Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Church’

Philippines: ‘Paranoid, insecure’ President Duterte blasted for threatening to declare revolutionary government

October 14, 2017
In a same statement, Tindig Pilipinas said President Rodrigo Duterte is threatening to “annihilate” the country’s democracy by “playing his ultimate power game.” Presidential Photo/Richard Madelo 

MANILA, Philippines — A coaltion of cause-oriented groups and individuals on Saturday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte and called him a “paranoid” for threatening to declare a revolutionary government to quell efforts of the Left and his critics.

“Only a paranoid and insecure little man afraid of losing power will rationalize the need to impose a revolutionary government upon the people,” Tindig Pilipinas said in a statement.

“Like any abuser sensing that his victims are seeing him as the abuser that he is, he senses doom. He knows he is an empty can once he loses control,” it added.

“We call on all democratic forces within and outside the state to resist this move to subvert our nation for the interests of one man, his family and his cohorts.”

Duterte on Friday said he would not hesitate to impose a revolutionary government to quell alleged destabilization moves against his administration—a claim that the country’s top security officials already dismissed.

He added that he would use the revolutionary powers to avert the country from falling into chaos as he accused the Communist Party of the Philippines of playing a key role in the destabilization efforts.

Once the military government is restored, Duterte said he would order the security forces to arrest all destabilizers and go on a full-scale war against the communist rebels.

A lawyer, Duterte noted that his hands would not be tied in case he declares a revolutionary government – unlike when he imposes martial law, which mandates the reporting to Congress within 60 days upon declaration.

With the military and the police on his side, he doubted whether any effort to take over the government would be successful.

In the same statement, Tindig Pilipinas said Duterte is threatening to “annihilate” the country’s democracy by “playing his ultimate power game.”

“He is playing for survival. Let no one see this as anything else but weakness. There is nothing reformist, much less revolutionary in this,” the group said.

For their part, Liberal Party senators also on Saturday criticized the Duterte administration for insisting that the party has a plan to destabilize government.

They also pointed out that criticism is not tantamount to destabilization efforts.

“Ang kritisismo at pagpapahayag ng saloobin ay mga haligi ng demokrasya at hindi dapat ituring na destabilisasyon laban sa pamahalaan,” said Sen. Francis Pangilinan, the president of the former ruling party.

Based on Article 3, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

Fundamental rights such as freedom of speech are recognized by the Constitution in building and maintaining a democratic society.

Last week, the firebrand leader accused the LP of conspiring with communists to oust him from office—an allegation that both entities denied.

READ: LP senators, Reds deny conspiracy to oust Duterte



“Revolutionary Government” — Philippines President Duterte issues new threats than sound like dictatorship, one day after botched expelling of EU diplomats

October 14, 2017


© AFP/File | Duterte said he would resort to a revolutionary government, as opposed to martial law that would require congressional approval, if communists and other opponents tried to destabilise his rule

MANILA (AFP) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned he is prepared to establish a “revolutionary government” to fend off alleged efforts to oust him, fuelling fears of a looming dictatorship.He issued the warning on state television late Friday as he railed against the press, European lawmakers and other critics of his drug war that has left thousands dead and led rights groups to warn of a crime against humanity.

Duterte said he would resort to a revolutionary government, as opposed to martial law that would require congressional approval, if communists and other opponents tried to destabilise his rule.

“If your destabilisation is taking place and there is chaos already, I will not hesitate to declare a revolutionary government until the end of my term and I will arrest all of you and we can go to a full scale war against the reds,” Duterte said, in reference to communist rebels who have waged a nearly 50-year insurgency.

Duterte cited the precedent set by Corazon Aquino, who established a revolutionary government soon after leading a “People Power” uprising in 1986 that ended the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

Aquino sacked all elected officials, abolished Congress and tore up the 1973 constitution in favour of a provisional charter.

She handpicked a commission to write a new constitution, which was ratified by plebiscite in 1987 and paved the way for elections. She is revered by many Filipinos who continue to see her as a heroine of democracy.

Under the post-Aquino constitution, presidents are limited to a single term of six years.

Duterte’s critics fear the 72-year-old, who has repeatedly threatened to impose martial law, is intent on dragging the country back into dictatorship and allow himself more freedom in prosecuting his drug war.

Duterte was elected last year largely on an incendiary law-and-order platform in which he promised to eradicate illegal drugs in society by killing 100,000 people.

Since he took office 15 months ago, police have reported killing 3,850 people in anti-drug operations while thousands of others have been murdered in unexplained circumstances.

Many Filipinos continue to support Duterte, seeing the charismatic politician as a saviour fighting corruption and crime.

But opposition has started to build, with the influential Catholic Church and leftist groups taking a prominent role in speaking out against his drug war.

Rare street protests broke out last month after police involved in the drug war killed two teenagers in controversial circumstances.

The Philippine military, which backed Marcos until the last days of his dictatorship, did not respond to AFP’s request for comment on Duterte’s warning.


Malacañang admits Duterte ‘being fed wrong info’ on EU

While stressing the need ‘for correct reportage,’ Malacañang fails to acknowledge its responsibility to relay correct information to President Rodrigo Duterte

Published 5:40 PM, October 13, 2017
Updated 6:31 PM, October 13, 2017
WRONG INFORMATION. Malacañang admits that President Rodrigo Duterte 'was being fed the wrong information' on the EU. Malacañang file photo

WRONG INFORMATION. Malacañang admits that President Rodrigo Duterte ‘was being fed the wrong information’ on the EU. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang admitted that President Rodrigo Duterte was “being fed the wrong information” after the Chief Executive threatened to expel European diplomats based on the wrong premise.

Because Duterte’s statement was based on wrong information, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella then clarified on Friday, October 13, that “there’s no directive” for ambassadors of the European Union (EU) to leave the Philippines within 24 hours.

“It’s not a question of being misinformed. That means to say he was being fed the wrong information,” Abella said in a press briefing on Friday.

Abella said Duterte “was reacting to what he was reading,” as Duterte wrongly believed that the European Union wants to have the Philippines expelled from the United Nations.

He then called on the media to “heed” Duterte’s request “for correct reportage.”

In the same speech where he launched his misguided tirade against the EU, the President himself had urged all government workers to give truthful information.

“To my fellow workers in government, especially those who form part of the Communications Office, I enjoin you to remain committed to your duty to upholding the truth at all times. Never exaggerate, never misinterpret, never agitate as you communicate our platform of governance. In other words, do not be arrogant,” he said, shortly before lashing at the EU on Thursday.

While stressing the media’s job to report correctly, Abella failed to say that the highest official of the land is ultimately responsible for the decisions he makes.

Abella also did not say that Malacañang is responsible for ensuring that correct information reaches the President.

This is part of complete staff work, where staff members handle the nitty gritty of solving a problem, and all the superior has to do is approve or disapprove the staff’s recommendation.

Complete staff work is crucial in any president’s decision making.

This is important especially when it involves a warning to kick out all diplomats of the EU – the second top destination of Philippine exports, a major donor of the Philippines, and the fourth biggest source of overseas Filipino workers’ remittances. (READ: FAST FACTS: How important is the EU to the Philippines?)

Guidelines on complete staff work

The Malacañang bureaucracy, especially during the time of former president Fidel V Ramos, has always been expected to be keen on complete staff work.

In June 2011, then Presidential Management Staff (PMS) secretary Julia Andrea Abad issued the Guidelines on the Conduct of Complete Staff Work for the Presidency.

Based on these guidelines, “the President expects the Departments to have undertaken complete staff work (CSW) on all briefing papers and memoranda submitted to him.”

Several officials of the Duterte administration and even the President himself, however, have used wrong information several times in the past.

In June, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II used a 2015 photo to tag opposition lawmakers in the Marawi crisis that erupted in May this year.

In May, Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson posted a photo of soldiers in Honduras to call for prayers for the Philippine army.

Duterte himself has fallen for so-called fake news, as when he believed the propaganda that Rappler is being funded by the Central Intelligence Agency of the US.

Duterte has also released a matrix of alleged drug personalities, which contained wrong entries, including the name of a certain “Jaguar” who was already dead. –

Hundreds of Thousands of Polish Catholics are Expected on Saturday to “Pray the Rosary Together on Our Borders For World Peace”

October 6, 2017



© AFP / by Maja Czarnecka | A poster promoting the “Rosary to the Borders” initiative fixed in a Warsaw church

WARSAW (AFP) – Hundreds of thousands of Polish Catholics are expected to descend Saturday on the country’s borders to recite the rosary “to save Poland and the world” from the dangers facing them, organisers say, but others claim the event is aimed at protecting Europe from what they term a Muslim onslaught.

The episcopate insists that the “Rosary to the Borders” is a purely religious initiative, but some Catholics view it as a weapon against “Islamisation.”

 The date was not chosen at random. October 7 is when Catholics celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, marking the 1571 victory of Christianity over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto.
A victory attributed to the recital of the rosary “that saved Europe from Islamisation”, the Solo Dios Basta foundation said on the website of the event it is organising.

Many Poles see Islam as a threat. The conservative government, which enjoys the backing of a sizeable portion of the population, refuses to welcome migrants to Poland, which has very few Muslims of its own.

Twenty-two border dioceses will take part in the event, whose faithful will congregate in some 200 churches for a lecture and mass before travelling to the border to say the rosary.

The goal is to have as many prayer points as possible along the 3,511 kilometres (about 2,200 miles) that make up Poland’s borders with Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and the Baltic Sea.

Fishing boats will join in at sea, while kayaks and sailboats will form a chain along rivers and lakes. Prayers will also be said at the chapels of a few international airports.

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Praying the Rosary by Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

– ‘Spiritual barrier’ –

Organisers hope one million people will show for the event. The railways are offering tickets for a symbolic 1 zloty (27 cents, 23 euro cents) to around 40 destinations on the border.

Those who are unable to attend can instead catch the event live on ultra-Catholic broadcaster Radio Maryja.

The goal is to pray for world peace, according to Father Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman for the Polish Bishops’ Conference.

“The initiative obviously received the approval of Poland’s bishops,” he told AFP, emphasising that it would be wrong to view the event as a prayer against the arrival of Muslim refugees.

“It is not a matter of closing ourselves off to others. On the contrary, the point of bringing the rosary to the borders is to break down walls and open ourselves up to Russians, Belarussians, Slovaks, Ukrainians and Germans,” he said.

But for the nationalist Catholic activist Marcin Dybowski, it is clear “that a religious war between Christianity and Islam is once again underway in Europe, just like in the past.”

“Europe has been invaded by Islam, which doesn’t respect our mores, our civilisation. The (terrorist) attacks leave behind hundreds of victims. Europe only makes a show of protecting borders,” he said.

Dybowski, an editor of religious books, is behind the Rosary Crusade for the Motherland, a religious and political initiative bringing together ultra-Catholic nationalists.

“The reality is that there are no borders. (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel opened them up to a large extent,” he told AFP.

“Poland is in danger. We need to shield our families, our homes, our country from all kinds of threats, including the de-Christianisation of our society, which the EU’s liberals want to impose on us,” he said.

“Austria and Hungary built barbed-wire walls against refugees. We’re using prayer to create a spiritual barrier against the dangers of terrorism.”

by Maja Czarnecka
Saturday is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Actress Goes Solo to Push for End to Philippines Drug War — While Many in The Philippines Pray for Duterte’s Success

September 19, 2017

MANILA — Mae Paner is a policeman-turned-assassin, a widowed Zumba dancer, a photojournalist and an orphaned child. They are all characters in her new one-woman show against a bloody war on drugs in the Philippines.

Paner, better known by her stage name “Juana Change”, said she wanted to add her voice to the condemnation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fierce 15-month-old campaign which has killed thousands of people.

“I feel very strongly that we have our work cut out for us as artists to wake people up, to wake our president up, and to tell him that we are against his war on drugs,” Paner told Reuters Television.

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Character actress Mae Paner – more popularly known as Juana Change – dressed up literally as ‘pork barrel.’ Photo by YouScooper Mulawin Galang

Paner portrays four characters who are affected by the drugs war, from the assassin grappling with his guilt and the journalist scarred by images of the nightly carnage, to widows and orphans crying out for justice.

Filipinos remain largely supportive of the campaign as a solution to tackling rampant crime, which Duterte says stems mostly from drug addiction.

Human rights groups, the Catholic Church and opposition lawmakers have raised alarm about the killings that have focused largely on the urban poor and have not spared young people.

More than 3,800 people have been killed in police anti-drugs operations in the past 15 months and at least 2,100 other homicides were likely drug related.

Police reject allegations by human rights groups that they are executing suspected users and dealers.

Some audience members who watched a recent performance of Paner’s play said they hoped it would prompt Filipinos to ask questions about the drugs war.

“The more this play is staged – wherever it may be shown, wherever more people can watch it – the more people can think and have much more informed opinions on this matter,” said Pastor Kakai Pamaran.

(Reporting by Ronn Bautista; Writing by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Martin Petty and Darren Schuettler)


“We pray for the president.”

“We’re thinking of our grandchildren. If the drug situation has not changed by the time they’ve grown up, we will have a whole generation living in the clutch of addiction and corruption, of a country with no moral values.”

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The things we read about President Duterte make him so different, so unique as president of a country. They’re mostly derogatory. They call him by different names, think ill of his coddling the memory of the late dictator and the likelihood of returning his family to rule this country again. Critics despise his dictatorial tendencies, his rattling a sabre at those who cross his path and criticize him. He is no lover of freedom of speech and defenders of human rights.

But there are people who believe he is the savior of this country.

And they happen to be pastors and lay persons of Christian churches.

Last Friday, at a friend’s birthday party, a church-loving right hand man of one of the country’s affluent men, told a table of incredulous listeners about the good future of our grandchildren being on the hands of President Duterte.

And last Sunday, after attending a service at the Christ Commission Fellowship in Pasig, over a tray of crackling chicken thighs in a café, I heard another churchgoer say good things about Duterte.

This last speaker had been heavy on drugs for nearly a decade but gave it up because, he said, one night he dreamed about people walking around his coffin, saying, “Kawawa si  brod, namatay dahil sa drugs.”  When he woke up, he decided to turn over a new leaf. “I went to a church whose door was open, and I gave myself completely to Jesus.” He went into rehab, and his life was never the same again.

I asked him why CCF, which has millions of followers, does not touch on the subject of judicial killings. “No,” my friend said, “We don’t. We pray for the president.” They do not condemn him but pray for him.

The other friend said the same thing – and more. “Never have we had a president like him. We’ve had a lawyer, an economist, a military man, a housewife, as presidents. But none have done anything substantial to help curb the drug problem in our country. They probably did not realize the extent of the problem.

“We’re thinking of our grandchildren. If the drug situation has not changed by the time they’ve grown up, we will have a whole generation living in the clutch of addiction and corruption, of a country with no moral values.”

My friend went to the extent of prophesying that Duterte will install a revolutionary government. “He believes that he has been chosen by God to lift this country out of its morass. Only when this happens will there be peace and stability in our country.”

I just received an invitation to attend the 42nd anniversary of the Philippine National Prayer Breakfast Foundation Inc. (PNPBFI) on Nov. 23, with the theme “Doing right brings honor to a nation, but sin brings disgrace” (Prov. 14:34). President Duterte has been invited to attend the breakfast meeting as the special guest of honor, and Sen. Manny Pacquiao as guest speaker and Bishop Noel as spiritual speaker.

Justice Ruben T. Reyes (Ret.), PNPBFI chairman, writes that the trustees are inviting people to pray the “special Prayer for the Senate and House of Representatives.” Atty. Jose Tan Ramirez is the organization’s president.

It will be good to listen to the honorable speakers’ words on the state of the nation.

Philippine cardinal condemns drug killings, orders bells rung — “We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal. We cannot govern the nation by killing.”

September 8, 2017


© AFP/File | Police said they killed more than 3,800 drug suspects in the first 13 months in office of President Rodrigo Duterte, but a series of killings in the past month of three teenage boys — two at the hands of the police — has sparked public outrage

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines’ most senior Catholic Church leader on Friday denounced thousands of killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war and ordered the ringing of church bells each night to honour the dead.Police said they killed more than 3,800 drug suspects in the first 13 months in office of Duterte, who has vowed to kill tens of thousands of criminals to rid the country of narcotics.

The crackdown has spawned wider violence and thousands of further killings, with near-nightly attacks taking place mostly in poor neighbourhoods and often at the hands of vigilantes, rights groups say.

Many are shot dead by masked, motorcycle-riding gunmen, while others are abducted then killed, their bodies later dumped on unlit or deserted streets.

“We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal. We cannot govern the nation by killing,” Cardinal Jose Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, said in a pastoral letter to his flock in the megacity of 13 million people.

Tagle said bells will also be rung for five minutes each night in early evening starting on September 14, which the archdiocese said was a Catholic custom to honour the dead dating back to 11th-century religious wars.

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Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

Manila parish priests and lay leaders would also “extend empathy and spiritual support” to the families of those killed, the cardinal said.

“If there are cases of killings in your parish community, I ask our pastors and lay leaders to take time to go to the wake in order to bless the departed and to be one with the grieving families in sorrow and in hope,” Tagle said.

Duterte’s drug war remains hugely popular among a citizenry fed up with high crime, according to many surveys.

But a series of killings in the past month of three teenage boys, two at the hands of the police, has sparked public outrage.

The Church, which claims eight in 10 Filipinos as its members, has been among the few institutions to directly challenge Duterte’s drug war, and has been documenting the killings.

Duterte has said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million Filipino drug addicts, even as critics warn the deaths of thousands of people killed in the crackdown may amount to a crime against humanity.

Duterte has denied ever inciting police or vigilantes to commit mass murder.

See also:

Cardinal Tagle: ‘We cannot govern the nation by killing’


Image result for dela rosa crying, Philippines, September 2017, photos

Director General Ronald dela Rosa (center), chief of the Philippine National Police, cries (as he often does) before the start of a Senate investigation on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, on the death of Kian Loyd delos Santos, a 17-year-old student who was killed in an alleged drug crackdown, last Aug. 16. The killing has sparked public outrage over President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. (Photo by AARON FAVILA / AP)


Ronald Dela Rosa

Philippines police chief cries during Senate inquiry into corruption within the force — December 2016

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PNP Chief Bato showed his soft side in July 2016 — Good actor. Could be a bad cop. Rule of law disregarded more often than not….

 (Philippines has chosen to ignore international law)

  (August 28, 2016)

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Family of Kian Loyd Delos Santos seek peace after the wrongful death of their loved one. Philippine Star photo

 (Contains links to previous articles)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokesman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.

Bannon: Catholic churches ‘need illegal aliens’ — Says he knows why Catholic Church is against Trump on Immigration

September 7, 2017


The Hill

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon in a new interview slammed the Catholic Church for its stance on immigration, saying leaders “need illegal aliens to to fill the churches.”

Image result for Stephen Bannon, 60 minutes, photos

Bannon told “60 Minutes” that the Catholic Church has been “terrible about” immigration when Charlie Rose noted that Cardinal Timothy Dolan in New York opposed President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“You know why? Because [they have been] unable to really, to come to grips with the problems in the church. They need illegal aliens. They need illegal aliens to fill the churches. It’s obvious on the face of it,” Bannon said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the administration would phase out the program, which temporarily blocked the deportation of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors, giving Congress six months to act.

Bannon in the interview also argued that the Catholic Church has an “economic interest” in “unlimited illegal immigration.”

“I totally respect the pope, and I totally respect the Catholic bishops and cardinals on doctrine. This is not about doctrine. This is about sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they’re just another guy with an opinion.”

Bannon left the White House last month and has returned to Breitbart News, which he helmed until joining the Trump campaign in 2016.


Steve Bannon’s “60 Minutes” conversation with Charlie Rose is the former White House chief strategist’s first extensive interview since he left the Trump administration.

The founding board member of the conservative publication Breitbart News was a key player in President Trump’s White House. He left last month after clashes with other aides and returned to Breitbart.

Charlie Rose:  So how do you want to be perceived, you today? Because you have a media image.

Steve Bannon: The media image I think is pretty accurate. I’m a street fighter.

Rose: You’re more than that.

Bannon: No, I think I’m – I think I’m – I’m a street fighter. … By the way, I think that’s why Donald Trump and I get along so well. Donald Trump’s a fighter. Great counter puncher. Great counter puncher. He’s a fighter. … I’m going to be his wing man outside for the entire time, to protect –

Rose: You will not be attacking Donald Trump?

Bannon: No, our – our purpose is to support Donald Trump. By the way –

Rose: – And destroy his enemies?

Bannon: To make sure his enemies know that there’s no free shot on goal. By the way, after the Charlottesville situation, that’s what I told [White House Chief of Staff] General [John] Kelly, I was the only guy that came out and tried to defend him. I was the only guy that said, “He’s talking about something, taking it up to a higher level.” Where does it all go? Where does this end? Does it end – does it end in taking down the Washington Monument? Does it end in taking down –

Rose: I tell you where many people suggest it should have gone, it should have gone in terms of denouncing specifically from the very beginning Neo-Nazis and white supremacists and people of that political view. And it should have gone there because those were people that Americans in World War II went to fight against and should have instantly have denounced them. And you didn’t at first instinct. In fact, you seemed to be doubling down in terms of a moral equivalency.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon speaks to Charlie Rose on "60 Minutes": steve-bannon-60-minutes-charlie-rose-interview.jpg

© CBS News steve-bannon-60-minutes-charlie-rose-interview

Bannon: What he was trying to say is that people that support the monument staying there peacefully and people that oppose that, that’s the normal course of – of First Amendment. But he’s talking about the Neo-Nazis and Neo-Confederates and the Klan, who, by the way, are absolutely awful – there’s no room in American politics for that. There’s no room in American society for that. … And all Donald Trump was saying is, “Where does it end? Does it end in taking down the Washington Monument? Does it end in taking down Mount Rushmore? Does it end at taking Churchill’s bust out of the Oval Office?” My problem – my problem, and I told General Kelly this – when you side with a man, you side with him. I was proud to come out and try to defend President Trump in the media that day.

Rose: And no exceptions in terms of siding with someone?

Bannon: You can tell him, “Hey, maybe you can do it a better way.” But if you’re gonna break, then resign. If you’re going to break with him, resign. The stuff that was leaked out that week by certain members of the White House I thought was unacceptable. If you find it unacceptable, you should resign.

Rose: So who are you talking about?

Bannon: I’m talking – obviously, about Gary Cohn and some other people. That if you don’t like what he’s doing and you don’t agree with it, you have an obligation to resign.

Rose: So Gary Cohn should have resigned?

Bannon: Absolutely.


© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. steve-bannon-charlie-rose-60-minutes.jpg

Watch Rose’s full report Sunday, Sept. 10 on “60 Minutes,” which airs 7 p.m. on CBS.

Shepherds, your sheep are being slaughtered — 12,500 people already dead, some experts say

August 29, 2017

By   – @jnery_newsstand

 / 05:09 AM August 29, 2017

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

I sympathize with the Archbishop of Manila, whom I esteem greatly, and the other Catholic bishops who are struggling with the consequences of President Duterte’s brutal war. Their continuing attempt to see the complete picture of the trade in illegal drugs is deeply Christian; it is an instructive example of what the historian Horacio de la Costa, SJ, called a “reasonable faith.”

But it’s been over a year since the so-called war on drugs was launched; thousands of people have been killed — in our history, the most in such a short span of time since the end of World War II. Persistent public anxiety about this war, reflected in survey findings that have been overshadowed by the President’s personal popularity, burst into the open with the senseless, targeted but documented killing of Kian delos Santos, a 17-year-old schoolboy. (I wrote on this on Twitter.) That only 6 percent of voting-age Filipinos believe the police are definitely telling the truth when they say a suspect resisted arrest helps explain the outrage.

It was still possible for the Catholic bishops last January, meeting half a year after Mr. Duterte took office, to issue a pastoral letter that could suggest or even justify a rough equivalence between drug pushing and extrajudicial killings. “Any action that harms another (seriously) is a grave sin. To push drugs is a grave sin as is killing (except in self-defense).” I certainly did my share of justifying. In “‘A bunch of shameless hypocrites,’” I wrote: “I can understand this use of language … as a necessary tack to win the consent of all the bishops …. Because the President, despite his disdain for the Church, counts supporters among the bishops.”

The funeral procession for Kian Loyd delos Santos in the Philippines on Saturday. The killing of the 17-year-old has rankled the government and forced President Rodrigo Duterte to acknowledge that there may have been police lapses. Credit Rolex Dela Pena/European Pressphoto Agency

But when the wolves are devouring the sheep, en masse, the shepherds need to stop the slaughter. That becomes the shepherds’ only job, and that is where we are now. Because Kian was seen on CCTV, because his final moments were seen or heard by witnesses, because for some inexplicable reason he was included in the police’s “one time, big time” operation, his killing has made many more of us see the reality clearly. Thousands of poor people, many of them innocent, almost all of them mere suspects, have been killed.

© AFP | The killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos last week triggered rare protests against Duterte’s controversial but popular campaign to eradicate drugs, with critics saying it highlighted rampant rights abuses by police enforcing the crackdown

In this light, it is wrong to equate the undeniable harm caused by drug addiction with the evil of state-sanctioned violence against its own citizens. As the biographies of more than one senator will remind us, drug addicts can recover from their addiction (and can lead more or less useful lives). As far as I know, not one of the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings has recovered from being dead.

Today, more than ever, we need our shepherds to serve in their role as prophets—not to divine the future of their sheep, but to scare the wolves away. We need our shepherds to denounce the lies and manipulated statistics that justify the killing of innocents, to rip the sheep’s clothing off some of the wolves, to protect their sheep not only from disease but death itself.

Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, the president of Ateneo de Davao University, has supported many of the President’s programs. But four days after Kian died, he took to his influential blog with a moving, angry meditation on the killing of the 17-year-old: “When a life is taken through abominable police action that frames an innocent person as a criminal and shoots him to increase the statistics of ‘progress’ in the war against drugs, this is a crime that cries to the heavens for justice.”

THIS is what a flock of anxious sheep needs to hear: a cry of outrage, an appeal to the very heavens.

Caloocan Bishop Ambo David gave a powerful eulogy at Kian’s funeral Mass; the power was generated by the very powerlessness of Kian and the many innocents killed in a war of extermination. (The bishop named several of them and described their circumstances.) He chose a gospel reading that spoke of God’s sacrifice of His only son. And he said, in Filipino: “In this Mass, I wish to convey to those who are in power in our government: Enough with the killings! In the name of God, stop!”

In a time of slaughter, a Church “smelling of its sheep” must gird itself to denounce the killings; sound the alarm; choose life.

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Family of Kian Loyd Delos Santos seek peace after the wrongful death of their loved one. Philippine Star photo

 (Contains links to previous articles)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokesman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.

Philippines: Schoolboy was kneeling face down when shot by police in drug raid, forensic experts testified

August 24, 2017
Saldy delos Santos comforts his wife, Lorenza, during a hearing on the killing of their son, Kian, at the Senate yesterday. ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO

MANILA, Philippines – Teenage student Kian Loyd delos Santos was slumped or kneeling on the ground when three bullets were fired into his body – two to the head and one in the back, forensic experts testified before the Senate yesterday.

In separate testimonies before the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, Dr. Erwin Erfe, head of the forensics department of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), and Dr. Jocelyn Cruz of the Northern Police District (NPD) said two bullets entered the 17-year-old victim’s head, one behind the left ear and one through the ear itself.

Both experts said the bullets that entered the head had an “upward trajectory,” indicating Delos Santos was prone when shot by an assailant standing on the left side of the Grade 11 student.

Cruz and Erfe conducted separate autopsies on Delos Santos, whom police said engaged the lawmen in a firefight during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City on Aug. 16.

The three police officers – PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jerwin Cruz and PO1 Jeremiah Pereda – accused of killing Delos Santos claimed the victim fired at them, triggering a shootout.

However, a security video showed two of the three officers dragging an individual to an alley where Delos Santos was later found.

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 MANILA. Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa (right) in a huddle with other police officials during the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs’ investigation on the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos. (SunStar Philippines/Al Padilla)

“The position of the victim, he was kneeling face down when he was shot,” Cruz told the panel chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Erfe, whose services were sought by the victim’s parents, however, said there was a third shooter who shot the victim in the back.

“He (assailant) was at the near contact distance, malapit na malapit (very close). The shooters were standing,” Erfe said.

Erfe said he conducted the autopsy after Delos Santos’ body was already embalmed by a funeral parlor in Malabon City.

It was not clear why the NPD autopsy missed the third bullet wound found by Erfe on the victim’s back.

Lacson noted that both the PAO and NPD autopsies found two exit wounds in the head but there was no exit cavity for the third entry at the back.

He said the Philippine National Police (PNP) Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) found only two slugs, apparently from the head shots.

“So where’s the third slug? Have you found it?” Lacson asked the two forensic experts. There were no clear answers as other senators cut in to ask their questions.

Cruz’s autopsy determined the head shots were done at a distance of 60 centimeters, or two feet or more. She noted that there was no “tattooing,” or the marks left by unburned gunpowder, on the entry wounds when the gun is fired at close range.

Senators asked Cruz to provide photographs of the autopsy, but she said police did not have them.

Erfe said it was possible not to have tattooing even if shots are fired at close range.

The reasons for the differing autopsies were not resolved during the hearing.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV also asked the whereabouts of Delos Santos’ clothes on the night he was killed but no one present in the hearing could answer.

Chief Insp. Amor Cerillo, who was relieved as head of the Caloocan Police Community Precinct 7 where the three policemen are assigned, said initial ballistics report indicated that the 9 mm slugs recovered from the crime scene came from Oares’ pistol.

Shoot first, ask later

When asked by Aquino to comment on the autopsies, particularly that Delos Santos was shot while prone, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said in Filipino: “If you shoot someone in the back, who is kneeling, you’re not a law enforcer, you’re a criminal, a murderer.”

In yesterday’s hearing, the police officials seemed to justify the killing of Delos Santos, learning that the victim was into illegal drugs only after he was killed.

Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo, the NPD director who was relieved of his duty, told the hearing there was no specific target of the Aug. 16 operation in Caloocan City, but police could confirm Delos Santos was involved in drugs.

Asked if those drug links were known after the killing, Fajardo said: “Yes. We have to check the background. We checked after.”

He said a drug suspect arrested the following day confirmed Delos Santos was dealing drugs.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, the former Caloocan police chief, said Delos Santos could be tied to the drugs trade by a recovered cellphone and “based on what came out on social media” after his killing.

Those admissions will add to the growing scrutiny on police behind a crackdown that President Duterte on Wednesday said would not stop. He said there was no justification for the killing of Delos Santos, and police responsible would face justice.

The three police accused of involvement in the killing said little during the inquiry. One refused to speak, while the other two maintained the individual on the security video was their “asset,” not Delos Santos.

Witnesses said otherwise. They claimed seeing Delos Santos being dragged into a corner before he was found dead in a ditch near his home. A .45 caliber pistol was reportedly found in his left hand.

The same witnesses had been taken into custody by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who said it was only “temporary.”

She said the families of the witnesses sought her for their protection.

PAO chief Persida Acosta echoed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s call to Hontiveros to surrender the witnesses for custody under the government’s witness protection program.

The Senate, however, has provided protective custody to the three witnesses.

Hontiveros said the executive session to hear the testimony of the three witnesses did not push through because Lacson wanted to secure a written authorization letter from the mother of one of the witnesses first before speaking with them.

Two witnesses are minors and are related, so the authorization from the mother of one of them would cover for both.

The sister of the two minors initially signed the consent form to allow Hontiveros, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and Caloocan Bishop Pablo David to have them in custody.

She also went to the Senate yesterday to give her consent to the chamber to provide them with protective custody. – Marvin Sy, Edu Punay

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Philippine Leader Tells Police to Kill Only if Necessary in War on Drugs — Death of Kian Loyd Delos Santos May Change the Course… After 12,500 Wrongful Deaths: HOPE! — Time to Return to Rule of Law and Due Process

August 23, 2017

MANILA — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday backed police on the front lines of a war on drugs that he said would not cease, but warned officers their duty was to arrest suspects and kill only if their lives were in danger.

The firebrand leader, now facing the most intense scrutiny so far in his controversial but popular crackdown, said he could not justify last week’s high-profile killing of a high school student, and police responsible had not followed instructions and would face justice.

Though Duterte stood firmly behind a campaign that has killed thousands of mostly urban poor Filipinos, his remarks were a departure from the bellicose rhetoric that critics say has created a culture of impunity and emboldened police to execute suspects. Police reject that.

“You are not allowed to kill a person that is kneeling down begging for his life. That is murder,” Duterte said in a speech.

“When I say you get him, it includes doing the arresting and then if there is a violent resistance, they (police) have to defend themselves.”

Kian Loyd Delos Santos, 17, was among more than 90 people killed in three days of intensified police operations last week that marked the bloodiest chapter of a campaign that has alarmed the international community.

Security camera footage showed a man matching the victim’s description being dragged by plain-clothes police to an alley where he was found dead. Police said he was a drug courier, but his family insisted he was unarmed, innocent, and murdered.

His death has attracted huge domestic attention, with political opponents demanding the killings stop and some churches opposing the bloodshed and ringing bells at night in protest. Demonstrations have taken place, the latest a small rally outside police headquarters on Wednesday.

Duterte has repeatedly vowed to pardon police convicted of abuses during his anti-drug campaign, but on Wednesday he said there would be no protection for those who broke the rules of engagement.

“Let us be clear on this. I said I will protect those who are doing their duty. I never promised to protect those who are supposedly engaged in doing their duty but committing a crime in the process,” he said, adding that abuses “cannot be done”.

Condemnation of Duterte’s 14-month-old war on drugs has come mainly from human rights groups, political opponents and foreign critics, with Filipinos largely supportive of the campaign, echoing the government view that the suppression of drugs use is making the streets safer.

Critics say that Duterte is turning a blind eye to systematic abuses and cover-ups with an unquestioning acceptance of an official police line that typically says those killed were drug dealers who had violently resisted arrest.

“I will not change my policy, there will be war on against drugs because I have to protect the people,” he said. “I have that sworn duty to defend the people and protect the republic.”

(For graphic on one time, big time” IMG, click

(Reporting by Martin Petty and Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Nick Macfie)


Duterte: I never said cops should shoot suspects on their knees

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in an interview with the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) at the Malago Clubhouse, Malacañang Park in Manila on August 21, 2017, announces that he is searching for a competent secretary who will replace former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — As he faces one of the stiffest criticisms to date yet of his war on drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday clarified that he did not order security personnel to kill suspects already on their knees and begging for their lives.

The president said that police and soldiers should shoot suspects only if the criminals violently resisted and threatened their lives.

“What I reminded again the military and the police is that it should be in the performance of your duty. You are not allowed to kill a person who is kneeling down begging for his life. That is murder,” Duterte said during the inauguration of a solar cell factory in Batangas.

Duterte’s comments stand in stark contrast to his previous statements to security forces in dealing with drug suspects.

In December last year, Duterte seemingly gave his go signal for police to plant evidence against drug suspects.

Duterte indicated in a speech last December that he had told police either to plant guns in crime scenes or to give suspects guns so they can shoot it out with arresting officers.

In July, Duterte said that cops and soldiers should make suspects fight back to justify the use of violence. He also bragged in a speech before jail personnel that he was the only president to have ordered the killing of criminals, especially of drug traders.

The Palace has regularly denied that Duterte had issued such orders, usually dismissing them as mere jokes, hyperbole or just expressions of frustration. It is not clear, however, if this was how security personnel understood the president’s statements.

The chief executive has said that he will protect cops who do their duty and warned those who abuse their authority.

Kian’s death ‘not performance of duty’

Duterte also called the death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos as “bad” and “not performance of duty,” warning policemen against committing crimes.

“I’m not justifying yung sa Caloocan. It was really bad. Hindi naman performance of duty yung ganun,” he said.

He said that the main duty of police officers is to arrest suspects, and resistance to arrest must be overcome by security officers.

“In resisting, lumaban ka, the police is just doing his duty, and he is not supposed to die doing his duty. Kaya pag mag-resist ka, he must overcome the resistance. If you have a gun, he just has to shoot you,” the president explained.

The PNP Operations Manual justifies the use of firearms “if the offender poses imminent danger of causing death or injury to the police officer or other persons.” According to regulations, “the use of firearm is also justified under the doctrines of self-defense, defense of a relative, and defense of a stranger,”

The same manual cautions, however, that “unlawful aggression should be present for self-defense to be considered as a justifying circumstance.”

‘Abuses, that cannot be done’

The chief executive reiterated his pledge to protect police officers performing their duty and vowed to make abusive cops accountable.

“I never promised to protect those who are supposedly engaged in doing their duty but committing a crime in the process. Abuses, that cannot be done,” he said.

The death of Delos Santos sparked widespread public outrage as a video and witnesses said that the boy was dragged by arresting cops to the alley where he was later found lifeless.

The police Internal Affairs Service has said that two police officers involved in the operation have admitted to being the men seen in the security footage. The PNP Crime Laboratory also found no traces of gunpowder on Delos Santos’ hands.

Police said that the teenager was a drug courier and his family was into the trade of illegal drugs. The Delos Santoses have denied this.

Kian is among the scores killed in drug operations in Bulacan and Metro Manila last week. This was described as one of the bloodiest since Duterte started his brutal campaign against narcotics in July last year.


Philippine Churches to Ring Bells to Protest Drug Killings — “Expressing anger against evil.”

August 20, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — A leader of the dominant Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines has ordered bells to be tolled every night for three months in a northern region to raise alarm over a renewed police crackdown that has left more than 80 drug and crime suspects dead in just a week.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas says church bells will be rung for 15 minutes across his northern religious district starting Tuesday to rouse a citizenry “which has become a coward in expressing anger against evil.”

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Archbishop Socrates Villegas

The church move adds to a growing outcry after more than 80 suspects were gunned down by police in metropolitan Manila and nearby Bulacan province in just three days last week, the bloodiest under President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown.