Religious hit silence on drug deaths
“Where good men are silent, evil prospers.”
The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) said it was alarmed at the public’s silence on the rash of extrajudicial killings, which it said seemed “to go unchecked, without trial or investigation.”
While it said it backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s fight to rid the country of the illegal drug menace, the group said the authorities should “follow the procedure and operate within the bounds of law.”
“Ubi boni tacent malum prosperat. Evil prospers where good men are silent. Is this lack of public outcry a tacit approval of what is happening? Is it fear that prevents people from speaking out?” the association said.
Around 1,916 people have died in legitimate police operations and summary executions since President Duterte assumed office on July 1 and declared a bloody war against illegal drugs. Of this number, more than 700 were killed in police operations.
The United Nations, United States and other international human rights organizations have expressed alarm over the sudden rise in deaths even as the national police told a Senate inquiry this week that they were also investigating the vigilante deaths.
The group warned that the silence of Filipinos on the issue would lead to a culture of impunity if it continued to go unchecked.
“The drug problem is a complex and deeply-emotional issue that needs to be addressed holistically, with great understanding and compassion for both victim and perpetrator for we are all dehumanized by this culture of death,” the group added.
Police, it said, should continue arresting those involved in illegal drugs while at the same time also apprehend vigilantes carrying the murders.
The AMRSP would be holding Masses and prayer vigils for peace and justice, and toll its bells at 3 p.m., every day in solidarity with the poor and to uphold the sacredness of life. Families of those slain would also be offered counseling.
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