A Catholic priest being killed in this predominantly Roman Catholic country is unusual. So the murders of three priests within just six months have triggered speculation that there is a deliberate campaign targeting shepherds of the faith.
The other day, Father Richmond Nilo became the third victim. The priest of St. Vincent Ferrer parish in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija was preparing to celebrate mass at the chapel in Barangay Mayamot when a motorcycle with two riders pulled up. One of the riders fired through a window of the chapel and hit Nilo about three meters away from the altar in full view of horrified churchgoers.
Nilo’s murder followed the killing also in Nueva Ecija of activist Father Marcelito Paez on Dec. 4, 2017. Paez, the former parish priest of Guimba, was driving along the Jaen-Zaragoza road when he was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle.
In April this year, Cagayan priest Mark Anthony Ventura was shot dead in Gattaran town after he celebrated Sunday mass in Barangay Peña West. A hired gun has been tagged by police as the killer but has not been caught. Last June 6, Father Rey Urmeneta of St. Michael the Archangel parish in Calamba, Laguna survived a gun attack in the city as he was driving to a church meeting.
Mere coincidence rather than a deliberate campaign is always possible in the fatal attacks. The only way to find out, as in any other crime, is to get the killers. If the murderers are just hired guns, catching the brains obviously is critical in ferreting out the truth, although there is no guarantee that the complete picture may ever be pieced together.
For a long time, the people who targeted Catholic priests, nuns and Christian missionaries in this country were mainly Abu Sayyaf bandits. So far, however, the Abu Sayyaf has not been linked to the deaths of the three priests. If the extremist group is responsible, that should be cause for alarm for security agencies.
Catching the killers is the best way to dispel such concerns. Moral wrongs have been imputed by President Duterte on Father Ventura. Even if this father might have sinned, however, does the penalty fit the offense? Regardless of the motive, killers must be caught. The nation deserves to know what three priests might have done to invite murder.
The Philippine Star) – June 13, 2018 – 12:00am
ASEANEWS EDITORIAL CARTOONS:.
7.1. The Daily Tribune ( WEBSITE CLOSED)
7.2 The Manila Bulletin –Stop all this talk of poll postponement
7.3. The Manila Standard – No TRAIN, no gain?
7.4. The Manila Times – PEACE
7.5. The Philippine Daily Inquirer –A snappy salute
7.6 The Philippine Star –Priests in the crosshairs
7. Problema sa air pollution, solusyunan ng DENR -– Pilipino Star Ngayon –-CHECK-IN vs INTSEK INTRUSION!
Kalayaan, hindi Kahalayan! – Pilipino Star Ngayon – Chinese Coast Guard!
8.1. For The Straits Times – Is Malaysia-Singapore trading link haunted by the ghost of Clob?
Vikram Khanna – Associate Editor
9.1. Regime’s best-laid plans still subject to folly –
VEERA PRATEEPCHAIKUL FORMER EDITOR
– The Bangkok Post
10.1 Keeping a balanced view on access to high places – Viet Nam News by Thu Trang
llustration by Trịnh Lập
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