BY RHEE TIMBANG (Obispo Maximo, Iglesia Filipina Independiente)
WHILE undertaking the Pastoral Visit to our churches in Masbate, somebody called our attention on and furnished us a copy of the flyers now circulating in Cagayan de Oro City and Northern Mindanao since Feb. 22, 2019 maliciously and irresponsibly red-tagging our clergy in the persons of Fr. Rolando Abejo, Fr. Khen Apus, Fr. Chris Ablon, Bp. Antonio Ablon and Bp. Felixberto Calang including some prominent partners of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) in its work like the persons of Benjie Sambaan, Cong Corrales, Ofelia Tabacon, Atty Beverly Musni, Atty Czarina Musni, and Atty Beverly Ann Musni!
We again cry foul to these baseless accusations and condemn in the most strongest term these continuing attacks of our clergy and of the IFI itself and of people and organizations like the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao, and the National Union of People’s Lawyers, which are partners in the IFI’s work of prophetic witness, social advocacy and solidarity and engagement with the peasants, fisherfolks, workers, urban poor, lumad communities and Moro people in consonance to its mission and fidelity to its history enriched by the bold, courageous and fearless witnesses of Apo Aglipay and Don Belong and other heroes of the Filipino church in the nationalist and revolutionary tradition of the Filipino people!
We are extremely outraged with this cowardice act which we surmise to have been, as in the past, espoused and perpetrated by state security forces of this land blessed by President Duterte himself who, without qualm, always publicly encouraged the culture of impunity, direct military and police to kill and kill, and label everyone who criticizes his ill-governance as terrorists!
The IFI and its clergy and partners in the legal and professional organizations are now in the brunt of his war against terrorism because his hubris blinded him to see who are the real enemies of the state.
The enemies are not the churches and their progressive units, neither the legal and professional entities and organizations which together with the nationalist churches in the Philippines are working and advocating for the betterment of the lives of our deprived, exploited, abused and destituted people who unfortunately comprised the majority of the Filipinos!
The real enemies of the state are just within the circles of the President and their minions of hawk generals who do not want President Duterte to succeed in his tenure by being faithful to his campaign promises and be the people’s President that he claimed and projected himself to be!
They are the real enemies of the state who try to delude the President that the 50-year-old insurgency problem can be solved by militarist approach within his term.
The real enemies are them who want to make more money with the anti-insurgency campaign of the Duterte government. (To be continued/PN)