The summary execution of suspected drug dealers in the Philippines is “the most cruel death penalty ever seen,” a missionary priest told the Fides news service.
Father Shay Cullen, an Irish priest, reported that there have been about 1,000 people killed in the past month, merely on suspicion of involvement in the drug traffic. He described the vigilante killings as “a monstrous crime.”
Father Cullen observed that lawmakers in the Philippines could reinstate the death penalty, and although the missionary priest made it clear that he would oppose that move, it would at least be “a legal way” to punish criminals. But the extra-judicial killings—which have been quietly encouraged by President Rodrigo Duterte—are a violation of the rule of law, he said. “The suspects are not given the opportunity to defend themselves against their accusers, which is their constitutional right.”
“This violence must stop,” Father Cullen insisted. Unfortunately, he said, the campaign of vigilante justice appears to have broad public support.