Catholic churches all over the Philippines denounce President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs campaign through sermons last Sunday.
A letter signed by the country’s bishop was read out by Priests in Catholic churches which states that killing people is not the solution to trafficking of illegal drugs, voicing concern about the indifference shown by many to the bloodshed.
“To consent and to keep silent in front of evil is to be an accomplice to it. If we neglect the drug addicts, we have become part of the drug problem,” the letter read.
The church advise the people not to keep silent about the killings related to President Duterte’s war on drugs campaign.
“We really have to stand up. We cannot just keep quiet amidst all the killings,” Fr. Aris Sison, rector of The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao said.
The sermon was indeed the strongest worded attack, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) direct against drugs and call against the President for creating a “reign of terror” among the poor that was read at services all over the Philippine catholic churches.
Seven months since Duterte launched his anti-drugs campaign more than 7,600 people have been killed and more than 2,500 in what police say were shootouts during buy-bust operations. Some of these deaths are even investigated due to questions regarding the operation.
However, both the government and police denied that extrajudicial killings have taken place during the campaigns.
Ever since Duterte joined the Presidential run, he has routinely attacked the Church. Nearly 80 percent of the Philippines’ 100 million people are Catholic who has a strong faith in Christ.
In an apparent reference to accusations that many drug pushers and users have been victims of extra-judicial killings, the bishops said in their pastoral letter “every person has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty” and the law should be followed.
On the other hand, the Philippine government disparage Catholic bishops on Sunday as “out of touch” after they used weekend sermons to attack a war on drugs they said had created a “reign of terror” for the poor.
Presidential spokesperson, Ernesto Abella said that members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had dramatized President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign and, instead of criticizing, should focus on contributing to the “reign of peace” that innocent people now felt.