MANILA - There will be no political speeches or any move to undermine the government in a mass action organized by Catholic Church leaders to condemn drug-related killings, cause-oriented group Tindig Pilipinas said Sunday.
"Siyempre, tatawagin na naman kaming destabilizers nito. Pero ang panawagan ng taumbayan, ang panawagan ng Simbahan ay hilumin ang mga sugat, hintuin na ang pagpapatay, baguhin ang pananaw pagdating sa usapin ng droga," said Karina Constantino-David, one of the founders of Tindig Pilipinas.
(Of course, we will be called destabilizers, but the plea of the public, the plea of the Church, is to heal the wounds, stop the killings, change the opinion on the drug issue.)
"Sa loob ng demokrasya, ang bawat tao ay dapat may kalayaan na magpahayag. Ang pagpapahayag ng di pagsang-ayon sa nakaupo ngayon sa ating gobyerno ay hindi destabilization, kundi karapatan at obligasyon ng bawat mamamayan," David told DZMM
(In a democracy, everyone should have freedom of expression. Disagreeing with government leaders is not destabilization, but a right and obligation of each citizen.)
The event, led by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), will start with a Mass at the Edsa Shrine at 3 p.m.
Afterwards, participants from Tindig Pilipinas and other multi-sectoral groups would carry candles in a short procession to the People Power Monument, where a "cultural program" would be held, said David.
Politicians are prohibited from delivering speeches during the 2-hour program, she added.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, outgoing president of CBCP, earlier said the event would have no political color.
"Walang kulay ang November 5. Ang kulay ng November 5 ay transparency, clarity of vision, purity of heart," Villegas said in a video posted Thursday on his Facebook page.
"Hindi tayo magra-rally para sumigaw. Tayo ay mananalangin para ibulong sa puso ni Hesus, patawarin po Ninyo kami, patawarin po Ninyo ang bayang nagkasala laban sa Inyo."
(November 5 would have no color. Its color would be transparency, clarity of vision, purity of heart. We will not hold a rally to shout. We would pray so we could whisper to Jesus' heart to forgive us, forgive the country that has sinned against him.)
The Catholic Church has been a vocal critic of the Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs, which has been hounded by allegations of extrajudicial killings.
PNP data shows around 3,800 people have been killed in police operations where armed suspects allegedly violently resisted arrest.
The administration, however, has maintained that it does not condone extrajudicial killings.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself assured that any violation committed by the police during operations would be "dealt with accordingly", his spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
Roque said the government also seeks "true healing" of the politically divided country, as well as the cooperation of the Catholic Church in the anti-drug campaign.
"We wish to build better rapport with the Catholic Church and seek the cooperation of its leaders, even as we call on our Catholic brethren to pro-actively help government in our anti-illegal drug campaign, particularly in the rehabilitation and treatment of drug dependents," he said in a statement.
Duterte "allows constructive dissent" and would give protesters the democratic space and time to peacefully assemble, added his spokesperson.
Some 300 policemen have been deployed to secure the EDSA rally, DZMM reports said. With Arra Perez, Jeff Hernaez and Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News