Language Sites
  • UCAN China
  • UCAN India
  • UCAN Indonesia
  • UCAN Vietnam

Outcry grows over arrest of Filipino bishop

Philippine Independent Church, rights groups demand immediate release of Bishop Carlo Morales

Outcry grows over arrest of Filipino bishop

Members of the clergy call for the immediate release of Bishop Carlo Morales during a candle-lit protest in Manila on May 15. (Photo by Maria Tan)

 

Jigger Jerusalem, Cagayan de Oro
Philippines

May 16, 2017

Mail This Article
(For more than one recipient, type addresses separated by commas)


Church and human rights groups have joined in calls for the immediate release of a Protestant bishop arrested in the southern Philippines on May 11.

The Christian Conference of Asia said the arrest of Bishop Carlo Morales of the Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church) was "appalling" and "a violation of human rights."

The Conference is an ecumenical organization representing 15 national council of churches and over 100 denominations in the Asia and the Pacific regions.

Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary of the organization, said the "maltreatment" of Bishop Morales is "unfortunate."

"Despite introducing himself as a bishop, he was illegally arrested, handcuffed, and detained in a crowded holding cell in the city's police station," read Chunakara's statement.

Bishop Morales and his companions were arrested at a checkpoint in the village of Gango in the city of Ozamis on May 11.

The bishop has been charged with "illegal possession of firearms and ammunition."

The arresting officers claimed one of the bishop's companions was a member of the rebel communist National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which is currently negotiating a peace deal with the government.

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has called for the unconditional release of Bishop Morales, saying that the charges against the prelate are "fabricated" to keep him "under government control."

Rommel Linatoc, program secretary of the church's ecumenical relations body, said the charges "manifest the continuous fascist strategy of state forces against church leaders."

The United Church of Christ in the Philippines said the prelate's arrest was "not so surprising."

"In these critical times where good is often seen as bad and evil is seen as good, someone who advocates for peace based on justice will surely be harassed," said Bishop Elorde Sambat.

Bishop Morales was arrested with his wife Maria Teofifina Morales, driver Sadome Dalid, and Rommel Salinas who was later identified as a rebel leader and consultant in the ongoing peace negotiations with the government.

Human rights group Karapatan said Salinas is the fourth rebel consultant arrested since February this year.

With the upcoming fifth round of peace talks in Europe next month, Karapatan called on the government to release all detained rebel consultants, including Salinas.
 

UCAN needs your support to continue our independent journalism
Access to UCAN stories is completely free of charge - however it costs a significant amount of money to provide our unique content. UCAN relies almost entirely on donations from our readers and donor organizations that support our mission. If you are a regular reader and are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation. Click here to donate now.
La Civiltà Cattolica
 

LATEST

Support Our Journalism

Access to UCAN stories is completely free of charge - however it costs a significant amount of money to provide our unique content. UCAN relies almost entirely on donations from our readers and donor organizations that support our mission. If you are a regular reader and are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation.

Quick Donate

Or choose your own donation amount