MANILA— More people, including the youth, could get killed if the government won’t change its hardline approach to stamping out illegal drugs in the country, a Catholic bishop has warned.
Reacting to the killing of another teenager, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said more people could be killed because the government’s violent drug war is “naïve, seriously flawed, and needs serious evaluation and rethinking”.
He said the killings of 19-year old Carlo Angelo Arnaiz, including that of 17-year old Kian Loyd delos Santos, are not isolated cases as claimed by police authorities.
“If they don’t stop the killing, we’ll have more Kians and Karls,” said David, who is also the incoming Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
According to the Caloocan police, Arnaiz had robbed a taxi driver in the city before engaging them in a shootout.
Autopsy results, however, revealed that Arnaiz was tortured before he was shot to death similar to Delos Santos.
“The case of Carl Angelo Arnaiz was a murder, plain and simple except that it was committed by our law enforcers. That gives a chilling effect,” David said.
Arnaiz’s body was found by his parents at a funeral home in Caloocan City on Aug. 28, after 10 days since he had gone missing in their hometown of Cainta, Rizal.
“I will insist that Kian and Carl are not isolated cases. The Caloocan policemen just happen to be ‘sloppy’ in carrying out their extrajudicial killings. They’ve made it too obvious,” he added.
The bishop is calling for more investigation into the thousands of other drug-related deaths, adding that the drug war has created a climate of impunity.
He lauded the current efforts to probe the incidents of killings “but I do hope they do it not just for Carl and Kian but for countless other victims of this brutal drug war”.
“The true criminals remain at large, flooding the country with tons of illegal drugs because corruption in government agencies remains unchecked,” David added.
“It (drug war) did not begin by defining who its real enemies and allies are. It has only reinforced in our police a culture of impunity that is affecting the credibility of the whole institution,” he also said. CBCPNews