Insurgency and terrorism are equated to activism, says Bishop Bagaforo
CBCP NASSA condemns “kill, kill, kill” edict
MANILA – Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo said he has been disturbed by the killings that took place last Sunday along with the arbitrary executions before.
In a letter addressed to fellow Filipinos, his brother Bishops and political leaders, Bishop Bagaforo who sits as national director of Caritas Philippines said he said the violent incidents was incited by harmful, pervasive and deeply damaging rhetoric of the government’s top leaders which he said “has become a daily fixture in Philippine society.”
He said insurgency and terrorism are equated to activism, defense of human rights and nature’s rights as well as the call to respect freedom of speech and the right to self-determination.
“We have seen no government, after the Marcos dictatorship, such as this one urging openly and repetitively the military and the police to ‘kill, kill, kill.’ But what is more dangerous to my mind is the fact that seemingly, we have grown to be accustomed to tolerating this blatant disregard to the rule of law, by disrespecting the integrity of public office,” he said.
He added for about five years, the people allowed the leaders to take command of the collective silence. People in authority interpreted the people’s inaction and passive nature as “explicit permission” to pursue unlawful behavior as long as it is covered by legal orders and memorandum.
He quoted from Cicero’s first speech against Catiline in 63 BC which underscored conspiracy, abuse of power and reign of impunity which holds true in the country’s present political environment. “When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of your still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now?”
He called on the Filipino faithful to ask how long will they remain silent with the advent of threats and harassments, of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings, characterized by red-tagging and arbitrary detentions.
Bishop Bagaforo said the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has spoken for the Filipino people.
“The farmers in Negros, the Tumandok IP leaders in Capiz and the activists in Southern Tagalog have died already fighting for their cause. So what about us? What is our conscience telling us? If you are disturbed as much as I was, now is the time to create a culture of peace,” he concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)
Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo during his ad limina visit to the Vatican, (CBCP News)