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Bishop Varela Statement on “Terrorist” Labeling

By Bishop Jesus Y. Varela
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Sorsogon

JOMA, A TERRORIST?

Labeling has always been the name of the game, when logic limps and might supersedes right. I do not believe anybody has the right to label another, without convincing evidence, as a terrorist. If you think he is a terrorist, then have him arrested. Charge him in court. And prove your allegation beyond the shadow of a doubt. If he is found guilty of the charge, allow him to appeal to a higher court. This is his right. We who adhere to the principles of democracy should not deny anybody this basic right. Everyone has the right to his day in court.

Calling one a terrorist does not make him one. Christ was called a blasphemer, a malefactor and even a devil. His accusers never proved the charge in Caiphas' or in Pilate's court. They just went ahead, and had him killed. Mob rule had its day.

Name-calling has no place in a dialogue. We are for dialogue, aren't we? Let's then lay the groundwork for a just, peaceful, and fraternal dialogue. We begin clean, giving the other person the benefit, at the very least, of the doubt. No dialogue can progress if we do not attribute goodwill to the other.

For the good of our country and people, let us pray for reconciliation, for the peaceful solution to the 30-year old conflict of ideologies. Let us pray that love prevail over hatred, that we settle our differences without violence and that we come together as brothers to the bargaining table.

Let's give peace another chance.

(Sgd) +Jesus Y. Varela
Bishop of Sorsogon

P.O. Box 07
4700 Sorsogon City, Philippines

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