Archbishop Bernardito Auza with Manny Caballero, FR editorial/news editor.

ACCORDING to its website, “Amnesty International (AI) is a global movement of more than 7 million people who take injustice personally. We are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.”

As detailed in this week’s editorial, AI’s investigation of what it called “extrajudicial executions” during the last six months around the Philippines appeared widespread, deliberate and systematic.

Furthermore, it concluded, the anti-drug related killings are virtually classifiable as “crimes against humanity” and, if not halted, might be a subject of investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands.

The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The ICC tries accused persons and issues punishment like any court of law, and imprison them in its own detention center in its premises.

The day after Amnesty International released its report last month, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his police to stop all drug-related police operations around the Philippines.

Like the “tanim bala” at the airport that was stopped after Pres. Duterte issued an executive order, the drug-related killings have reportedly stopped since the order of the President to his police.

It seems obvious, there was a central command where all the killing operations stemmed from.

Even if we observe that the order of Pres. Duterte to his police was influenced greatly by the AI report, we see three other reasons why the police drug-related operations were halted.

One: The Catholic Church has started to speak louder against extrajudicial killings.

A mass demonstration has been scheduled by lay national organization LAIKO on Feb. 18 at the Luneta dubbed as “March for Life.”

Filipinos are being urged by the Church to speak up against EJK and restoration of death penalty.

(I thought “death penalty” has been restored in the PH since June 30, 2016?)

Two: There is an increasing number of criticisms against Pres. Duterte’s anti-drug campaign from the citizenry as seen daily in social media comments.

Three: Diminished respect and trust for the police as a result of the killing with extortion allegedly by a group of local police officers of a Korean businessman and other corrupt practices supposedly committed by some members of PNP.


I’m confused.

Should I listen to the reversal explanation of a presidential spokesperson, or believe what his boss, the President, originally said?

If a spokesperson wants to be credible and believed when he is issuing a statement directly opposite to what his boss originally said, perhaps, he should issue an apology first.

Then, admit it was a mistake.

It was a careless commentary, like when Mr. Duterte branded the former President of Colombia as “idiot” when the latter wrote an article last week in The New York Times with observations and advices on the anti-drug campaign of Pres. Duterte.


Archbishop Auza at the UN

On Feb. 13, Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the Security Council Open Debate dedicated to “Protection of Critical Infrastructure against Terrorist Attacks.”

In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that the terrorist attacks on civilian infrastructure and populations must be counteracted by the actions of a unified International Community.

In accordance with the UN Charter, the international community has the responsibility to protect civilians and their critical infrastructure, like schools, hospitals, water supplies and places of worship, from terrorists who destroy them as a tactic to attack their livelihood and sense of community.

Archbishop Auza reiterated the Holy See’s appeal to weapon-producing nations severely to limit and control the manufacture and sale of weapons that carry out this damage, since when they fall into the hands of terrorists, they can be used to carry out this destruction.

Archbishop Auza summoned States to address the role of organized crime in getting weapons to terrorists, as well as to shut off the access to financial sponsorship.

He likewise urged States to share critical information, best practices, resources and technologies.


Love is the favorite subject this Valentine month.

I read that it is not lack of love, but lack of friendship, which ruins many relationships.

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