Government Policy on Extra-Judicial Killings

By Charles Avila

STATEMENT OF CHARLES AVILA, CHAIRMAN OF THE LAY SOCIETY (LSSAJ LAY SOCIETY OF SAINT ARNOLD JANSSEN) ON MAY 27, 2018 REGARDING THE GOVERNMENT’S POLICY ON EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS 

Authority must enact and implement just laws, that is, laws that correspond to the dignity of the human person and to what is required by right reason: “Human law is law insofar as it corresponds to right reason and therefore is derived from the eternal law. When, however, a law (or any order and command) is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law; in such a case it ceases to be law and becomes instead an act of violence.” [See para 393 “Catechism of Church’s Social Teaching”] 

Citizens are not obligated in conscience to follow the prescriptions of authorities if their precepts are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or to the teachings of the Gospel. In fact, when they are called to cooperate in morally evil acts they must refuse. Besides being a moral duty, such a refusal is also a basic human right which, precisely as such, civil law itself is obliged to recognize and protect.

APPLICATION – “Christian” members of the Philippine National Police had/have an obligation to disobey the Tokhang program even when it was pseudo-legalized by the “Killing Circular” originally known as “PNP CMC 16-2016” (CMC meaning “Command Memorandum Circular”, in other words “an order”) which “authorized” the “neutralization” of “high value and street level targets” including their protectors and supporters – a program of neutralization that in some count has now reached about 20,000 dead. “Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign Plan – Project ‘Double Barrel’” dated July 1st 2016 was the other name for PNP CMC 16-2016.

Admittedly, to disobey such an immoral order would not be and could not be easy. Hence, these members of the PNP should have had or must now have all the support, moral and otherwise, from the saints or a few good men and women of every sector and place because for any member of the PNP to disobey, or not meet his quota, is so difficult and heroic. Why?

No less than the Head of Government most clearly and quite so often assures the police that they were/are safe under his watch. They are protected if they follow the Killing Circular Memorandum Order. In his words, “You have the support of the Office of the President. I will be with you all the way.” To Christian believers, are these not the words of the Evil One? To the practitioner the implication is also equally clear: “Kill and automatically you become part of a Killing Organization that will protect you and from which there is no escape. We are in it together.”

We the Church whose name is LSSAJ categorically oppose and reject any such killing program purportedly offered as an effective means of governance. It is evil and we pray that we and all the people be delivered from it.

(Sgd.) CHARLES AVILACHAIRMAN, LAY SOCIETY(LSSAJ LAY SOCIETY OF SAINT ARNOLD JANSSEN)

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