Filipino Catholic bishops call on the faithful to speak out against extrajudicial killings, stating that silence makes everyone an "accomplice" in the rising death toll from the government’s ongoing war on drugs.
"To consent and to keep silent in front of evil is to be an
accomplice to it,” the bishops said in a pastoral letter read during
Sunday Masses. “Let us not allow fear to reign and keep us silent.”
The letter was sent to every Filipino parish after the annual plenary
meeting that saw the bishops meet in Manila on the last week of
The prelates want all Filipinos to reject the culture of death that
characterises the president’s war on drugs, a major problem in the
After he took power in June 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte said that
there would be many dead until drug dealers are driven off the streets.
Since then, extrajudicial executions and police repression against
drug users and dealers have grown dramatically, with more than 7,000
The president has denied that his administration is behind
extrajudicial killings, and on several occasions he has launched tirades
against the bishops and human rights activists for criticising his
bloody drug war.
In their letter, the bishops say that they would continue “to speak
"against evil" in a country "shrouded in the darkness of vice and
"We will do this even if it will bring persecution upon us,” the
letter goes on to say, “because we are all brothers and sisters
responsible for each other”.
“We will help drug addicts so that they may be healed and start a new
life. We will stand in solidarity and care for those left behind by
those who have been killed and for the victims of drug addicts. Let us
renew our efforts to strengthen families."
Although the bishops agree that the drug trade is a problem that must
be dealt with, they point out that killing alleged drug dealers and
users without due process is not the right solution. Killing, like drug
dealing, is a grave sin.
Another cause of concern for them is the fact that “the reign of
terror” is carried out in poor areas. “Many are killed not because of
drugs,” and “Those who kill them are not brought to account”.
"We cannot correct a wrong by doing another wrong. A good purpose is
not a justification for using evil means. It is good to remove the drug
problem, but to kill in order to achieve this is also wrong”.