CBCP blasts ‘silent accomplices’ in drug killings

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IN its strongest statement against the government’s bloody anti-drug war, the 133-member Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) took to task as well members of their flock who have fallen silent amid the killings and rampant drug abuse.

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“To consent and to keep silent in front of evil is to be an accomplice to it. If we neglect the drug addicts and pushers we have become part of the drug problem. If we consent or allow the killing of suspected drug addicts, we shall also be responsible for their deaths,” said the CBCP in a pastoral letter read in all churches on Saturday and Sunday.

Church leaders expressed alarm over the Catholic faithful’s seeming lack of concern over the mounting numbers of drug suspects killed, either in police operations or by alleged vigilante.

The CBCP said the number of deaths, the situation of the families of those killed and the “reign of terror” against poor victims were all causes of concern, but most alarming was the deafening silence of the people on the killings.

“An even greater cause of concern is the indifference of many to this kind of wrong. It is considered as normal, and, even worse, something that (according to them) needs to be done,” the bishops said in the pastoral letter, signed by CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

CBCP ‘out of touch’
Reacting to the CBCP statement, President Rodrigo Duterte, in Cagayan de Oro City, asked Catholics to make a choice.

“You Catholics, if you believe the priests and the bishops, go with them. If you want to go to heaven, go with them. If you want to end the drug menace and go to hell, stand with me,” he told reporters in Filipino.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the bishops were out of touch with the citizens and should instead catechize their flock.

“The officials of the CBCP are apparently out of touch with the sentiments of the faithful who overwhelmingly support the changes in the country, including the country being a safer place for families, working people and young workers who work on night shift. That is far from the terror that the bishops paint,” Abella said in a statement.

“The efforts of these Church leaders might be put to better use in practical catechetics that build strong moral character among the faithful, and so contribute more to the reign of peace felt by ordinary citizens everywhere, especially those who are innocent of illegal activities,” he added.

President Duterte last week ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to abolish all its anti-illegal drug units following the kidnap-slay of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, who was abducted in his home in Angeles City on Oct. 18, 2016 and killed inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame on the same day.

Even without the police, Duterte said that his anti-illegal drugs campaign would continue up to the end of his term in 2022. All anti-drug operations are being handled by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, while an internal cleansing is being done in the ranks of the PNP.

Root causes
The Church, the CBCP said, would continue to speak against evil even as “we acknowledge and repent our own shortcomings.”

Every person has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and such process must be followed, especially by agents of the law, the CBCP said.

“We cannot correct a wrong by doing another wrong. A good purpose is not a justification for using evil means. It is good to remove the drug problem, but to kill in order to achieve this is also wrong,” the prelates said.

They also expressed belief that the root causes of the drug problem and criminality are widespread poverty, broken families and corruption in society.

“The step we have to take is to overcome poverty, especially through the giving of permanent work and sufficient wages to workers. Let us strengthen and carry forward the unity and love of the family members,” the pastoral letter added.

Priority must be given to reforming rogue policemen and corrupt judges, and also for elected government officials to serve the common good, the CBCP said.

Church leaders vowed to continue efforts to help the poor, like livelihood, education and health programs.

“We will help drug addicts so that they may be healed and start a new life. We will stand in solidarity and care for those left behind by those who have been killed and for the victims of drug addicts. Let us renew our efforts to strengthen families,” the CBCP said.

LLANESCA T. PANTI

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11 Comments

  1. aladin g. villacorte on

    Let’s get real. . .The people who fill churches to the brim, who spend hours praying on their knees, who give generously to charities, are the same people who maltreat their katulong, cheat on their wives, and steal the people’s money.

  2. Its a pity a lot of the gullible citizenry thinks the drug killings are ok because they simply believe the police and vigilantes are doing the country good. Yet, majority fears themselves or one of their relatives becoming the next EJK victim. How ironic is that?

    I seldom go to church now for my faith is now deeper than most BUT I share the sentiments advocated by the CBCP. A message expressing care and good will for everyone regardless of beliefs and convictions is nothing short of divine, transcended through a medium which just happened to be the CBCP.

    A lot calls the CBCP hypocrites for their anti-killing declaration. Those lot were meant to be the sinless ones. Wake up in your slumber! Pray for grant of wisdom. Disregard all your preconceived notions, then open your eyes and ears and enjoy a new experience as a newborn does.

  3. How about the grenade that Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr threw at the rally of the Liberal Party in Plaza Miranda on the fateful night of August 21, 1971? Is he in heaven for that grenade that he threw on his party-mates?

    Our Bishops are showing hypocrisy in talking about the morality of our leaders in our country while picturing themselves as blessed when they are equally dirty as the leaders they are criticizing.

    May I remind them of what the Scriptures say,

    “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. [Luke 6: 41-42]”

    Why don’t they look at their own faults before accusing any of our leaders for deficiency? President Duterte only wants to get into the roots of our problem even if he has to say so many unkind words about our Bishops.

  4. Where have you been? The CBCP is part of a grand tradition of ruling priests that unofficially ruled the country since the time of the spaniards, The country may be devoutly catholic, but these people of religion has been riding us for hundreds of years and will continue to do so until they are categorically marginalized. I wish we have our own queen isabela to fix this problem.

  5. So, what are you gonna do, Socrates Villegas, now that many of the Catholic faithfuls seem, as you yourself admitted, indifferent to the deaths of drug personalities? It only means you and CBCP have lost connection with the Catholic faithfuls that you have fooled for so long. Why, this calls for excommunication en masse, Mr. Villegas!!! LOL

  6. Tsk, tsk, tsk. This is the reality.

    Today, I just learned one of our household has become to be a Protestant. I’m wondering what went through to his mind. What reality did he see to decide his change of allegiance? I’m also wondering how many like him transferring to the other sects and at what rate?

    I predict more and more people will change their faith significantly to say that the Philippines is not a Catholic nation anymore. There is an obvious number of activities by the other sects. In my opinion, the number one cause of the decline of the Catholic Church is the conflict in the implementations of doctrines and traditions. Two, laziness to reach their flocks to teach the supposed core doctrines. Three, people are tired to see them meddling with the affairs of the state.

    The uneducated population are growing but the educated percentage is dwindling. Maybe, this is the reason why the Catholic Church opposes birth control to keep their quantities high but qualities goes the other way.

    I’m a Catholic but I don’t believe in the CBCP. The CBCP should not dwell that they will always be on the top and could control the Philippines arrogantly up to the end. The CBCP should learn from history that there was a schism and reformation within the church.

    There is something wrong with the Catholic Church in the Philippines today. The CBCP is just plain hypocrite.

    • I agree. I was turned off yesterday at mass. This is not the first time. I have avoided attending the mass celebrated by our parish priest because he is obviously yellow partisan. But yesterday the newly ordained priest was FORCED to read the message from Villegas. Instead of dropping money in the collection box I left a note saying the mass should be for prayers, not politics. I am also inclined not to attend mass anymore.

    • Good for you Samby! Go to INK or Dating Daan or DU30’s religious backer, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ of Apollo Quiboloy. They would pray for your soul. Keep dropping your cash so you could help the Pastors grow richer.

    • Don’t be surprised that your household found the right way to leave the Catholic church. You just have to open up your eyes and try checking the bible. Almost all the teachings are unfounded in the bible.