Karapatan to Duterte: Valium? No thanks, you need it more than we do

“Duterte’s fentanyl-laden speech is often incoherrent and difficult to make sense of, but his policies and threats do the work of providing us with an unmistakably evident picture of the direction and brutality of his regime. Duterte should be the one taking valium after his government’s relentless attacks against rights defenders, progressives and dissenters of anti-people policies. It is he who needs to calm down, not us,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay in reaction to Duterte’s statement yesterday, December 6, telling human rights advocates to take valium.

Duterte took a swipe yet again on human rights defenders in a speech during the mass oath-taking of newly-appointed government officials in Malacañang. Apart from instructing human rights advocates to take valium so they can calm down and sleep, the President also called them yawa, or devil in Cebuano. He also added that those working for human rights are merely out looking for money, akin to drug peddlers.

“No, we are not out looking for money, Mr. Duterte, but justice,” Palabay responded. She further said that “human rights and progressive organizations have worked throughout different regimes, raising legitimate issues against governments who have worked unceasingly to silence the clamor of genuine and substantial change from the ground.”

Karapatan again raised the issue of the Duterte regime’s threats to use the Anti-Terror Law, or RA 9372, as a tool to discourage and intimidate organizations critical of the Duterte regime. “We have no doubt that the Duterte regime and his security cluster will follow through with these threats. Ironically, in the days leading up to the International Human Rights Day on December 10, what we have witnessed are the State’s utter and vicious disregard for human rights. This government has already killed a priest, a human rights worker, and massacred 8 indigenous people in less than two weeks,” Palabay said.

“At the rate that this fascist regime is going, human rights advocates will have no need for valium; we’d be in need of legal assistance in light of impending illegal arrests, or worse, funeral rights after this terrorist and sorry excuse of a government kills us all. However, we have weathered past regimes and their bloodthirsty State forces, and we will continue to do so – without fail, without delay, without reluctance,” ended Palabay.

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580