Catholics protest drug-war killings, death penalty


Posted at Feb 24 2018 07:55 PM

A Catholic nun and student display a placard as they participate in a procession during the "Walk for Life" event at Luneta Saturday. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

MANILA—About a thousand Catholics marched in Manila on Saturday to protest the government's campaign against illegal drugs and efforts to reinstate the death penalty.

The protests came a day after students in the capital and provincial universities held demonstrations against President Rodrigo Duterte, and a day before the 32nd anniversary of the revolution that drove President Ferdinand Marcos into exile.

Catholic devotees prayed the rosary and sang hymns as bishops and the country's cardinal read sermons against what they say are not "pro-life" policies in the government.

Protesters carried banners and placards with the massages "Protect and Defend the Sanctity of Life and Marriage," "End Impunity" and "Stop the Killings."

Despite criticism of the war on illegal drugs, Duterte remains wildly popular and a trusted public official.

The Social Weather Stations' latest quarterly poll shows Duterte's trust rating bounced back to "excellent" in December from "very high" three months before. Another survey by the privately run pollster gave his government the best rating so far for a Philippine administration since surveys started in the 1980s.

The Catholic Church protested the pending bills in Congress introducing divorce and re-imposing capital punishment.

Majority of the country's 105 million people are Catholic. Despite the popularity of the anti-drugs crackdown, some sectors of the church have become increasingly vocal on the drugs killings, with the church calling for justice and offering sanctuary to drug users.