CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

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Church leaders rap Duterte for stance on Marcos heirs

Manila (UCAN): On the eve of the 100th birthday of the late dictator of the The Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, the country’s Church leaders sounded out against the ongoing war on drugs being waged on the poor by the president, Rogrigo Duterte, as well as critising his pandering to the Marcos heirs.
 
“We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal. We cannot govern the nation by killing,” Luis Cardinal Tagle, the archbishop of Manila, said in a pastoral letter that was read across the archdioceses of Manila on September 10. 
 
In his strongest statement yet, cardinal ordered the tolling of church bells every night at 8.00pm in remembrance of the dead.
 
In early September, Duterte hinted at possibly granting the Marcos heirs immunity after they reportedly offered to “return a few gold bars” amassed by their father decades back “to secure the Philippine economy.”
 
Bishop Ruperto Santos, from Balanga, called for “justice for those who have been oppressed, victimised and who suffered during the martial law years.” He stressed, “The proponents (of Martial Law) should be and must be prosecuted.” 
 
He called for those complicit to “openly confess and admit all those human atrocities, corruptions; be truly and publicly contrite; return and restitute all those ill gotten wealth without any preconditions.” 
 
Bishop Arturo Bastes, from Sorsogon, criticised Duterte for declaring a special holiday in Marcos’ home province of Ilocos Norte.
 
“Duterte’s action of honouring a dictator who caused great havoc in our country is a travesty of our national history,” the bishop said.
 
Redemptorist Father Amado Picardal, who was tortured as a seminarian for distributing resistance leaflets, said that no conditions should be attached to the Marcos children’s offer to return wealth amassed during their father’s presidency. He said that the Marcoses admitted to their guilt by making the offer.
 
Another priest who was tortured under the Marcos regime, Sacred Heart Father Benjamin Alforque, pointed to the contrast between Duterte’s leniency towards the former first family and his contemptuous attitude towards suspected drug addicts and dealers.
 
“The Marcoses get the red carpet while the government deprives drug suspects of due process,” he said.
 
Priests, religious sisters, seminarians and laity joined nationwide protests on September 11, as the Marcos family celebrated the late dictator’s 100th birthday.
 
Meanwhile, the president of the Philippine Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, from Lingayen-Dagupan, directed that support to be extended to the families of the victims.

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