A STATEMENT OF THE IGLESIA FILIPINA INDEPENDIENTE ON
THE BRUTAL KILLING OF THE MOST REVEREND ALBERTO B. RAMENTO,THE NINTH IFI
"I know they are going to kill me next but never will I abandon my duty to
God and my ministry to the people"
(A statement of Bishop Alberto B Ramento to his family.)
The Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) has once again made a precious
offering in the continuing task of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ
with the brutal killing of the Most Reverend Alberto B. Ramento,the 9th
Obispo Maximo of the Church.
The good bishop was slain by faceless assassins who broke through the
rectory where he was staying at around four o'clock in the morning of
October 03, 2006 in the Parish of San Sebastian, Tarlac City. He was
awakened in his sleep when the assassins had entered his room and stabbed
him seven times to death. We denounced in the strongest possible terms
this barbaric and dastardly act against a man of the cloth within the
premises of his own church.
Initial police investigation reports point to the incident as a mere case
of robbery with homicide. However, the Ramento family, the clergy and the
faithful of the Diocese of Tarlac believe that the motive is much deeper
than what has come out from the spot investigation. There are glaring
indications that Bishop Ramento's murder was thoroughly planned and
politically motivated. We believe that the brutal killing was the
inevitable consequence of his principled engagement with the people and
their struggle for the fullness of life.
Bishop Ramento, aside from being a well-loved pastor by his clergy and
faithful, has earned the reputation as a social prophet, and an icon in
the nationalist struggle of the Filipino masses with his uncompromising
stand for national sovereignty and patrimony. He was a true advocate of
just peace. As a matter of fact, Bishop Ramento is part of the Monitoring
Group in the Peace Talks between the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines and the National Democratic Front Philippines.
He was a known figure in the ecumenical movement in and outside the
country. Bishop Ramento has served as the Chairperson of the National
Council of Churches in the Philippines. He was also a Co-Chairperson of
the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) which is composed of bishops from the
various Churches in the Philippines
Bishop Ramento, as the Chairman of the IFI Supreme Council of Bishops (SCB),
has strongly condemned the state of political repression and grave
situation of human rights violation in the country. He has particularly
denounced the unabated extra judicial killings of militant leaders, social
activists, lawyers, journalists, church people and innocent civilians
under the watch of the current administration. As an outspoken critic of
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he has consistently questioned the
legitimacy of her presidency, and urged her to step down from office. In
the last pastoral letter he signed as SCB Chairman, Bishop Ramento has
urged the faithful "to find courage and confront the darkness that is
engulfing the very soul of the nation and continue to thread the path
towards the establishment of a just society under a government that
genuinely serves the interest and welfare of the Filipinos."
Honored as the "Bishop of the Poor Peasants and Workers", Bishop Ramento
has earned the love and respect of the farm workers at Hacienda Luisita, a
vast sugar plantation in Tarlac, as he rallied support to their cause and
advocated for their struggle.
The people behind his death might think that they have silenced him and
maimed the prophetic voice of the Church. They are mistaken. His death has
become like a candle in a burning incense, sparking more fire, enflaming
the hearts of the clergy and faithful of the Iglesia Filipina
Independiente to remain faithful to her pro-people and pro-labor heritage.
Indeed, we grieved over his death, yet we celebrate his life. They may
have taken his life by opening his body with wounds - but these wounds
have become the doorway from which Bishop Ramento's valiant spirit has
been poured out and shared to many.
Truly, the death of Bishop Alberto B. Ramento is a great loss not only for
the Iglesia Filipina Independiente but also for the ecumenical movement
and peoples' organizations. The Iglesia Filipina Independiente strongly
urges the authorities to immediately conduct a thorough and impartial
investigation on the murder of Bishop Ramento and bring the perpetrators
of this heinous crime to justice.
We ask the prayers of the faithful for Bishop Alberto B. Ramento, a
fatherly pastor, a social prophet, an uncompromising nationalist, a
peacemaker, and a champion of the peoples' cause, who now joins his
Creator. As we mourn the death of a beloved member of the IFI family, may
we find inspiration from his life and death even as we commit to stand
firmly for what he believed in and fought for. Let his death find meaning
in our continuing resolve to live-out the message of the Gospel of Jesus
Christ upon which Bishop Ramento dedicated his life.
PRO DEO ET PATRIA
+ GODOFREDO J. DAVID
11th Obispo Maximo
CBCP condemns murder of Aglipayan bishop
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday
condemned the killing of Philippine Independent Church (PIC) Bishop
Alberto Ramento who was found dead the other day.
“In the spirit of Ecumenism, we express our sympathy to the Supreme
Council of Bishops of the (PIC) over the death of Bishop Alberto Ramento.
What is saddening and shocking are the circumstances surrounding his
killing,” Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the CBCP, said in a
The PIC is popularly known as the Aglipayan Church.
Expressing alarm over the unabated extra-judicial killings, Lagdameo added
the CBCP, “in several pastoral statements, has already denounced the
increasing number of extra-judicial killings of journalists, activists and
militants over the years.”
“What is alarming is that so far the actions that have been taken (by the
government) do not yet satisfy the demands of justice especially for the
victims and their relatives. As is usually said, ‘Justice delayed is
justice denied,’” he said.
Like Lagdameo, Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz, a staunch critic of the
Arroyo government, also voiced disappointment on the unresolved political
“The killing of churchmen is the summit of socio-political errancy. The
murder of a bishop cries to heaven for vengeance. Those who executed him,
as well as those in tenure of power and might behind them, cannot be
spared from the wrath of God. If human authority with all its multibillion
funds for intelligence and for judicial work is basically non-functional,
divine providence eventually takes over,” Cruz said in a separate
He expressed doubts that Ramento was a victim of robbery since prior to
his death, the Aglipayan bishop had been receiving death threats because
of his advocacy against extra-judicial killings, corruption and greed.
“A man who denounced the many and continuous killings in the country has
himself become a victim of shameless killing. His blood will certainly
water the seeds of many more men and women like him who will continue his
unfinished cause,” Cruz said.
He noted that Ramento was a peace-loving servant of God and a “purely
simple man who lived in a “dilapidated house and took public buses to
With the death of Ramento, the CBCP president asked, “Will the case of
Bishop Ramento be another reason for us to say this country is no longer
safe for those who announce the truth and denounce immortality? The
command of God in the Bible is simple and straightforward ‘Thou shall not
For his part, Cruz said the country is “becoming more and more drenched
with the blood of many individuals whose only fault was seek what is right
and just. This has become an upardonable crime in this country. In the
same way, to tell the truth is forbidden by the (Arroyo) government under
pain of abduction, imprisonment or death.”
Malacañang also yesterday washed its hands off the latest attack on
government critics and denied having a hand in the murder of Ramento.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, during a press briefing in Malacanang,
said they could not do “such abominable act” and it was a mere black
propaganda being raised by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New
People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Ermita added leftist groups are instigating public fury against the Arroyo
administration on baseless allegations.
“Blaming the government on the murder of Bishop Ramento (was) all the
handiwork of the CPP-NPA, accusing us of engaging in extra- judicial
killings but it is just propaganda because they want to capitalize on it
and float that (the government) is part of the alleged extra-judicial
killings done by the authorities, which, of course, is not true,” he said.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye echoed Ermita and urged “some sectors” to
refrain from blaming the administration.
Bunye called the Ramento murder as “an abominable act that the police must
attend to with thoroughness and dispatch.”
Earlier, various militant groups and the National Democratic Front (NDF),
of which the CPP and NPA are members, held the Arroyo government liable
for the murder of Ramento.
NDF peace panel chairman Luis Jalandoni called the murder “cowardly,”
noting that Ramento was a “man of peace, a bishop of the poor and a
consistent human rights defender.”
In a statement from Holland, where he is based, Jalandoni said they are
holding the Philippine government, “particularly its death squads and
special psychological warfare operators responsible” for the Ramento
A former supreme bishop and chairman of the Supreme Council of Bishops of
the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI-Philippine Independent Church) and
provincial leader of the human rights organization Karapatan, Ramento was
stabbed dead in the early morning of Oct. 3 in Tarlac, north of Manila.
Jalandoni said the NDF had nominated Ramento in 1998 as an independent
observer in the joint monitoring committee for peace efforts between the
government and communist rebels.
He scored the Philippine National Police for “irresponsibly and absurdly”
claiming robbery was the motive behind the incident.
In Manila, Karapatan called for an immediate and impartial investigation
of the murder and the prosecution of the killers.
Also earlier, Spanish Foreign Minister Leon Bernardo informed the
Philippine government that a seasoned Spanish diplomat had been chosen to
lead a team of human rights monitors who will assist their local
counterparts to look into the series of extra- judicial killings upon
invitation of Mrs. Arroyo during her visit to Madrid last June.
Ermita had appealed to the local groups not to boycott the invitation sent
to them by the Arroyo-created Melo Commission, which, according to
Malacanang, is an independent body that will probe the spree of murders.
The President’s aide said the commission being headed by retired Supreme
Court Associate Justice Jose Melo will not be “biased” and will not
protect the administration in the conduct of the investigation.
Arroyo critics in the House of Representatives also yesterday called for
the abolition of the Melo Commission, which they described as a
“whitewashing machine” of the President.
Party-list Representatives Teodoro Casino of Bayan Muna and Crispin
Beltran of Anakpawis said the commission has failed to gain the trust of
victims’ families and witnesses to the killings.
House Minority Leader Francis Escudero (Sorosogon) expressed support for
the proposal of Casino and Beltran, noting that the Arroyo-formed body had
already taken the side of the military and ignored recommendations of
various international and local human rights groups on how to conduct an
independent investigation of the political killings. Marie A. Surbano,
Sherwin C. Olaes, Jun P. Yap and Dona Policar