Joint Pastoral Statement of the Four Dioceses of Negros Island on Extrajudicial Killings
“Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.”
(Our Lady of the Rosary to Lucia at Fatima, October 13, 1917)
We, the Bishops of Bacolod, Dumaguete, and San Carlos, and the Diocesan Administrator of Kabankalan, are deeply saddened and greatly disturbed by the following happenings in our country today:
- The ever-increasing spate of extrajudicial killings in connection with the anti-drug campaign.
- The inadequate action on the part of government to check the extrajudicial killings and to bring their perpetrators to justice.
- The incendiary statements of the administration which tend to encourage the killing of drug addicts.
- Most of all, the seeming apathy and indifference of the general public in the face of these extrajudicial killings. We are deeply concerned that this alarming insensitivity could lead to a deadening of conscience and the dawning of a culture of death.
While we commend the government for its political will and determination in addressing the terrible drug menace that has long plagued our country, we strongly urge that this be done within the bounds of law and with full respect for human rights, for we believe that:
- Man is created in God’s image and redeemed by the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ. Hence, human life is sacred.
- As God is the author of life, he alone has power over life.
- “The commandment, ‘You shall not kill’, has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and the guilty… It must not be forgotten that the inviolable and God-given right to life also belongs to the criminal.” (Pope Francis)
- God does not take any pleasure in the death of the wicked but wishes that they rather turn from their ways and live. (cf. Ezekiel 18:23)
Echoing therefore the stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, we strongly condemn these extrajudicial killings.
At the same time, as pastors of our flock, we commit ourselves and our dioceses:
- To pray constantly that our country may be effectively rid of the drug menace, but in a manner that is just and lawful.
- To intensify our work of evangelization particularly in the area of forming consciences and promoting the culture of life, starting in our families.
- To offer our cooperation and collaboration with government in the work of drug prevention and rehabilitation.
On this Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, we entrust our county, our leaders and our people to her maternal care and protection. As she grieved at the foot of the cross and courageously witnessed the unjust execution of her own Son, she never gave up hope in His power to conquer death. Like her, we too hold the same hope, for she herself assures us through her message to Lucia, “I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”
MOST REV. GERARDO A. ALMINAZA, DD
Bishop of San Carlos
MOST REV. PATRICIO A. BUZON, SDB, DD
Bishop of Bacolod
MOST REV. JULITO B. CORTES, DD
Bishop of Dumaguete
VERY REV. ROLANDO G. NUEVA
Administrator of Kabankalan