Friday, August 12, 2016

Philippine Roman Catholic leader condemns president Duterte's tactics in drug war

President Rodrigo Deterte is continuing his aggressive tactics as part of his war on drug dealers. He has just put out a list of officials that he claims are linked to the drug trade.

The names include members of Congress, military officers, and judges. One of those named was former Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. Rama said :
 "The news that my name was mentioned by President Duterte is saddening. Even how untrue this accusation is, should this be the way and the necessary step to win the war against drugs, I will fully cooperate with the authorities to immediately clear my name and we trust that we will be given the opportunity to present our side and prove our innocence. My unwavering support for President Duterte's campaign will continue.
Nevertheless Duterte claims that the names on the list had been validated and re-validated.
While police claim that more than 500,000 people have surrendered to local authorities and pledged to stop using illegal drugs many are extremely critical of Duterte's methods which involve an order to "shoot to kill." Duterte claims he is waging a war and is invoking the laws of war. In a statement Saturday Duterte said that he would keep his "shoot to kill order" until the last day of his term if he was still alive by then. He also said that he did not believe in human rights. In a recent meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry, he said he refused to discuss the issue of human rights with him. Instead he said he had a job to do and asked for financial assistance.
Rodrigo Duterte has plenty of experience in politics as he was a popular mayor of the city Davao in the far south of the island of Mindanao for more than 22 years. He is the first Phiippine president from Mindanao. Although he was infamous for supporting extra-judicial killing of drug dealers and habitual users, he also promoted other ways of controlling drug use:Though vocally supportive of the extra-judicial killings of habitual drug users and dealers, Duterte used city government funds to build a ₱12-million drug rehabilitation and treatment center which provides 24-hour services. In 2003, he offered a ₱2,000 monthly allowance to drug addicts who personally approached him and committed to kick the habit.Duterte won a landslide victory in the presidential election in May and took office for a term of six years. Among his supporters are the Maoist New People's Army who have been waging guerrilla warfare against Philippine governments for half a century now. They hope to reach some type of peace agreement with him.
However, the unbridled unabashed defence of extra-judicial killing of criminals by Duterte, especially those involved in the drug trade, has outraged many including the Archbishop Socrates Villegas of the Roman Catholic Church. Since Duterte took power about 800 people have been killed. In a homily this Sunday, Villegas condemned the latest killings he said:"I am in utter disbelief. If this is just a nightmare, wake me up and assure me it is not true. This is too much to swallow. From a generation of drug addicts, shall we become a generation of street murderers?"Villegas is president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. Executive director Yury Fedotov of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime also expressed concern about the extrajudicial killing of drug dealers in the Philippines.
By Sunday local television reported that five mayors and three vice mayors from Mindanao denied Duterte's allegations but surrendered to police. One of judges on the list has been dead for eight years.


No comments: