Ateneo students walk out in protest of death penalty bill

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ANG TAO, ang bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!” Students raised their voices in response to the approval in the second reading of House Bill 4727 or the Death Penalty Bill at 11 am on March 2, as the Sanggunian rallied students to walk out of class and express their outrage. Students mobilized at the MVP Lobby and walked to Gate 2.5 to protest.

The House of Representatives approved the second reading of the Death Penalty Bill on March 1, after its scope was limited to drug-related heinous crimes, when they agreed to drop plunder, treason and rape from the list of offenses. HB 4727 will be put to a final vote on the third reading on March 7.

Walkout and noise barrage

“Student activism knows no time, we always have to be ready to go to the streets and show our dissent to everything that is happening to our country,” said Sanggunian President Carmela Vinzon.

“There is still time, [...] that is why we have to do this,” added School of Social Sciences Representative Christian Dy. He said that the third reading will require nominal voting and thus, there is still a chance for the bill to not be passed.

Meanwhile, crowds chanted “Harangan, harangan, parusang kamatayan (Block the death penalty),” and “Makibaka, huwag matakot! (Fight, don’t be afraid),” expressing their outrage towards the death penalty bill. “Busina, busina para sa hustisya!” was also chanted as students invited drivers along Katipunan to honk their horns for justice.

According to Ateneo Resident Students Association President James Manganar, the way that the House of Representatives did the procedure was very degrading of Philippine democratic processes. “[The walkout] is a voice for us to say what we want to say and really make our voices be heard,” he added.

“[The death penalty bill] does not only speak of what will happen to our country today, or of our past but also of how we will move forward as a nation,“ added SIKHAY Task Force Coordinator Luis Enriquez.

After the noise barrage, students walked back to the Zen Garden where Associate Dean for Student Formation Roberto Guevara addressed student protesters. “We're not committing ourselves to the end goal, we're committing to the struggle,” he said.

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