The Catholic Church finally formalized its condemnation on the alleged extra judicial killings happening in the midst of the war against drugs while citing the reign of terror in many places of the poor.
This was contained in the pastoral letter of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Phils (CBCP) issued yesterday and to be read in Holy Masses nationwide today.
The CBCP pastoral letter signed by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas cited that the Church is one with the nation in bringing change. However, it stressed “change must be guided by truth and justice,” while citing that the Church stands for “basic teachings rooted in our being human, our being Filipino, and our being Christian.”
Commenting on the pastoral letter, newly installed Bishop Alberto Uy of the Diocese of Tagbilaran told the Chronicle that it does not mean that the Church is against Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. In fact, Bishop Uy, together with Talibon Bishop Daniel Patrick Parcon actively participated in the formulation of the Drug Rehabilitation Program (Without Walls) which was approved during the joint meeting of the Prov’l Peace and Order Council and Prov’l Anti Drug Council held at the Governor’s Mansion last Tuesday.
Gov. Edgar Chatto who presided the meeting lauded the “Talibon experience” initiated by the two bishops in a genuine community effort in the drug rehabilitation program involving the cross section of society and even the various religion whose representatives were also present during last Tuesday’s meeting.
Commenting on the life of those afflicted with drugs, the CBCP said the “opportunity to change is never lost in every person” as God is merciful.
The Church committed to “work together to solve the drug problem and work for the rehabilitation of drug addicts citing that “every person has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
“We will help drug addicts so that they be healed and start a new life,” the CBCP stressed while assuring that the Church will “stand in solidarity and care for those left behind by those who have been killed and for the victims of drug addicts.”
In denouncing extra judicial killings, the Church stressed that the life of every person comes from God, and thus it is only God alone who can take it back.
“Not even government has a right to kill life,” the CBCP said.
The pastoral letter said “a wrong doing cannot be corrected by doing another wrong.”
The Church leaders who have been attacked several times by Pres. Duterte posed a challenge to “solve the poverty of the majority which can be addressed once permanent work and sufficient wages be given to the workers.”
While the bishops’ group admitted that the Church is not an exemption of its own weaknesses, it will not stop them from speaking out the morality behind the issue as “we are all brothers and sisters responsible for each other.”
The pastoral letter ended by stating “let us not allow fear to reign and keep us silent.”
SUSPENDS “OPLAN TOKHANG”
The CBCP pastoral letter came barely a week after Pres. Duterte ordered the suspension of “Operation Tokhang,” an anti-drug campaign which generated praises from several sectors except on the reported extra judicial killings.
In a random phone/text survey conducted by the top rated “Inyong Alagad” program of station dyRD last Wednesday, 88% of the respondents did not favor the suspension for fear that the drug problem might escalate anew.
Majority of those who objected the suspension said the manpower of PDEA will never be sufficient to control the drug problem, unlike the PNP which has numbers in terms of manpower.
The respondents of the radio survey likewise called on the authorities to expedite the investigation of the erring cops allegedly involved in questionable drug operations in the entire country.