FAITH leaders have united against the spate of summary killings happening amid the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs.”
In Pangasinan, pastors said killings must end as they called for the end to criminality without sacrificing due process.
“The nation must be purged from drug dealers yet the rule of law must prevail and human rights must at all times be respected,” they said in a statement.
In less than three months under the new administration, about 3,500 drug suspects have been killed, mostly by unknown assailants and the others in legitimate police operations.
More than 700,000 self-confessed drug pushers and users have surrendered to authorities.
The leaders from at least 17 churches said extrajudicial executions must stop “and the voice of those who are in pain must be heard.”
“The threat of criminality and violence must now give way to the ministry of mercy and compassion,” they added.
Church leaders are also growing increasingly concerned about political wrangling that is sowing greater division and dissension in society.
They said the words of hate must stop and give way to hope and brotherhood.
“The bickering and quarreling must cease and let the balm of kindness now flow,” they added.
The religious leaders are from the Catholic Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, United Methodist Church, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Muslim Community in Dagupan City, Christian Evangelical Ministries Federation, Dagupan Chinese Baptist Church, Radha Krisna Hindu Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Philippines Urdaneta Mission Bugallon Christian Church, Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach Ministry, Good News Community Church and New Life in Christ Foursquare Gospel.
They also enjoined believers to join them in a prayer for peace in Pangasinan and for the whole country at 9:00 p.m. everyday.
Aside from the victims of summary executions and other crimes, prayers must also be offered for police officers and the military who, in the call of duty, put their lives in danger to maintain peace and order, the church heads said.
“That power is prayer. Our weapon against violence is prayer. There is no peace without prayer. There is no peace without God,” they said.