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Senator prepares for the worst

MANILA (UCAN): “I prepared myself already for the worst. I already said goodbye to my family,” Leila de Lima, the former secretary for justice and currently a member of the senate, said at a ceremony to mark World Day Against the Death Penalty in the bishops’ conference chapel in Intramuros, Manila, on October 10.

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A house of cards founded on hallucination

MANILA (SE): As the administration of the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, turns 100-days-old, it remains largely defined by his obsession—a massive onslaught on the poor in the guise of a war on drugs.

Although he has made significant progress with the Mindanao peace talks and in currying favour with China, his most conclusive achievement is inspiring over 4,000 murders of people who may or may not have been involved in drugs—certainly some were not.

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Gratitude and repentance

ASSISI (SE): The Philippines can give thanks for its religious and cultural diversity, but must also beg forgiveness for its continual reliance on the violence of arms to settle its disputes.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas told the gathering at the Interreligious World Day of Prayer for Peace held in Assisi, Italy, on September 20, that his nation is highly blessed by God with a rich diversity of ethnicity, culture and religion, all contributing to the makeup of what it means to be Filipino.

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Shoot the messenger

MANILA (SE): “If Germany had Hitler, The Philippines would have…,” the president of the nation told a crowd in his heartland of Davao City on September 30 as he turned the finger of his hand poignantly towards himself.

Speaking upon his return from a state visit to Vietnam, Duterte sparked an immediate outcry from representatives of survivors’ groups from the Adolf Hitler extermination camps and Jewish groups the world over.

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Emerging patterns from Duterte’s erratic rhetoric

HONG KONG (SE): Despite the highly confusing and seemingly contradictory statements on foreign policy articulated by the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, some patterns are beginning to emerge.

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Selective indifference to human tragedy

ROME (SE): The selective indifference of sympathy was lamented by the bishop of Cotabato in the southern Philippines, Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, in speaking to religious leaders at the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi on September 19.

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Trusting in the tried and failed

HONG KONG (SE): While in one breath, the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, proclaimed his war on drugs is succeeding, he wisely never answered the question, “Succeeding at what?”

If his criteria is the height of the pile of dead bodies of the predominately poor that he has had liquidated, then he has some cause to celebrate. If it is the number of pushers or users who have surrendered (although some of these are already dead as well), then there is more to celebrate.

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Swapping drug addiction for blood addiction

ARAKAN (SE): Father Peter Geremia, the Italian priest who came into the news as the offsider of the murdered Father Fausto Tentorio in Arakan, North Cotabato, in 2011, says that he had been told by a Filipino priest that the current president, Rodrigo Duterte, knows the heart of the ordinary people and knows that they want to oppose the drug syndicates, the murders, rapes, holdups and the system of corruption of the police and judiciary, as well as that in every other public office in the land.

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Execution seems okay by president

JAKARTA (SE): Following his debut appearance at the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held in Vientiane, Laos, on September 5 and 6, the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, made his first visit as head of state to Indonesia.

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A million roses for the world

MANILA (SE): Running under the theme of A nation at prayer is a nation at peace, the bishops of The Philippines have launched a prayer crusade called A Million Roses for the World: Filipinos at prayer for the nation, in an attempt to heal what they describe as their wounded nation torn by socio-political issues.

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