Evangelical churches and Duterte’s war on drugs

Evangelical churches and Duterte’s war on drugs

Supportive but express deep concern over killings

- in News
@Jon Joaquin

If you’re wondering where the evangelical churches are and what their stand is in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, the answer is that many of them have been quietly participating in government’s anti-drug campaign, particularly in helping users lead drug-free lives:

The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), in a statement issued on August 9, 2016, called on every Filipino “to be in solidarity in helping to improve the anti-drug program that our President has initiated.”

“May we be like the ‘Good Samaritan’ (Luke 10:25-37), who out of compassion and utmost regard for human life, went out of his way to succor back to life a half-dead stranger. It is our prayer that we Filipinos will also be agents of compassion, hospitality and hope for many of our fellow Filipinos who are now mired in illegal substance abuse. May we be able to help them realize that their life is sacred and valuable, and that with the Lord’s help, it is within their reach to lead drug-free, fulfilled and abundant lives (John 10:10),” the PCEC said.

The group also said it stands in unity with President Rodrigo Duterte in his “laudable determination to eradicate the widespread illegal drugs trade, which is destroying countless lives that include the youth of our beloved nation.”

“We are pleased that large numbers of wayward drug pushers and dependents have surrendered to lawful authorities. In accordance with what the Holy Scripture says in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, we are to pray for all people particularly those who are in authority. We therefore pray that those who are mired deeply in the use of prohibited drugs will be able to mend their ways. We pray earnestly for the well-being of our President and his government, as well as our police forces whose lives are often at risk so we Filipinos may enjoy a safe and peaceful society,” the statement said.

Deep concern
The PCEC, however, expressed deep concern on “the daily bloodshed” of those who are accused of being pushers, addicts, or involved in some way in prohibited drugs.

“While there certainly are legitimate instances when our police forces need to inflict fatal injuries, there also are numerous instances when drug suspects, many of them only in their youth, seemed to have been brutally killed outside the ambit of the law,” it said.

The PCEC said in such cases, it asks the following:

  • Where is the rule of law that ensures every Filipino accused of an offense must first be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt by a court of law before fair and just punishments are meted out?
  • Where is justice in the killings of those who are accused when our law does not even permit as a punishment the killing of a person?
  • How can we claim justice and peace in our land when murderers are allowed to kill with impunity and roam freely?

The PCEC said it supports and commends Duterte for his assurance to investigate the questionable killings of those who were accused of involvement in illegal drugs.

“We are also hopeful in calling on the President to strengthen further the protection of the law for those who are accused of drug-related crimes. We call on the President to be more circumspect in his assertions and pronouncements concerning the taking of human life against drug offenders, because his statements can be interpreted as explicit or tacit approval to carry out unlawful executions,” it said.

The PCEC also called on Philippine National Police (PNP) director general Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to intensify the investigations of the killings of alleged drug suspects and to use the full resources of the PNP to apprehend those who are responsible for the killings.

It also expressed concern for the safety of police officers and called for the providing of adequate “personal protective equipment” so they can be protected from serious bodily harm which in turn “will also minimize the necessity for them to immediately inflict fatal injuries to criminals during police operations.”

The PCEC also called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide trials that are fair, speedy, and free from any appearance of corruption “in order to deter people from seeking justice by their own hands.”

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