Should reporters carry guns?
Fr. Pops, as he was fondly called, was a staunch advocate against mining and other extractive operations that threaten the indigenous people. He was revered as an inspiration to his parishioners as well as the lumads (one of the indigenous people living in the area) who were opposing activities that are harmful to the environment.
In an open letter, CBCP joined the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), the Diocese of Kidapawan, and the hundreds of human rights activists that demand justice for the slain priest.
“No peace workers and human rights defenders should ever live in fear or shed blood because of what they believe in and what they stand for. Fr. Pops’ murder reveals a culture of impunity that has prevailed in our society because of the lack of protection and justice that our government affords to human rights defenders.
Beyond the usual expressions of “condolences” and “condemnation”, the government and state authorities have not really done anything that will reverse the trend of senseless killings in the country.
But the victims, their families and friends don’t need these futile words.
Rather, we desire to see these killings stop than be consoled by the platitudes they give in exchange of our grief,” the letter noted, which was signed by Broderick S. Pabillo, Director for CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action in the organization’s website.
Senator Lacson said some priests actually want to carry firearms to protect themselves.
This reporter repeatedly tried to get in touch with CBCP’s Monsignor Pedro Quitorio to get their organization’s stand on the issue but as of the writing (and submission) of this article, efforts to reach him proved futile.
It is however hoped that CBCP’s stand on the issue will be “aired” along with the comments of other stakeholders who are expected to be covered by the bill.
More of the measure’s rationale by Senator Lacson is also expected to be written alongside the stakeholders’ comments.