In the commemoration of Jose Rizal's martyrdom, Senator and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima warned the public on Friday against turning a blind eye to society's abuses which could be meant against Duterte administration.
"Tandaan sana natin: Hangga't may nagbubulag-bulagan sa katotohanan, magpapatuloy ang panlilinlang at pang-aabuso ng ilan; hangga’t marami ang nananahimik, laging mangingibabaw ang takot at dahas," De Lima stated.
The senator has been a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, particularly on his violent war against illegal drug syndicates that is being linked to the spate of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the past six months.
"Ilang Rizal o Elias pa kaya ang mapapatay, ilang musmos o inosenteng sibilyan pa ang madadamay, bago tayo kumilos at mahinto ang karahasan sa ating lipunan?" De Lima asked in a statement.
Elias is a character in Rizal's famous novel, "Noli Me Tangere.
Meanwhile, De Lima's colleague, Senator Francis Pangilinan pointed out that Rizal was a "millennial" during his era and that we should emulate him.
Senator Loren Legarda also noted Rizal's resilience.
"Wala pang 25 ang edad ni Ka Pepe nang isulat niya ang Noli Me Tangere, ang nobelang naglantad sa mapaniil at katawa-tawang kalagayan ng mga Pilipino noong ika-19 na siglo. Parang ‘millennial’ din siya noong panahon niya. Millennial na may pakialam," Pangilinan said in a separate statement.
He also noted that Rizal, despite being called a hypocrite, sensitive, and rebel, still continued what he thought is needed to be done for the country.
"Hindi dapat mamatay para ituring tulad ni Ka Pepe. At araw-araw may tumutugon sa pagtawag ng kabayanihan, hindi lang ang mga makabagong bayaning OFW natin. Marami rin ang bayaning narito lang sa Pilipinas at sinasagot o pilit sinasagot ang hamon ng kahirapan at di pagkakapantay-pantay," he said.
On the other hand, Legarda encourages the Filipinos to emulate Rizal's nationalism and resiliency.
“Rizal was the epitome of strength and resiliency and overcame the monumental challenges he faced as we know from our nation's history. He drew strength from his family, his faith and his beloved nation. I hope Filipinos would follow his example,” she stressed.