Led by outgoing Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the prelates issued on Tuesday their strongest statement to date against President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We are appalled by the remorselessness by which even the young are executed,” the bishops said.
The prelates were referring to the killings of Kian Loyd delos Santos, 17, on Aug. 16; Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, on Aug. 18, and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman, 14, Arnaiz’s last known companion, probably also on Aug. 18.
“In the name of God, stop the killings! May the justice of God come upon those responsible for the killings,” the bishops said.
“For the good of the country, stop the killings! The toll of ‘murders under investigation’ must stop now.”
“The relentless and bloody campaign against drugs that shows no sign of abating impels us your bishops to declare: In the name of God, stop the killings! May the justice of God come upon those responsible for the killings!” the CBCP said.
For some, the bishops said, it is easy to agree with the elimination of other members of society who are labeled “unsalvageable,” “irremediable,” “hopelessly perverse,” or “irreparably damaged.”
“We stand firmly against drugs and the death drugs have caused, but killing is not the solution [to] the problem,” the bishops said, adding that the wounded need hands to help them up, not feet to trample on them.
The bishops stressed that the country’s healing should begin by instilling the value of being concerned and caring for one another, and for the rule of law to prevail.