Church officials back Senate probe on summary killings

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File photo shows then Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima with Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo in a press conference during the International Day Against Trafficking in Manila in December 2013. (CBCPNews file photo)

MANILA, Aug. 20, 2016— Church officials give Senator Leila de Lima a pat on the back for leading a Senate investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and Fr. Atillano Fajardo of Manila archdiocese’s Public Affairs Ministry urged De Lima to pursue the probe and to not be deterred by Duterte’s tirade against her.

“I hope the probe would really be true and the senators be not cowed. I admire the determination of De Lima,” said Pabillo.

Personal attacks

He asked all the concerned agencies to cooperate in the Senate hearings in order to put a stop to the growing number of summary executions.

“These are crimes that plague our country. Let fear not prevent people from cooperating,” said the prelate, who also chairs the bishops’ Commission on the Laity.

Fajardo also assured De Lima of his prayers and said the senator should remain strong despite Duterte’s personal attacks against her.

“What she’s doing is not easy. She should not be discouraged because what she is fighting for [is] the country,” he said.

“We are all sinners, we have our own weaknesses but we’re all given the chance to transform and be forgiven— an opportunity that those killed were denied of,” added Fajardo.

More thorough investigation

De Lima is set to lead a Senate inquiry into the spate of drug-related killings under the Duterte administration on Aug. 22 and 23.

The Council of the Laity of the Philippines (CLP), the bishops’ implementing arm in promoting initiatives and national programs of the laity, has earlier urged the authorities to investigate the summary killings.

“We call on them as well to investigate with care, prudence, and diligence all recent killings as a result of police operations or those committed by vigilante groups,” added the group. (CBCPNews)

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