A DEEPER VIEW
By JESSE E.L. BACON II
Have the men in religious cloak become the object of extrajudicial killing?
In a span of four months three Roman Catholic priests have been gunned down by unidentified assailants. Two were actually performing their religious duties inside the parishes they were assigned when brazenly gunned down while the third one was ambushed and killed on his way home after securing the release of an arrested rebel suspect.
A fourth priest, a former police chaplain, survived an ambush by still unidentified gunmen.
Two of the killed priests, Frs. Marcelito Paez, the first of the three to be killed, and Fr. Richmond Nilo, the third to be killed, were gunned down in Nueva Ecija, a province in Central Luzon, while the third one, Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura, was gunned down in Gattaran town in the province of Cagayan.
Nilo and Ventura were killed inside the very sanctuary they are serving, making church sanctuaries no longer safe as peace zones even to the religious.
It was Paez who met his death just after successfully interceding for the release of a suspected rebel under police custody.
The former police chaplain, Fr. Rey Urmenta, on the other hand, survived an ambush perpetrated by unidentified gunmen in Calamba, Laguna.
That these servants of God met violent deaths, is horrendous already. But that their deaths have not been resolved with no suspects being arrested as of this writing is so chilling not only to the men in cloak but to each and every Filipino who dreams of a peaceful Philippines.
Compounding the chilling effects of the priests’ killing is the admission of the national police that since the start of the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs 22,983 deaths under investigation or DUI had been recorded.
Will these unsolved deaths not create an atmosphere of fear in the hearts of the citizenry? Certainly it will as it has actually frightened already a large part of the population. But why will the Duterte administration not be worried about this?
Admittedly, the Duterte administration is very successful in holding at bay the people from being agitated by this development because of fear. The fear factor in the heart of the populace is the license that has allowed and continues to allow the administration to behave as if it is not accountable to anybody thus it can behave with impunity.
Truth is among the country’s politicians it is only Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Rep. Gary Alejano of the Magdalo party list group who have courageously stood up against the Duterte administration. Perhaps because the two are not the typical politician like the others in the mainstream political opposition who can be considered as mere armchair fiscalizers only.
It should be realized by every Filipino that the current situation is not good for the country for it’ll just encourage the sitting administration to continue doing things it is not mandated to do and simply get away with it. This is the evil of dictatorship, a condition that we are in without Duterte having to install himself as such.
Until such time that justice is rendered to all those killed categorized by the police as DUI, fear will continue to immobilize the people from standing up for their right to life and to denounce what is wrong with the Duterte administration and how much it has deviated from the will of God for humans. (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com)
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