Statement on the
President’s campaign versus illegal drugs, criminality and corruption
Ecumenical Bishops Forum
August 22, 2016
We laud President Rodrigo
Roa Duterte on his serious campaign versus illegal drugs, criminality
and corruption, his election campaign promise which he will do in
three to six month-time of his term. The promise is getting fulfilled.
Even before President Rody
formally assumed office, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has
started rounding up known illegal drug users and pushers in Metro
Manila. Today, more than one month after the President’s inauguration
on June 30, hundreds had been killed, hundreds more were arrested and
jailed, and thousands voluntarily surrendered. All of them are said to
be small time users and pushers, and, as human rights advocates say,
are poor people.
However, on July 5, the
President unexpectedly named five former and incumbent police generals
who are illegal drug protectors. This was followed by an announcement
on August 7 of 159 local government officials (mayors, former mayors,
and former vice mayors) incumbent and former police and military
officers, and incumbent and former judges who are linked to illegal
drugs trade. He claims more names will follow.
The big time drug lords, the
President says, are in other countries like China and Mexico from
where they direct their operations, and it is difficult if not
impossible to run after them.
The PNP chief, Police
General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, claims that crime have gone down,
indicating that most crime are drug related. Thus the war on drugs is
also a war against criminality.
This may be true as far
petty crime such as bag-snatching, child molestation, rape, rape with
homicide and murder, “akyat bahay” theft, hold-ups and the likes are
concerned. Big crimes such as bank robberies, pyramiding scam, illegal
recruitment, cyber-crimes, break-in in malls and the likes continue
Steps in curbing corruption
in government have been started. Among the measures are the signing of
the Executive Order on Freedom of Information which covers the
executive department and the order to shorten the processing of
applications in government offices. More serious and lasting measures
still have to be done.
Given the number of days in
office of the new administration, its campaign against illegal drugs,
criminality and corruption may be considered a success thus far. We
congratulate the President for this, and pledge our support for his
sincere efforts to address the present situation.
While we believe and support
President Duterte’s war on drugs, there is a need for deeper analysis
why the drug problem is thriving and who benefit from this. There is
also need for the present administration to examine the correctness of
its approach in eliminating this menace. The extra-judicial killings
that are happening, we believe, won’t solve that problem but
exacerbate it as most of those killed are small time and poor people.
The suspected five police generals and government officials seem to be
getting a special privilege; they remain very much alive.
We wish to caution the
President, then, to respect the human rights of the people. Life which
came from the Creator is precious; it has to be preserved as much as
possible. The campaign can continue without violating people’s rights
and keeping all actions within the parameters of the law.
We bid the President success
in his drug campaign in particular, and in his administration in
general. His success is the Filipino people’s success.
Issued and signed this 22nd
day of August, 2016:
Very truly yours in Christ,
BISHOP ELMER M. BOLOCON,
MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS S.
IÑIGUEZ, JR., D.D.
BISHOP FELIXBERTO L. CALANG,