UP Student John Paulo Delas Nievas who earlier filed a petition seeking to disqualified presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte claimed that he has received a death threats from Duterte’s supporters and even rape threats against his girlfriend.
Appearing at the preliminary conference on the disqualification cases against Duterte on Tuesday morning,UP Student John Paulo Delas Nieves said that he had received the threats on his Facebook account.
“[The threats] are difficult to accept. We want a new face—not someone who is a traditional politician—and that the youth will be the ones to lead the change. Until now, I have been receiving death threats on Facebook.”
“The problem is, the presidential candidate that they are supporting has inspired them not to forge unity or understanding but to sow fear. Now, I have become their victim. Duterte is not yet our president but cyberbullying on social media has already become rampant,” delas Nieves said in Filipino.
Delas Nieves also said that Duterte’s supporters have become bold in attacking contrarians because of duterte’s statements regarding the imposition of death penalty against erring officials and criminals.
“The issuance of threats from Duterte’s supporters may not have the mayor’s go signal but what he did was to inspire them. After they heard Duterte saying ‘I can kill you,’ they now share the same view that killing those who do not agree with you is the right way to serve justice,” delas Nieves added.
Delas Nieves and his lawyer missed the preliminary conference on Monday,January 11.
He said that he missed the preliminary conference because he came from Davao City for a general assembly of student councils from UP.
“My parents do not want me to go to Davao City because of the Facebook threats. But I told them, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong. What I did is to fulfill my responsibility as a Filipino citizen,” he said.
He said that some accounts who posted threats on his Facebook were trolls.
He added that he would not back down from seeking the disqualification of Duterte amid threats to his life.
“I think this is the right time to be courageous. If we know that we are not doing anything wrong yet we fear for our life, I think it’s a big problem. So for me, if I have to stand up and tell the youth that we should do things that would help the country beyond social media postings, I would gladly do it over and over again,” he said.