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Juan Miguel Severo opens up on being tagged as a criminal at 11

/ 06:32 PM February 11, 2019

Actor and spoken word poet Juan Miguel Severo has been outspoken about his political views and voicing his concern on social issues.

Juan Miguel Severo

Image: Facebook/@JuanMiguelSevero

When a netizen questioned his background for airing his opinion on such matters, Severo shared a harrowing experience of being mistaken as a criminal when he was a child.

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On Saturday, Feb. 9, the “Hows of Us” actor was live-tweeting about the debate between senatorial candidates in the program “Debate 2019: The GMA Senatorial Faceoff” aired on GMA Network.

One of the candidates who participated was former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Bato dela Rosa. He went head to head against Samira Gutoc, a Muslim peace activist and women’s rights advocate who hails from Mindanao.

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The topic that they had to debate about was continuing Oplan Tokhang, the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs which Dela Rosa oversaw during his term at the PNP.

As of November 2018, deaths in anti-drug operations numbered at 5,000, as per the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. Human rights groups claim it is more likely to be 20,000.

Gutoc asked Dela Rosa what he would feel if his child were a “collateral damage”in the drug war. She also asked how he would convince families who lost a loved one that he would stand up for the human rights of those who passed away. 

“Ang mga namatayan ay itong advice ko sa kanila: yung ating internal cleansing program ng PNP ay tuloy-tuloy ‘yan,” he said.

(To those who lost loved ones, this is my advice: our internal cleansing program in the PNP will go on.)

He noted that the justice system in the country was slow, but assured Tokhang survivors that they would find justice in the afterlife.

“Pero ito, itaga mo sa bato, kung hindi mo makuha ang hustisya dito sa lupa, makukuha mo ‘yan sa langit dahil tayong lahat ay mananagot sa Poong May Kapal pagdating ng araw.”

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(Mark this, if you do not get justice on earth, you will get it in heaven because we all will answer to God when the time comes.)

This response frustrated Severo, who tweeted, “Bato using that langit card again like p*nyeta guys ha kung lahat ng hustisya ipapaubaya natin sa Diyos bakit pa tayo gumagawa ng batas at bakit pa kailangan ng gobyerno and therefore bakit ka pa tumatakbo?”

(Bato using that “heaven” card again, like, f*ck guys, if all the justice was left to God, why do we bother making laws, and why do we need the government, and why are you running [for the elections]?)

“Hintayin mo na lang sa langit baka pwede ka mag-senador doon,” he said. (Wait for heaven, maybe you can be a senator there.)

One Twitter user, Mark Jake dela Pena (@ulouloman15) asked Severo if he had met a drug addict and drug runners who were 10 years old.

“We all want justice pero sana alam din natin ang tunay na nagyayare sa kalye (but I hope we know what the reality is in the streets),” he said.

Severo replied, “I grew up in an urban poor community. As a child I’ve had drug addicts knocking on our door asking for money para may pambatak lang (to buy drugs).”

“Napagkamalan na rin akong ‘kriminal’ (I was also mistaken for a criminal): I was 11, the adults who accused me hit me and paraded me in handcuffs. So yes, alam ko ang sinasabi ko (I know what I’m talking about).”

Severo has previously spoken up against the “Bato” biopic and called for its boycott last Jan. 31 on Twitter.

“Save money. You won’t pay for that ticket just before entrance,” he appealed. “You’ll pay for that for the next six years.” JB

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TAGS: Bato dela Rosa, Juan Miguel Severo, political views, politics, senate debates
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