20,000 Catholics to join rally vs death penalty, EJKs
The organizers of the Walk for Life against the death penalty and extrajudicial killings (EJKs) are expecting more than 20,000 Catholics to join today’s prayer rally at the Quirino Grandstand.
The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas said that so far, around 10,000 have registered with them to take part in the early morning, three-hour prayer activity.
“We are open to everyone: religious groups, civic groups. We asked them to go directly there. We expect around 20,000 people or more,” said Joseph Jesalva of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas.
Participants in the prayer rally in Manila will be coming from the Dioceses of Balanga, Malolos, San Fernando in Pampanga and Antipolo.
The Couples for Christ, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines and the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association have also signified their intention to join the activity.
“There are some evangelicals, non-Catholics, who called us and signified they were coming,” Jesalva added.
The Walk for Life was organized by Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas to show the lay people’s opposition to the reinstatement of the death penalty, and the spate of extrajudicial killings amid the war on drugs.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has issued separate pastoral statements against extrajudicial killings and the death penalty.
The CBCP has clarified that it did not organize but only endorsed the prayer rally.
CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas is expected to attend the activity at the Quirino Grandstand, which will start at 4:30 a.m. today.
Villegas said the activity would not defend drug addicts and other criminals, as he stressed the importance of due process for criminals.
“The Walk for Life is against drugs. The Walk for Life is not in defense of drug addicts and pushers. Drugs are bad, drugs are fatal,” he said.
Villegas said the prayer rally was for those who could no longer speak after being silenced by a bullet or by fear for their lives.