• ‘Strength, not violence’: Prayer rally protests killings


    CARDINAL Luis Antonio Tagle on Saturday called for a culture of “active non-violence” and admonished the government not to resort to killings in fighting crime and illegal drugs, as thousands of faithful Filipinos marched at Luneta in “defense of human life.”

    ‘WALK FOR LIFE’ Catholic faithful join a march against summary killings and the death penalty bill at Rizal Park in Manila. Among the participants was embattled Sen. Leila de Lima , a vocal opponent of the government’s drug war who faces drug trafficking cases that she claims were manufactured to silence her and other critics. PHOTOS BY RUSSELL PALMA

    “Lakas, hindi dahas (Strength, not violence),” the Manila archbishop boomed as he mustered his inner Cardinal Sin, his predecessor who played pivotal roles in the 1986 Edsa “People Power” revolt that toppled the Marcos regime and the 2001 uprising that ousted Joseph Estrada.

    Echoing Martin Luther King, Tagle told the crowd that “violence will not be overcome by violence.”

    “If violence is also met with violence, we double the violence. We should not double or spread violence. It should be matched by non-violence,” the prelate said in Filipino.

    An estimated 20,000 people joined the “Walk for Life” march and prayer rally at dawn on Saturday in Luneta (Rizal Park) organized by Catholic organizations led by the Council of the Laity of the Philippines.

    Lay and religious people marched on the parade grounds of Quirino Grandstand carrying banners protesting summary killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug war.

    Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the “walk” was held at dawn as it was “during this time when victims are found along the road or in garbage heaps.”

    “Dawn is that time of day that augurs well with new beginnings but has turned into a time of tears and fear due to killings made the night before,” said the Sin protégé who now heads the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

    Addressing critics who have derided the Church for taking the side of drug suspects rather than their victims, Villegas said: “This Walk for Life is not to defend the drug addicts or the killers. Criminals ought to be arrested, prosecuted, sentenced and jailed to correct the wrongdoings they committed. They ought to be judged by the court of law and never by the barrel of the gun.”

    Villegas also spoke out against the death penalty bill pending in Congress.

    “It was during this time of day on December 30, 1896 when Dr. Jose Rizal walked from Fort Santiago to the Luneta to face the firing squad. Death penalty is contrary to the sacredness of human life. Instead of restoring the death penalty, cleanse the ranks of the police, reform the judiciary and strictly enforce rules in our penitentiaries,” he said.

    “We say ‘No to Death penalty!’ Yes, to the reforms in the criminal justice system. We call on the House of Representatives to allow their members to vote according to their conscience. Partisan politics is fleeting. Conscience is the voice of God inside everyone of us. Respect our conscience.”

    De Lima in attendance
    Villegas this month issued the Church’s strongest statement against the drug war, warning against a “reign of terror” in poor communities.

    Among those who attended the event was Sen. Leila de Lima, a former human rights commissioner and one of Duterte’s most vocal opponents.

    The government on Friday filed charges against her for allegedly running a drug trafficking ring using criminals in the country’s largest prison when she was justice secretary in the previous administration.

    De Lima, who has repeatedly insisted the charges against her are trumped up to silence her and intimidate other Duterte critics, said she attended Saturday’s event as a show of solidarity.

    “For as long as I can, I will continue to fight. They cannot silence me,” de Lima, who is expecting to be arrested in the coming days, told AFP.

    Bone cancer survivor Lucy Castillo, 56, turned up in a wheelchair along with dozens of other people with disabilities.

    “When I was in so much pain, I could have taken my life but I did not. Only God can take it,” she told AFP.
    “I was diagnosed 40 years ago but I was given a chance to live. I want to give these drug addicts another chance.”

    Duterte, 71, has attacked the Church as being “full of shit” and “the most hypocritical institution” for speaking out against a campaign that he says would save generations of Filipinos from the drug menace.

    About eight in 10 Filipinos are Catholic, making the former Spanish colony of more than 100 million people Asia’s bastion of Christianity.

    It had initially declined to voice opposition publicly to Duterte’s drug war but, as the death toll of mostly poor people mounted, it began late last year to call for the killings to end.



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    1. Calling priests and bishops , the mother of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines is right there in your midst. You do not recognize her because you are blind. That lady is a cold-blooded murderer. Remember the attempted murder on Jaybee Sebastian? She was the one responsible for that. Her secret was a simple password.

      What! You are against death penalty? Look at the crucifix that you priests and bishops are wearing on your necks. Is it not a symbol of death penalty? A physical icon of times past when criminals were crucified as a capital punishment for heinous crimes.

      And unfortunately , there was one man , an innocent man who was a victim of crucifixion which was only designed for persons who had accomplished capital crimes. You should condemned that icon for the sake of the innocents!

      You have been harping that the death penalty is against the poor and also against the innocents. Is there any difference between the death penalty by crucifixion , and the death penalty using modernized methods?

      Are you then suggesting that this kind of death penalty is holy and sacred , because it was done through crucifixion?

      If that is what you believe , then , approve of the death penalty by crucifying heinous criminals so that it may appear sacred and holy!

      You hypocrites! You brood of vipers! You accept a holy and innocent man to die by crucifixion yet condemned the killings of destructive wild dogs who do not value human lives!

    2. for life? when you propagate population explosion that leads to poverty hunger desperation crimes drugs and death. When you won’t support divorce even though the marriage is obviously dead. when you support immoral unethical delima over suppression of illegal drugs. Hypocrites you lot and foolish.

    3. In Germany drug-users are called “Süchtige”, that word includes the Verb “suchen”= to seek/to search.
      Fact is: There is a big refugee’s movement in the Phillippinen. Millions people flee before the intolerable ones
      reality of the poverty and the lacking education
      chances into the drug-taking.
      Drug-takers are searching, they look for a sense in the life… the government answers with “purge” by gun ammunition.
      It is absurd, it is crude, it is inhuman.
      Punishment (not capital punishment!) earn the people who are not ready to change the status quo.
      Jo Brombach


      Yonkers, New York
      10 Feb. 2017


      Finally, he has found his voice as well as his mettle,and has led some 20,000 members of his Catholic flock in a demonstration against the REIGN OF TERROR which Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte has cruelly inflicted on the Filipino people since he took his Oath of Office as President on June 30, 2016.

      This huge demonstration is reminiscent of the demonstration which CARDINAL SIN led some 30 years ago against the CONJUGAL DICTATORSHIP; OF FERDINAND E. MARCOS AND HIS WIFE IMELDA, a powerful demonstration of PEOPLE POWER which toppled the dictatorship.

      Hopefully this huge demonstration led by Cardinal Tagle in another show of PEOPLE POWER, will lead soon to the toppling of Duterte’s TYRANNY.


      • Josefa Brombach on

        Hi, Mariano,
        thank you for your statement.

        Persons with a good wide heart like Cardinal Chito Tagle need more time to accept, that he cannot negotiate with the “devil”. I think he tried everything to stop the philippine protagonist (or should I really say “president”?) in doing his” job”, to pray, to listen, to talk, to negoiate open the chuch for drug-adicts and so on and please do not forget, it is perilous to stand up against a tyranny.

        “Why wasted Jesus so much time for those who are already lost?” once Cardinal Chito Tagle asked and
        he gave the answer in Jesus’ name: “Because you are mine!”.

        Now, Cardinal Tagle shows us, that he isn’t just a brilliant communicator, he really follows his Hero, a much better one like the philippine protagonist Duterte.

        All the best,

        Jo Brombch

    5. Hello to everyone. I am writing from Germany.
      In Germany drug-users are called “Süchtige”, that word includes the Verb “suchen”= to seek/to search.
      Fact is: There is a big refugee’s movement in the Phillippinen. Millions people flee before the intolerable ones
      reality of the poverty and the lacking education
      chances into the drug-taking.
      Drug-takers are searching, they look for a sense in the life… the government answers with “purge” by gun ammunition.
      It is absurd, it is crude, it is inhuman.
      Punishment (not capital punishment!) earn the people who are not ready to change the status quo.
      Jo Brombach

    6. If we let go this proposed re-imposition of death penalty then no criminals and thieves will be afraid to commit a crime…We can recall that after lifting this bill on 2006 the criminality and corruption took its highest toll. This is really needed.

    7. Violence can be contradicted by violence. When hitler used violence, the allied forces used violence to stop him.

    8. …and where are these Bishops when thousands had been addicted to Shabu for so many years? I hear no sermons about it or them showing concerns. Hypocrites in white robes!

    9. Para mabawasan ang illegal drug abuse & crime rate, ang dapat pagbutihin ay:
      (1) itaas ang quality ng public education
      (2) alisin ang tuition & anumang uri ng fees sa state colleges & universities.

    10. The rallies open the Filipino People to intense debate with regard to the restoration of the death penalty. But it would be prudent for the Catholic Church to unleash its wealth to help establish Regional Rehabilitation Centers for drug
      dependent in order to strengthen the claim for life and not just rhetoric.
      As an institution, the government don’t have the resources in addressing the maladies of drugs, now its time to call on church leaders to rally the faithful, donors, and the wealth of the church alike to show compassion ,help physically address the problem of drugs.
      De Lima should not use the rallies as her political platform as she ruled the DOJ in the eyes of the many with impunity.
      Let us not forget the yellow dogs and the left cable who are still larking around the government are the reason
      why we are in this situation. Remember drugs, corruption, criminality and poverty as a whole. They have fooled us for decades.