Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note: It appears that the moral and political violence against those who profess different political ideologies may be increasing in the Philippines . Since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001, there have been 705 documented civilian victims of extra-judicial killings. This injustice has included many members of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines as well.

Clergy and Church Workers Among Victims of Extra-Judicial Killings

Posted by: Alecks Pabico on 18 July 2006

PCIJ – LAST Sunday, the Papal envoy to the country expressed alarm at the escalating number of murdered journalists and activists which he said is besmirching the Philippines ’s reputation as a predominantly Roman Catholic country, especially following the recent abolition of the death penalty.

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Fernando Filoni said he was surprised that “in the Philippines there is still a high incidence of moral and political violence against those who profess different political ideologies.” The spate of murders, he added, poses a contradiction in that, “on the one hand, we practically abolished the death penalty and yet on the other hand, we are not respecting or implementing the rights of the human race.”

The human rights alliance Karapatan has documented 705 civilians who have been victims of extra-judicial killings since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power 2001. Of this number, 297 were activists identified with leftist organizations.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), meanwhile, counts 44 journalists who have been murdered since 2001, six of them killed this year.

But the impunity has not spared even the religious sector, claiming the lives of 16 clergy and lay members mostly from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), a progressive Protestant denomination.

The latest victims, according to Karapatan, were two UCCP pastors — Rev. Andy Pawican who was killed last May 21 in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija by unidentified armed men, and Rev. Jemias Tinambacan of Calaran, Misamis Occidental, who was shot to death by four armed motorcycle-riding men last May 9 while traveling to Oroquieta City.

Tinambacan’s wife, Marilou, was also injured in the attack. She survived by hiding herself inside their van and pretending to be dead as soon as she heard one of the assailants say “Buhay pa ang babae, tuluyan na ‘yan! (The woman is still alive, let’s finish her off!).”

The Arroyo government has suggested that communist rebels could be behind many of the killings as part of an internal purge. Just recently, Deputy Director General Avelino Razon Jr., head of Task Force Usig investigaitng the murders, also claimed that the New People’s Army (NPA) is behind the deaths of journalists.

Karapatan is however holding the Arroyo government accountable for what it claims as the worsening human rights situation and systematic killings of activists.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines , Arroyo, it said, has “allowed, abetted and countenanced gross violation of human rights.”

“(Mrs. Arroyo) has allowed the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Plan Freedom Watch), the counter-insurgency program that targets not only the armed combatants but also leaders of known legal and democratic organizations. (She) has rewarded well her counter-insurgency killing machines, like Jovito Palparan, Jr. with promotions and medals, distorting the cowardly act of killing hapless civilians as an act of valor,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan secretary-general.

Enriquez added that Oplan Bantay Laya has caused the disappearance of some 181 persons in a span of five years (as culled from Karapatan data from January 20, 2001 to July 11, 2006).

The list of church members killed include the following…[Go To Full Story]