‘We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal,’ Cardinal Tagle says in his strongest written statement against drug war killings
The Philippines’ most influential cardinal appealed to the country’s leaders on Friday, September 8, to stop the rampant killings in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, as “we cannot govern the nation by killing.”
“With pain and horror, we continue to get daily news of killings around the country,” Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said in a letter issued past 8 am on Friday.
“We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal. We cannot govern the nation by killing. We cannot foster a humane and decent Filipino culture by killing,” Tagle said.
He continued: “As we denounce as inhuman and un-Christian an act willfully intended and planned to inflict harm or death on a human person, we call on those who harm or kill others to listen to their conscience, the voice of God that summons us to do good and avoid evil.”
“Heartless violence can be conquered only by a change of heart and by discovering in the depths of our being the inclination to do good and to love our neighbor,” Tagle added.
Issued on the Catholic feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this is the cardinal’s strongest written statement against the drug-related killings.
‘Stop wasting human lives’
This comes as the deaths of 3 teenagers – 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, and 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman – fueled public outrage against Duterte’s war on drugs.
Tagle issued an earlier letter against the killings in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.
“We knock on the consciences of those who kill even the helpless, especially those who cover their faces with bonnets, to stop wasting human lives,” Tagle said on August 19.
More than 14,100 people have been killed in both police operations and vigilante-style killings since Duterte began his drug war in July 2016. Of this number, at least 3,811 have been tagged as drug personalities killed in anti-drug operations as of August 29.
Meanwhile, 2,098 have died in drug-related homicide cases, and 8,200 others in homicide cases under investigation as of June 16.
The Catholic Church is one of the staunchest critics of the widespread killings under Duterte. Other religious groups, such as the United Methodist Church, have also slammed the drug-related deaths in the Philippines. – Rappler.com