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Against the tide of murders and plunder, let us bear witness to TRUTH and LIFE!

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HOW MAY we describe the present social condition of our nation?

It is like living in the valley of death—killing of drug users and opponents; helpless death in the pandemic, death by governance without vision, death by shameless corruption that seems to break all records. Killings! Murders! Deaths!

Since the past five years, more than thirty thousand poor Filipinos have been killed in the campaign against illegal drugs.

Journalists have been killed, political opponents have been murdered, court judges have been assassinated, priests have been shot and critics have been bullied and threatened. The killers are at large and the blind supporters of these murderers applaud the killers.

The pandemic was a calamity of nature that we could not control. We saw death in our homes and offices. The heroic medical health workers risked their safety and some perished with their PPEs on. While other nations have risen from the pandemic, our death toll continues to rise.

The poor are slowly dying from joblessness due to ridiculous confusing quarantine classifications. Incompetence kills peoples. Ineptitude kills nations and economies. Hunger kills slowly.

Bullets kill. Viruses kill. Governance without direction kills. Corruption kills. Trolls kill with fake news. Hunger kills. When will the killings stop? The poor pay for the corruption of the powerful. The nation is sinking in debt.

Are we facing a dead end and are we helpless? NO. We overcome evil by the power of good. Our help is from the Lord!

This is the time for PENITENCE AND ATONEMENT for our national and personal sins…

We must RESIST a murderous and corrupt public order guided by the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church #400…admitting that it is legitimate to resist authority should it violate in a serious or repeated manner the essential principles of natural law.

Saint Thomas Aquinas writes that “one is obliged to obey … insofar as it is required by the order of justice“. Natural law is therefore the basis of the right to resistance…

We have a moral duty to resist and correct a culture of murder and plunder as much as the prolonged pattern of hiding or destroying the truth. “As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism” (#407)…

Guided by this, we commend, bless and encourage the FULL INVESTIGATION, by those in authority, of any whiff of corruption; as we also reproach, rebuke and censure those who obstruct the legal process to arrive at truth and justice…

FREE ELECTIONS which allow the selection and change of representatives is the most effective way to make political authority accountable… In this spirit, we plead with our youth and first time voters to register themselves. We appeal to the sense of patriotism of the reluctant candidates to bring back ethics in our political life and run according to your conscience not according to the surveys.

This is not the time for despair but courage. This is not the time to be quiet but to stand up for God. Against the tide of murders and plunder, let us bear witness to TRUTH and LIFE!

(Excerpted from the Joint Pastoral Message on the Culture of Murder and Plunder from the Metropolitan Archbishops of Northern Luzon, Sept. 12, 2021. Signed + MARLO M. PERALTA, Archbishop of Nueva Segovia, + SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS, Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan, and + RICARDO L. BACCAY, Archbishop of Tuguegarao)

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