Lone Pinoy protester in NYC decries silencing of dissent in homeland

Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America

Posted at Jun 20 2020 02:30 PM

NEW YORK CITY - Just a day after he was seen in front of the United Nations headquarters protesting against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, lone protester Philippine-born Lorenzo Manzano was back in the streets of New York City Friday.

This time, he waged his protest outside the Philippine Consulate offices on Fifth Avenue for three hours, holding a sign that said: "The Philippine government is destroying my country's democracy. Hear us now before it's too late." 

Another of Manzano's sign read: "To Filipinos overseas, we may have left our country but let's not abandon our people."

Manzano is the 25-year old son of movie and television actor Edu Manzano.

He said he couldn't stand what is happening to his country of birth as he believes the Duterte administration is trying to silence dissent and opposition, especially after the conviction of journalist Maria Ressa for cyberlibel, the shutdown of ABS-CBN, and the passage of the anti-terrorism bill that he said is just another way to silence Duterte's critics. 

"Today, I'm here outside the Philippine consulate again calling for more people to hear or see us because democracy in our home is being destroyed," he told ABS-CBN News. 

Manzano added he is hoping that his solo protest would be loud enough for the world to see and hear his message about the situation in the Philippines. 

"There’s something happening in our country that I never thought would happen in my lifetime. I thought it was all left in the past especially a time like martial law," he said.

After his solo protest at the United Nations was carried by Vice.com news, he said he knew that that was just the beginning.

His message to Filipinos all around the world? "Fight for our country. It's our only hope."

The Duterte administration has several times denied heavy-handedness, saying it upholds the rule of law.