MANILA, Philippines – Brother Eddie Villanueva slammed extrajudicial killings and blamed these on "scalawag" police, as his Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Church marked its 39th anniversary on Friday, October 27.
"We support the resolve of the President to get rid of the drug menace in the country. However, this policy against drugs should not be at the expense of the rule of law," Villanueva said
"We would also like to remind everyone of the 6th commandment of God in the 10 commandments, that is in Exodus 20: 13, 'Thou shall not murder.' No one has the right to take another person's life," he added.
Villanueva made these remarks in a press conference on the 39th anniversary of JIL, a church founded in 1978 and now has 5 million members in 60 countries.
This is one of Villanueva's strongest statements on EJKs under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: The Impunity Series)
'I could not accept this'
In Friday's press conference, Villanueva pointed out that JIL supported Duterte in the 2016 elections.
He said that "all JIL people voted" for Duterte. "But the problem is killings right and left."
Villanueva recounted once returning from missions in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, and seeing headlines upon his arrival: "32 killings in Bulacan, 28 killings in Manila, just in a span of 9 hours."
"As a Christian, I could not accept this. I believe in my heart, the President does not know this. These could be abuses of some scalawag members of the police system who decided to impress their superiors," he said.
He also recalled that "there are some policemen who confessed to us, as Christian leaders," that "some of them could not stomach it and they are planning to resign."
Villanueva is the father of administration senator Senator Joel Villanueva, who also attended the JIL anniversary on Friday.
The JIL founder twice ran as president and once as senator, but lost.
Villanueva and other Christian leaders on Friday urged Duterte "to uphold God's agenda for the country." – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.