Manila bishop slams killing of rights activists, alleged drug addicts

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2020 02:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2020 02:34 PM

MANILA - Manila's top bishop condemned Sunday the alleged continued extrajudicial killings in the country, citing the recent deaths of human rights activists and 6 people in a "fabricated" anti-drug operation in Bulacan.

In his Homily at the capital city's San Fernando de Dilao Parish (Paco Church), Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo lamented the killings in the country as he reiterated Pope Francis' teachings on respect for human life.

"Sabi rin niya (Pope Francis) na mahalaga ang buhay ng bawat tao kaya igalang ang karapatang pantao ng lahat. Dito sa atin, patuloy ang pagpapatay sa extrajudicial killings (EJKs)," Pabillo said.

The prelate mentioned the killing of human rights advocates Randy Echanis and Zara Alvarez, and the deaths of 6 men accused of being drug traffickers in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan.

"Sinusumpa ng banal na kasulatan ang mga pumapatay ng ganito at ang mga nag-uutos na ito'y gawin," Pabillo said.

Pabillo reiterated the Catholic Church's opposition on the anti-terror law and shutdown of ABS-CBN, which he described as acts that slowly take away the rights of people.

Alvarez, a human rights defender, was shot dead in Bacolod City last week. A few days earlier, Echanis, a National Democratic Front peace consultant, was killed in Quezon City.

Exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison and militant groups have blamed the government for the death of the activists.

But Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said allegations of government involvement in the killings are unfounded, and urged the public to wait for the results of the investigation.

The Philippine National Police has ordered the relief and custody of 11 officers accused of kidnapping and killing 6 men in a fabricated anti-drug operation in San Jose del Monte.