration tramples on people’s rights. It is too easy to predict that this is the precedent that they are setting in order to blacklist, deny entry to and/or order the deportation of representatives or agents of international human rights bodies, such as the ICC, whom Duterte deems a threat to his tyrannical rule. The old man is so scared of his own shadow, he lashes out at a nun who is doing nothing but nurturing his people. The noose around our collective heads are getting tighter and tighter. With the persecution of Filipino human rights defenders, our isolation from foreign human rights defenders, and the attacks on the independence of government institutions, the legs of the table we are standing on are being chopped off one-by-one. The moment that the table topples over, we are lost. We must fight to escape the stranglehold that this Administration continues to hold us under. We must defend ourselves by defending our defenders. Otherwise, we will find that it is too late. To paraphrase a known quote from an outspoken critic of Adolf Hitler:

First they came for the poor and defenseless, and I did not

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speak out—Because I was not whom they were targeting. Then they persecuted and silenced the political opposition, and I did not speak out—Because I am but an ordinary citizen who knows nothing of politics and affairs of the state. Then they came for the human rights defenders, local and foreign, and I did not speak out—Because if the defenders are powerless to defend themselves, who am I to even try. Then they came for me, my family, my community and my nation—and there was no one left to speak for me. Dispatch 292 TO FUTURE LAWYERS: EXCELLENCE. HONOR. INTEGRITY. 27 April 2018 Congratulations to all the men and women who successfully passed the 2017 Bar Exams! Congratulations, too, to your families, friends and loved ones who helped see you through the trying years of law school, the even more stressful months of preparing for the Bar Exams, and the unceasingly nerve-wracking wait for the results to come out. I welcome you all to the legal profession. You will discover that there are many fields of practice and ways to practice our profession, but I think somewhere along the way you will also find that some “ways” are more honorable than others. It goes without saying, defining your “success” as a lawyer will be a lot different from assessing your success as law students. There will no longer be professors who will mark your answers as right or wrong, and who will, at the end of the semester, give you grades that you will have to live with, whether you think it’s fair or not. Sure, early on in your career you’ll have a boss or a mentor who will want you to learn and do things their way, but, at the end of the day, a

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lot of it will be based on your own self-assessment—you can no longer just accept and “live with” what other people say or what they tell you to do. You are your own persons now in many ways. And you, as lawyers, will always have a choice. Doing or saying nothing is also a choice. The point is, you will have to make them on your own, and you will have to take responsibility for them. You can listen to others—in fact, you should listen, because listening is a valuable skill for a lawyer and for any human being, for that matter, to harness and practice—but, at the end of the day, the choice is yours. You can choose to measure your success based on a win-loss record; by the bottomline on your bank account; how fast and how far you climb the ladder of success; how much influence you have; how many powerful people are in your contact list. I hope you won’t though, because the law is not a game—and there are higher principles at stake than those selfish and fleeting things. For years, you have looked forward to “the future” when you can finally call yourselves full-fledged lawyers. That future is now. If you hold on to the ethics and dignity of our profession, I know you’ll be alright. And if you will indulge me for a little while longer, I would like to share the three things you might want to keep in mind: The first is EXCELLENCE: perform your role as an officer of the court with competence, diligence and, always, to the best of your ability. That is your gift to your client and to your profession. The second is HONOR: do everything that you do with honor. You are never just “Attorney so-and-so”—you are someone’s son or daughter, and always you will represent this brotherhood and sisterhood called “the legal profession”. Things that you do, inevitably, reflects on others, including everyone who has nurtured you, raised you, taught you, supported you and made this moment possible. Honor is your gift to them. Lastly, is INTEGRITY. People might think it means the same thing as honor, but I think they are two different things. Honor is something others can see; integrity is something others might sense, might sus-

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pect, but, ultimately, it is something very personal to you. The full story behind some decisions and actions are known only to you; it happens in your heart and in your mind. It’s between you, yourself and God. The question you ask yourself is, without making excuses to God or lying to yourself, can you honestly say that your integrity is intact? To be able to answer “yes” is your gift to yourself. Don’t get hung up on the letters “A-T-T-Y”. If anything, be hung up on the potential to do good that being a lawyer presents to you. Congratulations once again! God bless the legal profession! Dispatch 293 THE BEDAN ROAR 28 April 2018 Why do lions roar? A lion’s roar is said to be one of the loudest calls in the animal kingdom, one that can be heard as far as 8 to 12 kilometers away, reaching to about 114 decibels, which is about 25 times louder than a gas-powered lawnmower and just short of that of a jet engine. Ethologists will tell you they roar to tell other lions where they are, how big they are, and to warn away those who may threaten their home territory and members of their own pride. A lion’s roar is, therefore, the epitome of both power and necessity. Power with a purpose. It is such a quintessential characteristic of the animal itself that, to our minds, “lion” and “roar” always go together: you see lion, you think of its roar. But not all lions roar. Lions in captivity, kept 24/7 inside a closed ensure, don’t roar; or, at least, they rarely do. Their existence, their very survival, their everyday life are no longer in their own hands, but in those of someone else: their captors.

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So why do lions roar? They roar because they can AND because they need to. And that is precisely why the students behind “The Bedan Roar” did what they did. Because they had to. And because they still can…for now. They were suppressed from letting their roars out through their usual means because some factions felt threatened. But that is the point of a lion’s roar, is it not? To warn away those who threaten their territory, the members of their pride and the freedom of their way of life. In other words, the students behind “The Bedan Roar” had to be true to their nature—a student publication dedicated to the defense, not just of freedom of expression, but also to the upholding of the Bedan values—Fides, Scientia, Virtus—and to the defense of a free, democratic and progressive society. They felt the necessity because they can see the grave threat that our nation is under. There is a beast in our midst posing as a lion, but possessing none of its wisdom, mastery of its emotions, restraint of its bestial nature, or respect for the freedom and right of survival of members of other prides. He cares nothing for Faith, Knowledge and Virtue—in fact, he tramples and spits on them. He acts less like a King of the Jungle, vested with responsibility and accountability along with authority, but more like a wrathful, capricious and infantile pagan god, who whimsically wields power over his people, and lashes out at them out of spite, out of revenge, out of simple pettiness, out of laziness, out of cowardice, and out of self-interest. The students of “The Bedan Roar” did what any true Bedan would do. Nay, what a true Filipino patriot would do. They called out the threat of a tyrant. They let him know they are here and that they will not stand for his abuses. The most important part, however, is that they did not do it for applause, or for recognition. They put themselves at risk—their future,

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their lives—because they wanted us, the members of their own pride, to know where they are, to tell us that they exist and that they need our help. The best response is not to send them accolades, but our support. To lend our own roar. Because they were only able to find alternative ways to publish their controversial issue because they still can. They found a way because they still can. If we do nothing, there will come a time when that will no longer be the case. There may come a time when, God forbid, there will no longer be a single true lion in the wild. We’ll all be creatures in captivity. Silenced. Powerless. We won’t be able to roar then. Dispatch 300 MINDLESS APPLICATION OF THE LAW 5 May 2018 The President is acting like a 5-year-old child who has just been given a new toy every time he points out that the BI Operations Order used for deporting Sr. Patricia Fox was signed by me. He just cannot get enough of the irony. It’s a lame excuse that he wants to repeat again and again to justify his pathetic action of deporting a harmless old woman. He uses political intervention of foreigners as his justification, even as he declares his love for Xi Jinping and prostrates himself before the Chinese who are now installing missiles in the Spratlys. But only a bully will pick on defenseless old women while running away from bigger bullies. Duterte can only pick on women who he thinks cannot fight back, but he is a coward when confronted by someone actually bigger. Bullies are known for being deathly scared of picking on somebody their own size or more superior. I dare the President to use international law and our victory in the International Arbitration Tribunal on the Law of the Seas against the

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Chinese interlopers in the Spratlys, instead of picking on Sr. Fox. The PNoy Administration worked hard for that decision. Duterte should use it against China the same way he uses an obscure BI operations order against harmless foreigners. This selective defense of our national sovereignty against foreign intervention is nothing but vintage Duterte hypocrisy that can only come from a spineless leader like him. The President should grow a backbone. It does not hurt to stand up to actual foreign threats to the country every once in a while. Government regulations are always enforced with a sense of proportions, aside from plain common sense. Kicking out foreigners like Sr. Fox who help Filipino communities and defend their human rights, instead of standing up to the Chinese who displace Filipinos from their sources of livelihood and territorial waters, is not only out of proportions; it is a mindless application of the law, as mindless as only the Duterte government can be.

Mr. President, magpaka-lalaki ka naman paminsan-minsan. Panindigan mo ang pagpapa-deport mo sa isang matandang madre at huwag mo itong isisi sa akin. Andami mo nang dinadaan sa puro dada. Kesyo haharapin mo ang ICC para ipagtanggol ang sarili mo sa pagpatay sa sarili mong mga kababayan. Ano ang ginawa mo? Nag-withdraw ka sa ICC at tumakbo dahil buong akala mo hindi ka na mahahabol. Kesyo magmamatapang ka sa Kuwait, pero ang trabaho ng mahigit dalawang daang libong manggagawa ang malalagay sa peligro, habang ang sarili mong pamilya ay nagpapakasasa sa inyong kayamanan. Kesyo magre-resign ka kapag hindi mo natapos ang droga, krimen, at korapsyon at napahinto ang ENDO sa loob ng anim na buwan. Magdadalawang taon na at nandiyan pa rin lahat ang mga yan, pero hindi ka pa rin nagre-resign. Ngayon gagamitin mo ako para apihin ang isang madre. Kailan ka pa ba aangkin ng responsibilidad sa sarili mong mga desisyon

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at kapritso? Nakapirma nga ako sa BI Operations Order na yan ng dating BI Commissioner, pero hindi ako ang gumamit nito para palayasin ang isang madre na wala namang ginawa kung hindi tumulong sa mga Pilipino. Ikaw ang gumamit ng BI Operations Order na yan laban sa madre. Panindigan mo sana. Pero kailan ka pa nga ba nagkaroon ng tapang na panindigan lahat ng mga kapalpakan mo sa gobyerno? Dispatch 302 NO OTHER COUNTRY BUT CHINA 8 May 2018 Instead of condemning China’s deployment of missiles in the Spratly Islands, Duterte assures Filipinos that China will protect the Philippines. This is hilarious, because the only country from whom the Philippines needs protecting is China. Only Duterte needs China’s protection. The rest of us needs protection from Duterte and China. No other country has violated international law by building military bases on artificial islands within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on the basis of a maritime claim already declared illegal under international law. No other country has harassed and stopped the Philippine Navy and Air Force from sailing and flying to areas of the West Philippine Sea where we still maintain forces. No other country has denied access to our fisherfolks and citizens in the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal. No other country has pushed us back to the confines of our 12-nautical mile territorial sea, forbidding us to go beyond into our 200-nautical mile EEZ. No other country among all our neighbors in the South China Sea has unilaterally pushed its maritime borders more than 1,000 kilometers, from 1,400 kilometers to almost just 300 kilometers, by claiming the whole South China Sea.

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No other country in the world is threatening our territorial integrity by installing missiles on our backyard. No other country is planning the deployment of tactical fighter and attack aircrafts in the Spratlys capable of reaching Manila in minutes. Only China has done all of these. Only China among all the countries in the world threatens us. Only China presents a clear and present danger to our national security. And yet Duterte proudly exclaims that the one country who threatens us will be the same country who will protect us. If this is our defense policy on China, then the Filipino people are definitely screwed. I support the initiative of the Senate leadership to conduct a legislative inquiry on the deployment of Chinese missiles in the Spratlys. It is time for the AFP to explain to the people its position on China’s move to put Palawan under the threat of missiles launched from the Spratlys. It is time for the AFP to confirm if they agree with their Commander-in-Chief’s position that the country that threatens our West Philippine Sea territories is now our “protector”. It is time for the AFP to clarify once and for all if it still intends to defend our remaining forces in the West Philippine Sea against China and traitors in our midst. The Filipino people deserve better than the silent capitulation of its entire defense infrastructure to the single biggest threat to its national existence. Dispatch 312 NEITHER A PRESIDENT NOR A LEADER 24 May 2018 Duterte’s attempt to blame a murder victim for his own murder—and in so doing, obscuring the truth and justifying, not just the killings, but the government’s unacceptable failure to protect its people from violence and delivering justice to victims—should be enough, on top of everything he has done so far, to demonstrate that what we have is not a President.

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Whatever is now occupying the seat meant for our nation’s top official, it is not a leader. It is not a law abider, much less a law enforcer. It is easy to question if he even has a conscience or a moral compass, if not a soul. If anything, what is now there, calling himself a President, is a malicious and evil-spirited bully, who thinks he can make the Filipino people suffer his abuses, vulgarity and uninhibited support for criminality within the bureaucracy, not because he is assured of a mandate from our people, but because he is protected by his foreign overlords. He is a weak coward. He wages war and picks fight against those he deems incapable of protecting themselves against his attacks: women, children, the poor, the peaceful protesters and human rights defenders. Yet he cowers and folds when faced with the real enemies: foreign incursions that threaten our sovereignty and national security, and big-time criminal syndicates. He fights good and bows to evil. That’s not a strong leader. And the Filipino people deserve better. But ever so slowly, in the past two years, we have somehow descended into a relationship of cyclical abuse with Duterte. The signs are there. He isolates us from those who might help us. He deports a missionary nun, incarcerates his fiercest critic, and sanctions the killings of those who refuse to be back off. He employs threats, violence and intimidation and claims that he is doing it for our own good. He consolidates control over us. He has effective control over all branches of government now, and soon, even the Office of the Ombudsman. He controls our reality through his army of internet trolls and foreign-backed propaganda machine. When we ask for proof, he produces matrices that later turn out to be unverified and erroneous. They prove one thing: his

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propensity for making accusations that he is too inept and lazy to even substantiate. He believes his word is enough. He paints his victims as the villains. A vocal Senator suddenly becomes a drug lord. A murdered priest, who is a vocal human rights and proenvironmental activist, is suddenly a serial adulterer. He commits abuse. But we remain quiet, so he is emboldened. He commits even more abuses, become more and more depraved and shameless. And we respond by growing even more quiet, trying not to make any sudden movements and avoiding looking the evil right in the eye. If we ignore it and believe in the lies, we hope that everything will suddenly become better. Well, it should be clear by now that butchers, torturers, bullies don’t change just because they are ignored. Instead, they tend to escalate. It is our job to prevent him from further escalating, and further hurting us and our future generations. This is not just about seeking justice for Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura, Fr. Marcelito Paez and all other human rights defenders who have been slain and oppressed. This is about defending ourselves from a man who wants to hold full control over the destiny of our nation, but cares nothing for the welfare of the people. A man who has no heart for his people, yet wields complete power over them, is Death to his people. This is a fight for our lives. And no one person can do it. But the fact that there are those who are willing to lay down their lives and freedoms to defend our human rights, our freedoms, the rule of law and the benefits of democracy on our behalf should be enough to wake us up from our paralysis. We are no longer victims held captive in an abusive relationship. We are the commanders of our own destiny.

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Sa mga pananalita ni Rodrigo Duterte, ani mo nakasandal sa pader. Marahil nga nakasandal nga siya sa isang mataas at matibay na pader. But walls can be climbed. Genghis Khan breached the Great Wall of China. And even the Berlin Wall was torn down. Dispatch 314 DUTERTE’S ATTACKS ON THE CHURCH AND WOMEN 28 May 2018 President Duterte has set his sights, in aggravated mode lately, on the Roman Catholic Church and women. Several of his recent public speeches undermine and attack women and the clergy. He blamed a murdered priest for his own murder by showing a concocted list of the priest’s alleged mistresses. This of course insinuates what Duterte thinks Catholic priests are in our society. In the same breath, he also said that women are not suited for certain roles in society because they are easily threatened and intimidated. If Duterte had his way, there would be no church and no women, as these are the two sectors of society that still threaten his rule and his imposition of a tyrannical and vulgar regime on the Filipino people. He has his own version of the story of the Garden of Eden, where he claims that God must have been drunk when he created women and put malice in the mind of men by enticing them with women’s bodies, thus reducing women once again to the sum of their sexual parts. Duterte’s statements are as misogynistic as they are sacrilegious. They are the trademark of a man who holds no respect for society’s institutions and values in general. He seeks to destroy them and create the world according to his own version of what it ought to be. Only one other being has sought such a vision of remaking the world and humanity, the Devil himself. Every day that Duterte seeks to undermine the two sectors that remain a threat to his reign, his words eerily sound familiar to be that of the Devil himself. Duterte has become the voice of Satan in our country. It is as if he is paving the path for the Devil’s conquest of the Filipino people. In fact, by all appearances of

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the sanctioned murder and corruption under his regime, that is what is already happening now. Many continue to remain blind as they have already accepted murder and corruption under Duterte. They support him regardless of his statements and his actions that devalue life, humanity, religion, and women. The fanatical devotion can only be likened to that of a cult. And as revealed in their applause of Duterte’s most recent statements, the fanaticism is turning out more and more to be none other than that of a Satanic cult. Duterte’s vision is not one of salvation. Quite the contrary, it is leading us towards a nihilism of social values and humanity itself. What he is not telling us is that in his version of the Garden of Eden, he is actually the snake that has come to shatter our land with violence and death. The presidency is nothing now but a bully pulpit of hatred, directed at those who still struggle to resist the incarnation of evil in our land. This is now the battle that the Church and all its faithful must fight. Dispatch 316 DISCRIMINATION AGAINST A DEAF COUPLE 31 May 2018 I learned recently about the discrimination suffered by a deaf couple when a security guard denied them entry to a mall, and then mocked and cussed them. This is really appalling. Prejudice against persons with disabilities (PWDs) is both a public and personal concern to me, having a son and grandson who have their own affliction to deal with. The store management already apologized when the couple filed a complaint but the incident remains a painful reminder to all of us that as a society, we have not yet developed a tolerant and inclusive culture where everyone, regardless of their physical and mental state would feel welcome and safe.

Nakakalungkot po na sa kabila ng mga polisiya at mga programang pinagtibay upang maunawaan natin ang kalagayan ng mga may

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kapansanan ay nangyayari pa rin ang ganitong mga insidente. Several years back, a similar incident happened at NAIA where Frank Corpuz, also deaf, was not allowed to board a plane by an immigration official because he was “deaf and therefore could not speak.” These unfortunate encounters are bound to be repeated again and again if the situation and concerns of PWDs are not addressed adequately and effectively.

Napag-uukulan po natin ng pansin ang mga PWDs kapag may mga napapaulat na ganitong mga pangyayari at kadalasan ang mga napapabalita ay yung mga may kakayahang lumaban; yung mga sabi nga ay “may sinasabi sa lipunan.” Pero paano pa po kaya yung mga mahihirap na may kapansanan at tiyak na mas matindi ang nararanasang diskriminasyon? Malamang, madalas ay nananahimik na lang. The Magna Carta for PWDs (R.A. 7277) expressly prohibits discrimination in the use of public accommodations such as restaurants, theaters, and shopping centers. This law penalizes all forms of discrimination and ridicule done to PWDs but we cannot just keep on punishing violators. There are gaps and challenges that need to be dealt with pro-actively. There is lack of proper information and people skills among front liners of organizations. When clerks, receptionists and security personnel are faced with PWDs, some of them do not have empathy and tact to deal with them properly, which in turn, makes the PWDs feel disenfranchised in society. I urge government and businesses to conduct awareness and education drives to properly orient them on how to deal with PWDs.

Bilang bagong hirang na pinuno ng Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, sisikapin ko po, kasama ng lahat ng stakeholders na mag-isip at magtulak ng mga reporma at programa para sa mga karapatan ng mga PWDs at upang mabago rin ang pananaw at pagtrato ng ating mga kababayan sa mga may kapansanan. Kung hindi po tayo matututong tratuhin ng tama ang mga may kapansanan, marahil itanong na natin sa ating mga sarili kung para saan pa na tinatawag natin ang ating sariling buo at “able-bodied”. Able-bodied people take so much for granted. We are blessed and, in our callousness, we ourselves become impaired. Tayo na ang nagiging bulag, pipi at bingi

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sa karanasan at sitwasyon ng mga may kapansanan. It is time to cure our own impairments as individuals and as a society.

Malaking hamon po ito sapagkat nasa ilalim tayo ngayon ng isang gobyernong hindi lamang walang paggalang kundi aktibong lumalabag at inaalipusta ang konsepto ng karapatang pantao. Tingnan na lang po natin ang ginagawang diskriminasyon ni Pangulong Duterte sa mga kababaihan na hindi raw dapat mamuno dahil madaling masindak at matatakutin. How can we build a human rights culture wherein nobody is discriminated when the head of State himself encourages impunity, misogyny and sexism? But despite this, let us be inspired by Robelyn and Emmanuel, the deaf couple victims of the discrimination incident related above. They were bullied and intimidated but they remained unfazed and stood up for their rights and dignity. Dispatch 322 MYOPIC SMALL-TOWN MAYOR WORLDVIEW 11 June 2018 Duterte has singled out Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio among the leading critics of his policy on China and the West Philippine Sea (WPS), blaming him for not doing anything in the past against Chinese island-building in the WPS. He also asks why Carpio and the “yellow” opposition had to wait for him to deal with China’s presence in the WPS, and why the US did not stop China before by deploying the American fleet in the Spratly Islands. This is classic Duterte, blaming everyone but himself for his cowardice and spineless policy in confronting China as the most dangerous threat to the country’s national security. Of course, it is not true that everybody else simply waited until he took over as President before doing something about the Chinese. The

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simple fact is, it is only now that the Philippines has a President who has chosen to be China’s puppet and lapdog. And it is not as if we chose him to be the one to lead us against China’s occupation of the WPS. The 16 million he fooled with his jet-ski promise left us with no choice on that. In his unsophisticated and myopic small-town mayor worldview, Duterte thinks that either the Philippines bows down to China or goes to war with it. To him, the choices are between surrender and violent confrontation. Such are the limitations of a provincial warlord mentality that Duterte has brought to the presidency. His brain simply does not have the capacity to deal with complex international issues. This is reflected in his choice for Foreign Affairs Secretary, a dilettante in international affairs who analyzes the world in terms of idiotic anecdotal analogies the same way Duterte does; without any grasp of the complexity of diplomacy whatsoever. This has been our problem from the very beginning. Duterte had no experience in national politics before he became President, and much less in international diplomacy. His exposure to regional and world affairs before he became President was basically zero. But the bigger problem is that not only does he not realize this, he even brags and confidently brings his small-town mayor worldview to the world stage, thus dealing with our neighbors exactly the same way he did as Davao City’s local warlord. We simply cannot expect him to deliver as a competent statesman in the world stage. The least that Duterte can do is not to be a traitor to his country and become China’s lapdog. But even in this he has failed as President. This is the only reason why more capable minds than him like Acting CJ Carpio have to repeatedly remind him to shed his collaborator mindset and start acting like the country’s leader, instead of its number one traitor. The Chinese are already boarding the boats of our fishermen and stealing their catch in Scarborough Shoal, as if we are already an occupied people subject to their abuses and extortions. In a time of creeping invasion, what we need is a leader who will protect our territories from the invader, not a Judas who will sell us to the Chinese for 30 pieces of silver.

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Dispatch 326 ON THE SILENCE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 16 June 2018 For a predominantly Catholic country, there seems to be a growing sentiment among the people I have spoken to that the Roman Catholic Church is slowly allowing itself to fall into irrelevancy. Other denominations, when they deem their ranks and their beliefs are under attack, the leadership makes their voices heard, and defends their Church, their own, their followers and, most importantly, their faith. But these days, it seems that the Church, as an organization, has fallen silent. Where are the words of wisdom from the highest ranking official of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines? Words that defend against blasphemous words that take the name of God for granted? Words that defend those who defend the faith and its people? Words that are not just meant to guide the Filipino people towards a stronger faith, and away from morally ruinous mentalities and actions, but to condemn recent events that seem to make religious leaders fair game for killing sprees? The Church could not have chosen the worst time to become silent and passive. Our people are dying. Priests who defend the people are dying. The President, instead of promising to bring justice to those who are slaughtering his people, is vilifying the victims. Conditioning the people—and it seems successfully conditioning the Church itself—into accepting atrocities passively and without a counter-message: of peace, love, truth, justice, rule of law and respect for God and his Church. Where are the shepherds of God’s flock? His flock are here, doing their best to find their own direction. And there are individual priests who have taken it upon themselves to be the

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voices for the unheard; the voices that tell the people, the Government and the Catholic Church itself what they may not like to hear, but have to hear; that we are straying farther and farther away from God’s light and God’s love, and becoming more and more submissive towards a fork-tongued blasphemer, God-mocker, truth-bender and mass murderer. But where is the Church and its leaders when we need them to be heard the most? Where is the temporally and spiritually powerful entity—the Roman Catholic Church—that has, up to now, been instrumental in building this Filipino nation, and in helping Filipinos become a united, Godloving and socially responsible people? When God teaches his people to answer offense with acts of kindness, He nevertheless likewise teaches them “to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:15-16). Save for a few bishops, priests, and nuns, where are the Church leaders who ought to be the first to stand and give an answer? Why are they silent in the face of those who speak maliciously of God, and the call for good behavior? I need not ask where God is. He is everywhere. But there are many who are starting to ask, where are those who solemnly pledged to bring God’s light to the people, especially those who need them most? Why is the Church so silent that it seems they have turned their backs, not just to their mission, their people, but also to their own—the priests who have died protecting and guiding their flock.

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Dispatch 328 NEW POLICY OF ARRESTING “TAMBAYS” 20 June 2018 The President and the PNP cannot just make up a law out of thin air. Hanging out has never been a crime. It is not even vagrancy, an act that was decriminalized precisely because of the law’s discriminatory and senseless objective. With no law to back up his new policy of arresting on sight so-called “tambays”, Duterte wants to demonstrate once again the lengths he would go to be more despotic than his idol Marcos. He has already succeeded in this in several aspects. Foremost among them is having the record for the highest number of Filipinos killed in State-sanctioned extra-judicial executions. And as always, his victims are the poor. In no way will the police be arresting rich teenagers hanging out in posh coffeeshops anytime soon. The new policy is targeted against poor communities and ordinary people on the street with or without any immediate business to attend to. Because it does not matter what the reason one has for being in one place at a particular time, it is the police who will determine by the look of the person whether he or she will be arrested. The arrests are that discriminatory. They are illegal arrests plain and simple. They are arbitrary seizures of persons that exemplify a constitutional violation of the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. But of course, Duterte does not care about the Constitution when it comes to the poor. And the PNP which is his instrument of oppression and abuse of power in this period of our history does not care less as long as they please him and its generals get their promotions. Under this government, the poor have no rights, not even the right to be in the place they want to be at a given time and occupy a portion of the public space. That right is now only reserved for the middle class

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and the rich. This new authoritarian and oppressive policy must be resisted at all costs. If there is anyone who is wastefully occupying public space, it is the crazy man in Malacañang. And to think that we are even paying a huge sum of taxpayers’ money for an entourage of incompetent officials to aimlessly hang out with him while the country sinks deeper into crisis.

Si Duterte ang tunay na tambay ng bansa na walang ginawa kung hindi magmukhang palaging lasing at bangag sa harap ng publiko. Yan ang taong hindi talaga nagtatrabaho, na walang ginawa kung hindi magpatawa, magkalat ng tsismis at intriga, at mambastos ng mga babaeng dumadaan sa harap niya sa araw-araw ng kanyang pagka-pangulo ng bansa. Si Duterte ang tunay na pambansang tambay. Dispatch 333 PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM THE MADMAN 28 June 2018 Once again, in his push to arrest minors loitering on the streets, Duterte challenged critics of this policy that if they were intelligent enough, they should have first become President. This oft-repeated statement of Duterte bears the mark of arrogance from which flows all authoritarian policies of his government. It implies infallibility, something that even the Pope is no longer wont to invoke, when in the first place, Duterte is the classic example of how one can be President without being exactly intelligent. He is exhibit “A”. As a supposed bright lawyer, he misunderstands the principle of parens patriae, taking it to mean literally as the President being the father of the nation. He uses the principle to violate the inviolable constitutional right against arbitrary arrests which, together with free speech, serves as the pillar of our freedoms. He uses the principle of police power to legally justify these arbitrary arrests, saying the arrests need no legislation because the exercise of the state’s police power needs no legislation, when every law school student knows that the police power of the state is precisely exercised by Congress through legislation.

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Duterte is not even capable of comprehending basic principles of law, and yet he arrogantly boasts that he is intelligent enough to be President more than his critics, when in fact he is nothing but an ignorant demagogue suffering from a narcissistic complex of gargantuan proportions. He is, in short, a madman. For only a madman can conceive of such abominable policies that target the most vulnerable members of our families, our children. He equates their being in public spaces with the intention to commit a crime, which is like saying occupying public office is tantamount to being corrupt. If this is his logic, then he should start arresting all public officials on sight to combat corruption. Duterte is even incapable of passing basic tests in logic, but he is still President. By his own standards, he himself should not be occupying the highest office of the land. This is not only a man without the necessary mental competence to be President, this is also a man without the necessary compassion and rational thought to be human. He now directly attacks our children, sees them as criminals, and orders the police to arrest them in the streets on sight, in blatant violation of all freedoms that we hold inviolable under the Constitution. The freedom from arbitrary arrests is an inalienable human right. It is the inalienable right of our children. No State, other than a fascist one, can casually declare minors illegal for simply going out of their homes and occupying public space. This, therefore, is what we are fast becoming, a fascist state under an arrogantly ignorant lawyer who thinks of himself as the brightest simply because he happens to be President. Duterte’s latest attack on minors and other children means that we cannot not only entrust him with their rights and well-being, we also cannot trust him as a leader still capable of rational behavior. We must protect our children from this madman.

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Dispatch 347 DUTERTE’S 3RD SONA 24 July 2018 Duterte’s third SONA was characterized by a nagging dissonance between the story he was telling and the reality as Filipinos saw it in the past two years. He talked about human life being more important than human rights. But 23,000 human beings are dead because of his drug war. Those are human lives. He has not ended the drug menace in six months as he promised to. But he promises to be more “relentless and chilling,” without saying towards whom. So far, he has not been relentless and chilling to drug lords. They smuggle drugs through Customs by paying the Davao Group. He shudders at the thought of captured drugs reaching communities, but he forgets to mention the 6.4 billion pesos worth of shabu allegedly smuggled by his son. This did not raise a single goose pimple on him. He shudders at drugs, yet he is eternally silent on the single biggest drug shipment this country has ever seen. Again, 23,000 are dead, but the smugglers of the 6.4 billion pesos of shabu and other bigtime drug lords are still roaming free. He says he cannot deal with contractualization and ENDO because his powers can only reach so far. He says that is a problem for Congress. Apparently, ending contractualization is the limit of Duterte’s political will. So much arrogance of power, yet so little effort for social justice. He warns the mining industry again that they will be called to account for environmental destruction. But we all know he already lost the battle on destructive mining when, under pressure, he dropped his former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez like a hot potato. He says he continues to confront China on the issue of the West Philippine Sea. This is the biggest joke ever. But no one was laughing, especially not the fishermen forced to “barter” their fish for instant noodles.

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He responds to the installation of Chinese missiles in the Spratlys by letting the Chinese land military planes in Davao City. This is not confronting China. This is capitulating to China. He says his proposed federal constitution will fulfill the aspiration of the Filipino people, even when their aspiration is neither for federalism nor charter change. His federal constitution will have as many congresses or regional assemblies as there are federated regions, when he cannot even stop one House of one Congress from making a spectacle out of a power struggle that welcomed his SONA. The only good thing about the SONA was that Duterte stuck to his script. His acting was almost impeccable, as if his words were describing reality, even when reality was obscure in his speech. The script and the acting would have been good for a movie. But running the country is not like making a movie. The country is still in shambles. Not even Director Joyce Bernal can fix that. Dispatch 361

PAGKAMATAY NI ALLAN SA KAMAY NG KAPULISAN 14 August 2018 In his 2018 SONA, Duterte hit the gas pedal in his drug war, which ultimately cost the life of, among others, Allan Rafael, a former OFW, a modern-day hero. Allan is a new character, but his story is eerily similar to those we’ve heard before—napagkamalan, nataniman ng pekeng ebidensya, napagdiskitahan. Itinapon sa likod ng rehas ang mahina at payat na katawan ni Allan. His body, already pain-stricken with cancer, was subjected to unspeakable terrors that took his life.

Ilan pa bang gaya ni Allan ang pahihirapan at papatayin bago tuluyang matauhan ang administrasyong ito sa kabaliwan ng kanilang peke at palpak na gyera kontra droga? There really seems to be no end to these senseless and brutal killings, especially given Duterte’s SONA pronouncement that his drug war

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would be relentless and chilling. Kung galing mismo ang deklarasyon at utos mula sa pinakamataas, paanong hindi susunod ang mga abusadong tauhan sa ibaba?

Ang mas nakalulungkot: imbes na pigilan si Duterte sa kanyang marahas na polisiya, may ibang mga lider na konsintidor pa at waring bulag, pipi at bingi sa mga kwentong gaya ng kina Allan, JP Bertez at iba pang mga biktima ng karahasan at kamatayan sa kamay ng kapulisan. Nakarating sa akin na itinutulak na sa plenaryo ng Senado ang kontrobersyal na Gordon Report mula sa Committee on Justice and Human Rights ukol sa unang bugso ng patayan noong 2016, na nagsabing hindi raw state-sponsored ang mga patayan at wala raw kinalaman si Duterte sa mga ito. Hinihikayat ko ang mga kasama kong Senador na himayin ang Gordon Report at ikonsidera ang mga obserbasyon sa aking Dissenting Report noong Disyembre 2016. Better still, the Senate should consider re-opening the probe as the bloodbath, these crimes against humanity, persist with utter impunity, with no indication at all that it will end anytime soon. Dispatch 362

KATARUNGAN PARA KAY KIAN 16 August 2018

Ngayong araw, ginugunita natin si Kian Loyd delos Santos, ang 17-taong gulang na karumal-dumal na pinaslang ng mga miyembro ng kapulisan isang taon na ang nakararaan. Ang pagpaslang kay Kian ang nagpamulat sa marami sa atin hindi lamang sa karahasan, kundi maging sa mga kapalpakan ng War on Drugs ni Duterte. Ang paghahanap ng katarungan sa sinapit ni Kian ang siya ring naging panawagan ng libo-libong naulila ng mga biktima ng madugong polisiya ng rehimeng Duterte, na pawang mga maralita, kabilang na ang mga walang kalaban-laban at inosenteng bata. Ironically, however, Duterte recently admitted he is incapable of eradicating drugs in the country and that the situation will only worsen after his

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term. This, after he bragged about putting an end to the problem within three to six months, and his pronouncement during the last SONA that this war would be relentless and chilling.

Kung sabagay, ganito naman mamuno si Duterte: Walang direksyon. Puro yabang, puro ngawngaw. Matapos udyukan at kunsintihin ang pagpatay ng 23,000 na Pilipino, saka niya aamining palpak ang madugong War on Drugs? If resigning is what you are thinking of doing, by all means, just go on, Duterte. No more empty talks and false bravado or promises. Don’t think for one second, though, that quitting will let you off the hook. Justice will soon catch up on you. You shall answer and will be made accountable for your crimes against humanity. For now, we pause and pray for your victims. As we remember Kian, we remember how we need to stand up and protect human rights, democracy and morality in our society.

Huwag nating kalimutan ang karumal-dumal na mga krimen ni Duterte at ang paghahanap ng katarungan para sa mga biktima at kanilang pamilya. Sa paglimot, magpapatuloy ang siklo ng kasinungalingan at pag-abuso sa ating mga karapatan. Sa pagwawalang-kibo, mauulit at mauulit lang ang pagpaslang sa mga batang gaya ni Kian—na pinagkaitang mabuhay at tuparin ang kanilang mga pangarap. Stop the killings! Justice to the victims of EJKs and their families! Dispatch 376 DUTERTE’S HYPOCRISY AND MOCKERY 7 September 2018 Leave it to Duterte, the master showman, to outperform himself once again in his Israel roadshow. Duterte capped his Israel antics with a dramatic visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum to offer a wreath purportedly to honor the 6 million Jews murdered upon Hitler’s orders to the Nazis to carry out the Final Solution.

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Duterte, who said that he was going to emulate Hitler by killing 3 million drug addicts, did not even flinch when he laid down the wreath to Hitler’s victims. This is probably one of the greatest acts of hypocrisy in modern history. Meanwhile, his promise of killing 3 million Filipino drug addicts continues to be carried out back home in the Philippines, as 17-year old Joshua Laxamana is murdered by Duterte’s police assassins in Rosales, Pangasinan. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin might as well have been sarcastically referring to Duterte himself when, during their meeting, Rivlin exclaimed to Duterte’s face that Hitler was the devil on earth. But the wreath-laying was not the end of it. Duterte topped this hypocritical gesture with an equally sardonic speech of how he could not imagine a country obeying an insane leader, and how he could not fathom the spectacle of a human being going into a killing spree. Duterte, of course, was having a laugh. He knows he was referring to no one else but himself, an insane leader on a killing spree, first in Davao City, now in the whole Philippines. He even mockingly asks why an insane despot who murders men, women, and children is not disposed of by his people at the first instance. Duterte orders the murder of thousands, then mocks us as we have not yet disposed of him even after he has ordered the murder of thousands. Is this the insanely macabre lesson from a madman choosing the Holy Land as the place for his revelations: that the killing of thousands of human beings speaks less about the mass-murdering madman who ordered the killings, and more about the kind of people that we are, for allowing a rampaging murderer to take over the helm of our government, instead of disposing of him at the first instance? Duterte is clearly mocking us, and he is right to do so. He has shown us how an insane murderer can easily be elected President, captivate a nation, kill thousands, and go on doing so while being supported by its national leaders from all branches of government. Indeed, there is something wrong with a government and a society that were not only incapable of stopping an insane leader, but which were actually instrumental in producing one. Maybe it is no coincidence that Duterte has chosen the Holy Land from

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where to mock us and our spirituality as a Christian nation. It is in the Judaean desert where the Devil mocked and tempted Christ to test not only his humanity, but more importantly his divinity. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ again struggled with the Devil’s temptation, not of doing evil, but of not doing good. By allowing Duterte to lay down the foundation of an imagined salvation on top of the mound of a costly human sacrifice, and by not stopping him from doing so—not because we chose to do evil, but because we chose not to do good—we as a nation failed our own test of the temptations.

Credit: Cebu Daily News

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Dispatch 380 NOT THE TIME FOR GIMMICKS 11 September 2018 Through his Spokesperson, Pres. Duterte announced yesterday that he will address the nation today, at 3:00 pm. This announcement comes at the heels of his allegations against the opposition that there are efforts to topple his presidency, as well as his attempt to justify his persecution of Sen. Trillanes. Our country is undergoing a crisis. The prices of basic commodities are soaring at record levels without any significant international crisis on which it can reasonably be blamed. Unemployment and underemployment are also on the rise. PAGASA is now warning us of potential super typhoons about to enter our area of responsibility this week. Now is not the time for the President to play politics. Now is the time for the President to respect and uphold the Constitution. Now is the time for the President to at least attempt to govern. If the President elects to serve his paranoia, or to cover up his negligence or abuses, by using his platform today to attack the political opposition, he will have revealed to our nation and to the world that he is not our leader; that he does not serve the interests of our people, only his own. Any attempt to shift the focus of the national conversation away from our failing economy will just be cheap gimmicks to distract us from holding him and his administration accountable for the dire situation that we are in now. A true leader worth his salt would have nothing else on his mind at this moment except to fix the economy, to improve the lives of our countrymen, and protect the poor and the vulnerable members of our society. Such a leader need not fear any uprising for he will have performed the duties of his office with a clear conscience of a dutiful

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statesman and public servant. The Filipinos have no use for yet another nationally broadcasted meanderings of a madman. Our country wants to know that our President is doing something other than politicking. We demand and deserve a President who will serve and work for our people. Dispatch 399 TRAGIC HEROISM OF A BICOLANA TEACHER 13 October 2018 The words “hero” and “idol” have become over—and too loosely used. Yet, what do you call a person who chose to become a teacher—one of the most demanding and often under-appreciated professions in our society? Who then accepted a post 44km away from her home, being away from her own two kids as she had to settle for sleeping in the principal’s office of her school because the travel time was nearly impossible to manage otherwise? Who, after making the daily sacrifices that an educator in her circumstances had to make, ended up sacrificing even more, that is, her very own life in order to protect two of her students from a violent attack? If there is anyone who deserves to be called a “hero” and an “idol”, it is Teacher MYLENE VERAS-DURANTE. She’s a hero and someone to look up to, not because of the manner of her death, but because of the choices she made in life. She chose to be a teacher, and a public school teacher at that, educating our Bicolano youth that they may have a chance at a bright future. She chose to continue to serve as a teacher to the students of Oringon Elementary School in Pio Duran in Albay, despite how far it is from her own home, family and own children. And in the moment of the ultimate test of humanity, she chose to protect and shield two of her students from an attacker, than flee and save herself. She exemplifies, too, what it is to be a Filipino. Ika nga ng ating Pambansang Awit, “ang mamatay ng dahil sa’yo.” With all due respect to those who think that line needs to be changed because it seems defeatist, I beg to disagree.

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Mylene was not defeated by her death. She succeeded in saving two children. She succeeded in shedding light to the hardships endured by teachers, especially young ones who are the most prone to being sent far away from home. She succeeded in drawing attention to what needs to be improved in order to protect and promote the welfare of our educators. She did not choose to die. In fact, she chose to fight. To fight for her calling. To fight for her students. That is the essence of that penultimate line in our national anthem. We choose to fight because there are some things that are worth fighting for— even at the expense of our own lives. That is the true test of patriotism and love for our country and fellowmen. And Mylene should be honored for living up to that vow. She will always be in my mind, as I myself vow to do my best to make sure that her sacrifice will not be for nothing. Changes need to be made. Dispatch 413 ON THE APPALLING PREVALENCE OF POLITICAL DYNASTIES 25 October 2018 The 2019 election season proves to be a no-holds-barred occasion for Philippine political dynasties. Since there is no enabling law, but only a non-self executing constitutional provision, that deals with political dynasties and the scourge that they represent in our democratic system of elections, political families have once again fielded candidates for multiple positions. This in effect makes our elections to be a joke, if only it were not so tragic for our democracy. Never has dynastic succession to political office, or dominance of political families in both national and local offices, been more pronounced than under the present administration. The prevalence of impunity and lack of accountability enabled by Duterte has further engendered the culture on which political dynasties thrive, including the thirst for monopoly of power and dominance in

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patronage politics. With the model being the Duterte family fielding all three children as candidates for elective offices in Davao, it is therefore no wonder why other political families would follow suit in this showcase of avarice for political power. Indeed, it takes a special kind of lack of delicadeza for a family to surmise that public office is a birthright and a personal entitlement. For the Duterte family, there is no doubt that they treat Davao as their kingdom, with them as the royal family that lords over it, most especially now that the patriarch is the highest official of the country. With the presidential family as role model, the extent of dynastic domination of politics is pushed further than ever before. So now we see spouses running for different congressional districts and siblings offering the voters of the country’s premier city no other choice but themselves. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is no clearer manifestation of this phenomenon than in the Philippines’ political dynasties spread over every region and every province. Whatever little democratic space is left for other struggling aspirants to public office is snuffed out in a futile exercise where political Goliaths have cornered patronage and resources in elections that do not give any primacy to platform, performance, and track record. This is the sorry state of Philippine democracy that made Filipinos believe that electing Duterte would finally put an end to the corruption of entrenched dynasties. What they got instead was just another political family no different from the rest in their shameless sense of entitlement to political power.

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Dispatch 423 THE COURAGE AND FORTITUDE OF BISHOP PABLO “AMBO” DAVID 26 November 2018 Duterte’s attack on Bishop Pablo “Ambo” David is nothing but slanderous. It is vintage Duterte. He destroys the reputation of those who oppose him and those who fight for the victims of his rule. Bishop Ambo is his latest victim. Aside from tending to the relatives of EJK victims in his diocese, Bishop Ambo drew the ire of Duterte for his rebuke on the President’s latest attacks on the Catholic religion and the Church. Bishop Ambo is one of the most respected figures in the Catholic Church. He is also a dutiful shepherd of his flock, doing all that is within his power to protect them amidst the murderous onslaught of Duterte’s drug war that has left a lot of children orphans. He has been successful in condemning the endless killings under Duterte, to the point that he has now become the newest target of Duterte’s intrigues, lies, and slanders. As a Catholic, I am proud that there are leaders of the Catholic Church, like Bishop Ambo, who continue to have the courage and fortitude to defend the poor from the extra-judicial killings perpetrated by the government. It takes a different kind of courage to stand up against the powerful, and a psychotic tyrant at that, and to fight for the powerless. This is the kind of courage that continues to give hope to our people, and by doing so will deliver them from the evil that envelops the country. We must all stand behind Bishop Ambo, and all Filipino men and women of courage who remain steadfast for all of us, bearing the hope that one day this darkness too shall end.

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Dispatch 424 ON THE THIRD TELCO PLAYER & CRONYISM 27 November 2018 A lot of things did not seem right when Mislatel was awarded the bid to become the Philippines’ third telco player. Mislatel Consortium is composed of Dennis Uy’s corporations and the Chinese government-owned China Telecom. Dennis Uy is closely associated with President Duterte as a major campaign donor. Duterte, on the other hand, already assured as early as months before the bidding that he favors a Chinese firm to become the third telco player. Duterte’s bias for his campaign donor and China Telecom, resulting in the selection of Mislatel and the disqualification of its rivals, has in fact been flagged by market think tank Fitch Solutions. And beyond China Telecom’s technical competence are questions raised concerning our own national security, as we readily open up our communications industry to China, the world’s leading practitioner of cyber-surveillance. What smacks of Duterte cronyism has been roundly criticized in public and social media. But beyond that, not a single government institution, foremost among them the Ombudsman, has minded to step in and investigate the apparent windfall in government contracts achieved by Dennis Uy as Duterte’s apparent businessman of choice. There is no doubt that the Davao-based businessman is always favored by Duterte. This in itself should already constitute a prima-facie case for investigation under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The question that should be asked and answered is that beyond Uy’s generous donation to Duterte’s campaign, what are the other financial links that bind the two. Given the power dynamics of one being the highest government-official and the other being his campaign financier, the fact that the latter is now the beneficiary of government-awarded major contracts raises questions of Duterte’s own personal interest in the success of Uy’s businesses. Neither is it superficial to suppose that there is here more than an

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innocent friendship, but a business partnership made profitable through the abuse of government power. In short, all the necessary ingredients of plunder and corruption are present here. But no one in government seems to be interested in what Duterte’s share is in the cooking. The alarm bells on Duterte cronyism are ringing loud in Dennis Uy’s pacman-like gobbling of government contracts, the foremost being the telco award to Mislatel. Did it just so happen that a Davao-based businessman and Duterte campaign donor suddenly just got so lucky with government largesse under Duterte’s administration? Of course not. We were not born yesterday. In fact, we have coined a word for it. Every time a politico-businessman partnership like this is cooked up, we call it a “lutong macao”. How appropriate that China is now in the cooking mix for good. Dispatch 430 IN FURTHER SOLIDARITY WITH BISHOP AMBO. DEFY. RESIST. FIGHT. 3 December 2018 Two recent articles on Duterte’s attacks on Bishop Pablo Virgilio “Ambo” David, one by his older brother, Prof. Randy David, and the other one by Prof. Tony La Viña, urge us to respond to the attacks by not letting ourselves be defeated by fear and by defending and protecting Bishop Ambo. These are the only ways to fight Duterte’s abominable acts of slandering and threatening the life of Bishop Ambo. Of course, it would be foolish for Duterte to martyr Bishop Ambo. It would be the end of him if he makes the mistake of carrying out his threat against the bishop. But we cannot wait for that to happen. We must act now and continue to fight Duterte’s attacks on human rights defenders and critics. Duterte wants to instill fear among us by creating a violent society where anyone can be killed anytime. The threat is already pervasive, especially among those who continue to resist and oppose him. There is nothing sacred to him, not even a Bishop whose only fault is to care for the families of the victims of extra-judicial killings.

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Bishop Ambo has incurred Duterte’s ire because of his relentless fight for the poor and the defenseless. Duterte hates those who love and care for the poor because he hates the poor. He only has contempt for them. He rejoices at the bloodbath that engulfs them in their urban communities. Bishop Ambo is among the few remaining leaders who have exemplified courage in defending the poor against Duterte’s drug war. He is a symbol of hope in these despairing times. He is a light in the darkness of Duterte’s reign of murder and bloodshed. He embodies the prayer for a future that is free from the clutches of a murderous tyrant. Because of this, I, too, stand with Bishop Ambo in his fight for the poor and the powerless. Defy. Resist. Fight. This is the clarion call of the times. Dispatch 439 STOP THE BULLYING 22 December 2018 When we face incidents of bullying, especially involving children, there is only one legitimate goal: to stop the bullying. It is not to seek retribution. It is not to shame and punish per se. Any shame and punishment that an apparent “bully” might experience should be secondary to their understanding that what they did was wrong, and that they should never do it again. Punishment, especially in this case, should be a means to an end: to end the cycle of bullying. To merely pass judgment is counterproductive: society—especially social media—wags and points an accusatory finger, the child gets defensive, the parents get defensive, the victim might get some relief, but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem. Everybody takes sides when, really, we all want the same thing. To make sure the kid never bullies again. Cases of bullying involving children tend to be complex. These are impressionable human beings. Their identities are not yet fully formed. More often than not, they are a reflection or a manifestation of what is not quite right about their environment. If a child does something “bad”, we have to ask where it is coming from.

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Especially when they do something this unthinkable. Ang hirap isipin kung saan mapupulot ng isang musmos na bata ang linyang: Bugbog o dignidad? Clearly, he knows that a person’s dignity is important enough to be held hostage, and at least at par with a person’s physical wellbeing that it would be difficult for his victim to make a choice. This isn’t schoolyard bullying, this sounds like expert-level sadism. He learned it from somewhere. And that’s the important thing to investigate: where or why is a child so young exposed to such level of abuse? Is there abuse in the family? In his circle of relatives? At school? Among his peers? From figures of authority?

Lalo na kung titingnan natin ang paliwanag niya kung ano ang ibigsabihin ng pagpili ng “dignidad”, which apparently involves some form of sexual humiliation. Hindi ito ordinaryong “bullying”. And we do a disservice to everyone involved to dismiss it as such. As a parent, I understand that there is a level of independent selfdetermination that a parent is entitled to. So at some level, I can understand when a parent tells others not to tell them how to raise their child. But that is not absolute. When the child’s behavior hurts another, and exposes a problem that society would have to deal with, the parents become accountable to others and to society. Children aren’t chattel. They are human beings that parents have a responsibility to raise as well-adjusted and productive members of society. You can’t raise someone who does monstrous things and unleash it into the world with impunity. And this goes for other figures of authority, such as schools, teachers and those having supervision of the child in extracurricular activities. Recently, the Boston Globe Spotlight Team produced an audio documentary, entitled “Gladiator”, about the complex factors that led a young, gifted athlete from being a high school varsity hero, to a multi-million dollar professional athlete, to becoming a multiple murderer and, eventually a suicide victim. It revealed an abusive childhood, and an environment that was inclined to overlook his violent tendencies and psychological issues in favor of his athletic abilities. Every story has a beginning. We are only seeing a snapshot in time of

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this child’s short life. Surely we can do better than that. He and his victims all deserve a shot at a better future. They all have to know why it happened, so they can prevent it from happening again. And we, as a society, can better help others who are in the same situation. Otherwise, the cycle will never end. All we’ll be good at is at passing judgment, and collecting internet points. Dispatch 444 TIME TO BE ANGRY. TIME TO SAY “ENOUGH”. 31 December 2018 It is unfortunate to close the year 2018 with yet another despicable speech from a deranged and ever increasingly loose cannon of a President. The trash that comes out from the foul mouth of this President—the “confession” about the sexual assault of a kasambahay and the intensified attacks against the Catholic faith—is growing ever more toxic and extremely sickening.

Ang pinakanakasusuklam sa lahat marahil ay alam ng buong sambayanang Pilipino na totoong ginawa nya ang mga karumaldumal nyang kinwento sa isang taong walang kalaban-laban, hindi lamang dahil wala na syang control sa kanyang pag-iisip, pananalita at asal, kundi dahil talagang wala siyang hiya sa kapwa tao, or takot sa Panginoon. Kakila-kilabot ang kapalaran ng sambayanang Pilipino sa ilalim ng isang taong palalo na, wala pa sa katinuan. If I’m ending the year in this fashion—with rage and indignation—I am sure that people would understand. Shame on you, all of you who, by your apathy, silence or plain cowardice, have become enablers of this new order of political turmoil and moral decay. Shame on you, those of you in the audience who would gleefully applaud the offensive rantings, sick non-“jokes”, vile and odious sexist

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remarks, and blasphemies of this madman. Shame on you for egging him towards committing graver acts of depravity and inflicting greater and deeper harm to our people, especially the weak and the impressionable, such as our women and children. Shame on you, the greedy and abusive politicians who, by your selfish interests and visionless ambitions, have allowed yourselves to be pawns or willing partners of a tyrant on his path to perdition. Shame on you, Bedans, those of you who, by your self-serving and hypocritical act of bestowing accolades to this first Bedan President as “Bedan of the Decade”, have, in fact, glorified infamy, bringing dishonor to our Alma Mater. The blame for every single evil thing that emanates from this Presidency that afflicts Filipinos everywhere and for generations to come is on your heads. The blood of those killed and will be killed, abused and exploited are in your hands. No amount of power or wealth can wipe it away. You should be ashamed to touch your children and loved ones with the blood-soaked hands of people who have sold their souls to a devil. This is the evil spirit that our Filipino New Year’s Eve traditions are supposed to drive away. And drive it away we must. With fiery words of indignation. Of noise barrages relaying our condemnation. As to us who count ourselves as part of the pro-democracy forces, the urgent and compelling challenge to us is to get our act together and not be weakened and disabled by unnecessary frictions and divisiveness, which only benefit and empower the real and greater enemy. The clear agenda of the despot is to foment chaos and division, which keep the citizenry confused, benumbed and paralyzed into stupor. The opposition must devise an aggressive counter-strategy to expose the insidious agenda of this regime, awaken the silent majority and stir them into action.

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It’s time to get angry. Really angry. But channel that anger towards the common enemy. Time to say ENOUGH! Time to stand strong and united to destroy this evil. Dispatch 450 PROTECTING THE PEOPLE FROM TYRANNICAL LEADERS 19 January 2019 Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s call to the Catholic clergy to stop interfering in State affairs can only come from a regime that is blind to the reality of what the drug killings are doing to the moral fabric of Philippine society. Extra-judicial killings, human rights violations, misogyny, and other forms of degradation of human dignity are not purely secular affairs on which the Church ought to be silent. When the government has made the killing of its own people a policy in its so-called “war on drugs”, the Catholic Church is put in a position where it has no choice but to demand that the killings are stopped. And when government does not listen, because it believes that it has the right to kill its own citizens, it cannot expect the Church to stop condemning the killings and the State’s implementation of the murderous policy. Taking the life of a human being is not only against the law of the State, it is also against both natural and divine law. When the State itself chooses to violate this law, which is also one of the most basic commandments of all religions, the Church must protest, or it becomes irrelevant as the representative of Christ on earth. “Thou shall not kill” is the law of both God and man. The State therefore has no monopoly in assuring that this law is followed, especially when its leadership itself has chosen to violate it with impunity. When the Church defends the right to life and the right to human dignity, especially of the poor, against a government that treats them as less

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than human, it is not interference in State affairs. It is protecting the people from the tyranny of its leaders who have already become the very embodiment of evil in this country. Fighting for what is right transcends any barrier—political, social or spiritual. Dispatch 451 WORSENING JAIL CONGESTION AND RELATED ILLS 21 January 2019

Sa kulungan ng mga babae sa Camp Karingal sa QC ay nagsisiksikang higit pa sa sardinas ang 900 detainees sa isang kwartong dapat ay para lang sa 90. Siyam (9) lamang ang banyo at isa (1) lang ang paliguan para sa lahat. Dahil bukas sa lahat at laging okupado ang mga pasilidad, ang pagtulog, pagdumi at pagligo ay mga gawaing casual na lamang para sa sinuman. Nahubaran na ng hiya at dignidad. Sa Dorm 5 ng Manila City Jail, nagkukumpulan sa espasyong dinaig pa ang dog pound ang 518 detainees. Nakadisenyo ang kwarto para lang sa 170. Sala-salabat ang mga kamay, paa at ulo ng mga natutulog sa sahig. Ang iba naman ay pinipilit mahiga sa pinagdikit na karton sa tabi ng mapanghing inidoro. These are mere representative samples of the true state and condition of our jails and detention cells. The facilities are more than severely congested. In fact, to claim that there is a violation of the Constitutional proscription against jails under sub-human condition is to even understate the obvious. We are in the midst of a calamity! A recent article of the New York Times pointed out that, since 2016 from the inception of Duterte’s bloody anti-drug campaign, “Philippine jails have become increasingly more packed, propelling the overall prison system to the top of the World Prison Brief’s list of the most overcrowded incarceration systems in the world.”

Dagdag na patunay ito na ang sinasabing “drug war” ay talagang peke at hindi naplano. Mga mahihirap lamang ang tinatarget at maliliit na

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tulak at adik ang pinupuntirya, samantalang pinoprotektahan ang mga drug lord, supplier at manufacturer ng droga. At ngayon ay kitang-kita pa ang kakulangan at kawalang kaayusan ng mga kulungan, ospital at rehabilitation clinics. Kung ipinagyayabang ni Duterte at ng mga alipores at panatiko nya ang diumano’y “drug war”, bakit halatang-halata ang kapalpakan at kahungkagan ng kampanya nila? Namamayagpag pa rin ang mga sindikato at mga protektor nila. Pawang mahihirap ang tinatamaan. At ang mga kulungan ay lubhang siksikan. Number 1 in the entire world for over congestion. Terrible. I appeal, most fervently, to all concerned government officials and my fellow members in Congress, to seriously consider proposed measures, including infrastructure plans, that will decisively address the issue of overcrowded jails, that not only causes innumerable indignities to the inmates, but also breeds a host of other problems like crimes, diseases and incidence of abuse and misconduct. In my proposed Senate Resolution No. 590, I was calling for a Senate inquiry into the findings in the latest COA Report revealing the worsening state of our detention facilities. By way of concrete proposal, in Senate Bill No. 1879, I am advocating for the integration of all jails and prisons under one central authority, the expansion and regionalization of facilities, and enhanced professionalization of custodial personnel. In Senate Bill No. 2130, I am pushing for the promotion and protection of the fundamental rights and legitimate interests of all persons deprived of liberty, and the adoption of restorative justice in our penal system. In July last year, on the occasion of the birth centenary of Nelson Mandela, I was pleading for the upliftment of the condition of the detainees, particularly those housed in overcrowded jails. I wish to reiterate some of my previous words here: “If we are able to significantly ameliorate the situation of our inmates, who belong to one of the most marginalized segments of our people, and help improve dramatically the conditions of our jails and prisons, which are among the most neglected aspects in Philippine public administration, I strongly believe that we can confidently take care of everything and everyone else in our country, in our pursuit for a truly humane and just society.”

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Can the Senate and / or Bicam please consider allotting a portion of the deleted P70B budget insertions for this urgent and most imperative concern? Please… Dispatch 453 TO LOWER MINIMUM AGE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY IS TO DEBASE OUR HUMANITY 22 January 2019 A government that targets the children in a fake drug war, and moves to declare them as criminals is not a government for the people. It is a criminal syndicate—a bunch of goons bent on ruling under a climate of fear, violence and utter inhumanity. Just yesterday, the House Committee on Justice approved a bill to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) from 15 years of age to just nine (9). Not to be outdone, the Senate leadership committed to prioritize a similar bill that may consider reducing to 11 years of age.

Hindi lamang nakakabahala ang mga ito. Ang mga ito’y kahindikhindik! Such a monstrosity can only be possible in a regime that sits on a pile of slain children—Kian delos Santos, Kulot de Guzman, Danica May Garcia and many other kids who fell victims of “drug war” killings. There is no evidence showing that children are responsible for the increase in crime rate in our country. There is no study that lowering MACR will deter syndicates and adult offenders from preying on children and using them to commit crimes. Worse, the current proposals do not address the root causes of juvenile delinquency: poverty and exploitation by adult criminals. What should be prioritized are policies and programs that will help poor families. Trabahong disente, sahod na sapat, pagkaing angkop, at maaasahang edukasyon, tulong medikal at iba pang serbisyong panlipunan gaya ng 4Ps.

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Children in conflict with the law (CICL) are not criminals; they are victims. Lowering MACR will not end the incidence and cycle of crime; it will aggravate the situation. It will drive our hapless children to further exploitation by adult offenders, and push them to more anti-social behavior. What should be done instead is penalizing the predators—the negligent parents and other abusive adults—like what I am suggesting in the very first bill that I filed at the start of Congress on 30 June 2016, Senate Bill No. 195, that seeks to define and punish criminal exploitation of children. To lower MACR is to debase our humanity as a people. What we need instead is for the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act to be fully and faithfully implemented with effective services and programs for prevention and response, as well as reintegration of children back into their families and communities. This is the thrust in my proposed Senate Resolution No. 171 that I filed as early as September 2016. Said law, the Pangilinan Law, is not the culprit. It is a good law. Nothing wrong with it, but for the want in its full implementation. No amount of bashing of said law by Duterte can change this fact.

Hindi sapat ngayon na itanong kung ano ang itinuturo natin sa ating mga anak. Ang mas tamang tanong: ano ang ginagawa natin para sa kanila? Sa isang gobyernong pinapatay ang mga bata sa isang madugong kampanya kontra-droga, sa isang lideratong ituturing na kriminal ang mga musmos, ano ang ating tugon o aksyon? Pagtutol! At sama-samang pagsisikap sa paghanap ng mga pangmatagalang solusyon upang tiyakin na ang ating mga anak at lahat ng bata at kabataan ay mamuhay sa isang pamayanan at lipunang ligtas mula sa krimen, karahasan at kahirapan. #ChildrenNotCriminals. No to any lowering of MACR!

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Credit: The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists

Dispatch 460 A REAL MENACE TO SOCIETY; TIME TO SPEAK OUT 2 February 2019 We need to have a serious talk about Rody. More specifically, we—parents, adults, educators, community leaders, and all self-respecting Filipinos—have to talk about Rody Duterte’s foul mouth, which is like an open wound that oozes a revolting stream of pus that is the manifestation of the sickness that afflicts his mind and perverts his sense of morality.

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He exposes our nation to his perversions, sick mind and his remorseless boasting about the crimes and abuses that he claims to have committed in his life, particularly while operating with virtually no restraint as the Mayor of Davao City, which he now translates as pseudo “policies” that he urges others to emulate. He boasted about personally killing people; he spoke of raping women, shooting them in the vagina, and of killing priests; and raves like a madman when he rants about his critics. I have repeatedly spoken out about my vehement objections, condemnations and warnings about the dangers he presents to our nation and the very DNA of our Filipinohood. We are a God-fearing people, known for our generosity and hospitality, our respect for our elders, our Bayanihan spirit, and our capacity to find good amidst all the tragedies that befall us. We are bright-spirited people. Yet here comes this weak-minded man, posing like a dictator, attempting to transform us into hate-filled fear-mongers, who will bully the weak just to prove how “strong” we are. It is strange that the same people who condemn a child they label a “bully”, and those who advocate for the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility are sometimes the same people who are willing to give a chuckling pass to a grown man who acts, speaks and thinks like a toddler who lacks discernment. Tirelessly, I spoke out. And every time I hear that people are still laughing at his so-called “antics” and non-“jokes”, like they are the harmless jabber of an infantile mind, I lose a little respect for these people who enable him. And that is exactly what these people are doing. Enabling a menace to society. The same is true about those who are of the mind that he should just be ignored. That the high ground demands that we not “step down to his level” and engage his destructive rhetoric.

Pasensya po, pero hindi iyon ang kailangan ng bayan natin ngayon. Kawawa ang bayan kung mananahimik lang tayo at hahayaang maghasik ng lagim si Rody Duterte.

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Rody Duterte and his foul mouth and mind is just like drugs. He destroys from without and from within. He destroys the bodies of Filipinos through the killings, and he destroys Filipino minds through his dangerous speech and depraved mind. This is not the time to enable a sick-minded man. This is the time to Save the Children. This is the time to call him out each time he does or says something wrong, abnormal or outrightly evil. If we don’t, we will be raising a whole generation of Filipino children whose moral compass will be as twisted as his. This is the time to establish a #NSFFC—Not Safe For Filipino Children—rating, which warns parents and adults to protect impressionable eyes and ears from being exposed and traumatized whenever he appears and speaks on television. He is that dangerous. More dangerous than the fictional depictions of sex, violence, drug-use, etc. that children may become exposed to through TV shows and movies. Why? Because this is real life, not fantasy. And he’s no ordinary man; he holds a position of power that might mislead children into thinking that everything he does is right—even if they are very, very horribly wrong. He is a disease that corrupts the Filipino people’s ability to discern right from wrong. Already, there are those who cannot tell “charisma” apart from “good leadership”. Whatever fuels Rody’s popularity, it isn’t good or noble leadership. Not if he speaks and acts like a criminal, yet seeks to criminalize troubled children. So before we punish our children for the bad example that we expose them to, we have to take a stand and protect them from such bad examples. So why should we keep silent? This is the time to speak out. Speak out and Save the Children. Duterte is NSFFC.

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“I never allowed the political persecution I am suffering to prevent me from fulfilling my electoral mandate.�

-Senator Leila M. de Lima


AUTHORED BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

Authored Bills and Resolutions by Senator Leila M. de Lima June 2016 – February 2019 Since being elected into office in 2016, Senator De Lima has principally authored 93 bills and 125 resolutions. Out of this total, 56 bills and 71 resolutions were filed while she already is in detention. Authored Bills 1. SBN 195 - An Act Defining Criminal Exploitation of Children and Increasing Penalties for All Crimes Involving them, and for Other Purposes 2. SBN 196 - An Act Amending R.A. 1405, Also Known as the Bank Secrecy Law, as Amended, by Removing from Its Coverage, Government Officials and Employees, and for Other Purposes 3. SBN 197 - An Act to Abolish the Penalty of Imprisonment in Libel Cases, to Make Any Discussion of Any Matter of Public Concern, or Criticism of Official Conduct Privileged, and to Properly Determine the Venue of Cases and Persons Responsible for Libel, Amending for the Purpose Articles 354, 355, 357, 360 and 361 of R.A. No. 3815, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code, and Section 4(C)(4), Chapter II of R.A. 10175, Otherwise Known as Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, and for Other Purposes 4. SBN 368 - An Act Punishing Extraordinary Heinous Crimes with the Penalty of Qualified Reclusion Perpetua, Thereby Amending R.A. 9346, Otherwise Known as An Act of Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines, and for Other Purposes 5. SBN 369 - An Act Institutionalizing a Criminal Investigation System, Repealing for the Purpose R.A. 5180, Otherwise Known as “An Act Prescribing a Uniform System of Preliminary Investigation by Provincial and City Fiscals and Their Assistants, and by the State Attorneys or Their Assistant”, and Other Related Laws and Issuances 6. SBN 370 - An Act Promoting the Rehabilitation and Revitalization of the Philippine National Railways, Amending for the Purpose R.A. 4156, as Amended, Entitled “An Act Creating the Philippine

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National Railways, Prescribing Its Powers, Functions and Duties, and Providing for the Necessary Funds for Its Operation” 7. SBN 371 - An Act Extending the Term of Office of Elective Barangay Officials to Five Years with Maximum of Two Consecutive Terms, and Postponing the October 2016 Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, and for Other Purposes 8. SBN 959 - An Act Redefining the Crime of Syndicated Estafa, Amending for the Purpose Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1689 9. SBN 960 - An Act Prohibiting Black Sand Mining in the Philippines, Providing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes 10. SBN 961 - An Act Redefining the Crime of Illegal Recruitment Committed by a Syndicate, Amending for the Purpose Article 38 of Presidential Decree No. 442, Otherwise Known as the “Labor Code of the Philippines,” as Amended and Section 6 of Republic Act No. 8042, Otherwise Known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995,” as Amended 11. SBN 1039 - An Act to Rationalize Our Penal Laws Against Smuggling, Amending for the Purpose Presidential Decree No. 1464, Otherwise Known as the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, to Increase the Penalty for Smuggling, Define the Crime of Economic Sabotage, and for Other Purposes 12. SBN 1040 - An Act Creating Free Tertiary Agricultural Education, and Other Related Courses to All Dependent Children of Registered Indigent Farmers in the Country, and for Other Purposes 13. SBN 1111 - An Act Providing for a System for Local Absentee Voting for Media Practitioners, Lawyers, and Electoral Staff of Candidates for National Elections, Amending for this Purpose Republic Act No. 7166, and for Other Related Purposes 14. SBN 1112 - An Act Postponing the October 2016 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9164, as Amended by Republic Act No. 9340 and

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Republic Act No. 10656, and for Other Purposes 15. SBN 1230 - An Act Strengthening the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines as the National Human Rights Institution, and for Other Purposes 16. SBN 1345 - An Act Redefining the Mandate of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9046 and Pertinent Provisions of Executive Order No. 292, Otherwise Known as the “Administrative Code Of 1987”, as Amended and for Other Purposes 17. SBN 1346 - An Act to Protect the Independence of Our Judicial System 18. SBN 1347 - An Act Granting Hazard Pay to Justice Sector Officials and Appropriating Funds Therefor 19. SBN 1348 - An Act to Promote Positive, Non-Violent Discipline of Children, Prohibiting All Forms of Corporal Punishment, Humiliating and Degrading Treatment, Providing Penalty Therefor, Appropriating Funds and for Other Purposes 20. SBN 1359 - An Act Amending Articles 180, 183, and 184 of Act No. 3815, Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code, as Amended, Increasing the Penalties Thereof, Criminalizing Subornation of Perjury and for Other Purposes 21. SBN 1360 - An Act Amending Section 11 of Republic Act No. 3019, Otherwise Known as the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” as Amended 22. SBN 1361 - An Act Amending Section 2 of Act No. 3326, Otherwise Known as “An Act to Establish Periods of Prescription for Violations Penalized by Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to Provide when Prescription Shall Begin to Run” 23. SBN 1364 - An Act to Preserve the Evidence Generated from Security Cameras 24. SBN 1373 - An Act to Strengthen the Human Rights Affairs

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Office of the Philippine National Police and to Further Amend Republic Act 6975, Otherwise Known as “An Act Establishing the Philippine National Police Under Reorganized Department of the Interior and Local Government, and for Other Purposes�, as Amended, and for Other Purposes 25. SBN 1384 - An Act Ensuring Accountability in Intelligence Activities and the Use of Intelligence and Confidential Funds Granted to All Government Agencies, Establishing for the Purpose a Joint Congressional Oversight Intelligence Committee to Strengthen the Oversight Powers of Congress to Monitor Intelligence Activities of all Agencies of the Philippine Government and to Oversee How Intelligence and Confidential Funds are Expended, and for Other Purposes 26. SBN 1433 - An Act Instituting a National Comprehensive Program for the Prevention, Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders and for Other Purposes 27. SBN 1438 - An Act Protecting Women in State Custody, Prescribing the Minimum Standards for Their Treatment, Penalizing Acts in Violation Thereof and for Other Purposes 28. SBN 1477 - An Act Promoting Positive and Non-Violent Discipline Of Children, Prohibiting All Forms of Corporal Punishment, Humiliating and Degrading Treatment, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes 29. SBN 1479 - An Act Defining the Crime of Cadaver Desecration, Providing Penalties Therefor and for Other Purposes 30. SBN 1496 - An Act Mandating the Administration of Regular Drug Tests in Correctional and Penal Institutions 31. SBN 1497 - An Act Institutionalizing Human Rights as a Separate and Specialized Subject in Both Basic and Higher Education 32. SBN 1498 - An Act to Harmonize Legal Education in Our Country 33. SBN 1499 - An Act Requiring Commercial Establishments

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and Public Institutions to Use Appropriate Filtering Devices and Firewalls that will Respect Children’s Access to Harmful Materials, Defining for that Purpose Offenses Related Thereto, Prescribing Penalties Therefor and for Other Purposes 34. SBN 1503 - An Act Providing for a Bill of Rights for Victims of Crimes 35. SBN 1526 - An Act Amending Sections 74 and 75 of Republic Act No. 7160, Also Known as the Local Government Code of 1991 36. SBN 1621 - An Act Requiring the Disclosure of Nutritional Information in Menus of Food Service Establishments 37. SBN 1622 - An Act Mandating the Provision of Exclusive Parking Space for Handicapped Persons and Penalizing the Unauthorized Use Thereof Bills filed while in detention 38. SBN 1665 - An Act Amending Sections Section 9 of Presidential Decree No. 651 Entitled “Requiring the Registration of Births and Deaths in the Philippines which Occurred from January 1, 1974 and Thereafter” 39. SBN 1666 - An Act Mandating the Commission on Elections to Provide for the Office Spaces of Its Field Offices, Hereby Repealing Section 55 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881,Otherwise Known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, as Amended 40. SBN 1675 - An Act Instituting Government Debt Management Reforms Through the Establishment of a Comprehensive Government Debt Management System, Including Through the Constitution of a Congressional Oversight Committee on Debt Management to Look Into All Foreign and Domestic Borrowings Negotiated, Contracted or Guaranteed by the President on Behalf of the Republic of the Philippines as Well as Those by the Government or Government-Owned-and Controlled Corporations and for Other Purposes 41. SBN 1676 - An Act Amending Section 73 of Republic Act No.

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7160, Also Known as the Local Government Code 42. SBN 1677 - An Act Providing for Rules on Plea Bargaining Agreement in Criminal Cases, Providing Penalties in Violation Therefor, and for Other Purposes 43. SBN 1694 - An Act Penalizing the Use of Virtual Currency in the Commission of Crimes 44. SBN 1699 - An Act to Promote and Protect the Rights of Human Rights Defenders 45. SBN 1708 - An Act to Strengthen the Profession of Optometry, Hereby Amending Republic Act No. 8050, Otherwise Known as the Revised Optometry Law of 1995, in Order to Enhance the Delivery of Vision Care in the Philippines and for Other Purposes 46. SBN 1709 - An Act to Establish the National Sight Strategy Plan 47. SBN 1710 - An Act Rationalizing the Enforcement of the Term Limits for Elected Officials as Provided in the Constitution 48. SBN 1721- An Act Amending Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code to Add, as an Aggravating Circumstance, the Crime Having Been Committed Against Lawyers and Justice Sector Officials 49. SBN 1729 - An Act Amending Section 40 of Republic Act No. 9710, Otherwise Known as the Magna Carta of Women 50. SBN 1730 - An Act Amending Articles 14, 19, 124, 211 and 225 of Executive Order No. 209, Otherwise Known as the Family Code of the Philippines 51. SBN 1633 - An Act Amending Section 9 of Presidential Decree 1586 by Increasing the Penalties Thereof and for Other Purposes 52. SBN 1785 - An Act to Strengthen Human Rights Education and the System of Legal Assistance for Migrant Workers, Amending for the Purpose Section 23 of Republic Act No. 8042, Otherwise Known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, as Amended

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53. SBN 1793 - An Act Amending Sections 28, 38 and 39 of Republic Act No. 7305, Otherwise Known as the “Magna Carta of Public Health Workers” 54. SBN 1796 - An Act Creating an Election Code Recodification Committee to Recodify the Election Laws 55. SBN 1852 - An Act Requiring Public Telecommunications Entities to Provide Its Subscribers with Free Access to Government Websites 56. SBN 1853 - An Act Amending Section 10 of Republic Act No. 10912, Otherwise Known as the “Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016” 57. SBN 1854 - An Act Protecting the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons, Establishing the Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Board, and for Other Purposes 58. SBN 1860 - An Act Providing for Mandatory Insurance Coverage and Benefits and Hazard Pay for Journalists, Employees of Media Entities on Field Assignments and Freelance Journalists, and for Other Purposes 59. SBN 1861 - An Act Requiring Traffic Signal Poles to Be Equipped with Accessible Pedestrian Signals 60. SBN 1862 - An Act Amending Section 5 and Section 12 of Republic Act No. 8750, Otherwise Known as “Seatbelts Use Act of 1999” 61. SBN 1868 - An Act Upholding and Promoting Campus Journalism and Campus Press Freedom, Repealing for the Purpose, Republic Act No. 7079, Entitled “An Act Providing for the Development and Promotion of Campus Journalism”, Penalizing Violations Against Campus Press Freedom, and for Other Purposes 62. SBN 1879 - An Act Instituting a Unified Corrections and Jail Management System, Integrating the National Prisons and Penal Farms, and the Provincial, Sub-Provincial, City, District and Municipal Jails, Establishing for the Purpose the National Commis-

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AUTHORED BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

sion on Corrections and Jail Management, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes 63. SBN 1880 - An Act Providing Monthly Living Pension to Qualified Senior Citizens and Amending for this Purpose R.A. No. 7432, as Amended by R.A. No. 9994, Otherwise Known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 64. SBN 1893 - An Act Redefining the Prohibited Act of Premature Campaigning, Accordingly Amending Sections 79, 80, and 81 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881, Otherwise Known as the “Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines” 65. SBN 1894 - An Act Instituting the Magna Carta for Child Development Workers and Providing Funds Therefor 66. SBN 1897 - An Act Providing for the Creation of the Philippine Road Safety Institute Under the U.P. National Center for Transport Studies 67. SBN 1904 - An Act Promoting the Use of Renewable Energy in Homes by Providing Incentives and Credit Facilities for Households Utilizing Small Solar Power Systems 68. SBN 1905 - An Act Providing Measures to Ensure Pedestrian Safety and Convenience and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof 69. SBN 1910 - An Act Providing for a Five (5) Day Special Emergency Leave for All Workers in the Public and Private Sector Directly Affected by Natural Calamities/Disaster 70. SBN 1949 - An Act Increasing the Age of Consent to Provide a Stronger Protection to Children, and Amending for this Purpose Article 266-A (1) (D) of Act No. 3815, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code 71. SBN 1986 - An Act Declaring February 23 of Every Year a Special Working Holiday to Be Known as “National Rotary Day” 72. SBN 2010 - An Act Providing for a Magna Carta of the Poor

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73. SBN 2011 - An Act Strengthening the Regulation of Social Welfare and Development Agencies 74. SBN 2012 - An Act Providing for a Rural Employment Assistance Program and Appropriating Funds Therefor 75. SBN 2013 - An Act Encouraging Volunteerism During Emergencies by Protecting Volunteers from Liability 76. SBN 2014 - An Act Regulating Public Solicitations and Providing Penalties for Violation Thereof, Repealing for the Purpose Act No. 4075, as Amended by Presidential Decree No. 1564, Otherwise Known as the “Solicitation Permit Law” 77. SBN 2016 - An Act Institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as a Human Capital Investment and Poverty Reduction Program 78. SBN 2025 - An Act Strengthening the Commission on Elections, Amending for the Purpose Pertinent Provisions of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, Otherwise Known as the “Omnibus Election Code”, as Amended, Providing Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes 79. SBN 2084 - An Act Providing for Medical Parole to Qualified Prisoners and Setting Rules on the Grant Thereof 80. SBN 2092 - An Act Creating Local Housing Boards in All Cities and First to Third Class Municipalities, Adopting the People’s Planning Approach in the Delivery of Shelter and Support Services for Informal Settlers, Amending Certain Provisions of Republic Act No. 7279, and for Other Purposes 81. SBN 2111 - An Act Regulating Public Solicitations and Providing Penalties for Violation Thereof, Repealing for the Purpose Act No. 4075, as Amended by Presidential Decree No. 1564, Otherwise Known as the Solicitation Permit Law 82. SBN 2117 - An Act Institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) 83. SBN 2118 - An Act Instituting the Magna Carta for Child

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Development Workers and Providing Funds Therefor 84. SBN 2119 - An Act Providing for a Rural Employment Assistance Program and Appropriating Funds Therefor 85. SBN 2121 - An Act Providing for a Magna Carta of the Poor 86. SBN 2130 - An Act Institutionalizing Prison Reform and Restorative Justice in Philippine Correctional System and for Other Purposes 87. SBN 2152 - An Act Institutionalizing a Grant and Fee Program to Incentivize and Promote the Proper Recycling of Used Computers and to Promote the Development of a National Infrastructure for the Recycling of Used Computers 88. SBN 2166 - An Act Creating the National Commission on Disability Affairs, Defining Its Powers, Functions and Responsibilities and Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes 89. SBN 2172 - An Act Establishing a Community-Based Monitoring System and Appropriating Funds Therefor 90. SBN 2194 - An Act Protecting Consumers and Users Against Forced E-Billing Adding for this Purpose A New Provision and Amending Certain Provisions of Republic Act No. 7394, Otherwise Known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines, and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof 91. SBN 2199 - An Act Strengthening the Regulation of Social Welfare and Development Agencies, and Appropriating Funds Thereof 92. SBN 2200 - An Act Encouraging Volunteerism During Emergencies by Protecting Volunteers from Liability 93. SBN 2201 - An Act Declaring July 12 of Every Year as a Special Working Holiday in the Entire Country to Commemorate the Historic Decision of the Permanent Court Of Arbitration (PCA) in Favor of Philippine Sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea

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AUTHORED BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

Authored Resolutions 1. PSRN 9 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights to Investigate, in Aid of Legislation, the Recent Rampant Extrajudicial Killings and Summary Executions of Suspected Criminals, to Strengthen the Mechanisms of Accountability of Law Enforcers, and to Institute Corrective Legislative Measures to Ensure Full Respect for Basic Human Rights, Especially the Right to Life 2. PSRN 97 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Current State of Jails and Penitentiaries All over the Country, with the End View of Instituting Remedial Legislative Measures that Would Ensure that the Government Accomplishes the Goals of the Penal and Detention Systems, Including the Protection of the Rights and Welfare of Persons Deprived of Liberty 3. PSRN 153 - Resolution Urging the Executive Department, Through the Department of Foreign Affairs, to Extend an Invitation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions to Visit the Country to Look Into the Extrajudicial Killings and Summary Executions Amidst the Administration’s War on Drugs 4. PSRN 171 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committees to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Status of the Implementation of Republic Act No. 9344, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the “Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006” with the End in View of Further Strengthening Current Legislation Providing Interventions and Protection of Children in Conflict with the Law and Ensure that Legislative Measures are in Place Against Proposals to Lower the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) from Fifteen (15) to Nine (9) Years Old 5. PSRN 174 - Resolution Directing the Proper Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Apparent Mismanagement and/or Incompetence of the National Bilibid Prison by the Bureau of Corrections and the Philippine National Police Leading to a Brawl that Caused the Death of a High Profile Inmate and Serious Physical Injuries to Others, and the Alleged Human

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Rights Violations Committed Against Other Inmates, with the End in View of Enacting Remedial Legislation that Would Prevent Recurrence of Similar Incidents 6. PSRN 195 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights, and Cultural Communities to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Root Causes of Internal Displacement of Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs)/Indigenous People’s (IPs) with the End in View of Enacting Legislation to Uphold Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) 7. PSRN 222 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Various Investment Deals, Particularly those Involving Public Procurement, Signed or Entered into by the Present Administration During the President’s State Visit to China Last 18 to 21 October 2016 8. PSRN 258 - Resolution Directing the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations to Conduct an Inquiry in Aid of Legislation on the Recent Jack Lam Bribery Scandal Involving Bureau of Immigration Officials and the Secretary of Justice 9. PSRN 260 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Current State of the Voters Database in the Custody of the Commission on Elections that Was Hacked by the Groups Anonymous Philippines and Lulzsec Pilipinas, Leading the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to Decide Against the Commission on Elections for Violation of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, with the End in View of Instituting Remedial Legislative Measures that Will Ensure that the Government Accomplishes Its Constitutional Duty of Preserving the Sanctity and Integrity of the Entire Electoral Process, Beginning with the Protection of the Voters Registration Procedure and All Data Appurtenant Thereto, and Protecting the Exercise of Suffrage from All Foreign and Domestic Threats. 10. PSRN 300 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Recent Killings of Lawyers, with the End in View of Enacting

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Measures to Secure the Safety and Welfare of the Members of the Philippine Bar 11. PSRN 311 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security to Investigate, in Aid of Legislation, the Criminal Activities of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Other Lawless Groups, Including the Recent Beheading of a German National, with the End View of Strengthening the Capacity of Government Forces, Particularly the Armed Forces, to Combat and Neutralize Such Groups 12. PSRN 312 - Resolution Condemning the Dehumanizing and Degrading Treatment by Certain Members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement (PDEA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces Of The Philippines (AFP) of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) Inmates Last 28 February 2017, Urging the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to Bring the Erring Officers and Their Officials Before the Bar of Justice, and Directing the Committee on Justice and Human Rights to Conduct an Investigation Thereon, with the End in View of Enacting Remedial Legislation 13. PSRN 314 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committees to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Occurrence of Road Accidents Emanating from Inefficient Vehicle Inspection and Registration Processes, with the End View of Establishing Stricter Inspection Procedures and Enforcing Penalties to Erring Licensing Officials of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 14. PSRN 322 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Preparedness of the Greater Metro Manila and Other Earthquake Prone Areas for the “Big One” 15. PSRN 334 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Suspicious Maritime Activities of People’s Republic of China in Benham Rise, and the Failure of the President to Disclose to the Secretary of the Department of National Defense Communications

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with Said Foreign Government Affecting National Security 16. PSRN 339 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Proposal of the President to Postpone the 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections and for the President to Appoint Barangay Officials or Officers-in-Charge Once the Term of the Incumbents Expire 17. PSRN 357 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry in Aid of Legislation on the Secret Jail Found in Manila Police District Station 1, with the End View of Ensuring the Faithful Compliance with the Duties and Obligations of the Officers and Members of the Philippine National Police as Well as Improvement of Our Laws and Legal Standards on the Custody and Detention of Persons in Jails and Other Detention Facilities 18. PSRN 358 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Reported Resignation and Revelation of PO1 Vincent Tacorda that Catanduanes Senior Police Officers Allegedly Ordered Him to Kill Suspected Pusher Samuel Rojas and to Commit Other Illegal Acts in Connection with the War on Drugs 19. PSRN 359 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganizaton and Professional Regulation, to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Alleged Involvement of Certain Cabinet Members of the Duterte Administration and High-Ranking Military Officials in the Operation of Small Town Lotteries, with the End View of Reviewing and Strengthening Relevant Laws on the Reorganization of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and the Discipline of Civil Service Employees, Particularly Those Involved in the Suppression of Illegal Gambling, and the Management and Operations of Small Town Lottery Under the PCSO 20. PSRN 365 - Resolution Recognizing the Important Role of the Commission on Human Rights on the Occasion of Its Thirtieth Founding Anniversary on 05 May 2017

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21. PSRN 370 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Recent Bombings in Metro Manila, with the End in View of Instituting Legislative Measures to Heighten the Capacity of Concerned Government Agencies to Ensure Public Health, Order, Safety and Security 22. PSRN 377 - Resolution Directing the Proper Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Possible Onerous Terms and Long-Term Financial and Economic Repercussions of the Multi-Billion Dollar Loan and Investment Package Offered by China to the Philippines Under Its Belt and Road Initiative 23. PSRN 379 - Resolution Directing the Proper Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act with the End in View of Imposing Higher Penalties for the Crime of Child Pornography Committed Through a Computer System, Including Cybersex Acts Involving Children 24. PSRN 390 - Resolution to Convene Congress in Joint Session and Deliberate on Proclamation No. 216 Dated 23 May 2017 Entitled, “Declaring a State of Martial Law and Suspending the Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Whole of Mindanao” 25. PSRN 402 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Rise of Unemployment Rate in the Philippines 26. PSRN 405 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Lapses Committed by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), with the End in View of Enabling a More Independent and Responsible State-Run News Agency, that Would Be at the Forefront of Providing Accurate Information to the General Public 27. PSRN 406 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, and on Foreign Relations to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, to Assess the Impact to the Country’s Bilateral Relations and

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to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) of the Diplomatic Row Between Qatar and Its Neighboring Countries 28. PSRN 407 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Impact of the Duterte Administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, with the End in View of Ensuring Uniform and Equitable Tax System 29. PSRN 411 - Resolution Honoring and Commending the Bravery and Heroism of the Uniformed Men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Who Were Killed and Wounded in the Course of Their Discharge of Their Solemn Duty of Protecting the People and the State of Battle of Marawi City 30. PSRN 417 - Resolution Expressing Grave Concern of the Senate over the Decision of the Department of Justice to Downgrade the Charges Against the Members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group–Region 8 (CIDG-8) from Murder to Homicide for the Killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. and Directing the Appropriate Committee to Inquire, in Aid of Legislation, into the Matter 31. PSRN 420 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Growing and Reportedly Worsening Humanitarian Crisis in Mindanao, Which Has Been Under a State of Martial Law for More than a Month to Date, Including and Particularly the Plight and Rising Number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Resulting from the Ongoing Armed Conflict in Parts Thereof 32. PSRN 421 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Reuters Special Report Exposing the Alleged Practices of Certain Police Officers in Using Hospitals to Conceal Incidents of Extrajudicial Killings, and in Tampering of Evidence at the Crime Scene, with the End in View of Formulating Tighter Mechanisms of Accountability of Police Officers, and Instituting Corrective Legislative Measures to Improve the System of Crime Detection and Investigation

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33. PSRN 426 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Prolonged Power Outage at Camp Bagong Diwa that Resulted in Substandard Living Conditions and Heightened Tension Leading to a Fatal Prison Riot 34. PSRN 435 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, to Look into the Efforts of Local Government Units and the Philippine National Police Towards the Implementation of an Identification System Specific for Muslim Filipinos, with the End in View of Ensuring Equal Protection of the Law Is Upheld and Promoted 35. PSRN 451 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Alleged Reprehensible Practice of Certain Police Officers of Concealing Cases of Extrajudicial Killings by Dumping the Bodies of Victims in Manila Bay, with the End in View of Formulating Tighter Mechanisms for Enforcing the Accountability of Police Officers, and Strengthening the Philippine Criminal Justice System by Institutionalizing Safeguards and Imposing Heavier Penalties Against Police Officers Who Attempt to Evade Justice by Destroying the Evidence of Their Crimes 36. PSRN 452 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Newly-Launched Identification Card of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW ID) with the End in View of Establishing More Transparent Guidelines for Its Implementation 37. PSRN 453 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Committee in the Senate to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Suspicious Circumstances in Which the Search Warrant Was Implemented Inside the Parojinog Compound in Ozamiz City, Leading to the Death of Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, Members of His Family and Security Staff 38. PSRN 455 - Resolution Urging the Executive Department, Through the Department of Foreign Affairs, to Extend an Invitation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Visit the Country

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and Look into the Growing and Reportedly Worsening Plight of Persons Displaced by the Crisis in Marawi, Which Could Continue and Even Worsen Due to the Extension of Martial Law in the Whole of Mindanao Until the End of 2017; the Results of Said Visit Could Likewise Aid in the Enactment of Remedial Legislative Measures 39. PSRN 473 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committees to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Recent Series of Drug Raids by the Police and the Direction of the Administration’s Drug War, with the End in View of Determining the Possible Accountability of Police Officers and Other Authorities Involved and Providing Remedial Legislation to Help End Police Abuse and Protect the Rights of Our Citizens 40. PSRN 475 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Alarming Rise of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Incidence Among Filipino Youth, with the End in View of Intensifying Public Awareness and Strengthening Republic Act No. 8504, Otherwise Known As the “Philippine Aids Prevention and Control Act of 1998” 41. PSRN 476 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Plan to Mark Homes with ‘Drug Free’ Stickers and to Install Drop Boxes as a New Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy 42. PSRN 499 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Investigate, in Aid of Legislation, All Reported Deaths of Children and Young Individuals Within the Context of the Philippine Government’s Campaign Against Drug Trafficking and Other State Actions Not Aligned with Human Rights Obligations of the Philippines 43. PSRN 509 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Reported News Blackout in Marawi, Particularly on the Status of the Current Crisis and the Plight or Condition of the Internally Displaced

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44. PSRN 512 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Ongoing Humanitarian Crisis in Marawi City 45. PSRN 516 - Resolution Urging Government to Undertake the Necessary Steps to Stop the Spate of Killings, Especially of Our Children, and Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, to Determine the Institutional Reasons, if Any, that Give Rise to Such Killings 46. PSRN 522 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Allegations of Corruption and Political Interference Leading to the Resignation of Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima and Its Implications on National Security 47. PSRN 524 - Resolution Expressing the Sense of the Senate Supporting the Constitutional Independence of the Office of the Ombudsman 48. PSRN 529 - Resolution Calling for an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Handling of the Cases Against Bureau of Immigration Commissioners Al C. Argosino and Michael B. Robles, Resulting in the Non-Filing of Plunder Charges Against Said Defendants 49. PSRN 534 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Status of Implementation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 344, Otherwise Known as the Accessibility Law, and Republic Act No. 7277, or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons 50. PSRN 535 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Living Conditions of, and Threat of Eviction Against, Resettled Families in Northville and Southville Relocation Sites, with the End in View of Crafting Legislative Measures and Other Appropriate Interventions that Aim to Secure, Fulfill and Protect Their Rights, Particularly Their Right to Housing and Other Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

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51. PSRN 550 - Resolution Directing the Proper Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in The Exercise of Congress’s Oversight Function, on the Implementation of Executive Order No. 06 Series of 2016 Institutionalizing the 8888 Citizens’ Complaint Hotline, Particularly on the Reported Failure Thereof, with the End in View of Legislating Remedial Measures 52. PSRN 566 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the 11 October 2017 Killings in Barangay 19, Tondo, Manila, as Captured by Surveillance Cameras, and for the Senate to Urge the Philippine National Police to Publicly Condemn and Censure the Acts of Station Commander Santiago Pascual of Readily Undermining Eyewitness Testimonies and Video Evidence, as Acts Contrary to the Mandate and Oath of a Police Officer, Both with the End in View of Enacting Stronger and More Effective Measures that Will Ensure that State Agents Are Discharging Their Operations Legitimately, and Without Intentional or Knowingly Reckless and Depraved Disregard for Life 53. SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 8 - Resolution Concurring the Posthumous Conferment of the Quezon Service Cross to Miriam Defensor Santiago 54. PSRN 573 - Resolution Expressing the Sense of the Senate Affirming the State Obligation of the Philippines to Protect Women Human Rights Defenders from Gender-Based Violence in Its Various Forms Resolutions filed while in detention 55. PSRN 578 - Resolution Urging the Appropriate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on Further Increasing the Ability of the Country to Ensure that the Status and Position as Public Officers and Government Employees Are Not Being Misused or Abused for Personal Gain, and that the Integrity of Government Posts and the Discharge of a Government Agency’s Mandate and Operations Are Shielded from Improper Influence and Interference from Personalities with Vested Interests and Dubious Reputations, by Looking into the Application and Implementation of Current Laws, Including the Civil Service Law and the Code of

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Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and of Other Related Laws, to the Revelations Coming Out of the Internal Squabble at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) 56. PSRN 584 - Resolution Directing the Committee on National Defense and Security and the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Act to Conduct an Inquiry in Aid of Legislation on the Status of the AFP Modernization Program, Particularly the Acquisition of Two (2) Philippine Navy (PN) Frigates 57. PSRN 588 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Emerging Trend of Requiring an Additional Fee for Paper Billing Which Is Being Imposed by Several Private Service Providers, and the Energy Regulatory Commission 58. PSRN 589 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Recruitment of Children as Combatants by Armed Insurgents and Extremist Groups, with the End in View of Putting an End to the Involvement of Child Soldiers in Armed Conflict and Promote Mechanisms that Facilitate the Rights and Safety of the Child 59. PSRN 590 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Latest Commission on Audit (COA) Report Revealing the Worsening State of Detention Facilities in the Philippines 60. PSRN 591 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Role of Elective Barangay Officials and the Supervision of Barangay Civilian Volunteers and Force Multipliers in Internal Security Operations, with the End in View of Establishing an Effective Community-Based Mechanism for Maintaining Local Peace and Order that Respects and Protects Human Rights 61. PSRN 599 - Resolution Calling on the Senate to Immediately Constitute and Convene the Congressional Oversight Committee on Republic Act No. 9775, Otherwise Known As the “Anti-Child

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Pornography Act of 2009” 62. PSRN 600 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Measures Taken by the Philippine National Police to Preserve Evidence and to Ensure Their Proper Handling and Safekeeping at All Stages of Investigation Up to the Finality of Any Resulting Court Proceedings, Including Their Ultimate Disposition, with the End in View of Maintaining the Integrity and Stringency of Police Investigation 63. PSRN 603 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Ongoing Selection of a Third Telecommunications Operator with the End in View of Ensuring that Our National Security Will Not Be Compromised in the Process 64. PSRN 604 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Undue Preference Given to China in Conducting Research in Benham Rise, Officially Known as Philippine Rise, Thereby Giving Them Access to Strategic Information that Would Endanger Our National Security, Especially Via the Philippine Sea, and Possibly Pose Larger Security Issues Over Surrounding Areas, Including the Western Pacific Ocean Region 65. PSRN 628 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Complete Terms and Conditions of the Loans Entered into by the Government to Fund the “Build! Build! Build” Program, Thereby Assessing the Possible Impact of Such Loans on Our Economy and National Security 66. PSRN 629 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Reported Shortage of the National Food Authority’s (NFA) Rice Buffer Stock Leading to a Concomitant Increase in Rice Prices in the Country 67. PSRN 630 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the

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Failure of the Government to Efficiently Utilize Donations Intended to Assist the Government in Effectively Combating the Drug Problem Through the Proper Treatment of Drug Addiction, Which Failure Led to the Extremely Under-Utilized Mega-Drug Rehabilitation Facility in Nueva Ecija, and into Propriety of Further Plans to Construct Other Similar Mega-Drug Rehabilitation Facilities in Light of the Failure of the First One 68. PSRN 656 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Need to Standardize National and Local Road Signs to Conform to International Standards 69. PSRN 662 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Need to Standardize National and Local Road Signs to Conform to International Standards 70. PSRN 666 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Compliance of the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Office of the Ombudsman with the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the Ombudsman Act, Specifically on the Matter of Investigating the Plunder Complaint Filed with the Ombudsman Against President Rodrigo Duterte, and Similar Cases of Money-Laundering Hidden or Ill-Gotten Wealth Committed by Public Officials 71. PSRN 667 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, into the Various Issues of the Indigenous Peoples or Indigenous Cultural Communities with the End View of Crafting Necessary Amendments to Republic Act No. 8371, or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act Of 1997, to Strengthen the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples or Indigenous Cultural Communities 72. PSRN 668 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Alarming Killings and Attacks Against Members of the Bar and Justice Sector Officials 73. PSRN 669 - Resolution Expressing the Sense of the Senate

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to Recognize and Honor the Filipino Woman on the Occasion of International Women’s Day And National Women’s Day on March 8, for Fulfilling Her Individual Role in Nation-Building, and Collectively Making a Difference in Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment, and Social Progress 74. PSRN 670 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Implementation of the Gender and Development (GAD) Plan, with the End in View of Strengthening Compliance in the Execution of Gender-Responsive Programs and Maintaining Maximum Participation of Women in Nation-Building 75. PSRN 697 - Resolution Expressing the Sense of the Senate that the Absolute Parliamentary Immunity for Speeches Delivered in the Senate Under Section 11 Article VI of the Constitution Must at All Times Be Upheld and Protected 76. PSRN 714 - Resolution Commending and Honoring the Eight Outstanding Filipinos Who Brought Glory and Prestige to the Philippines by Being Awardees of the Recent “Asian Scientist 100” 77. PSRN 715 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Administration’s Order to Close Off Boracay Island for Six Months, and to Inquire into the Government Measures, if Any, to Address the Effects of the Closure to the Philippine Economy and the Filipino People 78. PSRN 716 - Resolution Calling on the Senate to Convene the Congressional Commission on Health Pursuant to Republic Act No. 7305, Otherwise Known as the “Magna Carta of Public Health Workers” 79. PSRN 717 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Implementation of Republic Act No. 8172, Otherwise Known as “Asin Law” and Its Effects on Health and the Local Salt Industry, with the End in View of Striking a Balance Between Promoting Iodine Sufficiency Among Our People and Strengthening Mechanisms to Enhance Local Salt Production

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80. PSRN 720 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Issue of Rice Smuggling, and Procurement Policy Shifts on Rice Importation, with the End in View of Ensuring that the National Food Authority Implements Mechanisms and Policies that Are Consistent and Duly Safeguarded Against Corruption 81. PSRN 738 - Resolution Expressing the Sense of the Senate to Uphold the Constitution on the Matter of Removing a Chief Justice from Office 82. PSRN 740 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Alleged Irregular Transactions and Wasteful Spending of the Department of Tourism During the Term of Former Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo 83. PSRN 744 - Resolution Urging President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to Convene the National Security Council to Determine Decisive Courses of Action to Address China’s Militarization over the West Philippine Sea 84. PSRN 745 - Resolution Honoring the Late Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista, National Artist for Literature, for His Exceptional and Valuable Contributions to the Evolution and Shaping of the Philippine Literature 85. PSRN 751 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Influx of Chinese Nationals in the Philippines and Related Issues on the Effective Implementation of Immigration and Labor Laws, with the End in View of Enacting Amendments to Existing Legislation to Prevent Surge Migration 86. PSRN 756 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Government Transactions Involving Chinese Blacklisted Firms in the Bangon Marawi Program 87. PSRN 760 - Resolution Urging the Senate Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization to Conduct an Inqui-

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AUTHORED BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

ry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Conflict of Interest of Solicitor General Jose Calida, Arising from Security Service Contracts Between National Government Agencies and Vigilant Investigative And Security Agency, Inc. 88. PSRN 761 - Resolution Expressing the Grave Concern of the Senate over the Increasing Militarization by the People’s Republic of China in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, and Urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to File a Diplomatic Protest Against the Same 89. PSRN 765 - Resolution Directing the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Assassination of and Attacks Against the Religious with the End in View of Conducting an Assessment of the Peace and Order Situation in the Country and Amending Republic Act 6975, As Amended 90. PSRN 766 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Welfare of Filipino Fisherfolk in Panatag Shoal, with the End in View of Enacting Measures to Safeguard Their Socio-Economic Rights and to Provide Them with Redress Mechanisms 91. PSRN 767 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Unexplained Delays by the Implementing Government Agencies on the Distribution of the Social Welfare and Benefits Program Mandated by Republic Act No. 10963 Otherwise Known as the TRAIN Act 92. PSRN 768 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Reported Violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in Mindanao After a Year of Imposition of Martial Law 93. PSRN 778 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee To Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Implementation of the Various Environmental Protection Mandates of Government Agencies to Determine the Gaps that Compound Higher Prevalence of Human Rights Abuses in Communities

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Where Large-Scale Mining is Conducted 94. PSRN 779 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Landing of Chinese Military Aircrafts in the Philippines, with the End in View of Enacting Measures that Strengthen National Security and Safeguard the Territorial Integrity of the Country 95. PSRN 780 - Resolution Directing the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media and Other Appropriate Senate Committees to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Propriety of the Airing of Chinese Shows on the People’s Television Network (PTV), with the End in View of Ensuring Due Exercise of Its Mandate as an Instrument in Advancing the Filipino Identity 96. PSRN 798 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, as Regards the Status of Individuals and Families from Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Lanao del Sur Displaced by the On-Going Armed Clash Between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters 97. PSRN 807 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Reported Lack of Accomplishment Report for the Masa Masid Project, with the End in View of Ensuring Proper Institutionalization of Transparency Mechanisms in Implementing Agencies and Due Compliance with Annual Reporting Procedures 98. PSRN 812 - Resolution Recognizing the Distinguished Career and Outstanding Contribution to Philippine Public Service of Ombudsman and Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales 99. PSRN 822 - Resolution Directing the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Internal Cleansing Strategy 100. PSRN 826 - Resolution Honoring the Late Carmen GuerreroNakpil for Her Exemplary and Towering Role and Contributions

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to the Shaping and Enrichment of History Writing and Literature in the Philippines 101. PSRN 839 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Bureau of Immigration’s Failure to Collect Express Lane Fee Charges from June to December 2017, with the End in View of Crafting Legislation to Ensure Accountability for Gross Misinterpretation of the Law by Public Officials Who Are Tasked to Enforce Them 102. PSRN 840 - Resolution Urging the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the P4.75-Billion Net Loss Incurred by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Revealed in the 2017 Commission on Audit (COA) Report 103. PSRN 849 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on How a Shabu Shipment Worth Php 6.8 Billion Managed to Enter the Country Through the Manila International Container Port and Slip Through the Inspection of Bureau of Customs 104. PSRN 850 - Resolution Urging the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the P1.323 Billion Unutilized/ Unwithdrawn Amount of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Revealed in the 2017 Commission on Audit (COA) Report 105. PSRN 853 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committees to Inquire into the Delay of the Drafting and Promulgation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10969, Otherwise Known as the Free Irrigation Service Act 106. PSRN 887 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Look into the Fraudulent and Erroneous Basis of Proclamation No. 572 Which Revokes the Amnesty Granted to Then LTSG and Now Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV for the Purpose of Looking into Possible Remedial Legislation to Prevent and/or Avert Possible Abuse of Presidential Powers in the Future

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AUTHORED BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

107. PSRN 898 - Resolution Urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to Seriously Consider the Adherence to and Adoption of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR), as Proof and Affirmation of Our Strong Commitment to the Primacy of Human Rights 108. PSRN 902 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Alleged Land Grabbing in Boracay, with the End in View of Ensuring that Rehabilitation Efforts During the Closure Will Not Prejudice the Pending Claims of the Indigenous Peoples 109. PSRN 912 - Resolution Urging the National Electrification Administration and All Other Concerned Government Agencies to Provide a Concrete and Viable Roadmap for Rural Electrification with the End View of Expanding the Capacities, Capabilities, and Opportunities of Rural Communities Towards Self-Determination, Self-Reliance and Rural Development, Promoting the Just and Equitable Distribution of Resources, and Upholding Social Justice and Equality Throughout All of Philippine Society 110. PSRN 915 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Recent Spate of Killings During Police Operations in Metro Cebu, with the End in View of Ensuring that Officers of the Philippine National Police Abide by the Operating Procedure, Maintain Respect for Human Rights and Uphold the Rule of Law in the Discharge of Their Duties 111. PSRN 922 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Use of Presidential Emblem by a Foreign National Who Represents Himself a Presidential Economic Adviser, and into the Appointment of Foreign Nationals to Public Office, with the End in View of Protecting National Security, Guaranteeing that State Secrets are Protected, Upholding Our National Sovereignty and Our Right To Self-Determination, and Ensuring the Integrity and Independence of Our Foreign Policy 112. PSRN 927 - Resolution Urging the Appropriate Senate Committees to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation,

199


AUTHORED BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

on the Impending Demolition of Thousands of Houses and the Displacement and Relocation of Its Residents in Thirty-Eight (38) Barangays in the City of Manila in Order to Make Way for the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road and the PNR North-South Commuter Railway Project 113. PSRN 929 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Recent Massacre in Sagay, Negros Occidental, with the End View of Addressing Social Injustice Among Farmers, Promoting Genuine Rural Development and Agrarian Reform to Assure that Justice Will Be Served But, at the Same Time, Address the Plight of Farmers with Respect to Agrarian Reform 114. PSRN 930 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Reported Cases of Sexual Violence and Abuses Allegedly Perpetrated by Law Enforcers Against Women and Children Who Are Relatives of Detainees, with the End in View of Proposing Legislative Measures to Ensure Full Protection, Including Legal Remedies, for Affected Women and Children 115. PSRN 933 - Resolution Directing the Committee on Science and Technology to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the State of the Telecommunications Industry and on the Government’s Comprehensive Strategy for Improving Internet Access, Quality, and Affordability in the Country 116. PSRN 945 - Resolution Directing the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Continued Proliferation of Child Cyber Sex Abuse in the Philippines Despite Existing Laws, with the End in View of Ensuring that the Welfare of the Filipino Children and Youth Are Protected Through the Tightening of Applicable Laws, and the Expansion of the Implementation of Existing Legislation Penalizing and Prohibiting Child Cybersex Trafficking 117. PSRN 949 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Committee, to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into President Rodrigo Duterte’s Order to the Military to Temporarily

200


AUTHORED BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

Take Over the Bureau of Customs 118. PSRN 950 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Status of the Implementation of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 856, Otherwise Known As “Code On Sanitation of the Philippines� in Public Schools for the Purpose of Determining the Challenges and Issues in Its Enforcement, with the End View of Proposing Legislations that Would Further Strengthen Existing Laws on Sanitation and Protect the Filipino Youth 119. PSRN 953 - Resolution Urging the Senate Committee on Games and Amusement to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, into the Proliferation of Integrated CasinoEntertainment Resorts and the Emergence of Online-Gambling and Gambling-Based Tourism in the Philippines, with the End in View of Proposing Remedial Legislation to Strengthen the Laws Governing Casino-Entertainment Resorts, Online-Gambling and Gambling-Based Tourism, and Address Their Social Costs 120. PSRN 966 - Resolution Directing the Committee on Health and Demography to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Reported Pandemic Potential of Measles that Has Caused Deaths and Infections in Some Parts of the Philippines, with the End View of Crafting Necessary Measures to Prevent the Fatal Effects of a Measles Outbreak 121. PSRN 967 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Reported Mandatory Pregnancy Policy Being Enforced by the Pines City Colleges in Baguio City to Their Female Students, with the End View of Ensuring that No Women Are Discriminated and Violated Due to Personal Conditions, and Quality Education Is Made Accessible to Every Filipino Youth 122. PSRN 969 - Resolution Urging the President to Ratify the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to Strengthen Access to Justice and the Right to Effective Remedy 123. PSRN 970 - Resolution Reaffirming the Principles and Ideals

201


AUTHORED BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights on the Occasion of Its 70th Anniversary 124. PSRN 982 - Resolution Expressing the Sense of the Senate that the Department of Budget and Management Has the Authority to Use the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund for the Implementation of the Fourth Tranche of the Salary Standardization Law as Provided by Executive Order 201, Series 2016 125. PSRN 988 - Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Investigation, in Aid of Legislation, on the Reported Data Breach in the Department of Foreign Affairs Passport Databank, with the End View of Safeguarding Personal Information, Mitigating the Adverse Effects of the Actual Breach and Provide Immediate Remedies to Uphold Data Privacy and Protection

202


“The way the President, the Secretary of Injustice continue berating [De Lima] is really cause for a mistrial because her right to a due process is outrageously being violated.�

-Former Senator Rene A. V. Saguisag


Profile for Senator Leila M. de Lima

Dispatches from Crame II: Faith, Hope, and Love  

Marking her second year in unjust detention, Senator Leila M. de Lima released her second book of dispatches, a collection of her personal r...

Dispatches from Crame II: Faith, Hope, and Love  

Marking her second year in unjust detention, Senator Leila M. de Lima released her second book of dispatches, a collection of her personal r...

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