Filipino Catholics condemn Duterte’s reign of terror; he won’t back down

Filipino Catholics have condemned President Duterte’s wholesale killing of drug users and dealers.

Their opinion has not changed his views.

He remains determined to see his aim to rid the country of all drug users and dealers. By killing them.

Last weekend, a pastoral letter from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference was read at Masses throughout the country. It strongly criticised the Government’s means of ridding the country of drugs.

It said killing people was not the answer to trafficking illegal drugs.

It also said it was disturbing that many people didn’t care about the bloodshed, or even approved of it.

“An even greater cause of concern is the indifference of many to this kind of wrong.

“It is considered as normal, and, even worse, something that [according to those who practise it] needs to be done,” the letter said.

Duterte defended his position, separating people into all those who wish to end drugs and those who follow Church rules.

“You Catholics, if you believe in your priests and bishops, you stay with them. If you want to go to heaven, then go to them,” he said.

“Now, if you want to end drugs … I will go to hell. Come join me,”

Eighty per cent of the Filipino population is Catholic. Most attend Mass each week.

Although the letter did not mention Duterte by name, it urged “elected politicians to serve the common good of the people and not their own interests”.

It also called for steps to tackle “rogue policemen and corrupt judges”.

The letter said the war on drugs has led to a “reign of terror” especially affecting the poor.

More than 7,000 people have died in the seven months since Duterte’s campaign to rid the country of addicts and suppliers.

Over 2,500 of them were killed in what police say were shootouts during raids and sting operations.

Both the government and police have denied extrajudicial killings have taken place. The president’s office had no immediate comment on the bishops’ letter.


  • Crux
  • Channel News Asia
  • Image: Inquirer News


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