De Lima: Church has right to speak vs killings
MANILA, Philippines — The Catholic Church has the right to speak out against the “different forms of degradation of human dignity” as they are not purely secular affairs.
Senator Leila De Lima said this on Tuesday in denouncing Malacañang’s earlier appeal to the clergy to stop meddling in state affairs.
“Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s call to the Catholic clergy to stop interfering in State affairs can only come from a regime that is blind to the reality of what the drug killings are doing to the moral fabric of Philippine society,” De Lima said in a statement.
De Lima, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s staunchest critics, said “When the government has made the killing of its own people a policy in its so-called ‘war on drugs,’ the Catholic Church is put in a position where it has no choice but to demand that the killings are stopped.”
Duterte has threatened to kill drug pushers but denied ordering the execution of suspects.
The senator, who is detained in Camp Crame for drug-related charges, noted that killing “is not only against the law of the State, but is also against both natural and divine law.”
“When the State itself chooses to violate this law, which is also one of the most basic commandments of all religions, the Church must protest, or it becomes irrelevant as the representative of Christ on earth,” she said.
“‘Thou shall not kill’ is the law of both God and man. The State therefore has no monopoly in assuring that this law is followed, especially when its leadership itself has chosen to violate it with impunity,” she added.
But Duterte himself chided policemen who kill illegally, like when three lawmen killed Kian delos Santos, saying they could kill if suspects fight back.
“Why do you have to kill them illegally?” he said. “We can always corner them, find out if they have committed the shabu act of trafficking, tapos nagbigay-bigay sila diyan, pahuli. And if he resists arrests violently, you’re free to kill them.”
Before accusing the Church of interfering with government affairs, De Lima said Panelo should realize that “fighting for what is right transcends political, social or spiritual barrier.”
“When the Church defends the right to life and the right to human dignity, especially of the poor, against a government that treats them as less than human, it is not interference in State affairs,” De Lima said.
“It is protecting the people from the tyranny of its leaders who have already become the very embodiment of evil in this country,” she added. /cbb
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