THE Catholic Church made it clear it was against people taking lives in the war against illegal drugs. But, aside from killings, the apathy of the community should also be a cause for worry.
Cebuanos joined Saturday the early morning Walk for Life with Mary to express support to the Church declaration that such killings must end “because we love life, we love our country.” It was not a huge crowd, people did not spill to the streets from the church. It should have been a bigger crowd, given the reason for the gathering, but others did not come.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma reminded those who attended the mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral that followed the walk that Mama Mary is the “mother of life, mother of all.” In Mama Mary, we are all brothers and sisters and no one has the right to take the life of another.
Palma said thousands have been killed in the war on drugs. While the Church supports government’s anti-illegal drugs campaigns, it questions the killings that happen in going after pushers and users. “We question this method for we know plenty died in questionable circumstances and motives,” he said in Cebuano.
We say it is God’s will when a person dies of sickness or old age, but it is never His will that life be taken by people even if done to clear the country of illegal drugs. Life is sacred, life is a gift, Palma said. No one should take the life of another person.
Palma encouraged the faithful to do what they can to help solve the problem of illegal drugs, as he mentioned the Church’s efforts at rehabilitating users. He called people to “whatever we can do to make another life fruitful or joyful,” and said even drug users should be given the “chance of a better tomorrow.”
The Walk for Life, held in Manila, Cebu and other cities, coincided with the celebration of the Edsa People Power anniversary.
The anniversary is a chance to remind people of what they are capable of to correct wrongdoing and to end evil. Palma criticized the killings but stopped short of calling the attention of people who, in social media posts or discussions, applaud and encourage the killing of drug suspects.
Take the case of Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido of Ozamiz City who reportedly expressed “elation” over the killing of lawyer Jonnah John Ungab in an ambush. Espenido had filed a complaint against Ungab for allegedly being a drug protector. Ungab was lawyer for self-confessed drug lord Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa at the time he was killed. Espenido’s complaint did not prosper as he failed to present evidence. But his mind was made up about who Ungab was, and, on social media, some comments were disrespectful of the dead and encouraged more killings regardless if done legally or not.
It is painful to lose a family member to such circumstances. It is painful to hear calls for more killings even for those unaffected or lucky enough to not have a loved one die that way.