Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: June 04, 2021 09:11 AM GMT
Father Danny Pilario gives a lecture about human rights in this file photo. (Photo: Father Pilario)
An influential Catholic priest is helping spearhead a new movement aimed at preventing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte from remaining in power after the next election through a proxy.
Vincentian priest Father Danny Pilario took part in the online launch on June 4 of the movement called Duterte Wakasan Na (End Duterte Now), which is seeking to prevent the president from establishing a political dynasty.
He and the movement hope to persuade people not to vote for Duterte or his daughter, Davao mayor Sara Duterte, in the next presidential polls due in May next year.
Duterte has revealed that he is open to running for vice president while his daughter runs for the presidency in 2022.
Members of the movement fear a continuation of rights abuses and other policies they say have negatively impacted the country if this is allowed to happen.
“[We] aim to hold Duterte accountable for his failed leadership and usher in a change of leaders and policies. It is an effort to pull the nation out of a rut and spur us into recovery,” the group said in a social media post.
Some were shot while kneeling, crying and begging for their lives
During the launch, Father Pilario attacked Duterte’s human rights record by highlighting cases of extrajudicial killings in poor areas of the Philippine capital Manila, particularly its biggest dumpsite called Payatas.
Father Pilario is the founder of Vincent Helps, a charity that has distributed thousands of food packs to homeless people in Manila since the community lockdowns began in March 2020.
“I know some of the victims and their families. Some were shot while kneeling, crying and begging for their lives. Some of them were killed in the presence of their children,” the priest said at the launch.
The clergyman condemned “Duterte’s continued support for such killings” despite various damning human rights reports from around the world.
The Vincentian priest said the solution is not to vote for Duterte or any of his allies in the upcoming elections.
“Let’s end this government that does not respect life and human rights. Let’s end a government that treats its people like pigs. It’s now time to rebuild a society with justice and equity,” Father Pilario said.