MANILA - Filipino priests will continue to condemn drug-related killings because doing otherwise would mean complicity in the crime, an official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Sunday.
"Kapag ganitong may nangyayaring patayan na, paglaganap ng predilection, at tayo ay walang ginagawa, tayo ay nagsasawalang-kibo lamang -- aba'y accomplice tayo, complicit tayo sa mga pangyayaring iyun," CBCP executive secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano told radio DZMM.
(When killings happen, when the predilection for killing is rampant, and we do nothing, we remain unconcerned -- we become accomplices, we are complicit in these incidents.)
The CBCP, in a pastoral letter read out at Mass services since Saturday evening, condemned the anti-narcotics crackdown for supposedly terrorizing the poor. The CBCP also reiterated that killing was not the answer to the drug menace.
Bishops also expressed concern over what they said was the "indifference" of many people to the killings. They lamented that the killings are now "considered as normal, and, even worse, something that (according to them) needs to be done."
Their address did not mention President Duterte by name, but urged "elected politicians to serve the common good of the people and not their own interests" and called for steps to tackle "rogue policemen and corrupt judges".
In the radio interview, Secillano clarified that the CBCP "is not against the government per se, we are against specific issues."
"Kung halimbawang maganda naman po ang ginagawa, 100 precent ang pagtulong ng Simbahan," he said.
(If for example, the government is doing something good, the Church gives its 100 percent help.)
The priest also noted that the Church is prepared to help in the rehabilitation of drug users through treatment centers in various provinces, including Bulacan, Masbate, Cebu and Naga.
Many dioceses, he added, are also spearheading scholarship programs and livelihood projects for reformed drug dependents.
More than 7,000 people have been killed since Duterte launched his anti-drugs campaign 7 months ago, more than 2,500 in what police say were shootouts during raids and sting operations.
The government has denied that it is behind alleged extrajudicial killings. -- With a report from Reuters