Weekly Reflections: When killings are sanctioned by the State

By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
www.nordis.net

“You shall not kill” — (Exodus 20:13)
“For God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” — (John 3:17)

Extra-judicial killings

Extra-judicial killing (EJK) is now becoming a hot issue in our country today. Thanks to the social media for opening the eyes of people, including the President, to the inhuman and brutal nature of the “war on drugs” that the Duterte government declared from the very start.

President Duterte admitted that he could not probably win the “war on drugs” until the end of his term, because according to him the drug problem is so immense that it has already infected not only individual lives but even the whole political system. Many of the drug personalities in his list according to him are government officials, police officers, judges, and legislators.

But I think the drug problem is more than just a political and criminal one. It is also medical, economic, and moral. Drug addicts are sick people who need medical rehabilitation. Most of the victims of EJK are poor people who are lured into easy-money making activities in order to survive. People in the government bureaucracy involved in illegal drugs are corrupt in terms of their moral values. They thought that money is everything in life. In other words, the drug problem is an integral problem that requires an integral solution. Killing does not solve the problem; it would rather make it worse.

No to killings

The National Council of my church issued recently a statement on EJK entitled, “No to Killings”, signed by our Council of Bishops for and on behalf of the National Council. Following is the content of the Statement:

“LIFE is a sacred gift of God. It must, therefore, be defended, protected and safeguarded. The proliferation and use of illegal drugs disrespect life and the campaign against the drug trade must be relentlessly pursued by government as it puts the lives of people and the future of the nation at stake. We, therefore, laud and support the Duterte Administration on its effort to rid our country of this social scourge.

“However, in the pursuit of this noble objective, there have been a rising number of killings and violence that is apparently consequences of the government’s intensified efforts to quell illegal drugs syndicates and their minions.

“This is a troubling development, thus, we are compelled now to voice out our sentiments in keeping with our Christian faith.

“Everyone must be accorded the right of due process. But the alarming spate of extra-judicial killings since the onset of President Duterte’s administration undeniably tells us that the dignity and sanctity of human life is unashamedly desecrated; and that due process is ignored in the zealousness of the law enforcers to their duty.

“We are afraid that such brutal way will eventually be used to cover up for possible executions of those human rights advocates and defenders.

“We cannot simply remain quiet and unmoved. We cannot condone all those killings. The killings must be abated and stopped. Rid the country of drug lords and drug syndicates without forfeiting the God-given life.”

Prophetic stance

In words and in deeds, President Duterte had expressed many times that killing is part of the policy of his administration. In fact, thousands have already been killed relative to the drug problem. But surprisingly not many people, including church people, are enraged by this desecration of human life. The Duterte Administration has been able to justify the killings so far by effectively pointing at the drug problem as the main culprit.

If we would recall, killing was also part of the state policy of the Marcos Regime. People seemed to have accepted it, because the Marcos Regime pointed at the Communist insurgency and oligarchy as the problem. It took many years and many lives sacrificed, before people realized the truth and said: enough is enough!

When could we ever learn? How many more lives would be sacrificed before we would realize that state-sanctioned killing is not a solution but part of the problem? When killings are sanctioned by the state, in the name of God who created us in his image and gave us life (cf. Gen. 1:27), we must have the courage to say: No to Killings! # nordis.net

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