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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

In Philippines, three outspoken priests say they’ve received death threats

Three Catholic priests, known for being outspoken against a wave of drug-related killings, claimed they have received death threats in recent weeks, reported

Jesuit Fr Albert Alejo, Divine Word Fr Flavie Villanueva and Fr Robert Reyes told a hastily organised media briefing that they fear for their lives.

“We’re not safe,” said Fr Reyes, known as the “running priest” for his penchant to go on long-distance runs to draw attention to human rights issues.

“We are afraid,” said Fr Alejo, adding that they were “fortunate” to have received threats, unlike the “thousands of others killed without warning.”

The government has acknowledged the deaths of nearly 5,200 “drug personalities” in nearly 120,000 anti-narcotics operations since 1st July 2016, when President Rodrigo Duterte came to power.

Authorities, however, said all were killed while resisting arrest or attacking arresting officers.

Human rights groups claim more than 20,000 drug-related killings have been classified by police as “deaths under investigation.”

Picture: In this 2017 file photo, a woman in Manila, Philippines, speaks during Mass about her loved one being killed due to their alleged involvement in drugs. Three Filipino Catholic priests claimed that they’ve received death threats because of their stance against drug-related killings. (CNS photo/Romeo Ranoco, Reuters).