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Summary killings cannot be justified—Archbishop

Summary killings cannot be justified—Archbishop
Various lay groups stage “Walk for Life” along streets of Navotas City to condemn the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug pushers and users, July 2, 2017. ROY LAGARDE

MANILA— Summary killings can never be justified as a drug control measure, a Catholic archbishop said.

Jesuit Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan De Oro, in a pastoral letter, said the wave of extrajudicial killings that have claimed even young lives and many others without due process is a cause for alarm.

“These summary killings and violations of human rights cannot be justified by invoking the greater common good – which our recent history teaches us will only lead to greater recourse to arms and authoritarianism and a worsening malaise in society,” he said.

The prelate said that addiction is not hopeless or untreatable because many people, particularly in Cagayan De Oro, are in recovery from it.

He said that community-based drug rehabilitation centers in the archdiocese have shown that a significant number of drug dependents “can be treated and empowered to live again productive lives”.

The archdiocese has also joined in the nationwide ringing of bells every night to protest the spate of drug-related killings in the country.

Archbishop Ledesma urged the parishes and communities to revive the tradition of ringing the “De Profundis” bells at every 8pm and to say prayers for the dead.

READ:  For whom De Profundis church bells toll

“Let this be our sign of protest against extrajudicial killings in the ‘war on drugs,’” he said.

Thousands of people suspected of using or dealing drugs have been killed by police and vigilantes since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency more than a year ago. CBCPNews