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DUTERTE FUMES OVER 'PAY-PER KILL' AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT
(“Why would I give them money just to make them kill people? It’s their job,” he said. “I’m not a weakling president. I’m from Mindanao,” )[RELATED: Duterte - ‘Amnesty lnternational naive and stupid’]


FEBRUARY 4 -In a speech in Cotabato, President Rodrigo Duterte vehemently belied reports that the PNP acted on instructions “from the very top of government” to kill thousands of suspected drug offenders and get rewarded with cash incentives for the task. PPD
Saying he is not in the business of paying policemen for every drug suspect killed, President Duterte blasted Amnesty International (AI) yesterday for its report on how the killing of drug offenders had become a state-sanctioned source of income for law enforcers. In a speech in Cotabato, Duterte vehemently belied reports that the PNP acted on instructions “from the very top of government” to kill thousands of suspected drug offenders and get rewarded with cash incentives for the task. He also defended the Philippine National Police (PNP) against criticism of its enforcement of his administration’s war on drugs. The report said policemen were given P5,000 to P15,000 for every kill during drug sting operations. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte - ‘Amnesty lnternational naive and stupid’...

ALSO: "My soldiers have died' Duterte ends talks - No more peace talks with Reds without ‘compelling reason’


FEBRUARY 4 -President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP)
Peace talks with communist rebels will no longer continue, unless there’s a compelling reason to do so, President Rodrigo Duterte told reporters on Sunday during his visit to his parents’ graves in Davao City. “Peace talks will remain canceled unless there is a compelling reason that will benefit the interest of the nation,” Mr. Duterte said, a day after he lifted the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). “If I feel that there is a joke somewhere. I will not waste my time,” he said. He said he would also direct government negotiators, who had been engaged in talks with communists in Rome, to come home. “I will request maybe tomorrow the Philippine contingent to fold their tents and come home,” he said. “I am not ready to resume peace talks. As I have said, I would like to tell the Filipino people: Peace with the communists might not come in this generation.” On several occasions, the President had insisted that he would not give in to the demand of the communist rebels to free all political prisoners. “I will not compromise integrity of government by releasing all political prisoners,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte pursuing Charter change


FEBRUARY 5 President Rodrigo R. Duterte President Duterte remains firm on his intention to amend the 1987 Constitution to attain peace in Mindanao. Duterte, in his speech in North Cotabato, reiterated that only federalism can resolve the peace problems in Mindanao after regrettably stating that peace with the rebels cannot be attained in this generation. “Remember, I told you right at the beginning of the campaign that there will be no peace in Mindanao ’pag hindi ninyo ibigay ang federalism (if you don’t grant federalism). Sabihin ko sa inyo (I tell you), it will eventually break our country,” he said. Just two days after the communist rebels announced the withdrawal of their ceasefire, Duterte lifted the government’s own unilateral ceasefire Friday after three soldiers were killed in an ambush last Wednesday. READ MORE...RELATED, SEPARATE STATE? Duterte - Mindanao will go it alone on federalism, if needed

ALSO: ‘Disconnect’ seen between NDF, NPA amid truce end


FEBRUARY 5 -Palace notes 'disconnect' between NDF, NPA amid end of ceasefire
There is an apparent “disconnect” between the leaders of the National Democratic Front (NDF) talking peace with the government and the New People Army (NPA), the communist’s armed group that is operating on the ground, a Palace official yesterday said. Describing the simultaneous revocation of unilateral ceasefire between the Communist Party of the Philippines and the government as somewhat pitiful, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella noted that the Europe-based rebel movement’s leadership has apparently failed to control its guerrilla forces in various barrios and hinterlands in the country.
“Some progress had already been made during the third round of peace talks in Rome, but apparently there is some disconnect between dissident leaders negotiating at the table and their forces on the ground,” he said in a text message to reporters.“It would be deeply regrettable that the otherwise positive developments now might have to be set aside,” he lamented. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte to Catholics - Come with me to hell if you want to end drugs
[RELATED COMMENTARY: Will CBCP history repeat itself? By: Asuncion David Maramba]


FEBRUARY 4 -President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday told Catholics who wish to get rid of the country's drug problem to keep supporting his campaign against it—but warned that it means going to hell. Duterte, who was in Cagayan de Oro, made the comment as the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has released a pastoral letter against the his war on drugs. Instead of directly addressing the bishops, the President turned to Catholics. "Kung maniwala kayo diyan sa mga pari pati obispo, doon kayo," he said. "Kung gusto n'yong mapunta ng langit, doon kayo." Then, to supporters of his anti-drug war: "Kayong gusto matapos ang droga pero mapunta sa impyerno, sumabay kayo sa akin." The CBCP statement, read in sermon in Masses on Sunday, said the bishops are "deeply concerned" about the spate of drug-related killings. It said the anti-drug war has brought a "reign of terror in many places of the poor," as well as "indifference of many to this kind of wrong." READ MORE...

ALSO: By Amelia Ylagan- A Pastoral Letter

FEBRUARY 6 -In his homily for the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy last month at the University of Sto. Tomas, Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas “took a subtle swipe at the moves to revive the death penalty in the country -- an indication, he said, that some people are ‘afraid of mercy.’” (CBCP News, 01.18.2017) Similarly, in his Christmas homily last year, he also warned that “anger has become so common and ordinary, to the point that the culture of revenge is slowly enchaining us... Anger pushes us to pursue the illusion that we must kill in order to defend life.” (pagadiandiocese.org, 12.25.2016). All parish priests in Pangasinan province read the archbishop’s message to the flock that “we (cannot) bury our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well.”  (Allegedly) more than 6,100 bodies have piled up since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in July, having promised a brutal crackdown on the illegal drug trade in the country (Ibid.). “Do not let anger and fear kill you... and push you to nod in agreement with murder,” he exhorted (Ibid.). READ MORE...


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In a speech in Cotabato, President Rodrigo Duterte vehemently belied reports that the PNP acted on instructions “from the very top of government” to kill thousands of suspected drug offenders and get rewarded with cash incentives for the task. PPD

Duterte fumes over ‘pay per kill’ report

MANILA, FEBRUARY 6, 2017 (PHILSTAR)  By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 4, 2017 - Saying he is not in the business of paying policemen for every drug suspect killed, President Duterte blasted Amnesty International (AI) yesterday for its report on how the killing of drug offenders had become a state-sanctioned source of income for law enforcers.

In a speech in Cotabato, Duterte vehemently belied reports that the PNP acted on instructions “from the very top of government” to kill thousands of suspected drug offenders and get rewarded with cash incentives for the task.

He also defended the Philippine National Police (PNP) against criticism of its enforcement of his administration’s war on drugs.

The report said policemen were given P5,000 to P15,000 for every kill during drug sting operations.

READ MORE...

“Why would I give them money just to make them kill people? It’s their job,” he said in Filipino with expletives.

“I’m not a weakling president. I’m from Mindanao,” he added.

Duterte, however, admitted having released about P115 million in intelligence funds to boost the PNP’s drug operations dubbed Oplan Tokhang.

The intelligence funds were not rewards but were intended to help police in anti-drug operations.

Duterte, who has ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to lead the drug operations nationwide with the help of the military, again expressed disappointment with some policemen’s recycling illegal drugs such as shabu for re-sale. “It’s a police racket,” he said.

“Wag ninyo akong galitin…Yan mga taga Maynila, mahina yan (Don’t make me angry. You in Manila, you’re puny),” he said.

As a politician from Mindanao, Duterte said he cannot be misled by anyone from Manila, as he claimed to be smarter than them.

‘Not about hatred and violence’ Staunch ally Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said Duterte is not a violent man but is simply doing everything he can to end the scourge of illegal drugs and attain peace in the country.

Cayetano made the pronouncement before delegates to the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

He invited the delegates to visit the Philippines, as he appealed to them to “please look at us from a different perspective.”

The senator made the appeal as the Duterte administration continues to reap international condemnation over the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country – over 7,000 recorded so far – attributed to the brutal campaign against illegal drugs.

“We invite you to come to the Philippines and see for yourselves that the Philippines is not about hatred and violence as being shown in the international media,” Cayetano said.

He encouraged the foreign leaders to come and visit the country to “discover for themselves the natural beauty of the country, and get to know Filipinos who are loving, kind and hospitable.”

He also said the administration’s campaign against drugs is “not a war to kill criminals… but a war to fight for the lives of all Filipinos.”

The senator said Duterte has acknowledged there are law enforcers who abuse their powers, but this should not be a reason to stop the entire drug campaign in general.

“President Duterte is being portrayed in the international community as a ‘violent’ man. But a ‘violent’ man does not want peace for anyone,” Cayetano said.

“Our President is doing everything to make the peace talks successful, achieve lasting peace and win the war against illegal drugs,” he said.

He compared the rogue cops in the law enforcement agencies like the Philippine National Police to the corrupt personnel in tax agencies.

“When tax collecting agencies become rigged with corruption, we did not tell them to stop collecting taxes, but we cleansed the agencies,” he said.

He said there may be weaknesses in the system but the important thing is that the cleansing is ongoing. – With Paolo Romero

---------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

‘Amnesty lnternational naive and stupid’ By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


AI reported last week that the Philippine National Police (PNP) acted on instructions “from the very top of government” and have executed thousands of suspected drug offenders. According to the group, the policemen also paid others to finish off drug suspects. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte described Amnesty International (AI) as “naive and stupid” and challenged the group to find out the truth about the drug menace and the spate of killings in the Philippines.

AI reported last week that the Philippine National Police (PNP) acted on instructions “from the very top of government” and have executed thousands of suspected drug offenders. According to the group, the policemen also paid others to finish off drug suspects.

AI also reported that the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign systematically targeted poor people and encouraged policemen to break laws while profiting from the death of poor people.

Duterte denied the allegations and assailed the AI for coming up with an “unverified report.”

“This Amnesty (International is) so naive and so stupid. Why would we kill people? Ano itong gobyernong ito tagapatay na parang aso (Do they think this government kills people like dogs)? There has to be a reason. Find out the reason and find out the truth,” Duterte said during a visit to his parents’ graves in Davao City Saturday night.

“You (did not see the) need to ask the government. You just go ahead and publish anything you want and it’s easy to condemn because people judge best when they condemn,” he added.

Duterte explained that some policemen were given money so they can catch the drug pushers in the act of selling narcotics.

“I gave them P150 million for this year. Do you know why? They are out to arrest drug traffickers. If they do not have money, whoever you arrest, there can be no buy and sell of drugs so it’s not trafficking. Maybe possession (of illegal drugs) if you conduct arrest,” he said.

“They go out to buy then arrest them because that is really trafficking, buy and sell of drugs. Kung walang pera yan, ano bibili nila? Bayag nila? (If they don’t have money, what would they use to buy drugs? Their balls)?”

But Duterte admitted that some rogue policemen may have killed the drug pushers, pocketed the money and sold the narcotics.

“It is now up to Bato (PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa) to make an accounting of where the money went, was it spent? And what was the scheme?” he said.

Duterte also denied that the policemen were given additional incentives to kill drug pushers. “Why would I pay you for doing your job?”

The President again took a potshot at Sen. Leila de Lima, a vocal critic of his bloody anti-narcotics campaign whom he accused of receiving millions from drug lords.

“Is that the only thing you (De Lima) can produce? The report of Amnesty?” Duterte said.

“You must remember, Amnesty International is a creation of (George) Soros,” he added, referring to the Hungarian-American billionaire whom the President has accused of funding a group that criticized his drug crackdown and even reportedly sought his ouster.

Asked how he would react if the Senate decides to look into the AI report, Duterte replied: Hayaan nila. Hanapin nila ang totoo (Let them do it. They should find the truth).”

The President hinted though that more people would die because of his campaign against illegal drugs.

“I have been trying to figure out a way of explaining it. Ngayong nandito na tayo sa cemetery, tutal lugar na ito ng mga patay, marami pang pupunta dito (Since we are here in a cemetery, a place for the dead, many more will come here),” he said, adding an expletive.


INQUIRER

Duterte: No more peace talks with Reds without ‘compelling reason’ By: Leila B. Salaverria, Nestor Corrales -@inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 11:07 PM February 04, 2017


President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP)

Peace talks with communist rebels will no longer continue, unless there’s a compelling reason to do so, President Rodrigo Duterte told reporters on Sunday during his visit to his parents’ graves in Davao City.

“Peace talks will remain canceled unless there is a compelling reason that will benefit the interest of the nation,” Mr. Duterte said, a day after he lifted the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“If I feel that there is a joke somewhere. I will not waste my time,” he said.

He said he would also direct government negotiators, who had been engaged in talks with communists in Rome, to come home.

“I will request maybe tomorrow the Philippine contingent to fold their tents and come home,” he said. “I am not ready to resume peace talks. As I have said, I would like to tell the Filipino people: Peace with the communists might not come in this generation.”

On several occasions, the President had insisted that he would not give in to the demand of the communist rebels to free all political prisoners.

“I will not compromise integrity of government by releasing all political prisoners,” he said.

READ MORE...

“I would not honor any agreement that would violate the Constitution. I never promised to release all political prisoners. You don’t release them because they committed a crime,” he added.

‘My soldiers have died’

He said he lifted the ceasefire ahead of the Feb. 10 scheduled lifting of the ceasefire on the part of the rebels because many soldiers had died.

“Namamatay na mga sundalo ko maghihintay pa ako ng Feb. 10? (My soldiers have died. Why should I wait for Feb. 10?),” he said.

To political prisoners already out of prison, he directed this statement: “Those released by the government should return to prison in their own volition. Those released to participate in the talks should return and face jurisdiction of the government because they are still criminals.”

The government peace panel and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiators were supposed to meet for the fourth rounds of talks in The Netherlands from Feb. 22 to 25.

‘Prepare for a long war’

Mr. Duterte chided the communists rebels for apparently wanting hostilities to continue.

“If you want to extend it for another 50 years, so be it. I’d be happy to accommodate you,” he said.

He stressed that he had “walked the extra mile” for peace.

Mr. Duterte said he was “not ready to talk about anything.”

“I told soldiers to prepare for a long war. I said it will not come during our generation. I know them already,” he said.

Earlier Saturday, the government peace panel said the talks were scheduled to continue despite the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire.

The government lifted its ceasefire on Friday night, two days after the NPA said it was canceling its own truce by Feb. 10.

The NPA had accused the government of reneging on a promise to free more jailed comrades and of advancing its troops into rebel-held territories.

Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza and government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III had both stressed that President Duterte only ended the ceasefire, but not the whole peace process.

Bello said that both sides were due to meet in the Netherlands later this month as well as in Norway in April. The government panel had submitted to the NDFP a proposal for a bilateral ceasefire.

On Friday, the military said that at least six soldiers were killed in fresh hostilities this week, including three who were kidnapped and found dead, their bodies bearing multiple gunshot wounds.

In lifting the government ceasefire, Mr. Duterte said the rebels had insisted on impossible demands, including the release of about 400 jailed political prisoners.

He lamented that his administration would have been the “golden opportunity” to end about 50 years of fighting that, according to estimates, has left at least 40,000 dead.

“I am asking the soldiers, go back to your camps, clean your rifles and be ready to fight,” Mr. Duterte had said.

“Sorry. So I really would like to express my sadness. We cannot have a peaceful generation,” he added.

Earlier hopes dashed

Before the President’s announcement, Dureza was still hopeful that talks would continue.

“On the peace talks, he has not mentioned anything specific about it so we consider it, as far as peace adviser, we assume that the peace talks will still continue as scheduled, unless otherwise ordered by the President,” Dureza had said.

The NDFP, the political wing of the communist movement, said that despite the end of the truce, both sides could carry on with their work.

“The NDFP remains hopeful that the peace talks will proceed on track and that the comprehensive agreements on socioeconomic, political and constitutional reforms currently being negotiated will be deemed ready for approval by both panels by end-2017, and soon after by the principals,” NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili had said.

But the military appears to be preparing for war against NPA.

Maj. Gen. Rafael Valencia, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command—the area where skirmishes and abduction of soldiers had recently taken place—said the military could now pursue the NPA. He said he would wait for an official word before deployments to rebel-held areas would be made.

“There will be no additional troops. I believe our force on the ground [is] sufficient,” he told reporters.

Over 3,000 families have also been displaced in the fresh hostilities this week, particularly in Manay, Davao Oriental, where NPA rebels killed a junior army officer in an ambush, the Army’s 10th Infantry Division said. —WITH REPORTS FROM KARLOS MANLUPIG, ALLAN NAWAL, CYNTHIA D. BALANA, JAYMEE T. GAMIL, DJ YAP, FRINSTON LIM AND REUTERS


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte pursuing Charter change 0 SHARES Share it! Published February 5, 2017, 12:09 AM By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos


President Rodrigo R. Duterte

President Duterte remains firm on his intention to amend the 1987 Constitution to attain peace in Mindanao.

Duterte, in his speech in North Cotabato, reiterated that only federalism can resolve the peace problems in Mindanao after regrettably stating that peace with the rebels cannot be attained in this generation.

“Remember, I told you right at the beginning of the campaign that there will be no peace in Mindanao ’pag hindi ninyo ibigay ang federalism (if you don’t grant federalism). Sabihin ko sa inyo (I tell you), it will eventually break our country,” he said.

Just two days after the communist rebels announced the withdrawal of their ceasefire, Duterte lifted the government’s own unilateral ceasefire Friday after three soldiers were killed in an ambush last Wednesday.

READ MORE...

Duterte also responded to the vow of some members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission (ConCom) to block any attempt to change the Charter.

“Kaya kayo ayaw niyong baliktarin, ayaw niyong palitan ang Constitution (You don’t want to end the Constitution), fine!” he said, adding that there won’t be peace until amendments in the Constitution are made.

He also hit former constitutional commissioners for seemingly making their work “more than its weight of gold.”

“Trabaho nila ‘yon, eh. Iyon ‘yung commission na inilagay ni [former President] Cory [Aquino] after the EDSA revolution, ‘yang Constitution na trabaho nila (The Constitution they created was their job). They think it is more than its weight of gold,” he said.

Three former constitutional commissioners had earlier said the Constitution is not the problem, but rather the failure of the government to fully implement it.


INQUIRER

SEPARATE STATE? Duterte: Mindanao will go it alone on federalism, if needed Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:09 AM February 05, 2017


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gestures as he delivers his keynote message during the ceremonial of the switch-on of the M’lang Solar Powered Irrigation System (MSPIS) in Barangay Janiuay, M’lang, Cotabato on February 3, 2017. SIMEON CELI JR./Presidential Photo

MLANG, North Cotabato—If he can not have his way for a federal Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte said he will still push for a federal Mindanao as constitutionalists and framers of the 1987 Constitution vowed to block his attempt for a total shift in the form of government through the amendment of the Charter.

Speaking at the ceremonial opening of the solar-powered irrigation project here on Friday, Duterte said he did not care if only Mindanao will adopt the federal system as it is the only way to address the conflict brought about by the Moro rebellion.

“It’s okay. I have no problem with that,” Duterte said, reacting to the statement of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., who vowed to stake his life to defend the Constitution.

READ MORE...

Davide, who was among those who framed the 1987 Charter, was quoted in news reports as saying that a shift from a unitary to a federal system of government would be a “fatal experiment” that would further push the country into poverty.

He described the 1987 Constitution as the best in the world because it is “pro-God, procountry, propeople, propoor, prolife, profamily, promarriage, and proenvironment.”

But the President said changing the form of government from unitary to federal is the best thing that his leadership can do as “the unitary system has spelled so much trouble, especially in Mindanao.”

“I’d like to address them,” Duterte said. “Remember, I told you right at the beginning of the campaign that there will be no peace in Mindanao if you will not give (us) federalism?” he asked. “It will eventually tear our county apart.”

He then made an appeal to Moro rebel groups to support his cause.

“To the Muslims, why should we kill each other?” he asked. “We are already here in Mindanao. If they will not give it to us, let us just form our own government, the federal state of Mindanao,” he said. —JEOFFREY MAITEM


TRIBUNE

‘Disconnect’ seen between NDF, NPA amid truce end Written by Ted Tuvera Sunday, 05 February 2017 00:00


FEBRUARY 5 -Palace notes 'disconnect' between NDF, NPA amid end of ceasefire

There is an apparent “disconnect” between the leaders of the National Democratic Front (NDF) talking peace with the government and the New People Army (NPA), the communist’s armed group that is operating on the ground, a Palace official yesterday said.
Describing the simultaneous revocation of unilateral ceasefire between the Communist Party of the Philippines and the government as somewhat pitiful, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella noted that the Europe-based rebel movement’s leadership has apparently failed to control its guerrilla forces in various barrios and hinterlands in the country.
“Some progress had already been made during the third round of peace talks in Rome, but apparently there is some disconnect between dissident leaders negotiating at the table and their forces on the ground,” he said in a text message to reporters.
“It would be deeply regrettable that the otherwise positive developments now might have to be set aside,” he lamented.

READ MORE...

While Abella said it may be difficult to attain peace, it could still be achieved as it has “not yet been scuttled.”
“Despite the untenable circumstances on the ground, the peace talks have not yet been scuttled. The road to peace is not an easy journey,” Abella said.
The Palace official also lashed out at the NPA for launching a series of offensives against government forces days before its unilateral ceasefire declaration ultimatum on February 10.
“The NPA had broken peace, ambushing soldiers at ease some of whom had just received wages when rebels shot and killed them viciously,” he stressed.Abella noted that the rebels displayed “complete disregard for their earlier announcement that they would recall ceasefire only by February 10.”

President Rodrigo Duterte declared the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA last Friday, even as he called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to “be ready to fight.”
“Peace with the communists cannot be achieved in our generation,” the Commander-in-Chief lamented.
“But I’m sad to report to you that there will be no peace with the communists... Let’s finish each other off,” he stressed.
Enough forces
AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año, for his part, said the military has sufficient forces to meet rebel groups in Eastern Mindanao.
“We have enough forces. We will assess everything before we make any troop movement or any adjustment,” he said when asked whether there is a need for more forces after Mr. Duterte ordered the lifting of the government ceasefire amid the unprovoked NPA attacks which left six troops dead and three others abducted this week.
Año noted he has been in contact with all military commanders in Eastern Mindanao and that all of them are now aware of what they need to do.
“They know already what to do because when we (had) our command conference early last month, (part of the) contingency planning is what the military would do in case peace negotiations fail or should the NPA decide to withdraw their ceasefire,” he said.
Año placed the number of NPA combatants in the entire country at 3,700, half of whom are operating in Eastern Mindanao.
He said this is the reason the AFP is focusing on community development programs in the countryside, especially those with indigenous peoples, so that the rebels would be denied additional recruits.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Duterte to Catholics: Come with me to hell if you want to end drugs Published February 5, 2017 7:03pm By ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO, GMA News

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday told Catholics who wish to get rid of the country's drug problem to keep supporting his campaign against it—but warned that it means going to hell.

Duterte, who was in Cagayan de Oro, made the comment as the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has released a pastoral letter against the his war on drugs.

Instead of directly addressing the bishops, the President turned to Catholics.

"Kung maniwala kayo diyan sa mga pari pati obispo, doon kayo," he said. "Kung gusto n'yong mapunta ng langit, doon kayo."

Then, to supporters of his anti-drug war: "Kayong gusto matapos ang droga pero mapunta sa impyerno, sumabay kayo sa akin."

The CBCP statement, read in sermon in Masses on Sunday, said the bishops are "deeply concerned" about the spate of drug-related killings.

It said the anti-drug war has brought a "reign of terror in many places of the poor," as well as "indifference of many to this kind of wrong."

READ MORE...

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella issued a separate statement hours later, saying the bishops were "apparently out of touch with the sentiments of the faithful who overwhelmingly support the changes in the Philippines."

The Catholic Church has been a frequent subject of President Rodrigo Duterte's tirades as he defends his anti-drug war.

Duterte, who claimed during the campaign that he was sexually abused by a priest as a student, said Catholic leaders had no moral ascendancy if they could not give justice to the children molested by members of the clergy.

He also scored Catholic priests and leaders for "hypocrisy," as he expressed dismay over the prelates who tag casualties in the drug war as cases of extrajudicial killings. —ALG, GMA News

---------------------------------------------

RELATED COMMENTARY FROM THE INQUIRER

Will CBCP history repeat itself? By: Asuncion David Maramba - @inquirerdotnet 12:06 AM January 31, 2017

Five months ago I intended to write “The Church is doing its part” to combat the escalating extrajudicial killings. I kept a list of Church statements and initiatives including an early item on a wear-black Mass at San Marcelino Church to coincide with President Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address.

I clipped statements by Archbishops Villegas, Lagdameo and Cruz, Cardinal Tagle, and Father Villarin, SJ, as well as Church offers for drug rehab and a “Holy Eucharist” at Liwasang Bonifacio by the National Clergy Discernment Group.

But I lost steam and chucked list and clippings. I was waiting for some moral authority, theologian, or professor to write on the morality of EJK, to show that there are killings and killings: self-defense, killing in war, euthanasia, death penalty, abortion, etc. There is justified or unjustified killing. By no means does EJK pass any criterion for justified killing.

The war on drugs has been the administration’s centerpiece. And EJK has been the method of choice for its execution (no pun intended). As such, shouldn’t protests gather around EJK in one united, strong heave?

Meanwhile: “I am a good Catholic,” says a lady, “but I am for the killings.” Says a yuppie: “More. What’s 3,000 to 3,000,000, 4K to 4M?”

Is “this” then the new normal which we have accepted and become numb to? Is this why a dog (with animal rights) killed in a movie elicits more outrage than human beings killed like pigs!? Three, four, five, six… do I hear 7,000 dead? Talk of a “culture of death” that the Church so loathes; isn’t this it?

Admit it: The President is unbeatable in his vocabulary (such as it is) and rapport. He remains his best man. Cry your heart out but his ratings stay high, aided moreover by an army of trolls and the spread of “post-truths” and “fake news.” (“What does this say of us?” a friend asked.)

ARROYO PRESIDENCY

Then “The Church lost its influence during Arroyo presidency” (Opinion, 1/23/17) by Oscar Lagman Jr. came out. The point about 2005, “when they rejected calls for Arroyo to resign,” must have been a reference to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ pastoral letter of July 9, 2005, “Restoring Trust: a Plea for Moral Values in Philippine Politics.” That much-awaited letter is said to have “saved the Queen” (i.e., Arroyo).

There were three successive CBCP letters in 2008: “Reform Yourselves and Believe in the Gospel” (1/28); “The Truth Will Set Our Country Free” (2/10); and “Seeking the Truth, Restoring Integrity” (2/26).

The last was a letdown for those who had held their breath for it. I quote myself (“Dear Bishops—hello and goodbye,” Opinion, 3/26/08) and cite the Inquirer’s editorial cartoon (2/29/08) showing a ponderous bishop with miter and staff, back turned and walking away from a tiny Juan de la Cruz, saying, “You’re on your own but with our blessings.”

Why am I bringing this up? Because the country is now at a very similar fork in the road; the Church is “at a crossroad.” Déjà vu is echoing and reechoing.

Good news has come. “Our shepherds have not been silent” (Marin, Lim, Falguerra, SJ, Opinion, 1/3/17) defended the hierarchy.

Father Faraon in a TV Mass talked of many priests doing their part, and asked that they not be excoriated (Huwag nyo kaming murahin).

Nonetheless, isn’t it possible that the foot soldiers, the kaparian all over the archipelago, feel leaderless and yearn for the Church leadership to demonstrate and declare one strong voice?

The CBCP held its plenary assembly on Jan. 28-30.

The Inquirer ran the headline “EJK, war on drugs on bishops’ agenda” (1/29).

Will scattered efforts coalesce and finally take a concerted, collective stand and position?

Or will the Church dissipate its energy to rail against reproductive health and other issues again, instead of getting its act together and confronting today’s “clear and present danger” stalking the nights and our poor?

Will it come out with a strong pastoral letter or another feeble (as in 2005 and 2008)“studied neutrality”?

Is it going to be “save the King,” like the last decade’s “save the Queen”?

Many no longer hold their breath for what the Church has to say, but a great number still do. This time, I again wait with bated breath for what the CBCP will say.


Asuncion David Maramba is a retired professor, book editor and occasional journalist.


BUSINESSWORLDONLINE.COM OPINION


A Pastoral Letter Corporate Watch Amelia H. C. Ylagan Posted on February 06, 2017

In his homily for the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy last month at the University of Sto. Tomas, Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas “took a subtle swipe at the moves to revive the death penalty in the country -- an indication, he said, that some people are ‘afraid of mercy.’” (CBCP News, 01.18.2017)

Similarly, in his Christmas homily last year, he also warned that “anger has become so common and ordinary, to the point that the culture of revenge is slowly enchaining us... Anger pushes us to pursue the illusion that we must kill in order to defend life.” (pagadiandiocese.org, 12.25.2016).

All parish priests in Pangasinan province read the archbishop’s message to the flock that “we (cannot) bury our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well.”

(Allegedly) more than 6,100 bodies have piled up since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in July, having promised a brutal crackdown on the illegal drug trade in the country (Ibid.). “Do not let anger and fear kill you... and push you to nod in agreement with murder,” he exhorted (Ibid.).

READ MORE...

But it is not that easy for us, lowly sinners to be brave and stand up, many Catholics might probably be secretly saying in their hearts.

 Although many social conversations inevitably turn to the issues of alleged extrajudicial killings, the return of the death penalty, the RH bill and controversial sex education cum free condoms for high school kids, even the faux-macho jeering on women -- the street rallies are no more, since the proven futility of protest after the forced and undercover burial of the dictator Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery, the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

In January, President Duterte has increased his tirades against the Church, cursing some bishops and accusing them of corruption (Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), 01.29.2017).

True to its image of long-suffering humility, the Catholic clergy tried to hold back direct strong reaction. When time came for Philippine Catholic bishops’ three-day plenary assembly at end January, and questions had to be asked and answered.

“We issue pastoral letters but are we still understood and relevant to the struggles and visions of our people?

Can we listen to gutter language without judgment?” asked Archbishop Villegas, also the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

“Are we not becoming shell institutions -- lovely to see with nothing inside?” (PDI, 01.25.2017).

Sociopolitical issues include the war on drugs, extrajudicial killings (EJK), death penalty, federalism... included social media abuse, including the presence of “trolls” were on the CBCP agenda (PDI op. cit. 01.29.2017).

The CBCP plenary was attended by 82 out of the 91 active bishops, and nine of the 41 honorary CBCP members, which group provides policy directions for the church.

It was the second to the last plenary for Villegas as CBCP President, as he will relinquish his post by December after completing his second two-year term in office.

For a while, it was not sure whether a Pastoral Letter would ensue from the proceedings and resolutions at that latest CBCP conference. While the bishops were deliberating on what stance and what actions to take on the raging conflicts in morality versus legalities and what they see as the culture of fear and consequent permissiveness of Filipinos, President Duterte suspended his war on drugs (and assumedly, the EJK).

Reason was the looming involvement of some Police officers in the killing of a Korean businessman in a betrayed kidnap-for-ransom “inside job” by these policemen (Stars and Stripes, 01.30.2017).

The Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) in the PNP was dissolved and reduced functions transferred to a special task force in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

It was a convenient coincidence that the EJK issue was doused, which might have shorted the CBCP electricity in a Pastoral Letter.

“Beloved People of God,” the Pastoral Letter of Bishops greeted communities and parishes in the country at all Sunday Masses on Feb. 5, and anticipated Masses the Saturday before.

The bishops declared deep concern for the extrajudicial killings, acknowledging that the country has a drug problem which must be addressed, but expressly declaring that “the solution does not lie in the killing of suspected drug pushers and users.”

“An additional cause of concern is the reign of terror in many places of the poor. Many are killed not because of drugs. Those who kill them are not brought into account. An even greater cause of concern is the indifference of many to this kind of wrong.

“We are one with many of our countrymen who want change. But change must be guided by truth and justice.”

The fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” was the focus of message to the flock, as it reminded that life is a gift from God, and only God can take life back.

Alluding to the reimposition of the Death Penalty, the bishops reminded that “the opportunity to change is never lost in any person, in God’s mercy as His example to us, and that even legally, a person must be assumed innocent until proven guilty.

“We cannot correct a wrong by doing another wrong... the cause of the drug problem and criminality is the poverty of the majority, the destruction of the family and corruption in society.”

The integrity and efficiency of the justice system must be reinforced with the culling of rogue policemen and corrupt judges.

“To consent and to keep silent in front of evil is to be an accomplice to it... if we consent or allow the killing of suspected drug addicts, we shall also be responsible for their deaths.”

The Pastoral Letter ended with a pledge that the “Church will continue to speak against evil even as we acknowledge and repent of our own shortcomings. We will do this even if it will bring persecution among us because we are all brothers and sisters responsible for each other. We will help drug addicts so that they may be healed and start a new life. We will stand in solidarity and care for those left behind by those who have been killed and for the victims of drug addicts. Let us renew our efforts to strengthen families.”

AMEN.


Amelia H. C. Ylagan is a Doctor of Business Administration from the University of the Philippines.

aminarasul@yahoo.com


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