Today we have witnessed the peak of the Duterte administration’s heartlessness.
The police institution, as well as the armed forces, have once again unraveled their fascist character after depriving a 23-year-old mother to mourn the death of her 3-month old baby. Reina Nacino is a youth activist and urban poor organizer who was arrested during the height of the Executive Order 70 crackdown in Negros, and Manila last year.
She was arrested in the Kadamay Tondo main office and slapped with illegal possession of firearms after the police found weapons inside the office.
The charges were disputed by Reina’s family and several progressive groups accusing the police of planting shreds of evidence, a scheme that is well known among the ranks of the police, such as the findings of the United Nations report on the war on drugs wherein they discovered that there’s a pattern in the evidence retrieved in drug-related killings. Furthermore, 32 activists who were arrested with similar charges were also released last November which Bayan Muna says proves that the charges filed against the arrested activists are trump up charges.
Reina was never a terrorist, she’s an activist caught in a whirlwind unleashed by Duterte’s police when they raided legal organizations through the EO 70. Her cases are still being disputed in the court, and there is still a huge chance that she can be proven not guilty through proper due process. Despite that, she was still treated inhumanely on contrary to how the government treats convicted prisoners. The mastermind of the Ampatuan Massacre who was given a chance to dance in the debut of her daughter; the furlough provided to a convicted plunderer to visit his dying father; a US marine who murdered a Filipino citizen was given a private facility and was recently pardoned by the President himself, and the list goes on.
As we stand in solidarity for the death of baby River, we must also hold the Duterte regime accountable for these injustices. Her blood is in their hands. All the while demanding justice for all political prisoners like Reina Nacino who are being treated unfairly while criminals among the ranks of government officials walk free.
If Duterte and his fascist police and military believe that the democracy-loving Filipino people will cower in fear then they are gravely mistaken. The recent events exposed the rotten core of this regime and it shall further amplify the resistance of the democratic forces in the country.
The Duterte administration has perpetuated impunity and selective justice while speaking truth to power has been the most unforgivable act of crime. We have cried a river and now we fight back!
Art by Klenia Mendiola