As Duterte leaves behind a legacy of impunity, people’s struggle for justice will continue under Marcos Jr.

As Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. took his oath of office today as the new president of the Philippines, human rights alliance Karapatan vowed to continue the people’s struggle for justice and to hold former president Rodrigo Duterte and the Marcoses for their crimes against the Filipino people.

“For the past six years, the Filipino people faced the most horrid forms of State terror, violence, and repression under Duterte’s tyrannical rule, and he now leaves behind a legacy of impunity and the worst human rights crisis in the country since the fall of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s fascist dictatorship. Now, the dictator’s son is set to rule with the promise to continue Duterte’s murderous campaigns and anti-people programs. Today, we vow to continue the people’s struggle for justice and accountability — and we will not back down,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay stated.

Palabay highlighted that “Marcos Jr.’s inaugural address today made not a single mention about upholding people’s rights. While unsurprising for the dictator’s son who has spent years denying and whitewashing their despotic family’s atrocities, the omission is nonetheless a glaring indicator of the new administration’s commitment to human rights, or lack thereof. We can only expect the killings, the illegal arrests, the red-tagging, and the attacks to continue.”

Notably, Marcos Jr. has vowed to continue the Duterte administration’s sham and bogus drug war, which has claimed at least 6,248 lives as of April 2022, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. He has also declared his full support for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). From July 2016 to June 2022, 442 were killed in line with the government’s counterinsurgency campaigns — among them 222 human rights defenders — according to Karapatan’s documentation; out of 802 political prisoners, 591 were arrested under the Duterte administration.

“Our calls to resist tyranny and to fight for justice ring louder than ever. We vow to fight on to hold Duterte and the Marcoses accountable for their crimes against the Filipino people — and we can only do that if we stand united in the struggle for justice, just peace, and genuine democracy. Tuloy ang laban,” the Karapatan official ended.