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Ang katotohanan ay katotohanan pa rin

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ILANG ARAW bago nagbukas ang unang session ng ating Kongreso, nasaksihan natin ang pambubully sa mga naglalakas-loob na pumuna sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon ng ating bansa. Binantaan ng impeachment ang ating Bise Presidente. At kasama ang ilang pari at bishop ng Simbahan, mga senador, mga kandidato ng oposisyon, at mga abogado ay sinampahan ng sedition and other charges batay sa mga gawa-gawang kwento na inimbento ng isang estapador. Ang kasalanan nila? Magsalita.

Mga kasama, last I checked, hindi bawal magsalita. Last I checked, kasama sa tungkulin ng bawat mamamayan—lalo na tayong mga Kinatawan dito sa kongreso—na igiit ang tingin nilang tama; na makipagdebate sa isa’t isa o sa gobyerno, para maging mas makabuluhan ang mga desisyon ng ating pamahalaan. Last I checked, ang katotohanan ay katotohanan pa rin, at hindi inciting to sedition. Sedition ba when we call out false narratives that build fear and anxiety and provide a pretext for impunity?

Sedition ba when we call out false hopes that pay lip service to lower prices or better roads and buildings and bridges, and a better economy even when more than 20% of our people still live below the poverty line, and half our nation still consider themselves poor?

Sedition ba when we call out false priorities that put death sentences over life-giving aid? Sedition ba when we call out false logic that presents us with false choices that tell us that there is either war or subservience, and nothing in between? Sedition ba when we say no to murder as a state policy? If indeed a “drug war” is necessary, then let us wage war with better healthcare policies because drug use is a healthcare issue. Let us wage war with the law, with better intelligence and strategies against druglords. Let us put druglords in jail, and not use it as a pretext to strike fear, to kill, or to put the political opposition behind bars.

Sedition ba when we object to death penalty? No. We are fools to believe that capital punishment is only yet to come; and we are twice the fool to believe that death will balance the scales of justice.

Sedition ba when we object to criminalizing children? No. Policies concerning the age of discernment should not be hardened by an age of tyrants.

And sedition ba when we say no to being sold to China? We say no to a situation where our fi sherfolk, left to die in our own waters, are called liars by our own government. No to our laborers being displaced by foreigners, our soldiers demoralized, our people treated as second-class citizens within our own shores and waters. Naibenta na tayo. Ang sabi nga po ng isang security expert, hindi na ito enemy at the gates— nandiyan na sila sa kusina, kinakain na ang hapunan natin. Sedition ba when we say no to this?

(Mula sa privilege speech ni LP secretary-general Rep. Kit Belmonte ukol sa mga kaso ng sedition na isinampa sa Oposisyon, mga obispo at pare, at iba pa, Agosto 6, 2019)

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