Duterte must face accountability for killings — faith leaders

June 30, 2021 - 3:52 PM
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Filipino activists, and relatives of people killed in the country's war on drugs, hold a rally in observance of Human Rights Day in Manila, Philippines, December 10, 2019 (Reuters/File Photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte must face accountability for the widespread killings under his anti-drug crackdown, an interfaith group said Tuesday.

Ecumenical group “One Voice” criticized the growing “valley of dry bones” in the country since Duterte assumed the post in 2016.

“We at One Voice cry out for justice for the victims of the Duterte regime,” the Christian leaders said.

“We demand that Duterte and those who orchestrate and execute these state-sanctioned murders be held accountable,” they said.

The government’s “war on drugs”, they said, is “evil” because it is orchestrated by powerful people in the government against those who have been disempowered and oppressed.

According to them, the killings committed in the drug war are not just an attack on the victims but also “a crime that endangers us all”.

“It is evil as it is organized killing by people elected to power whose mandate is to uphold and defend the dignity and life of every Filipino,” the church leaders said.

“May our calls for justice reverberate as we seek life and dignity for the people of our nation, and may we become one as a people as we pursue just peace and common good for all,” they added.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has recently issued a call for families of drug war victims to submit concerns over the request to proceed with an investigation.

The ICC prosecutor earlier requested authorization to open a full probe into the spate of killings as a result of the drug war, saying crimes against humanity could have been committed.

Among those who signed the One Voice statement are Catholic Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Bishop Reuel Marigza of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and Bishop Rhee Timbang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

Other signatories include Sisters Association in Mindanao chair Sr. Rowena Pineda, Sr. Ma. Lisa Ruedas of the Daughter of Charity’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry, and Br. Armin Luistro, provincial superior of the De La Salle Brothers in East Asia.