LP Senate bets call on Ilonggos to speak out vs 'climate of fear'

LP Senate bets call on Ilonggos to speak out vs 'climate of fear'

ILOILO CITY—Opposition candidates on Friday called on Ilonggos to speak out and make a stand amid what they perceive is a climate of fear in the country.

Human rights lawyer and Liberal Party (LP) senatorial candidate Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno noted that the democratic space in the country is continuously narrowing.

He said this is happening only in areas placed under a “state of lawlessness” but in other areas of the country.

He cited the red-tagging of various groups critical of policies of President Duterte including those of teachers and journalists.

“All those who stand for the truth are being attacked,” Diokno, also founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law and chair of the Free Legal Assistance Group, said in a press conference at the Hotel del Rio here.

Diokno was with other LP senatorial candidates former Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, civic leader Samira Gutoc, lawyer Romulo “Romy” Macalintal, Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano and re-electionist Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV.

Two other candidates, former Solicitor General Florin “Pilo” Hilbay and former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, were not present in this event.

Alejano said many people are intimidated due to killings in the country.

“As we go around, many do not want to speak out (because) many have been killed, many have been victimized,” he said in the press conference.

But he said the May 2019 election is an opportunity for voters to express their real sentiments.

“I believe they can get their revenge come May 2019. I’m confident that the people will rise to the occasion,” Alejano said. /jpv