Justice, mercy should guide war on drugs, bishop says
ILOILO CITY—The Archdiocese of Jaro in Iloilo province has decried the continued cases of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug suspects even as it called on its flock to be more involved in the fight against illegal drugs.
“We affirm the passion and the vision of our government in pursuing [the campaign against illegal drugs]. However, we also unequivocally declare that as a Church, we cannot accept in conscience extrajudicial killings. The inviolability and sacredness of human life, in all its aspects, must be upheld,” Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said in a pastoral statement titled, “Unleashing the Power of Love and Mercy.”
The statement will be read in Masses in all parishes in the diocese tomorrow.
“As we increasingly hear the disturbing cries of the innocent victims of drugs, we also hear the anguished cries of … victims of extrajudicial killings and the [families] they left behind,” the prelate said.
The Philippine National Police reported more than 3,000 deaths related to the government’s intensified drug campaign since July 1. These include those killed in police operations and by unknown attackers.
The killings have raised international outcry especially from human rights advocates and organizations.
Lagdameo said addressing the drug menace should be based on justice and mercy for both victims and perpetrators.
“There is a wide perception that mercy and justice are in contradiction. It is unfortunate that some thought that opting for mercy might compromise or devalue justice. Justice without mercy is cruelty. Mercy without justice is pure sentimentalism,” he said.
Lagdameo reminded the faithful on Church teachings on compassion and mercy, even for sinners and criminals.
Lagdameo admitted that the local Church “failed to foresee the magnitude of the drug menace and now humbly accept our share of shortcomings with regard to forming our consciousness and behavior in confronting social maladies.”
He noted that the “majority seem to accept what’s happening and are exhausted to question the morality of the situation.”
“Each time a person is killed without due process, a part of us dies also. Our humanity is diminished and our dignity is cheapened,” Lagdameo said.
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