MANILA (ChurchMilitant.com) - The archbishop of Manila is calling on Filipinos to value the sanctity of life on all levels.
In an interview Sunday with the Catholic radio station Veritas, Cdl. Luis Antonio Tagle told the faithful they should condemn vigilante killings of suspected drug dealers, but also all forms of abortion and even unfair labor laws. He stressed that all forms of unjust killings should be denounced.
"Many are worried about extrajudicial killings; it's only right. But I hope we should be worried too about abortion," he commented. "Why are few speaking out on it? That's also killing. Unfair labor practice is also killing the dignity of the worker."
Tagle also broke his silence on the issue of the deaths of more than 700 in police operations, and 1,000 more in summary executions since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in late June.
"Be consistent to promote whole or integral life. Let us not be selective," Tagle said. "Why are only a few people speaking out against abortion? That's also murder!"
This comes after President Duterte encouraged people to kill those they believe to be drug dealers and that he would support them and even "give [them] a medal."
Duterte also has evidenced animus against the Catholic Church. He made a promise last December to destroy the Church.
"I will destroy the Church and the present status of so many priests and what they are doing," he promised. "You priests, bishops, you condemn me and suggest I withdraw, but then I will start to open my mouth. There are so many secrets that we kept as children. Do not force [me to speak] because this religion is not so sacred."
In early August it was reported that approximately 600,000 people were on Duterte's shoot-to-kill list for any possible connection to drugs. This included 150 judges, mayors and congressmen. Duterte ordered the people on the list to surrender to authorities within 24 hours, "or else I will order the entire armed forces of the Philippines to hunt for you." He also suspended the licenses of firearm owners in the country. "Firearms are ordered cancelled tonight," he had declared.
Duterte responded strongly to criticism of his human rights violations by saying, "I don't care about human rights, believe me."
Cardinal Tagle elaborated further on the Duterte kill lists. "I know the killings are a big issue now. Guilty or not, life should be taken care of and respected. And if one is guilty, he should be given a chance to change."