Church raises alarm bells over vigilante killings

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Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President

MANILA, June 20, 2016— The Catholic Church have expressed concern over a recent spate of vigilante-style murders in the country.

The bishops said it is “disturbing” that vigilantism is on the rise, as they expressed disapproval of bounties for criminals.

While commending the authorities in their strong anti-crime crusade, the bishops said they are alarmed over the increasing number of suspected drug pushers being killed in an alleged shootout.

Reports showed that at least 34 alleged drug pushers were already killed in a supposed shootout with law enforcers after the national elections last month.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said one can “shoot to kill” on the ground solely on the ground of legitimate self-defense or the defense of others.

But “to kill a suspect outright, no matter how much surveillance work may have antecedently been done on the suspect, is not morally justified,” Villegas said.

“Suspicion is never the moral equivalent of certainty, and punishment may be inflicted only on the ground of certainty,” he said.

The bishops are also frowned at the bounty system, saying it is prone to abuse and might cause massive vigintalism in the country.

“It is never morally permissible to receive reward money to kill another,” Villegas said.

The CBCP head also said that it is the moral duty of every Christian to report all forms of vigilantism of which they have personal knowledge.

“For greater reason is it a duty to keep away from any participation and any form of cooperation with vigilantes and vigilante movements,” he added.

The bishops emphasized the need for concerted efforts in the fight against crime but stressed that these should be done lawfully.

“We understand the difficulties that law-enforcers face, the daily risk to life and limb, but not only civil society but also the Church counts on them for the flourishing of a society where all enjoy the blessings of a regime under laws that are just and institutions that are fair,” Villegas said. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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