- Ateneo de Manila University President Father Jose Ramon Villarin condemned the recent extrajudicial killings happening in the country
- Villarin stated that when we learn to respect the sanctity of every person’s life, only then can we bring change in the country
- The recent death of an Ateneo teacher and alumnus was one of the driving forces that made Villarin to speak against the pressing issue happening in our society
With the increasing number of extrajudicial killings happening in the country, Ateneo de Manila University President Father Jose Ramon Villarin joined other Catholic leaders and spoke against the issue on Friday, July 29.
Villarin emphasized on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against the illegal drug trade and use in the country and the administration’s vow to reform and change the country.
“Real change will happen only when Filipinos respect the sanctity of every person’s life,” the Ateneo president said in his speech.
After the tragic death of Emmanuel Jose “Em-J” Pavia, an Ateneo teacher and alumnus who was murdered, Villarin chose to speak about the issue and expressed his condemnation.
Pavia is a son of two Ateneo professors. While on his way home to Barangka, Marikina, unidentified killers shot Pavia to death.
"Though official investigation continues, under no circumstances can the killing of such a young and dedicated teacher be spared condemnation in the strongest terms," Villarin said in his statement regarding the death of Pavia.
Villarin further noted how “the primal feelings of frustration, anger, and fear unleashed by the violence” creates a sense of fear among all of us; that at this moment anyone of us can be a victim without due process.
The Ateneo president pointed out: “We recognize the willful efforts of government, the private sector, and civil society to rid our communities of this drug menace and to institute measures that protect persons and property from such violence. However, Christian faith tells us that Jesus came so that all may have life and have it more abundantly (Jn 10,10). Because of the fundamental Gospel value and sanctity of each person’s life, the death of anyone regardless of virtue cannot but diminish us, and any society or culture that encourages and multiplies death cheapens life for everyone.”
With the recent speech of De La Salle Philippines president Brother Jose Mari Jimenez against the extrajudicial killings, Villarin stated that the Ateneo Community is one with the sentiments of the La Sallian community as well on the pressing issue. He further reiterated that they are part of the sympathetic voices in the civil society.
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The extrajudicial killings since the Duterte administration started have raised concerns among leader of Catholic nun, the president of De La Salle Philippines, and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines, and other groups and institutions in the country.
“At the advent of a new administration, the hope of authentic social change and personal transformation is raised before us once more. These cannot be truly achieved with fear as primary motivation or retribution as auxiliary deterrent,” said Villarin.
The Ateneo Community was urged by Villarin to respect human rights and justice; to espouse best practices in crime prevention and control; to always uphold equality, rule of law, due process, and right judicial processes; and to address the root causes of violence.
“If real change is to happen, it can only come when we hold before us the value and sanctity of every person’s life,” Villarin reminded everyone. - Kami Media