CHR condemns threats to Bishop David’s life

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CHR condemns threats to Bishop Davidâs life
This file photo shows CBCP Vice President Bishop Pablo David (left) with CBCP President Romulo Valles (center).
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman, File

MANILA, Philippines — The threats to the lives of Caloocan Bishop Pablo David and other members of the Catholic clergy should stop, the Commission on Human Rights said Sunday.

In a statement, CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia said any form of intimidation, harassment and threat to life is an assault to human dignity and freedom.

“Previous statements threatening Bishop David and other bishops with harm, accusing them of pocketing church collections and ridiculing them publicly may have emboldened some followers to commit atrocious acts, the least of which is to intimidate and threaten our religious leaders. This should be stopped,” De Guia said.

She noted that the Caloocan bishop decided to skip an awarding ceremony last Tuesday after receiving multiple death threats.

David, also the vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, has been at the receiving end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades for his opposition of the administration’s war on drugs.

“We cherish our civil rights and freedoms. Those who disagree with the policies and views of elected government leaders should not be cursed or threatened,” De Guia said.

The CHR spokesperson added: “We remind our public servants and our men in uniform to defend and protect our hard-earned human rights to life, liberty and dignity for all.”

The Catholic Church, its priests and its beliefs have been a constant target of the president in his speeches but the Palace has repeatedly explained these away as jokes or Duterte’s way to criticize the hypocrites in the clergy.

Last Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo claimed without expounding that critics have been manipulating Duterte’s jokes to confuse the public.

He even said that Catholic clerics should not fear for their lives. This, despite the chief executive’s earlier comment for people to rob and kill priests.

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