“The culture of impunity in this country does not exempt Church people and those who are genuinely serving the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, and the rejected.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called the murder of Fr. Mark Ventura an evil act.
Fr. Mark Ventura, former rector of the Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary of Aparri, was gunned down by murderers riding in tandem on April 29 after celebrating Holy Mass in Barangay Peña West, Gattaran, Cagayan, according to Kodao report.
“We are totally shocked and in utter disbelief to hear about the brutal killing of Fr. Mark Ventura, Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao,” Abp. Romulo G. Valles, president of the CBCP, said in a statement.
The CBCP called on the authorities to act swiftly in going after the perpetrators and to bring them to justice.
At the time of his death, Ventura was assigned to the San Isidro Labrador Mission Station in Gattaran and headed the Migrants’ Desk of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. He is also known for his advocacy against mining and for helping the indigenous peoples.
In a separate statement signed by Fr. Marlon Beredo and Fr.Gilbert Billena, the Order of Carmelites Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission, said, “The culture of impunity in this country does not exempt Church people and those who are genuinely serving the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, and the rejected. In fact, in the last four months we have seen a crackdown on people whose heart is only to do God’s will in serving those who are in need, people whom even the government has forgotten to serve.”
The Carmelites cited the killing of Fr. Marcelito Paez of the Diocese of San Jose in December last year and the harassment of 71-year old Australian missionary, Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS, who is threatened of being deported.
“These dastardly acts of evil has no place in a country, whose majority of people, most especially those in government, profess to be followers of Christ and to be pious in the religious tradition that they follow,” the Order of Carmelites JPIC said.
“We appeal to our government to stop harassing church people, human rights workers, and people who have given and dedicated their lives in realizing kaginhawahan (comfort) for the least, the lost, the neglected, and the forgotten,” they said.