July 07, 2020 - Tuesday
Website Name Image
Weather icon
27.85 ℃, Overcast clouds
Davao City, Philippines

Lagman and his tirades

June 11, 2019 - Tuesday 4:06 AM by Allan Nawal

Article Banner Image

Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman hogged the headlines anew when he claimed that there are now 134 human rights defenders killed since Digong became President.

Lagman, in an interview by ABS-CBN, said the number “will not project protection of human rights defenders.” He counted advocates or activists who promote and defend human rights as part of the broader human rights defenders sector.

Lagman even spoke about his House Bill 9199, which got approved on third and final reading.

The bill seeks to create a Human Rights Defenders Protection Committee to be chaired by a Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights. “It will also have six members who will be jointly nominated by concerned civil society organizations,” a report on Lagman's bill added.

While the bill is laudable because it guarantees human rights defenders with rights and freedoms, including rights against vilification, and mandates State authorities to respect, protect and fulfill these rights and freedoms, Lagman's tirades against the Duterte administration is anything but objective.

In fact, he made it appear that Digong's presidency is far worse than that of the Pnoy administration, which Lagman had defended from criticism.

But in a haste, Lagman did not bother to conduct a background check or research on how human rights fared under his yellow skin.

If he had only bothered, he would not be talking about human rights at all.

In a story published on January 28, 2016, Rappler quoted the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) as saying human rights abuses were rampant under Pnoy's administration.

“Since his election, President Aquino held out the promise of a rights-respecting Philippines for which he has sadly been unable to deliver,” Rappler quoted Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, as saying.

HRW said in the first 10 months of Pnoy's administration, “at least 65 leftist activists, human rights defenders, and alleged supporters of communist rebels were killed...” That's about 6.5 deaths per month.

HRW also reported that 13 tribal leaders and community members were killed under the Pnoy administration in the first 8 months of 2015 alone.

And as the Aquino administration was coming to a close, “nearly 300 activists have been killed.”

If we divide the number into two, that would be about 150 people every three years.

So why is Lagman now making it appear that killings of activists had become the norm these days? Under Digong?

The only answer is that Lagman is a rabid anti-Duterte.

In trying to paint a bad picture of the President, he has this propensity to speak at every single opportunity – without even thinking if what he is about to say would not boomerang.

It is like criticizing somebody for a dirty face but he had failed to see he had mud on his own.

I am not trying to absolve Digong by comparing the number of activists killed under his administration and the figure collated under Lagman's boss, Pnoy. By all means, killing human rights advocates and activists would only make things worse.

What I am trying to point out is that Lagman should think twice before letting any word out of his mouth.

What he should do is just work his ass out as congressman and drop that senseless criticism for a moment.

His bill is a good example, as I have said, and he should continue crafting more useful bills – without engaging in too much politics.