10/19/2011

Support the Philippine Independent Church's call for a new investigation into Bishop Ramento's murder.

ENS carries this story about the Philippine Independent Church and its demand that there be a further investigation of the murder of Bishop Alberto Ramento. 

"[Ecumenical News International]  A homegrown Philippine church is seeking international backing to help pressure the government to re-investigate the unresolved murder of a bishop five years ago.

"We continue to ask our partner churches -- such as the Anglican, Episcopal and Old Catholic Churches -- in the international community for solidarity and support for the case," Bishop Ronelio Fabriquier of the Philippine Independent Church told ENInews in an interview in early October.


On Oct. 3, the church commemorated the fifth anniversary of the death of Bishop Alberto Ramento of Tarlac province, who was found stabbed at his rectory. Three days later, the Tarlac police declared the case solved, claiming it was a simple case of robbery and homicide.


Ramento's kinfolk and parishioners claimed otherwise. They said shortly before his killing, Ramento, a noted farmers' and human rights advocate, had been receiving death threats.


"We hope to build international and local pressures (to continue to persuade the courts to reinvestigate the case)," said Fabriquier, chair of the South-Central Luzon Bishops Conference.


Global church organizations such as the Geneva-based World Council of Churches have condemned Ramento's killing, issuing statements and urging Philippine government agencies to investigate. The WCC and other church organizations also had sent fact-finding missions to the Philippines and met with the agencies.


"The international call for a review of the case must be sustained as we expose the military and police's attempt to downplay Ramento's murder as a simple petty crime rather than extra-judicial killing," the Rev. Ferdinand Anno of Union Theological Seminary told ENInews on Oct. 6.


Anno is among church leaders calling for justice for Ramento and 30 other church workers, mostly human rights advocates, who were killed allegedly at the hands of the military during the 2001 to 2010 regime of former President Gloria Arroyo. Last June, President Benigno Aquino promised to address the issue of extra-judicial killings. But he told media representatives last month that it takes up to ten months to investigate a single case.


Despite Aquino's promise, church leaders lamented what they call the indifference of the government over the case of Ramento. "I believe we cannot expect Aquino to attend to our pleas because Bishop Ramento had been an active supporter of the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita [a landed estate of the Cojuangcos, Aquino's maternal clan]," said Fabriquier. Most of the 6,000 workers have been demanding that Hacienda Luisita be distributed to them.


Established in 1902, the Philippine Independent Church traces its origins from protests and revolts against Spanish friars in the 17th and 18th centuries. Partly born out of the appeal of nationalism and the search for Philippine independence, the church -- a member of the WCC, Christian Conference of Asia, and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines -- has six million members.


The Episcopal Church has a special relationship to the PIC, in that three Episcopal Church bishops extended the historic episcopate to the PIC bishops in the late 1940's. Since that time there have been a series of agreements and concordats covering the relationship between the two churches. The much smaller Episcopal Church in the Philippines, at that time a missionary district of the US church, has continued into full autonomy with its own concordat with the PIC. Both are highly visible and unique churches in the Philippines with strong social justice and pastoral ministry records.

I met Bishop Ramento on several occasions, the first shortly before he became the Obispo Maximo of the Philippine Independent Church. He was a fine person with a gentle wit. We should all grieve this loss with the PIC, the church he served so well, and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines who also benefited from his ministry. We ought also to push with the PIC for a full investigation of his murder.

Little gets said about what the bonds of affection are really about: they are about sharing glad tidings and great sadness, hopes for peace and solidarity with the poor, who whom (Word has it) God has a preference. And the bonds of affection are always on some level personal and connective. The bonds of affection between and among the three churches - TEC, PIC and EPC are very high.

I am closer to closer to Bishop Ramento for remembering him in death and closer to the PIC and ECP because the demand for full investigation of the Bishop’s death recalls for me the great courage and faith of good friends in the Philippines.

May Bishop Ramento rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine on him,
And may we make no peace with oppression. 
Support the opening of a new investigation of Bishop Ramento's murder.

4 comments:

  1. For God's sake, this thread deserves at least one comment, especially given the number of comments on the thread below, most of which are unhelpful.

    I support the call for a new investigation. The official finding is simply too glib, and takes no consideration of the godly work in which Bishop Ramento was involved, nor of the death threats he received. Thank you for calling this man's work and death to my attention, Mark.

    Make no peace with oppression - indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad Lois was the first one and not me.

    I just hope this is not another occasion like the death of Oscar Romero or the massacre at El Mozote where Americans see a sign that says "Your tax dollars at work."

    ReplyDelete
  3. The bishop did the true work of Christians, bringing the light of hope to those who really do dwell in darkness, and not straining at the gnats of canon law to score points.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Support the opening of a new investigation of Bishop Ramento's murder.

    I do. I do. How can we show our support?

    ReplyDelete

OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.