A Filipino-American human rights lawyer who has come under attack for online articles criticizing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has spoken out.
San Francisco based Fil-Am human rights lawyer Ted Laguatan, a member of the US Pinoys for Good Governance, has been accused of being among those who are allegedly hatching a plot to oust Duterte.
The content of their public discussion board online has been tagged as alleged proof of the plot.
Laguatan, however, denied the allegations.
“In those emails that they chose, we were discussing legitimate protest rallies against the extrajudicial killings and the hero's burial of Marcos so they cherry-picked these emails and they created a story that because of this it is proof that we want to oust Duterte, which is not true,” said Laguatan.
Laguatan has been facing bashers via online comments, emails, and phone calls.
However, Laguatan isn’t backing down.
“I cannot keep quiet in the face of evil. I cannot. This is an option I made even when I was young that the most important thing in my life is about loving god and my fellow man so being silent in the face of evil is not an option for me,” he said.
Laguatan said he is simply exercising his freedom to openly discuss the issue of human rights violations amid Duterte’s war on drugs.
“Free speech is important in the marketplace of ideas so the theory is that the best ideas come out when there’s widespread discussion of issues and the best ideas are promoted and become part of policy. By creating a climate of fear of speaking out, then you don’t have a vibrant democracy,” he said.
Laguatan reiterated that intimidation will not stop him from writing more articles that criticize Duterte or from organizing and participating in protests. He added that he has hope for the country.
“I pray for the Philippines. I pray for the Filipino people. I even pray for Duterte and his men. I don’t hate them. I hate the evil that they do. I hate the sins that they do. Clearly, mass murder is against the commandment of God,” he said.
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