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Padilla vexed by use of ‘Muslim’ to describe those involved in de Lima hostage-taking


Senator Robin Padilla on Monday expressed his disappointment over what he called the prejudice shown by policemen for referring to those behind former Senator Leila de Lima's hostage-taking as "Muslims."

"Bagamat tayo po ay nagagalak na ligtas si Senadora de Lima at patuloy na nananalangin sa paggaling ng nasugatang pulis sa insidente, hindi ko mapigilang mapansin sa video ang paulit-ulit na pagtukoy na 'mga Muslim' ang hostage-takers," a visibly agitated Padilla said during a hearing by the Senate Committee Cultural Communities and Muslim Affairs.

(While we are glad that Senator de Lima is safe and we continue to pray for the recovery of the policeman who was wounded in the incident, I cannot help but notice that some policemen repeatedly referred to the hostage takers as Muslims.)

"Sa tuwing may kidnapper, o holdaper, o pumatay ng tao, hindi naman po natin sinasabing Kristiyano ang may sala o gumawa ng krimen. Ngunit kung nagkataon na Muslim, ito po ang palagiang binibigkas hanggang sa mga ulat sa publiko. Kung hindi po ito isang anyo ng diskriminasyon, hindi ko na po alam kung ano pa ang itatawag dito," he went on.

The lawmaker emphasized that the word Muslim should not be used to identify a person, especially those who are involved in crimes or terrorism.

"May pangalan po ang mga taong ito. Mas mainam po na identify po natin sila hindi sa kanyang relihiyon dahil wala pong kinalaman ang relihiyon dito... Kung ang alagad ng batas ay humusga ng bansag sa isang relihiyon, para saan pa po ang babaeng nakapiring ang mga mata at may hawak na timbangan?" he continued.

(These people have names and it is better if we do not identify them based on their religion because their religion has nothing to do with what they did... If our law enforcers can judge people based on their religion, what is Lady Justice for?)

He then reiterated his call for Philippine National Police Chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. to launch an education program for policemen so they will refrain from identifying the suspects based on their religion.

"Nananawagan po ako, nagpapakumbaba, kay Sir PNP Chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. na maglunsad po ng malawakang education drive para imulat po ang mga pulis natin, na ating mga bayani, sa mga usaping ito. Naniniwala po ako sa napakalaking papel na maaaring gampanan ng ating bayaning pulis upang matigil na ang diskriminasyon – na sa napakahabang panahon po ay hindi pa namin nakakamit. Hindi pa rin po ito natutuldukan," Padilla said.

(I humbly call on the PNP leadership under PNP chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. to launch an education drive to guide our heroic policemen. I believe our police can play a key role in ending discrimination, something that has yet to be achieved.)

On Sunday, de Lima was briefly taken hostage by Feliciano Sulayao Jr. - a person under police custody (PUPC) who was said to be a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Three PUPCs - Sulayao, Arnel Cabintoy, and Idang Susukan, - were attempting to escape from the PNP Custodial Center when the hostage-taking took place.

Meanwhile, Padilla also expressed his dismay over reports that PUPCs were allegedly treated like animals and were being served food with pork.

"Ang paksang tungkol sa angkop na pagkain sa loob ng ating mga presuhan ay ilang ulit ko na pong itinanong sa kinauukulan, ngunit ang palagiang sagot na atin pong nakukuha ay may angkop na pagkain, sang-ayon sa kanilang paniniwala, na ibinibigay sa ating mga persons deprived of liberty o PDLs. Sa tamang panahon, muli ko pong bubuksan ang talakaying ito," he said.

(I have repeatedly touched on this issue of pork being served but I have been told that the authorities are sensitive to the PDLs' religion in serving food. At the right time I will take this up again.) — DVM, GMA News

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