Bishops neutral on martial law, but…

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo.  AP FILE PHOTO

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo. AP FILE PHOTO

Catholic bishops in Mindanao have refrained from describing martial law as “morally reprehensible,” but stressed that it should be temporary and “a means of last resort.”

In a statement titled, “Pursue what leads to peace,” the bishops led by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo said on Friday that they, too, had questions on President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216, which placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law starting Tuesday.


No sufficient facts

However, the prelates made it clear that they would condemn any abuses that might happen under a military rule.


“The answers to many questions are speculative. We have many fears. But at present we simply do not have solid and sufficient facts to absolutely reject the declaration of martial law as morally reprehensible,” the bishops said.

They slammed the terrorist acts carried out by the Maute group, and added: “But we are certainly agreed that martial law must be temporary.”

The bishops issued the two-page statement three days after clashes erupted between government troops and the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City.

60 days

The gun battles prompted Mr. Duterte to place Mindanao under military rule for 60 days, a decision that elicited mixed reactions from different sectors.

The prelates issued the statement following the request of the Catholic faithful for pastoral guidance on the declaration of martial law.

The bishops posed several questions pertaining to accountability, culture of impunity and human rights, among other issues that arise when a military option is resorted to by authorities.


“Were other means to resolve the deep and wide serious problems of Mindanao impractical and ineffective? Will the positive effects of martial outweigh the negative effects? Will there be probability of success?” they asked, but noted that answers would remain speculative at this point.

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TAGS: Catholic bishops, Marawi siege, Mindanao martial law, Orlando Quevedo, Rodrigo Duterte
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