Protests, counter-protests mark martial law anniversary

Protests, counter-protests mark martial law anniversary
MILITANTS PREPARE FOR ANTI-DUTERTE PROTEST.  Cause-oriented groups gather at the University of Santo Tomas area where they will begin their march to Rizal Park. MELO ACUÑA

MANILA – Thousands of students, daily wage earners, farm workers and indigenous people trooped to the streets of Metro Manila today to mark the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by then strongman Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.

Multi-sector groups are convening at three different places to mark the day. Cause-oriented groups will converge at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta while the pro-Duterte lobby will hold its own event at Plaza Miranda, in Quiapo district, some two kilometers apart.

The Liberal Party, led by former President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and other opposition leaders gathered at the Church of the Holy Sacrifice at the University of the Philippines at 2:00 p.m.

No threats

Catholic nun Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB said today’s rally will gather people from different walks of life to ask President Rodrigo Duterte to halt what has been described as extra-judicial killings, which the government continues to deny.

Former Congressman Teddy Casiño said they will police their ranks so no untoward incident will take place and serve as a basis for President Duterte to declare martial law.

As of yesterday afternoon, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde said they have not monitored any threat against the government and the rally participants.

Nearly a thousand policemen have been deployed near the Embassy of the United States in Roxas Blvd. and the two gates leading to the Malacañang Complex where President Duterte holds office and resides.

Martial law soon?

However, Atty. Jude Sabio, the complainant in a case filed against President Duterte at the International Criminal Court for alleged murders committed while the latter was still Davao City mayor, said the chief executive has long planned to declare martial law across the country.

“He is convinced he must declare martial law this September,” he added.

Mananzan said there will be candle-lighting rites before 8:00 p.m. to remember in prayers those who have been killed in the Duterte administration’s relentless campaign against illegal drugs.

“We call on everyone who can take small bells with them so we can ring them all at 8:00 p.m. as we end our protest,” she said in a public affairs event.

Earlier, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called on all the Filipino faithful to pray and to light candles for the victims and their kin of the violent drug campaign launched since President Duterte took power in June 2016.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said they began the pealing of bells on Aug. 29, the feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist, where the faithful was requested to pray for the “angels of death,” men who don bonnets and start killing suspects at 8:00 p.m. He also called on everyone to pray for those unjustly killed.

‘Playing God’

In Sorsogon province, Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD said the pealing of bells every 8:00 p.m. “is an excellent reminder to all about the sacredness of life, which is made cheap by the Duterte Administration’s policy of killing unwanted citizerns.”

The prelate accused President Duterte of “playing God.” He added that candle-lighting is an additional act of reparation for the crime of mass murder committed by government “peacemakers.”

According to San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, Guihulngan residents come to church at 8:00 p.m. to pray for peace.

“The prayers are fed to loudspeakers and business has been severely affected due to the curfew,” he said. He added there exists an atmosphere of fear, demoralization, and unrest because many killings have been happening in the town of Guihulngan in Negros Occidental. CBCPNews