Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes (right) and Manny Caballero outside the hall at Ramada Plaza Hotel in Newark, N.J. where the Our Lady of Victories Gala was held on Sept. 30, 2017.

Exclusive to Filipino Reporter

JERSEY CITY — Visiting Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes, on two occasions, criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s approach of killing people in solving the drug problem during his brief visit in Central Jersey last weekend.

Bishop Cortes, whose diocese includes Dumaguete, Siquijor and parts of Negros Oriental, agreed to talk one-on-one with this reporter outside the hall where the Our Lady of Victories (OLV) Gala was being held at Ramada Plaza Hotel in Newark, N.J. last Saturday evening on the occasion of the parish’s 100th Year Anniversary.

During the interview with the Filipino Reporter, the bishop expressed disappointment at Mr. Duterte and his way of solving the drug problem by killing people.

“Killings, especially of young people, must stop!” he said.

As of this writing, an estimated 13,000 poor suspected drug-users and traffickers had been killed in the bloody and brutal Duterte anti-drug war widely viewed as done without due process.

The following day, during an anniversary mass where he was the main celebrant at OLV with Pastor Vic Paloma and other priests in the area, the church official repeated his criticisms in his homily before a standing-room only church, dominated mostly by Filipino parishioners.

Addressing the OLV parishioners, he told them, “The drug problem is comprehensive, but it should not be solved in an abbreviated way by killings, especially the young.”

He added, “There is a culture of death being perpetuated in our country.”

Top officials of the Catholic Church in Luzon, led by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and Archbishop Socrates Villegas, have also called on President Duterte to stop the extrajudicial killings.

Bishop Cortes ended his topic by asking, “What will be the future?”


Parishioners at last Sunday’s mass at Our Lady of Victories in Jersey City, N.J.  (FR photo)

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