CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas alarmed over vigilante killings
MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday raised concern over the increasing number of reports that suspected drug-peddlers and pushers have been shot.
CBCP President Socrates Villegas said in a statement the rising vigilantism in the country is equally disturbing.
“Media has carried reports of bodies, apparently of homicide or murder victims, showing up on whom placards announcing their supposed crimes are writ large,” Villegas said.
Villegas called on law enforcers to “shoot to kill” on the ground of self-defense or the defense of others.
“To kill a suspect outright, no matter how much surveillance work may have antecedently been done on the suspect, is not morally justified,” the CBCP president said.
Villegas added that law enforcers can only “shoot to kill” first when there is unjust provocation and when there is a threat to the life and safety of others.
“To kill a suspect outright, no matter how much surveillance work may have antecedently been done on the suspect, is not morally justified,” Villegas said.
The archbishop stressed that non-lethal means should be used to stop a suspect from fleeing or escaping arrest.
The CBCP president also noted that receiving reward money to kill another is not morally permissible.
“When bounty-hunting takes the form of seeking out suspects of crime, killing them, then presenting proof of the death of the object of the hunt to the offeror of the reward, one is hardly any different from a mercenary, a gun-for-hire, no matter that the object of one’s manhunt should be a suspected offender,” Villegas said.
The CBCP pointed out that impunity that law offenders carry on with their criminal activity reflects the flaw in the country’s criminal justice system.
Villegas called on prosecutors and judges to remain firm in their consecration for justice “for there can be no greater insult to the Creator than to use the gifts of intelligence, discernment and one’s success at legal studies for ends contrary to builds the Body of Christ and contributes the building of the Kingdom of God.” – Patricia Lourdes Viray
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CBCP alarmed by police killings after election
Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines expressed alarm Monday at a sharp rise in police killings of suspected criminals since the election of a firebrand president who has vowed a bloody war on crime.
The influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines also denounced signs of vigilantism and the offering of bounties for criminals, following the election on May 9 of Rodrigo Duterte who ran on an anti-crime campaign.
“We are disturbed by an increasing number of reports that suspected drug-peddlers, pushers and others… have been shot, supposedly because they resist arrest,” said a statement by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the head of the conference.
He was responding to national police figures showing that 29 drug suspects were shot dead between May 9 and June 15 — compared to 39 killed in the previous four months of this year.
The most recent figure does not include eight drug suspects shot dead by police over the past weekend in different parts of the country.
“It is equally disturbing that vigilantism seems to be on the rise,” the statement said, citing cases where bodies have been found with signs labelling them as criminals.
The bishops also condemned the practice of at least one city mayor of offering large payments to policemen who kill drug suspects.
“It is never morally permissible to receive reward money to kill another,” the statement added.
Their condemnation flies in the face of Duterte’s call to police and even civilians to kill drug criminals.
Duterte has previously been linked to vigilante death squads who killed about 1,000 people when he was longtime mayor of the southern city of Davao.
He has vowed to kill tens of thousands of criminals after he takes office on June 30.
The president-elect has often attacked the Catholic Church, which counts over 80 percent of Filipinos as followers and was instrumental in the toppling of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
Duterte has previously labelled Pope Francis as “a son of a whore” and branded the church as a hypocritical institution.
Although he has not yet taken office, a police spokesman previously said that Duterte’s remarks were a possible “motivation” for law-enforcers to crack down on illegal drugs.
Read the source and comments: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/791525/cbcp-alarmed-by-police-killings-after-election
CBCP alarmed over spate of pushers’ slays; issues guide vs. vigilantism
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday expressed concern over the recent spate of killings of drug pushers, supposedly while they were trying to escape from the authorities.
The slays also prompted the CBCP to issue a five-point guide on the morality of killings suspects in a law enforcer’s line of duty.
“We commend you, our law enforcers, on your new-found earnestness in enforcing the law and in apprehending malefactors, but we are disturbed by an increasing number of reports that suspected drug-peddlers, pushers and others about whom reports of criminal activity have been received, have been shot, supposedly because they resist arrest,” CBCP President and Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.
“It is equally disturbing that vigilantism seems to be on the rise,” he added.
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, in pronouncements after his proclamation by Congress, reiterated his campaign promise to be aggressive against drug lords and peddlers.
In one speech, Duterte called on policemen and even civilians to run after drug dealers and kille them if they resist arrest.
Police on Friday said the number of suspected drug dealers who ended up dead increased dramatically after the May 9 elections.
The Philippine National Police said that a total of 39 suspected drug pushers were killed from January to May 9.
From May 9 until June 15, 29 suspected pushers have been killed.
The fatalities were killed in anti-illegal drugs missions launched by the police.
The number of arrested suspects also increased by 8 percent after the elections.
Villegas, on behalf of the CBCP, laid down guideines for law enforcers as an “appeal to humanity.”
- One can “shoot to kill” solely on the ground of legitimate self-defense or the defense of others. Law and jurisprudence have sufficiently spelled out the elements of self-defense, and for purposes of Catholic morality, it is necessary to emphasize that you, as law enforcers, can “shoot to kill” only first, when there is unjust provocation; second, when there is a real, not only conjectural, threat to your life or to the lives and safety of others; third, when there is due proportion between the threat posed and your own use of a firearm aimed at the threatening subject.
- To kill a suspect outright, no matter how much surveillance work may have antecedently been done on the suspect, is not morally justified. Suspicion is never the moral equivalent of certainty, and punishment may be inflicted only on the ground of certainty.
- When the arrest of a suspect is attempted, and the suspect endeavors to flee or to escape from the scene, every attempt by non-lethal means should be made to stop the suspect from fleeing and if shot at, every attempt should be made to spare the fleeing suspect from death, unless the escape of such a victim clearly and immediately puts others in harm’s way.
- It is never morally permissible to receive reward money to kill another. When bounty-hunting takes the form of seeking out suspects of crime, killing them, then presenting proof of the death of the object of the hunt to the offeror of the reward, one is hardly any different from a mercenary, a gun-for-hire, no matter that the object of one’s manhunt should be a suspected offender.
- It is the moral duty of every Catholic, every Christian, in fact, to report all forms of vigilantism of which they have personal knowledge. For greater reason is it a duty to keep away from any participation and any form of cooperation with vigilantes and vigilante movements.
The CBCP president did not stop there. He also “begged” the prosecutors and judges to remain firm in their consecration to justice.
“Let no one ever raise his hand against his brother or sister, for the blood that is shed—even if it be the blood of one we suspect of crime—cries to heaven for justice!” Villegas ended CBCP’s statement.
Duterte in a speech during his thanksgiving concert in Davao City on June 4, urged the public to arrest drug lords. He even said that the public can kill the suspects if they resist arrest.
Duterte after winning the elections by a landslide also said that he planned to impose death penalty by hanging for heinous crimes including drug trafficking. He also ordered law enforcers to “shoot to kill” during operations. —NB, GMA News
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