Relatives of victims of drug-related killings light candles to remember their loved ones a week before the observance of All Souls' Day in Manila on Oct. 24. (Photo by Vincent Go)
Relatives of victims of drug-related killings have gathered in Manila a week ahead of the traditional observance of All Souls' Day to light candles in honor of their departed loved ones.
In his homily during a Mass for those who died, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan reminded Catholics about the meaning of remembering the dead.
Aside from the victims of the killings, the prelate said Catholics should also pray for the "living dead" who continue to live but "whose conscience are dead."
He was referring to policemen accused of committing summary executions of suspects, including Kian Loyd delos Santos, a 17-year-old student.
"Let us pray for the souls of the policemen who shot Kian even as the child begged that he had a school test the next day," Bishop David said.
A report released by the European Union noted that President Rodrigo Duterte's war on illegal drugs has worsened the human rights situation in the country.
"The second half of  was marked by a serious deterioration in respect for the right to life, due process and the rule of law," read the report.
The EU report noted that Duterte's "statements and actions have seemingly encouraged the police to take an aggressive approach in dealing with drug users and pushers."
Bishop David of Kalookan said Catholics should not only light candles for the victims of violence but also for the perpetrators "so that their conscience and souls" will be burned.
"They are all children of God and they also need redemption," said the prelate who had been very vocal on condemning the killings most of which happened in his diocese.