The Ramento Project for Rights Defenders hailed the granting of bail to Bishop Carlo Morales as a milestone in the arduous struggle towards his eventual and just unconditional release.
“Bishop Morales should have never been arrested in the first place. The trumped-up charges against him are so incredulous that it did not escape the exacting scrutiny of the presiding judge,” said RPRD Executive Director Fr. Jonash Joyohoy.
Bishop Morales, his driver, and his wife, along with National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Rommel Salinas, were illegally arrested in 2017. His driver and wife were released a day after their unlawful arrest.
The granting of bail of Bishop Morales came shortly before the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), a landmark signed agreement in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP. The CARHRIHL, one of the four substantive agenda in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, was signed on March 16, 1998.
Fr. Joyohoy said charges against Bishop Morales, who himself is a staunch peace advocate, must be dismissed immediately.
In a statement, Obispo Maximo Rhee Timbang said that while Bishop Morales is temporarily freed, they cannot close their eyes to the continuing detention of progressive activists, intensified military operations that result to the displacement of indigenous peoples, and the persecution of activists who are currently being tagged as terrorists.
He added, “We steadfastly call on our people to stand firm in the struggle for justice and lasting peace. We further call on our faithful to be in solidarity with the struggling masses and invoke the Holy Spirit to guide us in this struggle. (RPRD News)
Photo grabbed from the Facebook page of the IFI National Program Office