SUNDAY READ

Thou shalt not kill — but . . .

17
Ricardo Saludo

Ricardo Saludo

I am sad that the cherished Filipino values maka-Diyos, makatao and makabayan [Godliness, humaneness, and patriotism] are slowly eroding to be replaced by an open license for cuss words, orchestrated lies, and vulgarity never heard before. …I am in this endless grief at the killings I have seen and heard. The well is running dry and I can no longer give a word of condolence to the bereaved families because I also need to be assured even a bit that things will get better and not become worse even more. — CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Like many devout Catholics and other upright Filipinos, this writer cannot but agree with Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas in his statement on the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary last Friday.

In our July 10 column, “Thou shalt not kill — not even drug lords,” when the body count was not many more than 100, we urged: “Let us not silence our moral perspective, but speak up on the wrongs of denying rights and snuffing out lives. Otherwise, we help propagate the idea feeding lawlessness: that inviolable commandments, tenets and values can be violated for the ‘right’ reasons.”

Still, one has a couple of rejoinders to the good archbishop. First, while cuss words and vulgarity in public affairs may be new, orchestrated lies are not.


In the past administration, bishops themselves were victims of falsehood spread by pro-Aquino politicians and media working in tandem, along with public figures disdained by then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd, such as the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Remember the so-called “Pajero bishops,” falsely accused of receiving luxury SUVs from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, when in fact they bought vehicles for social work? And worse, President Benigno Aquino 3rd himself wrongly accusing prelates of keeping silent about his predecessor’s supposed excesses, right in Pope Francis’s face.

The forgotten victims of crime and drugs
A second caveat is the failing of most, if not all, criticisms of President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign: little or no mention of and distress over the many millions of Filipinos, mostly the poor unprotected by security guards, victimized in the syndicate-driven tripling of crime under Aquino to more than one million incidents a year.

As shown in the Philippine Statistics Authority’s annual data book <https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2015%20PIF.pdf>, crime incidents tripled to more than one million a year in 2013 and 2014, from 324,083 incidents in 2010, which was down from over 500,000 in 2009. (The figures seemed to show improvement in 2011-12, until 2013 statistics were corrected after police chiefs were caught fudging data.)

Plainly, one’s moral judgment on the anti-drug killings may be skewed without fully acknowledging the magnitude of the crime problem. It would be like lambasting soldiers for widespread deaths without mentioning that the country is being invaded.

And what millions of Filipinos are suffering from the crime and drugs explosion is far greater than even an invasion. In the last three years alone, more than three million crimes have been tallied, with countless more unreported.

At a conservative estimate of 1.5 victims per crime, that’s about five million Filipinos killed, raped, robbed, assaulted, or otherwise violated. Add the million of drug addicts, plus people close to crime and narcotics victims — more than 30 million of them, assuming just five family and friends per drug addict or crime victim.

Surely, the sufferings of those tens of millions of innocents are at least as deserving of compassion and moral indignation as the 3,700-plus drug offenders reportedly killed in the anti-narcotics campaign. Those pains include nearly 10,000 murders a year, 12,000 rapes, 60,000 robberies, 170,000 thefts, and a quarter of a million assaults.

Yet hardly anyone, not even Church leaders standing up for the poor, mention the above data or speak lengthily about the sufferings of crime victims. Nor have Congress and media given them much attention. And critics never suggest measures that can cut crime by the 30 percent to 50 percent achieved by the Philippine National Police under Duterte, according to PNP Chief Rolando de la Rosa.

Isn’t this minimal attention given to crime victims a moral failing of some kind?

Duterte critics have rightly pointed out that drug killings have bloodied mainly poor users and pushers, not wealthy, powerful and well-connected narco-lords and their backers in government.

There is certainly an argument for moving more strongly and resolutely against big fish. However, a good number of narco-kings have gone abroad or into hiding as soon as Duterte’s victory was certain in May, so hunting them down is not easy.

More crucially, if the masses of users and pushers remain in place, rounding up drug lords would not stop the selling, sniffing, and shooting of drugs, since other bosses can easily take charge.

Hence, speedily dismantling the trafficking apparatus and drastically slashing drug demand are imperative to stop the illegal trade. Now, with hundreds of thousands of users and pushers off the streets, including more than 600,000 surrendered or arrested — 160 times the 3,700 killed — drug kingpins have lost vast expanses of their empires.

Surely, there is some moral good in this massive reduction in the enslaving drug trade, plus the prevention of 3,000 murders, 4,000 rapes, 20,000 robberies, 50,000 thefts, and 80,000 assaults over one year, based on the 30 percent to 50 percent drop in crime under Duterte.

The need for prayer and penance
Archbishop Villegas devoted the last part of his message to the Holy Rosary, recalling the largely forgotten message of Our Lady in her apparitions at Fatima in Portugal in 1917, a century ago next year.

As Mary urged at Fatima and countless other apparitions, Villegas declared: “Let us fight the confusion and errors, let us resist the attacks of evil by the power of the daily Rosary, the gift of daily Holy Communion and the humble Penance for sins.”

As our law enforcers mount a bloody campaign, with 3,700 casualties and rising, against the greater evil of crime and narcotics destroying millions of lives, Filipinos must atone for all these grave transgressions and pray for God’s mercy and redeeming grace.

We have truly gone astray, and we need to be saved.

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17 Comments

  1. Thou shall not kill, the 6th commandment of God. Jesus fulfilled this by asking us to even love our enemies. Is it possible to be called a christian and not follow Christ? ” I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Mat 7.23

  2. While some terminations may be rightly classified as “JUSTIFIED” , I feel those who have not actually put in a situation where their own lives become endangered, where the rules of engagement are not followed, need to
    be set as examples for all.

    The cops who did in the father and son while inside the Pasay police cell, the HPG killers and slappers should have the book thrown at them and hard.

    Now re the clergy, they can console widows etc. but must not contribute towards population growth, not even if we were a country like those in Old Europe that have ZPG !! Until such time, they have no moral base to deny the RH options ( except abortion ).

  3. One way to address the lunacy & stupidity of HitlerDU30 is to remove him physically from Malacanang through people power. However, it takes time because majority of our people are still in the “honeymoon stage” with him. In the meantime let’s continue our grievances / protests & build slowly our strength & in due / right time we will oust him. He is a DISGRACE to our country.

    • it will take, I’m afraid, majority believe du30’s heart not on his mouth. second, this guy is not afraid to lose his presidency, thus you will continue to suffer the agony and hope you still be alive before he ends his term due to heart failure.

    • Your opinion veers away from the content of the article. “Surely, the sufferings of those tens of millions of innocents are at least as deserving of compassion and moral indignation as the 3,700-plus drug offenders reportedly killed in the anti-narcotics campaign. Those pains include nearly 10,000 murders a year, 12,000 rapes, 60,000 robberies, 170,000 thefts, and a quarter of a million assaults.

      Yet hardly anyone, not even Church leaders standing up for the poor, mention the above data or speak lengthily about the sufferings of crime victims. Nor have Congress and media given them much attention. And critics never suggest measures that can cut crime by the 30 percent to 50 percent achieved by the Philippine National Police under Duterte”

  4. Simeon E. Anekang on

    Good article, that’s what we need data to support ones success. We all know that some of police and military officer abuse their authority but most of the do their responsibility. Worst thing is they are always put on the defensive end, wether it is a legitimate operation or not. I hope all of us will check and help can do to address drug problem in our community – if we can do it without blood or life being lost then it will be the best for everyone. You help a soul, and save life not only for the pusher or user but to all his dependent wether family, relative or friend. We also need prayers from all our priests, pastors, and ministers that all pusher and users must mend their way and stay away from drug – and if know that they will be hunted submit themselves to police officers and request that they will be jailed in order for them to have a security. For all of us Filipinos let us help care one another.

  5. It takes only about 30 minutes to pray the Holy Rosary . I hope Archbishop Villegas and other Priests would concentrate in reminding the people to CONSTANTLY PRAY THE HOLY ROSARY each time they deliver their Sermon in the Church , INSTEAD OF MEDDLING IN THE AFFAIRS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

    Is there no separation of the Church and the State anymore ?

    • How should the separation of Church and State be kept “inviolable” (Section 6, Article II, 1987 Constitution)?
      Answer: Section 5, Article III “No law shall be made respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.”
      Straight analysis: “meddling” cannot be applied to Church leaders/members who happen to be Filipino CITIZENS in exercising their civil or political rights. The prohibition to “meddle” is directed at the civil government as expressed in Section 5, Article III. Every Filipino citizen can exercise civil or political rights without “discrimination”. Discrimination is applied when one says that the Church should not “meddle” in Civil or Political affairs; aside from exercising religious “mission” to make citizens morally upright, Church officials who happen to be Filipino CITIZENS have the constitutional right to “free expression” (Section 4, Article III) “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression…,” Beware of “discrimination” that “wall of separation” almost automatically erects in the minds of unthinking persons. Good thinking is the hallmark of good and upright patriots.

  6. The Roman Catholics killed Christians for their stance against paedobaptism. Thou shall not kill means thou shall not commit murder. The Catholic churches was guilty of murder during the dark ages.

  7. Is human life that cheap ? With one or two sachet, a person can be salvage. I was looking at my grand daughter, the joy and hardships of bringing a baby to adulthood can be snuff in a twinkle of an eye. Is life not sacred anymore ? Watching TV , audience clapping, praising Duterte while cussing and while he destroys people reputation. It is like ancient Rome in the gladiators killing each other. Is there a difference ?

    • No, its more precious than ever. What you’re seeing is the ground level of a country fighting NARCOPOLITICS. Mexico went through this, USA went through this. So did Columbia. We are going through this because in the last few decades, nobody did anything about it. We didnt notice it, because all of us children in the last 30+ years were being told by our parents to BE GOOD, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, STUDY AND MAYBE SOMEDAY YOU CAN WORK ABROAD. What did you think would happen?

  8. Yonkers, New York
    08 October 2016

    I find it heartening and reassuring that a Roman Catholic Archbiishop, as reported here by columnist RICARDO SALUDO, is critical–as the Church, the guardian of Morality–of the warrantless genocidal extrajudicial murder by Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte of those he and his “Berdugo” “Bato” dela Rosa SUSPECT of being involved one way or the other in the illegal NARCO PROBLEM, a brutal and ruthless mass-murder drive that so far has netted for them a bit over 3,000 hapless victims.

    Duterte’s target, according to himself, is 3 MILLION!

    The Church should raise its voice louder against Little Tyrant Duterte if, as he vows, he intends to murder 3 million of his own countrymen.

    I am amazed no end that Columnist Ricardo Saludo should not only not cry in protest against Little Tyrant Duterte who is blatantly and recklessly VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION WITH ITS BILL OF RIGHTS, THE RULE OF LAW AND THE UN DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS–all of these well-established SAFEGUARDS against Abuse by Authority or Government–but should, instead, seem TO ENCOURAGE HIM.

    China, now Little Tyrant Duterte’s newly-found bosom friend, obviously knows better than Duterte regardng HOW TO SOLVE THE NARCO PROBLEM, in particular as it involves ADDICTS. Recent reports say that China will be building a huge REHABILITATION CENTER in Fort Magsaysay.

    That is the correct solution–and not the psychotic one used by Duterte simply to murder them by the hundreds if not thousands. Once those addicts get the benefit of REHABILITATIOIN, demand for illegal drugs will of course go down and eventually , as the rehabilitation effort succeeds, peter out. With DEMAND gone, SUPPLY will of course dry up.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    • As the author pointed out, the bishops would better serve their flock by comforting the tens of millions of INNOCENT victims affected by the drug trade FIRST than prioritizing the 3K or so addicts/pushers that they are so into. Half of which are certain to be PUSHERS. More than anything, this would indicate that the bishops are more into involving themselves in the headlines than tending to the country’s cherished values.

      Maybe they need more donations to placate them? How about Pajeros? what do you think?

    • As the author pointed out, the bishops would better serve their flock by comforting the tens of millions of INNOCENT victims affected by the drug trade FIRST than prioritizing the 3K or so addicts/pushers that they are so into. Half of which are certain to be PUSHERS. More than anything, this would indicate that the bishops are more into involving themselves in the headlines than tending to the country’s cherished values.

      Moreover, as another author pointed out, there arent any JUDICIAL KILLINGS, because we dont have a death penalty. So in turn we cant possibly have EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS, because in our laws, they would simply be MURDER, even if the suspects are Police or Drug Pushers.

      Also, what we’re in is a DRUG WAR comparable to that which happened in Mexico, Columbia and the USA. Now THOSE people have absolutely no regard to anything or anyone -civilian, politician or priest- that doesnt benefit them and are being handled as they should be: as criminals. The very fact that we are able to post opinions like this and openly name-call the president means that we are still free, even more so than americans. Because a threat to the american president WILL get you in jail, even now, even if its a joke.

      Also, given the number of addicts at large who DO NOT WANT to surrender plus the addicts who are currently being detained because they DID NOT WANT to surrender… are you impying that THE UNWILLING ADDICTS CAN BE REHABILITATED WITH MORE THAN 50% CERTAINTY? Now thats wishful thinking.

  9. How much are the payments per person killed? Who is paying the competitor drug lords? Soon there will be just 1 big fish and they will run it all