Aquino, Robredo attend 'Mass for Justice'

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Former President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Leni Robredo attended a mass for justice at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice inside UP Diliman campus Thursday.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) — No yellow, blue, or red, but a sea of white filled the UP chapel in Diliman for the "Mass for Justice."

Former President Benigno Aquino III attended the mass with Vice President Leni Robredo and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. Other former Cabinet members joined them along with some senators and congressmen.

Aquino says there's a need to demand justice for the growing number of deaths. He adds he's here to listen to his boss – the people.

Aquino explained it would be better if the events during martial law remained in the "dark period of history" but he adds that's not the case.

He said, "Maganda sana na nakikita na lang natin yung nakaraan bilang isang madilim na bahagi ng ating kasaysayan. Ang masakit parang sa ibang sulok ng ating bansa ay nararamdaman na naman... Tila pareho na ang nangyayari."

[Translation: It would be good if we could see the past merely as a dark moment of our history. But it hurts that in some parts of the country, it can be felt that the same is happening.]

Robredo shared Aquino's observation.

She said the culture of violence is still there, and it affects not only those who oppose it but also the young. She said this creates fear among families.

She said, "Sa paligid po natin tila nag umpisa na naman yung kultura ng karahasan. At yung kultura ng karahasan ang biktima hindi na lamang yung mga sumasalungat sa gobyerno pero kahit sino, kahit bata nagiging biktima ng karahasang ito. Ito po ang nagdadala ng takot sa puso natin sa puso ng bawat pamilya."

[Translation: Around us, the culture of violence seems to be starting again. And the culture of violence, victims aren't just limited to those who oppose the government. Anyone, even children, have become victims of the violence.]

On criticisms calling the event "dilawan" – or yellow which identifies the opposition – Aquino says before looking at political colors, it would be better to check first if what people say make sense.

Robredo and Aquino joined Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno during the unveiling of the monument of Jose "Pepe" Diokno.

In her speech, Sereno using Diokno's words, spoke about the thousands of deaths in the current administration.

Sereno said, "Sabihin mo sa mga ina ng OFW, na kung susunod sa patakaran ang mga awtoridad, matutugunan ang kalagayan ng kabataang napagbintangan ng paglabag sa batas. Na lahat ng ina at ama, hindi sana natatakot sa pagsapit ng dilim."

[Translation: Tell the mothers who work overseas, that if the authorities follow protocol, the issues of young people accused of breaking the law can be addressed, that all mothers and fathers will not be afraid at night.]

Sereno is facing an impeachment complaint. She says the constitution remains the judiciary's north star, guiding them as they – through their decisions – help steer the course of the country's history.