MANILA - The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines wants President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war to succeed, but condemns the killing of suspected criminals "like chickens," an official of the group said Friday.
Raising alarm over alleged extra-judicial killings also does not mean that Catholic bishops are taking the side of drug suspects, said Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP.
"We wish the President success. The church also wants the drug problem to be eradicated in our society," he said.
"Gusto nating ipaliwanag sa taumbayan na huwag naman tingnan na kapag pumupuna ang simbahan sa mga patayan na ito, pinapaboran namin ang mga kriminal," he said.
(We want to explain to the people, don't equate criticism of the killings with favoring criminals.)
Secillano said each diocese has its own community-based drug rehabilitation program.
"It was a positive and concrete response to the challenge of the President that the church should also do something. Ginagawa ng simbahan yan (The Church is doing its part)," he said.
Secillano said the success of the drug war should not be measured by numbers alone.
Based on the year-end report released by Malacanang on Tuesday, authorities carried out 79,193 anti-illegal drug operations from July 1, 2016 to November 27, 2017, which resulted to the arrest of 118,287 drug personalities.
A total of 3,967 drug personalities were also killed in the same period, the report said, while homicide cases under investigation were at 16,355 as of September 30, 2017.
"Tingnan na muna natin ini-imply niyan (Let's look at what this implies) 16,000, that's a lot," he said, adding this would mean that killings were "rampant."
"Kapag rampant yung killings (If killings are rampant), I think the public should be warned and the public should actually express some amount of disgust," he said.