Bishop Pablo Virgilio David says drug war survey an ‘encouraging sign’
MANILA— A Catholic bishop said it’s an ‘encouraging sign’ that majority of Filipinos are convinced that many drug suspects killed in anti-illegal drugs operations were victims of summary executions.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said this perception of the government’s war on drugs is something that the authorities should take seriously.
“Even if many of us have known this all along, the survey result is definitely still an encouraging sign,” David said.
The prelate was referring to the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey wherein 54 percent of Filipinos believed that suspected drug pushers and users killed in police operations did not resist arrest.
In the same survey, nearly half or 49 percent even believe that police are killing innocent people. Twenty-three percent, however disagreed, while 26 percent were undecided.
“I think the survey merely shows that most Filipinos know how to follow their basic common sense,” he added.
The bishop said it’s simply illogical for a drug suspect to fight back knowing that he could be killed on the spot.
“It does not make sense that a drug suspect’ who knows he’ll surely die if he engages heavily armed policemen in a special operation in a firefight, would still fight,” David said.
He reiterated his call for the government to observe due process, adding that the rule of law should not be disregarded in the campaign against illegal drugs.
“Even presuming that they are involved in drugs, I know of no law that says they can just be summarily executed,” said David. CBCPNews
EJKs get spotlight in seminarians’ docu-play
PLARIDEL, Bulacan – A group of seminarians from Immaculate Conception Major Seminary (ICMAS) presented on Sept. 23 a docu-play entitled Tugon ng Langit sa Panaghoy ng Lupa that trained the spotlight on extra-judicial killings (EJK) in the country.
According to organizers, the docu-play is indicative of the parish’s proactive stance to fight for life through the efforts of the parishioners, the seminarians and of Fr. Teodorico Trinidad, the parish priest.
The docu-play revolves around the inner world of Juan, a drug dependent who awaits impending death at the guns of unnamed persons. The docu-play presents the many angles of the “war on drugs” — from the perspective of a parent who lost his daughter because of an addict, of a church worker who lost his son but did not lost his faith, of an ex-addict who feels the love and support of his family that lead him to rehabilitation, to that of a father who has a drug dependent son.
The docu-play is based on interviews with different personalities entangled in the Duterte administration’s long-running campaign against illegal drugs: a mother of an EJK victim, a social worker who serves addicted teenagers, the wife of a man who killed got killed in front of his family, an ex-addict turned seminarian, and a bishop, most of whom come from Holy Angels Parish.
Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David, D.D. urged in the interview, “We don’t need bullets. What they need is our compassion … The drug suspects, the pushers, and drug users, they are not the enemies in the war on drugs. They are victims whom we need to save.” Taking many victims under the diocese’s wing, the prelate started the campaign “Stop the killing. Start the healing.”
According to the organizers, the docu-play aims to paint the reality of the “war on drugs” for the parishioners of Holy Angels and the wider public. At present, nine EJK victims come from the parish, some of whom received help from the parish cemetery.
The docu-play evokes the reality of the temptation of the devil and of the presence of angels present, said the organizers, not only in one’s personal life but in socio-political events in Philippine society. The prelate explained, “There is hope if our consciences stay alive. The death of conscience is worse than death.”
David also urged Catholics not only to criticize but to actually take concrete steps to address the country’s drug problem. The Church is not a place to condemn those who commit mistakes, he said, but a place of hope for a new life.
The play is preceded by the celebration of Holy Mass presided over by Fr. Kent Andrew E. Apeña, director of Spiritual-Pastoral Formation Year of ICMAS, on the first day of the parish’s novena Masses. Samuel A. Estrope II/Rey David A. Gayas/CBCPNews
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