CATHOLICS converged at the Quirino Grandstand Parade Ground Saturday morning for “Walk for Life,” voicing their opposition against summary killings of drug suspects and the proposed revival of capital punishment in the country.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas called on the Duterte administration to uphold the “rule of law,” with the death toll in the government’s drug war reaching 7,000.
“Ang kriminal ay dapat arestuhin, kasuhan, hatulan at ikulong upang iwasto ang pagkakamali. Dapat patunayan ang pagkakasala sa korte ng batas, hindi sa batas ng bala,” Villegas said in his message to the rallyists.
Villegas urged members of the House of Representatives to “vote with conscience” on the death penalty bill.
“Nananawagan po [kami] sa mga kongregista na bumoto sa kanilang konsensya. Ang [partidong] pulitika ay pansamantala,” he said.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminded the faithful to act with “non-violence” amid the prevailing “culture of violence.”
“Kapansin-pansin ang paglaganap kultura ng karahasan. Ito ay tintumbasan ng ‘active non-violence,’” Tagle said, addressing protesters from Catholic institutions and laity groups.
“Mercy and unity can resolve the issues of pornography, unemployment, hunger, prostitution, drug addiction, and climate change in the country,” he said.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said he was impressed with the attendance in the prayer rally. “The faithful at last are speaking out. The faithful now want their voice to be heard,” Pabillo told the Varsitarian.
Niel Evangelista, a student from the UST College of Education, urged fellow Catholic students to protest the killings not only in prayer rallies.
“I think we can [always] do more, this is just the start. Pero kung titigil lang tayo dito, wala rin tayong mapapala,” Evangelista said in an interview.
“We should be bothered when the Church no longer contradicts. Therefore, the Church is not doing its function,” Evangelista said.
With the theme “Care, protection and defense of all human life from conception to natural death,” the “Walk of Life” was organized by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity and its lay arm, the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas.
Photos by Deejae S. Dumlao