Law students in Baguio light candles for Kian, victims of killings

Justin Aguilar, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2017 02:07 AM

Law students held a candle-lighting protest for slain Caloocan teen Kian delos Santos at the University of Baguio, Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Samuel Nerona, ABS-CBN News

BAGUIO CITY—Law students held a candle-lighting protest at the University of Baguio (UB) on Wednesday to call for justice for 17-year old Kian delos Santos and other victims of extra-judicial killings.

Part of the protest was the blindfolding of one student, on whose neck a cardboard sign "nanlaban" was hung, followed by a rendition of the popular Buklod song, "Tatsulok" -- the words of which closely represent Kian's fate.

Francisco Arzadon, governor of the Student Body of UB School of Law, said they believe in functional democracy and added that Duterte's drug war has no space in a democracy governed by law.

"We want to express our beliefs, what we learned from school, we want to say that we care, and we're calling him out for what he's doing," Arzadon said.

He added that they wish to encourage more institutions to take action and exhibit dissent towards what they see as the government's failure to uphold democracy.

They also released an official statement as their form of embracing their duties as agents in the administration of justice which states that "law students should not cower and subject themselves as mere spectators to the atrocities being done in front of their faces, more so that these atrocities are coupled with false propaganda misleading the people of the true spirit of the law."

They also consider extra-judicial killings as an expedient, careless way of attempting to solve the drug problem in the Philippines, rather than a true and lasting one.

A similar candle lighting activity was held at University of the Philippines Baguio last Tuesday.

Students criticized the way how the current administration executes its war on drugs which has already taken thousands of lives, including that of Kian.

"Isa lamang si Kian delos Santos sa libu-libong pagpatay sa lansangan. One is too much already," said Rostum Alanas, a student member of human rights group Amnesty International.

Some students expressed fear for their safety, being teenagers themselves.

"Nakaka-alarma personally, kasi 'di malayo yung age ni Kian sa akin. As a teen din, di na ako safe sa labas, sa gabi," said 18-year-old Arnold Buenaflor.

Ned Tuguinay, chairperson of the UPB Student Counci,l said they will continue to clamor for justice.

"Malinaw na ito ay manipestasyon ng pasismong administrayon ni Duterte. Sa hanay naming mga student leaders dito sa UP Baguio, mananatili kami na ipagpatuloy pa ang laban para sa mga ganitong biktima ng pasismo ng estado," Tuguinay said.

Students of both universities hope they have rekindled hope and awareness through their candles.

Another demonstration by student activist groups, entitled "Tama na! Para sa katarungan, para kay Kian!" is set to be held on Saturday afternoon at Sunshine Park, Baguio City.