Bring Davao bombers to justice; define state of lawlessness
Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more. (Ps. 10:17-18)
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines strongly denounces the senseless and inhumane bombing of a night market in Davao City last Sept. 2. We loudly express our righteous indignation at such an attack against unarmed, peace-loving civilians.
This terroristic act, which claimed the lives of 15 people and injured 69 others, was senseless and brutal. It showed no respect for life and, in the ultimate, was an affront to the Creator and Author of Life.
We understand President Duterte’s decision to place the country under a state of lawlessness, given the urgency of the situation. This prerogative to declare a state of lawlessness, which the Constitution grants to the President, may be invoked in an emergency situation.
However, we call on President Duterte to make public the parameters and scope of the declaration so that it will not be subjected to abuse and manipulation by state forces. Let the public understand the nature and the specifics that will govern the declaration. Thus, public fears and doubts that the declaration will eventually lead to martial law will be removed. Further, we call on the government to ensure that the people’s civil liberties and basic freedom are upheld at all times.
We call on our churches, partner organizations and networks to lift the families of the fatalities in our collective thoughts and fervent prayers at this most difficult and trying time of their lives. We also pray that societal institutions be empowered as they bring to justice those who are involved in this act. We implore the God of Peace and Justice to work with us and through us and the institutions and machinery in our society, so that the perpetrators of this gruesome action will be swiftly brought to justice.
We call on all peace loving Filipinos to unite and transcend color, political persuasions, and beliefs or creed, in order to pursue justice and peace, and promote respect for human life and dignity. In so doing, we usher in God’s promise of life in all its fullness.
May the God of Light bestow upon our government leaders the wisdom to discern the root cause of this violence, and the perseverance to pursue the necessary actions to address the situation. May the loving arms of God keep our people united and vigilant as we, together, overcome another difficult time in our nation’s history.
—JUSTICE RAOUL V. VICTORINO, chair, REV. REX RB. REYES JR., general secretary, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, [email protected]
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