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An anniversary with victims of fire

MANILA (SE): The archbishop of Manila, Luis Cardinal Tagle, marked his 35th anniversary of ordination on February 27 with thousands of victims of the fire that swept through a poor, densely populated area of the city on February 7.

Instead of holding an elaborate celebration, the cardinal spent the day in Parola Compound, a depressed area of the Tondo district.

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Only Filipinos to kill Filipinos!

MANILA (UCAN): In what is a strange irony, The Promotion of Church People’s Response has requested the Philippine government, which is currently moving closer to reinstating the death penalty, to appeal to the government of the United Arab Emirates to refrain from executing a Filipino migrant worker, 30-year-old Jennifer Dalquez, who is convicted of murdering her employer.

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Standard bearer of justice arrested in Manila

MANILA (SE): Leila de Lima, a long-time arch critic of the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, was arrested on February 24 on charges of receiving drug money and protecting drug offenders in order to finance her campaign for the senate last year.

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The hero is the villain

MANILA (SE): “The hero is now the villain,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in lamenting what he termed the new spirit of a now splintered EDSA Remembrance Day.

“History books are rewritten. Historical memory is revised. The hero is the villain. The plunderers are now the heroes,” he said in pointing out that the real spirit of what was a bloodless coup just 31 years ago has evaporated into a relentless killing spree of the poor in the name of change.

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Insidious diluting of the Kill Bill

MANILA (SE): In the face of mounting opposition from both the general public and the senate to a proposal before the congress to reintroduce the death penalty in The Philippines, the list of crimes that could see an offender go to the gallows, the lethal injection room or stand in front of a firing squad has been considerably trimmed from its original 21.

Those that are being kept on the bill are the rarely invoked crimes of treason and plunder, but significantly a wide variety of drug-related offences.

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Manila walks for life

MANILA (SE): Before the sun peeped over the horizon on February 18, waves of white were rolling into the Quirino Grandstand in Manila to join a Walk for Life and send a message to the congress that if Filipinos want their nation to free from violence, no one can be a perpetrator of violence, irrespective of the legal or judicial trappings that may accompany it.

The president of the Council of the Laity, Zenaida Capistrano, told the rally, “Life is just borrowed from God, it must be cared for.”

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Catholic but not Christian?

MANILA (SE): The Philippines is widely hailed as the only Catholic country in Asia, but despite being Catholic, it is struggling to live out its Christian values.

In recent months, Archbishop Socrates Villegas has lamented the silence of his flock in the face of the mass killing of the poor instigated by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, saying that it is the complicity of silence from the pews that has enabled the massacre to prosper.

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Duterte declares peace talks dead in water

MANILA (SE): The much vaunted peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Communist Party are now officially dead in the water.

A signature policy of the president, Rodrigo Duterte, peace talks began with much enthusiasm in Oslo, Norway, last August, but soured significantly before a second round that was held in the same city and finally went nowhere at a meeting in Rome at the end of January.

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Beware martial law

MANILA (SE): “Let us continue to maintain safeguards against dictatorial martial law that our present constitution contains,” the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said at the completion of the bishops’ plenary meeting in January.

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Merciless government can’t beg for mercy

MANILA (SE): A Filipino migrant worker, Jakatia Pawa, was hanged in Kuwait on January 25 after being found guilty of murdering the 22-year-old daughter of her employer.

Pawa had maintained her innocence right through her long ordeal, saying that she had no motive whatsoever for killing the woman.

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