As we have become painfully aware, the drug problem in our country is deep and complex. It has broken and ruined the lives of so many people. The weak judicial system, inadequate witness-protection program and corrupt bureaucratic practices have undermined the rule of law. As a result, the key perpetrators of crime are often not brought to the bar of justice.
While the drug issue has to be addressed systematically and effectively, the loss of lives without due process that is now going on is deplorable. The death count increases with each passing day. The drive to eliminate drugs has wittingly or unwittingly created more widows and orphans whose lives, like the victims of drugs, are forced to endure deep trauma and pain. And a dangerous culture of impunity and unaccountability is seeping into our social fabric whereby an irresponsible ‘end justifies the means’ mentality is disturbingly tolerated.
This issue is greatly dividing our people again. I therefore ask Jesuit communities, institutions and ministries to look closely at this matter and discuss it together with our mission partners so as to consider appropriate collective actions. Some Jesuit institutions and ministries have already been studying and reflecting on the issue, and proposing lines of action in response to extra-judicial killings. I commend them for their initiative and concern. I encourage the further creation of circles of discernment to pray over and reflect on this contentious issue. I ask our government leaders too to hear not only the cries of drug victims and their families, but to restore the rule of law and heed the longings of those who have lost loved ones.
May Our Lady, Queen of Peace and consoler of the afflicted, come to our aid as we seek to address this pressing national challenge.
Fraternally in the Lord,
Antonio F. Moreno, S.J.
Society of Jesus in the Philippines