“Just days after his speech against the church, another killing was committed; the serious and alarming statements from the president against church people are very disturbing. It is in effect, license to those who committed these murders.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — Another Catholic priest was gunned down before he could celebrate Mass in the chapel of barangay Mayamot, Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija.
According to Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news site, Fr. Richmnond Nilo of the Diocese of Cabanatuan was behind the altar getting ready to start Mass at around 6:05 p.m. when two unidentified men shot him through a window four times at around 6 p.m., June 10.
Fr. Nilo, 40, is the third priest to be killed under the Duterte administration, following the murder of Fr. Mark Ventura in Gattaran, Cagayan on April 29 and Fr. Marcelito Paez in Jaen, Nueva Ecija on December 4.
In a statement, Bishop Sofronio A. Bancud of Cabanatuan condemned the brutal murder of Fr. Nilo and “the escalating violence and culture of impunity in the country even against helpless clergymen.”
“We demand for justice, for thorough and impartial investigation of the case and for its swift resolution, as we likewise appeal to those who might have material knowledge on this matter to please cooperate with police authorities,” Bancud said.
In a separate statement, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao noted that the killing of Fr. Nilo took place three days after President Rodrigo Duterte’s verbal attacks against the Catholic Church.
In his speech in Cebu City, June 7, Duterte was quoted as saying, “I cannot believe in the basic tenets of the Catholic church. It is really a — portraying God to be so stupid.”
“Just days after his speech against the church, another killing was committed; the serious and alarming statements from the president against church people are very disturbing. It is in effect, license to those who committed these murders,” Casilao said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the “country’s state of impunity has gone berserk.” Citing data from human rights alliance Karapatan, there are 126 cases of extrajudicial killings from July 2016 to December 31, 2017.