Press Release
November 4, 2017

Akbayan Party to march with families of EJK victims, calls for justice and solidarity

There is no healing without justice.

This was the statement of the leadership of Akbayan Party as they called for the public's participation to the 30,000-strong who will gather at EDSA Shrine tomorrow "for national healing that starts with justice, in solidarity with the kin of thousands who died under President Duterte's war-on-drugs".

"Tomorrow's procession is a march for healing and the foundation of healing is justice towards those who have been wronged", said Etta Rosales, former Commission on Human Rights Chairperson and currently Akbayan's Chairperson-Emeritus.

"The human cost, 8 to 13 thousand killed, of this abusive and corrupt war-on-drugs has torn the social fiber of this country. After leaving thousands dead on the streets, all of whom with neither due process nor promise of justice, someone must be held accountable. It's time to move forward, but the first step is accountability", Rosales added.

Recently, the government's flagship anti-drugs operation has been transferred from the Philippine National Police [PNP] to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency [PDEA]. But for Akbayan Partylist Representative Tom Villarin, it is not enough.

"We can't just forgive and forget. Turning all drug operations over to the PDEA must not be an absolution for the PNP. An independent investigation has to be conducted to discern the accountability of the police force and the government as a whole on this policy", said Villarin.

"How did the President's policy to kill translate to the operations of the PNP? How did the President's words embolden the police and vigilantes to conduct summary killings?" Villarin asked.

For her part, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros made an appeal to the "collective conscience" of the Filipinos given the trauma and emotional torture that kin of EJK victims were forced to endure under police operations known as Oplan Tokhang.

"The procession tomorrow is the public's solidarity with the EJK victims and their families. We need to bring back our collective conscience as Filipinos", Hontiveros urged.

According to the organizers, families and friends of EJK victims will march alongside Church and lay leaders.

"The Church is becoming a refuge during this terrifying time in our country. But we should also admire the courage shown by those who were wronged by the war-on-drugs. They are fighting back and we must help them do so", Hontiveros added.

Akbayan furthered in a statement that the government cannot wash its hands of the crimes committed. "Managot ang dapat managot. There is no moving on without justice", Rosales concluded.

The Heal Our Land activity will start with a mass at EDSA Shrine at 3:00PM then will proceed via procession to the People Power Monument for a cultural program.

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