In a show of force, key leaders of the Liberal Party led by Vice President Leni Robredo and former President Benigno Aquino III gathered Thursday at the “Mass for Justice” held at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City to mark the 45th anniversary of Martial Law declaration.
Wearing white shirts, they conveyed a common message of condemning the abuses during the dictatorship of then President Ferdinand Marcos while seeking justice for victims of extrajudicial killings in the government’s drug war.
“Sana nakikita natin iyong nakaraan bilang madilim sa ating kasaysayan (I hope we are seeing the dark past in our history),” Aquino, chairman emeritus of LP, told reporters before the mass.
The former president said he attended the mass to listen to the sentiments of Filipinos demanding justice for those who were killed.
“Sang-ayon tayo na kailangan natin humingi ng katarungan para sa mga namatay (We agree to seek justice for the people who died),” Aquino stressed.
Similarly, Roxas wished for Filipinos not to forget the lessons they learned from the Marcos dictatorship. He is unhappy with the deaths that resulted from the drug war, he said.
“Hindi ko ikinatutuwa na iyong sinasabi ko noong kampanya ay nangyayari ngayon. Sa totoo lang dapat nga ipagtanggol natin ang mga namatay na ito (I’m not happy that what I said during the campaign is happening now. In fact, we should defend those who were killed),” he said.
Father Jett Villarin, president of the Ateneo De Manila University, officiated the mass, while former Dela Salle University Brother JJ Jimenez gave the homily.
In his homily, Jimenez spoke about the horrors of Martial Law under the Marcos regime.
Martial law victims, students, members of Catholic organizations, and former Cabinet members of the Aquino administration, among others, attended the mass.
During the “Mass for Justice,” photos of Martial Law victims, including the young people whose deaths have been linked to the drug war, were displayed at the altar.
Addressing the audience after the mass, Robredo called on the public to unite, telling them that they should not allow the return of Martial Law.
“Magkaisa tayo hindi lang po para ipaglaban iyong ating mga sariling paniniwala, pero magkaisa po tayo sa pagmamahal sa ating bayan (Let us unite not only to fight for our personal beliefs, but let us unite for love of our country),” she said.
Tags: Aquino administration, Benigno Aquino III, declaration, extrajudicial killings, Franklin Drilon, LP, Martial Law declaration, President Ferdinand Marcos, Vice President Leni Robredo, VP Leni former Pres. Aquino LP leaders attend ‘Mass for Justice’