February 20, 2017
PRIVILEGE SPEECH OF AKBAYAN SENATOR RISA HONTIVEROS
Mr. President, I rise on a point of personal and collective privilege.
I lament the vindictiveness of a state that deploys its arsenal of resources to bring down the administration's vocal critic and oppositor, mobilizing all its forces against one woman who dared to point out that the Emperor hath no clothes;
I lament a justice system so desirous of persecuting one woman that it is willing to drop charges against convicted big-time drug lords with everything to gain and nothing to lose, and accept their testimony even sans any other independent corroborative evidence. Laway lang ang puhunan, makakalaya na ang korap at kriminal. Laway lang ang puhunan, maipapakulong mo na ang nagsasabi lang ng totoo.
I lament the withering of our basic decency and propriety, where constructive criticism is responded to with misogyny, and valid questions on a leader's fitness to lead is met with salacious references to non-existent sex videos or worse, the pointed barrel of a gun from death squads;
I lament the slow death of our democracy, forged by the rich legacy of courage and heroism of Filipinos who stood up against tyranny, but today dealt a blow by a government that punishes its dissenters, rewards its sycophants, thrives on fake news, kills the poor, and believes that a cowed population is a good population.
But I remain hopeful. Defiant and hopeful. Dahil patuloy na dumadami ang naniniwala sa kabutihan. Patuloy na dumadami ang lumalaban. Unti-unti nang lumalabas ang buong katotohanan. Yung mga dating kakampi, bumabaliktad na. Nababawasan na ang takot. Dumadami na ang nagsasabi ng totoo. To quote an anti-war and active non-violence activist, "When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always."
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