Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Friday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to help the poor by focusing on the war against poverty and to lead the country in respecting human rights.
Speaking in a forum hosted by the UP School of Economics where she earned her Bachelor’s degree, Robredo said that the Philippines cannot be saved by “false prophets of change who claim that they are the people’s last hope.”
“Poverty is the real problem, but we are distracted by political agenda and ambition. Mr. President, we call you to task. In behalf of the Filipino people, whose daily struggles are escalating, we ask you to focus on the war that really matters: the war on poverty. Our people are hungry, jobless and poor,” the Vice President said.
“Please use your leadership to point the nation towards respect for rule of law, instead of disregard for it; to uphold the basic human rights enshrined in the institution, instead of encouraging its abuse. Be the leader you
promised to be, and stop the lies that are distorting the truth in our society today,” she added.
Duterte has been soundly criticized for his bloody campaign against illegal drugs which led to the killing of at least 7,000 drug suspects by the police or unidentified armed men.
Robredo also decried the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima, who like her is a member of the Liberal Party. She called on the Filipino people to defy what she described as brazen violation of human rights.
“The message [of de Lima’s arrest]was loud and clear: anyone who dares speak dissent is not safe. We are made to believe that those who protest and oppose are traitors to the nation and its people. The public is made to believe that the Philippines is in complete dysfunction, and that only the most bloody measures can cure our country of its ills. As we celebrate the anniversary of the EDSA Revolution, we are called upon to reject these lies,” Robredo said.
“The change that we so desire begins with us—in the way we live our lives, in the way we protect the rights and liberties that EDSA restored, in the way we continue the unfinished work of the revolution. Never forget that liberty rightfully belongs to our nation and its people. Never forget that together, we can make a stand for every Filipino who suffers injustice, for those who have been betrayed and neglected, and for those who continue to aspire for progress in our country,” she added.