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Church leaders in Philippines call on Duterte to be held accountable for murders



Zelda Caldwell - published on 07/01/21 - updated on 07/01/21

An ecumenical group of religious leaders demanded justice for extra-judicial killings since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016.

A group of church leaders demanded that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte be held accountable for the killings that have taken place during his “war on drugs.”

The ecumenical group of Christian leaders, “One Voice,” issued a statement calling for justice in the deaths of the victims of Duterte’s extra-judicial murders since he took office in 2016.

According to official government numbers more than 6,000 people involved in the drug trade have been killed.  Human rights and news organizations and estimate that over 12,000 have been killed.

“We at One Voice cry out for justice for the victims of the Duterte regime,” the Christian leaders said, according to a report at

“We demand that Duterte and those who orchestrate and execute these state-sanctioned murders be held accountable,” they said.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) took an important step last week which, according to news reports, may lead to an investigation into the killings.

Fatou Bensouda announced that her office had found “a reasonable basis to believe” that crimes against humanity were committed between 2016 and 2019.

Bensouda said that she would seek authorization from the ICC to launch a formal investigation into the murders. The ICC judges have 120 days to make a decision on whether to agree to Bensouda’s request.

Among the signers of the One Voice statement are Catholic Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Bishop Reuel Marigza of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and Bishop Rhee Timbang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

Other signatories include Sisters Association in Mindanao chair Sr. Rowena Pineda, Sr. Ma. Lisa Ruedas of the Daughter of Charity’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry, and Br. Armin Luistro, provincial superior of the De La Salle Brothers in East Asia.


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