MANILA, Philippines – Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David warned against the “killing of conscience” as many Filipinos condone the killing of drug addicts in predominantly Catholic Philippines.
“Para sa akin, mas delikado kaysa sa pagpatay sa mga addict at mga drug suspect ay ‘yung pagpatay sa konsensya ng tao. Sa akin mas siryoso ‘yon,” David said in a Rappler Talk interview aired on Wednesday evening, September 20.
(For me, more dangerous than the killing of drug addicts and drug suspects is the killing of a person’s conscience. For me that is more serious.)
“‘Pag namatayan tayo ng konsensya at sinimulan nating tanggapin na tama ang mali, grabe ‘yon. Mahirap itama ‘yon,” he added.
(Once our conscience dies and we begin to accept evil as good, that is terrible. That is hard to correct.)
“At bilang isang obispo, hindi ako hihinto na gumawa ng hakbang para maabot ko ‘yung konsensya ng mga tao, sa kabila ng aking sariling pagkukulang bilang tao at bilang obispo, sa kabila ng mga kakulangan din namin bilang isang institusyon,” the Caloocan bishop continued.
(And as a bishop, I will not stop in making moves to reach the consciences of people, despite my own shortcomings as a person and as a bishop, despite our shortcomings too as an institution.)
The 58-year-old David spoke to Rappler on Monday, September 18, weeks after the Caloocan City police were accused of framing up and killing 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos and 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz.
The Jesuit-trained David, incoming vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, is now one of the bishops most outspoken against drug war killings. (READ: Caloocan Bishop Pablo David: Shepherd of his slaughtered sheep)
More than 14,000 Filipinos have died in police operations and vigilante-style killings as President Rodrigo Duterte wages a bloody anti-drug campaign. (READ: Cardinal Tagle: ‘We cannot govern the nation by killing’)
‘Iangat natin ang ating kultura’
In his Rappler Talk interview, David added: “Dapat tayong mabahala kapag sumasama ang ugali ng Pilipino. Kapag nagbabatuhan na ng mura sa social media ang Pilipino, parang nasisira ang kultura natin. Hindi tayo ‘yan. Hindi tayo ‘yan.”
(We should be disturbed when the attitude of Filipinos becomes negative. When Filipinos curse at each other on social media, our culture is being destroyed. That’s not who we are. That’s not who we are.)
“Ibangon natin, iangat natin ang ating kultura (Let us lift up our culture),” the bishop said.
Influenced by the so-called law of retaliation, the drug war killings come as the Catholic Church prepares to mark the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines by 2021. In this Southeast Asian country, 8 out of 10 Filipinos now belong to the Catholic Church.
“Ibig sabihin hindi pa naman ganyan katindi ang tagumpay ng Simbahan ng pagtuturo sa kanyang mga miyembro. At in all humility, inaamin ko ‘yon,” David said.
(That means the Catholic Church has not been that successful in educating its members. And in all humility, I am admitting that.)
“Kaya hindi ko huhusgahan, hindi ko rin hahatulan ‘yung mga taong ando’n pa lang ang kanilang kamalayan. Puwede pa nating mapalalim,” David said.
(That is why I will not judge the people whose consciousness is still on that level. We can still deepen that.) – Rappler.com