Bishop hits Duterte’s release of drugs list
CEBU CITY―Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has described as “ill-advised and half-baked” President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to publicly release the names of over 150 local officials as part of his war on illegal drugs.
The 66-year-old prelate said that while he supported the President’s campaign, the fundamental requirements of due process and rule of law must be observed at all times.
“There are people who welcome the President’s move to name names, but there are also those who are anxious of what he did,” Palma told reporters after he ordained 12 new priests at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Cebu City on Tuesday.
The archbishop said the dignity of a person was as important as human life itself.
“The President said it (contents of drug list) may be true or may not be true. The question is what if it’s not true? Names were already revealed in public. How could those who may have been wrongly accused redeem their dignity and the good name they built all these years?” Palma said.
“While we appreciate the efforts against illegal drugs, we also question the process things are done,” he added.
Palma also questioned the veracity of President Duterte’s list, adding that he was surprised it included Judge Roberto Natividad of Regional Trial Court Branch 32 in Calbayog City, who was gunned down by a still unidentified gunman in 2008.
Palma, who once served in the Diocese of Calbayog, said he was surprised when the late judge’s name was mentioned.
He described the list as either outdated or just “not really realistic.”
Palma also expressed doubts on the inclusion of former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama on the list of drug protectors.
The archbishop said Rama’s name may have been included after he admitted knowing the late drug lord Cresistomo “Tata Negro” Llaguno, whom he was helping surrender to authorities but was killed in a police shoot-out six years ago.
“He (Rama) wanted to help one drug [lord] who was trying to change his life, was ready to reveal certain things but got killed. The former mayor’s move may have been misinterpreted,” Palma said./rga