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Bishop: Silence on EJKs caused by fear, complicity

/ 07:58 AM September 22, 2017

DRUG KILLINGS Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David says in a press conference that witnesses to drug killings are expected to be wary of some government agencies because the accused are police themselves, and the cases can be embarrassing to the government. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

The silence of many over the spate of killings in the past year can be likened to that of the Germans when Adolf Hitler ordered the extermination of the Jews in World War II: It’s born out of fear and complicity.

With this in mind, a Catholic bishop called on the faithful not to give in to anger and retaliation, and to restore the dignity of the Filipino by renouncing the violence that has terrorized the nation.

“Let us never return insult for insult; that will bring us nowhere. Let us renounce cruelty and violence. Let us restore our dignity as a people,” said Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.

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The prelate delivered the homily at a Mass on Thursday afternoon at San Agustin Church in Intramuros, in commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.

Outspoken critic

David is one of the Catholic Church’s more outspoken critics of the spate of extrajudicial killings amid the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs.

His diocese, which covers the cities of Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas, is where many of such killings took place in the past year.

The Mass was attended by scores of protesters who later trooped to Rizal Park and participated in the protest rallies against the spate of extrajudicial killings and martial law.

Analogy

In his homily, David likened the silence of many Filipinos over the rash of killings to the attitude of the Germans who paid little attention to Hitler’s extermination of Jews.

“Because many of them hated the Jews, they just shut their eyes and ears to the killings,” he said. “They were aware of what was going on, but they kept quiet about them. It wasn’t always fear that silenced them. Sometimes it was plain complicity.”

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David made the analogy as the Catholic Church prepared to begin a 40-day period of prayer starting on Saturday to remember all those who were killed in the government’s war on drugs.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines urged the faithful to observe the 40-day period of prayer by lighting candles in front of their homes and in cemeteries and public places. It said Church bells would peal every day at 8 p.m.

‘Addiction a disease’

David said people should fight criminality, “but in a manner that is lawful and humane.”

“They are human beings; their addiction to drugs is a disease, a serious disease. What they need are not bullets but rehabilitation. For God’s sake, stop the killings, start the healing!” he said.

The prelate said criminals could still be reformed and that all lived only by the grace of a forgiving God.

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TAGS: drug killings, extrajudicial killings, Pablo Virgilio David, Rodrigo Duterte, sept. 21 protests, war on drugs
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