- Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Villegas condemned vigilantism as a means to achieve Duterte’s goal of eliminating drugs in the country
- The CBCP has released a moral guideline for law enforcers to ponder on as they fulfill their jobs
- More than 20 suspected criminals were already reportedly killed by the Police in the recent days
After several deaths of suspected drug pushers and criminals, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday, June 20 condemned the vigilant acts.
In a statement by CBCP President Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, he said that “God never gave up on us. We have no right giving up on ourselves or on our brothers and sisters.”
"Jesus came to restore the harmony of Paradise. Let no one ever raise his hand against his brother or sister, for the blood that is shed – even if it be the blood of one we suspect of crime – cries to heaven for justice,” he added.
The CBCP president said that they are disturbed that more of these cases emerge day by day.
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In earlier pronouncements, Duterte insinuated that police officers can shoot suspected criminals if they resist arrest.
According to the president-elect: "Pag sinabi mo, 'sumama ka sa akin sa istasyon (When you say, 'Come with me to the station)', because I have to bring you to the station. In an arrest, you must overcome the resistance of the criminal. And if he fights, and he fights to death, you can kill him.”
Amidst the growing cases of vigilantism, the CBCP has offered the following guidelines for law enforcers:
- "One can 'shoot to kill' solely on the ground of legitimate self-defense or the defense of others. Law and jurisprudence have sufficiently spelled out the elements of self-defense, and for purposes of Catholic morality, it is necessary to emphasize that you, as law enforcers, can 'shoot to kill' only first, when there is unjust provocation; second, when there is a real, not only conjectural, threat to your life or to the lives and safety of others; third, when there is due proportion between the threat posed and your own use of a firearm aimed at the threatening subject."
- "To kill a suspect outright, no matter how much surveillance work may have antecedently been done on the suspect, is not morally justified. Suspicion is never the moral equivalent of certainty, and punishment may be inflicted only on the ground of certainty."
- "When the arrest of a suspect is attempted, and the suspect endeavors to flee or to escape from the scene, every attempt by non-lethal means should be made to stop the suspect from fleeing and if shot at, every attempt should be made to spare the fleeing suspect from death, unless the escape of such a victim clearly and immediately puts others in harm’s way."
- "It is never morally permissible to receive reward money to kill another. When bounty-hunting takes the form of seeking out suspects of crime, killing them, then presenting proof of the death of the object of the hunt to the offeror of the reward, one is hardly any different from a mercenary, a gun-for-hire, no matter that the object of one’s manhunt should be a suspected offender."
- "It is the moral duty of every Catholic, every Christian, in fact, to report all forms of vigilantism of which they have personal knowledge. For greater reason is it a duty to keep away from any participation and any form of cooperation with vigilantes and vigilante movements."
According to reports, the police have already cracked down on more than 20 alleged drug suspects. This is in line with incoming president Duterte’s firm stance against the drug problem in the country.
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