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Christian Leaders Urge Duterte to Face Accountability for Drug War Killings

The interfaith group said the country has been suffering from injustice ever since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016.

A group of Christian leaders released a statement criticizing the growing “valley of dry bones” in the Philippines. They called on President Rodrigo Duterte to face accountability for the lives of the thousands killed under his bloody war on drugs.

The interfaith group, called “One Voice,” said on Tuesday that the country has been suffering from injustice with drug-related killings ever since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016. (Read: Bishop Welcomes ICC Probe Into Duterte’s War on Drugs)

“We at One Voice cry out for justice for the victims of the Duterte regime,” the Christian leaders said. “We demand that Duterte and those who orchestrate and execute these state-sanctioned murders be held accountable.”

Among the signatories are Catholic Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Bishop Reuel Marigza of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and Bishop Rhee Timbang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

Other names include representatives from the Sisters Association in Mindanao, Daughter of Charity’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry, and De La Salle Brothers in East Asia.

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Philippine Catholic bishop Broderick Pabillo leads a vigil for victims of extrajudicial killings at a church in Manila in August 2016.  (Photo from Zeke Jacobs/NurPhoto via Getty Images/NPR)

Defend Dignity, Life

According to the ecumenical group, the country’s war on drugs is “evil” because it is orchestrated by powerful people in the government, and it is designed to oppress the poor.

“It is evil as it is organized killing by people elected to power whose mandate is to uphold and defend the dignity and life of every Filipino,” the church leaders said. (Read: PH Church, Catholic Groups Decry Reimposition of Death Penalty)

“May our calls for justice reverberate as we seek life and dignity for the people of our nation, and may we become one as a people as we pursue just peace and common good for all,” they added.

The group ended their statement by calling the government’s drug war “a crime that endangers us all.”

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BREAK THE SILENCE. ‘Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God,’ reads a poster at an interfaith rally in Manila on January 25, 2019. (Photo from Maria Tan/Rappler)

ICC Probe

Last month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor requested authorization to open a full probe into the Philippine government’s war on drugs, saying crimes against humanity could have been committed.

Currently, the ICC is urging families of drug war victims to come forward to fast-track the investigation. (Read: 3 Things You Need to Know About the ICC Drug War Investigation)

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