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Philippine missionaries to seek Vatican help for jailed workers

Most recent arrest of a lay church worker is illegal, says nun

September 21, 2016

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines is planning to bring to the attention of the Vatican the arrest and detention of three lay church workers in the southern Philippines.

"If we don’t see any sign that [the church workers] are to be released in the near future, we are left with no option but to raise the issue with the Vatican," said Sister Ellen Belardo, coordinator of the missionaries.

On Aug. 19, Philippine police arrested Amelia Pond, a 64-year-old church worker and teacher, on murder charges. Authorities said Pond used the alias "Adelfa Toledo," a communist rebel.

In 2013, another church worker, Dominiciano Muya, was also arrested and jailed in the province of Bukidnon.

Joel Yagao, a church worker in Misamis Oriental province, has been in jail since 2014.

Sister Belardo said Pond’s arrest was illegal and the police fabricated the evidence they presented, including identification cards.

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