The Ramento Project for Rights Defenders (RPRD) remembers with both elation and a heavy heart church workers who were killed under former President Gloria Arroyo as her favorite general was convicted of kidnapping two university students in a landmark decision promulgated on Monday, September 17, 2018
Retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, along with Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, was convicted of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of the two University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, who were forcibly disappeared, together with farmer Manuel Merino, 12 long years ago in Hagonoy, Bulacan, a province north of Manila.
”We share the victory of the courageous mothers, who fought long and hard to see this day through. This, too, is a victory for many church workers who fell victims under former President Gloria Arroyo’s administration,” said Fr. Jonash Joyohoy, RPRD executive director.
The Iglesia Filipina Independiente and its church workers, who are tirelessly serving the poorest of the poor, were not spared.
The Church, itself, was repeatedly vilified as a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines, simply because it was carrying out the mission of the Christian faith, Fr. Joyohoy said.
Among those killed are Fr. William Tadena (2005), the beloved Bishop Alberto Ramento (2006), and lay worker Benjamin Bayles (2010).
This does not include the harassment of scores of church workers, clergy and lay people, who stand firmly for the defense of human rights, and just peace.
Fr. Joyohoy said, “this must serve as a warning to those in power now. Do not ever think that justice will remain elusive and that you will get away with all the evils you are committing – not when the people are united in prayers and struggle.” (RPRD)