Nazarene devotees: Only God can take life; give sinners a second chance | Inquirer News
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TRASLACION IN A TIME OF KILLINGS

Nazarene devotees: Only God can take life; give sinners a second chance

/ 01:48 AM January 10, 2017

“Huwag kang papatay (Thou shall not kill),” a banner in bold white letters, hanging in front of the Quiapo Church in Manila, shrine of the Black Nazarene, proclaimed.

Some Filipino devotees of the Black Nazarene expressed alarm over the spate of killings amid the government’s war on drugs during the Traslacion, or Procession, of the Black Nazarene, which started at dawn of Monday, Jan. 9, and was expected to end at dawn the following day.

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Alfredo Yambao, 32, called on President Rodrigo Duterte to make a decisive stand and take clear action to stop the unresolved deaths being linked to his administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs and his own controversial ways and pronouncements.

“Yung pagpatay itigil na sana,” Yambao, a Nazarene devotee for 22 years now, said in an interview. “Araw-araw na lang na balita puro patayan na lang. Si Pangulong Duterte dapat itigil na yan. Ang tao tuloy natatakot nang lumabas. Baka ratratin na lang nang walang kasalanan.”

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(“I hope the killings stop. Every day all that we hear reported are the killings. President Duterte should stop that. People are afraid to go out because they might get shot without doing anything wrong.”)

A recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that a significant number of Filipinos fear that they or someone they know would fall victim to extrajudicial killings amid the war on drugs, which has claimed about 6,000 lives since Duterte assumed office.

Yambao, his wife, and their two children were among the thousands of devotees waiting for the arrival of the Black Nazarene at Plaza Miranda from the hours-long procession along the streets of Manila.

Asked what he wished to the Black Nazarene for 2017, Yambao said he was hoping for change in the way the Duterte administration had been dealing with the drug menace, saying many Filipinos had already suffered due to the spate of killings.

“Lahat naman ng tao nagbabagong-buhay,” he said. “Nasa tao yan eh. Sa panahon ngayon ni Duterte siguro magbabago na kasi natatakot nang gumawa ng kasalanan.”

(“All people can change their lives. It’s up to them. In this time of Duterte maybe they would change because they’re already afraid to do something wrong.”)

Sixteen-year-old Allyson Ventura, who started joining her mother in the annual religious gathering when she was just nine, also voiced out her stand against killings, noting that it is “against the law and human rights.”

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“Bakit mo gagawin? Eh si God lang naman ang pwedeng mag-judge sa atin. Bakit ka papatay?” Ventura said.

(“Why do it? It’s only God who can judge us. Why will you kill?”)

“Dapat ipatupad talaga yung batas na bawal pumatay kasi hindi siya maganda… Lahat naman po pwedeng magbago,” she added.

(“They should really enforce the law forbidding killing because it’s not good… Everyone can change.”)

The annual grand procession commemorates the first parade transferring the centuries-old ebony icon of the cross-bearing Jesus Christ from a church in Intramuros to the Quiapo Church on Jan. 9, 1767. /ATM

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TAGS: Black Nazarene, drug killings, extrajudicial killings, human rights violations, Rodrigo Duterte, Summary Executions, Traslacion, war on drugs
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