Press Release
December 13, 2021

Dispatch from Crame No. 1,187:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Duterte's Attendance at the Summit for Democracy


The participation of President Duterte, on invitation of the US government, at the recent Summit for Democracy is lamentable, to say the least. A mass murderer and autocrat had no place in such a gathering. In fact, presumably, the very reason for convening such a summit is to precisely check the horrendous acts of human rights violators and despots like Duterte.

The US State Department's own reports found that the Duterte administration is responsible for unlawful or arbitrary killings. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a formal investigation, albeit suspended, into Duterte's bloody drug war. Since becoming president in 2016, he has presided over tens of thousands of slayings, and innumerable human rights violations against the Filipino people.

Coupled with Duterte's horrible human rights record is the clearly anti-democratic content and direction of his administration. My almost five-year of unjust imprisonment attests to this. There is also an ongoing campaign of terror against human rights defenders, labor leaders, and many civil society activists who have suffered deaths, physical assaults, online attacks, arrests and trumped-up suits. There is the incessant harassment of journalists, especially Nobel Peace Laureate Rappler publisher Maria Ressa, and the shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN network. These and many more are glaring examples of rampant assaults on the Philippine democracy.

I therefore join the many Filipinos and other freedom-loving individuals and organizations across the globe in expressing disgust over Duterte's attendance at the US-led Summit for Democracy. We urge the American leadership to consistently stand for freedom and human rights, alongside our people and the rest of democratic world. ###

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