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Collateral damage

The Sixth Commandment, “Thou shall not kill”, is the message of the Archdiocese of Manila for President Rodrigo Duterte through a Mass, and their response to his “State of the Nation Address” last Monday.

It also signaled the launching of its “Thou shall not kill” campaign which brings together the families of victims of extrajudicial killings since Duterte came to power.

Father Atilano Fajardo, director of the Archdiocese of Manila’s Public Affairs Ministry, said killing drug users, pushers, and dealers robbed them of their right to due process and the chance to change their lives.

They say “change is coming”. How can we expect a person to change if he no longer exists?

As part of the campaign, they will hold Masses at Saint Vincent de Paul Church on San Marcelino Street, Ermita, every last Monday of the month.

Clearly, this is the Catholic Church’s stand on the issue. If Catholics don’t agree, then I guess it’s time for them to leave that church.

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Duterte promised to end illegal drugs and criminality within six months if elected. And the lives of more than 300 suspects linked to drugs have been snuffed out by the police or vigilantes since the beginning of his administration.

Jefferson Bunuan, his cousin Mark Anthony Bunuan, and Jomar Manaois were killed during an anti-drug operation by MPD-Sta. Ana operatives in San Andres Bukid on July 18. Their station commander, Superintendent Roberto Domingo, said Manaois pulled out a pistol and a gunfight followed.

However, Bunuan’s sister Lovely said three girls who were inside the house before the incident happened told her that Jefferson and Mark were asleep when the police operation occurred.

The cops supposedly ordered the girls to leave the house before the operation since they will conduct an investigation. They allegedly heard Manaois surrender after the police entered the house, which was followed by seven gunshots.

The Kaibigan Ermita Outreach Foundation (KEOF) said Jefferson and Mark were sleeping in Manaois’s house because there was no space at their abode since Jefferson’s sister had just given birth.

The 20-year-old Jefferson, an 11-year scholar of KEOF, was taking up BS Criminology at the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology. Too bad his end came in the hands of the people he wanted to emulate.

Thorough investigations are truly needed in such cases. Firing Line is not against police operations directed at true drug suspects. But it’s a whole different thing when innocent people end up as collateral damage.

Read the President’s lips: “Mag-trabaho kayo. ‘Wag kayong mag-imbento. (Do not fabricate evidence). I will hear you.

And if you’re telling the truth, sabihin mo ako. ‘Utos ni Mayor Rody.’’”

“Sabi ko, lahat ng pulis, sabi ko, ‘Do not lie to me.’ Babarilin talaga (I’ll tell all policemen, ‘Do not lie to me.’ You’ll get shot),” he said.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column athttp://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)