(UCAN) The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines rallied Filipino Catholics against a wave of killings over the past seven months blamed on the government’s “total war” on drugs.
“If we consent or allow the killing of suspected drug addicts, we shall also be responsible for their deaths,” said the bishops in a pastoral statement read in churches nationwide on Feb. 5.
“The traffic in illegal drugs needs to be stopped and overcome,” the church leaders said. “But the solution does not lie in the killing of suspected drug users and pushers,” they added.
It was the first time the country’s Catholic Church leaders have spoken as one against the killings. The statement was approved during the prelates’ bi-annual plenary assembly Jan. 28-30.
An estimated 7,000 people have been killed since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched a war against illegal drugs when he came to power in June last year.
The bishops stood firm against the killings during police anti-drug operations and by supposed vigilante groups targeting drug users and dealers, saying, “not even the government has the right to kill life.”
“We in the church will continue to speak against evil even as we acknowledge and repent of our own shortcomings,” read the statement signed by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, head of the bishops’ conference. [More]