The Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF)
pays tribute to
Bishop Alberto Ramento
Co-Chair of EBF
Oct. 10, 2006
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in this Country is Safe Anymore
of The Most Reverend Alberto B. Ramento, D.D.
BY THE ECUMENICAL BISHOPS FORUM
The Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF), the fellowship of bishops in the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), United Church of Christin the Philippines (UCCP), the United Methodist Church (UMC), the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and the Roman Catholic Church mourn the brutal killing of The Most Reverend Albert B. Ramento, D.D., bishop of the church and co-chairperson of the EBF.
We are outraged by the violent manner by which our esteemed co-chairperson was killed. It was an assault that cannot be dismissed merely as another case of robbery and homicide as the police reported. Bishop Ramento was a well-known man of the cloth who lived simply and took public transportation in his diocese where he was murdered. He was neither extravagant nor ostentatious in his lifestyle. His living quarters in Tarlac was devoid of the comforts of a man worthy of his office as a bishop. It was just sufficient to lay his tired limbs, another mark of his humility.
We are concerned very much by the breakdown of law and order in this country. We are gravely concerned that people are assaulted in their very homes or inside the haven of their sanctuaries. We are gravely concerned that the series of killings of ordinary people, courageous human rights and peace advocates have not been resolved and perpetrators not brought to the bars of justice. We are gravely concerned with the government's lack of political will to put a stop to these killings which now include among their victims Bishop Ramento, a bishop known here and abroad for his staunch support of civil liberties, human rights, national sovereignty and peace. As the Obispo Maximo of his church, he was nominated as an independent observer in the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) in September 1998. The murder of Bishop Ramento sends an ominous message: no citizen in this country is safe anymore and the state is no longer capable of protecting its own citizens.
It is not unknown to us in the EBF that Bishop Ramento was a fearless and unwavering prophet and teacher. All his actions and declarations were directed at that one common theme: God's righteousness and justice fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Bishop Ramento's abiding faith in this divine reality enabled him to provide hope to the hopeless, strength to the weak, comfort to the bereaved and determination in the struggle against all manner of manifestations of evil. His courage in denouncing all manner of falsehood and subtle machinations emboldened him to declare that the state bears responsibility for the unceasing political killings, that the initiative for charter change is a brazen attempt for political survival rather than the interest of the people if not a covert action to open the floodgates for the rapacious foreign exploitation or our natural resources, that the scandal after scandal that has rocked the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has eroded any moral ascendancy in her regime, that the systematic attempts to suppress the truth behind the elections, behind corruption in high places, and behind schemes to obliterate all legitimate opposition to her regime in the name of defending the state are contemptuous of a government who claims adherence to transparency and democracy, and that the church must at all times be one with the people in vigilance, exposing and denouncing anything that would hurt and demean God's creation, suppress the truth and oppress people.
The killing of Bishop Ramento is the dawn of a new resolve to fight for justice and peace. His death is the birth of a quickened determination to sweep away the paragons of hypocrisy and the harbingers of misery and human deprivation in this country. His death is as the flash of lightning that should jolt the passive to the painful reality of injustice and social crisis in this land. His death is as the eagle's wings that should make us soar with the passion to be free. His death is as the arrow of a mighty warrior piercing the enemies of peace. His death is as wings of a hen brooding over her young that should make us more resolute in preaching God's promise of redemption, of the filling of the hungry with good things and the sending away of the rich empty handed, of the casting down of the mighty from their throne and the lifting up of the lowly.
Rejoice, Mother Earth, that a dutiful son now returns to you!
Be glad, Father of Creation, of this son must worthy of your name and welcome him into your courts!
Rage, mighty wind, blow away the evil that surrounds us on every side and banish the bitter taste of wickedness!
Glow, sun of righteousness and cast your light on the forces of darkness and dispel the gloom of obscurity!
Rise, you sons and daughters of this country and possess the freedom and dignity God has given us from the beginning!
Most Reverend Deogracias Iñiquez, Jr. D.D.
He lacks a left arm and two legs but he earns his keep by playing nice guitar music. How he presses the guitar strings and plucks them at the same time with only 5 fingers is something of a wonder. Normal people have two arms and two legs but most of them do not play the guitar as well as he does.