De Lima: Church should take action amid spate of priest slays

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2018 08:56 PM

MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Wednesday asked why only a few bishops were speaking out against the recent killings of priests.

"Tingnan niyo naman ang nangyayari, maski pari di na safe. Dapat ho talaga kumilos na rin ang mga pamunuan, simbahan," she said ahead of her hearing in the disobedience to summons case before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 34.

(Look at what is happening, even priests are not safe. Authorities and the Catholic Church should take action.)

"Bakit konti lang ang mga obispo ang nagsasalita? Nasaan 'yung iba? Nasaan si Cardinal Tagle?" she asked.

(Why are there only a few bishops who speak out? Where are the others? Where is Cardinal Tagle?)

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the spate of killings which, he said, spares no one.

"Huwad ang kalayaan kapag pinaglalaruan ang katarungan. Inuulit po natin: taliwas sa kalooban ng Diyos ang pagyurak sa buhay," he said in a statement.

(You have fake freedom when justice is toyed with. I repeat: trampling upon life is against the will of God.)

On Monday, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines condemned the killing of Rev. Fr. Richmond Nilo from Nueva Ecija. He was the third priest to be slain in six months. 

In April, Rev. Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura was also shot dead by an unidentified gunman after celebrating Mass in Gattaran, Cagayan. 

In December 2017, Rev. Fr. Marcelito Paez was gunned down by unidentified assailants after assisting in the release of a political prisoner in the town of Jaen, Nueva Ecija.

Meanwhile, Fr. Rey Urmenta, a former PNP chaplain, survived an ambush in Calamba, Laguna just last week. 

Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas also issued a statement condemning the killings of priests in the country.

De Lima, who has been detained for a year and 4 months over drug charges she described as political persecution, said it's time for the Catholic Church to speak up. 

"Lantaran na pong binabastos, kinukutya, binabalahura ang simbahan. Hindi pa ba sila kikilos?" she said.

(The Church is openly being harassed. Won't they take action?)