Catholic Church

Bishop hits Duterte war on communists: Lying, killing will never work

Jezreel Ines
Bishop hits Duterte war on communists: Lying, killing will never work

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, celebrates the Mass to launch the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines at the Manila Cathedral February 6, 2021.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

'If we will stay silent, this culture will get worse – this culture of disaster, culture of killings, and culture of lying,' says Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila

The Duterte government’s counterinsurgency campaign is heading toward the same fate as its war on drugs, said one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s staunchest critics from the Catholic Church.

“Haven’t our police and the government learned that falsely accusing, lying, and killing will never work?” said Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, in a homily on Sunday, March 14.

Calling the war on drugs an utter failure, Pabillo said he sees the same patterns in recent killings and arrests of activists. In these killings, police claimed that activists fought back (“nanlaban“), after which the cops allegedly planted evidence against them.

“How many thousands were killed? How many were the collateral damages? Was the number of drug users in the country reduced?” the bishop added.

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Pabillo cited the “Bloody Sunday” incident in Calabarzon on March 7 that resulted in the death of 9 activists accused of being communist insurgents, while members of the police and the military were serving search warrants. 

“The search warrant is not a warrant to kill. We know the usual style of planting of evidence such as grenade or pistol in places being searched,” the bishop said.

It has been a week since “Bloody Sunday,” but until now, there has been no formal investigation, added Pabillo.

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“Is this not the culture of impunity? If we will stay silent, this culture will get worse – this culture of disaster, culture of killings, and culture of lying,” Pabillo said. – Rappler.com

Jezreel Ines is a Rappler intern. He is a third year journalism student at the University of the Philippines Diliman.