CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 February 2019

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Priest wants facts from Duterte not guesses

MANILA (Agencies): Monsignor Meliton Oso accused the president, Rodrigo Duterte, of shooting his mouth off when he randomly publicly accuses people of involvement in the drug rackets.

The director of Social Action in Jolo told Radyo Veritas on August 11 that he is taking particular exception to the naming of Jeffery Selis, who was included in Duterte’s latest round of accusations and was described as a former member of the congress.

Monsignor Oso says that in fact, Selis was never a member of the congress and if that is a reflection on the degree of the accuracy of Duterte’s accusations then people need to think twice before childishly believing that the president knows as much as he claims he does.

He said that there is a big need to double check Duterte’s information, as at least a significant portion of it is absurd.

The recent hit list includes local government officials and high-profile personalities from Iloilo, but Monsignor Oso said that it is difficult to commit yourself to support even an anti-drug campaign that is only based on unreliable hearsay.

While a gullible population eagerly swallows the random proclamations of the self-proclaimed know-it-all president, Monsignor Oso said, “We do not deny that we have a drug problem, but if we in Iloilo are the most shabulised province, I believed that is a big question, we would like to appeal to the president to check, to double, triple check, whatever check. It seems like he didn’t get good data.”

Monsignor Oso told Radyo Veritas, “I want to make it clear that we are very supportive of his desire or his enthusiasm to please the 16 million voters who put him in power, who probably also want to eradicate the drug problem.”

But he also stressed, “However, the campaign must observe due process and must not destroy the dignity of the people. But please let’s do it within the parameters of the law, most especially by respecting due process, if you want to eradicate drug problems.”

He then added, “But please, these are the names of people, every person has a right to his good name, his reputation. The moment is maligned, dignity is violated.”

Others named by Duterte are Jed Mabilog, the mayor of Iloilo City; Sigfredo Betita, from Carles; Alex Centena, from Calinog; Mariano Malones, from Maasin; a judge named Savillo, from Regional Trial Court Branch 13; the vice mayor of Maasin, Francis Ansing Amboy; and a lawyer, Antonio Pesina Erwin Plagata; among others.

Monsignor Oso said that the Church has always taken initiatives against drugs seriously and this time is no exception, but it will not be part of any ill researched or wild accusations containing blatantly incorrect information, even if they come from the big talking president.

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