CATHOLIC priests called for the restoration of peace, dignity and justice for victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the country during a Mass at the Mendiola Peace Arch last Oct. 30.

Jesuit priest Albert Alejo, Fr. Flavie Villanueva and Fr. Robert Reyes led the prayer service, “Bulong ng Kaluluwa: Paghilom at Hustisya” in remembrance of those killed under the government’s war on drugs, which they estimated at 30,000.

In his homily, Alejo urged Filipinos to speak out about the injustices happening in the country.

“Kung ang mga buhay ay basta lang mananahimik, paano matatahimik ang mga patay? [H]indi lang tayo nakikiramay, tayo ay nanunumpa na ipaglaban at ipagpatuloy ang buhay ng mga pinatay. Ibabalik natin ang dangal sa pagpapahalaga sa katotohanan,” the UST alumnus said.

Alejo also said the victims of EJKs should not remain as statistics because injustices against them were also killing the truth, faith and hope of the Filipinos.

These killings also show how the system of government institutions, including Congress and Supreme Court, was being ignored, Alejo said.

“Kapag ang lipunan ay walang paggalang sa salita, wala rin itong paggalang sa mga lagda at pirma. Kapag ang lipunan ay walang paggalang sa mga lagda, wala rin itong paggalang sa panunumpa. Paano na ‘yong panunumpa ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan?” Alejo said.

A candle-lighting ceremony with the relatives of EJK victims followed the Mass.

The three priests were the subjects of harassment and death threats in March. The three are staunch critics of the policies of the Duterte administration, including the war on drugs.



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