Church hosts sympathy fast for the release of the Morong 43

THE Iglesia Filipina Independiente opens its doors to families and friends of
66 political detainees from Southern Tagalog. A fasting center has been put up at the Church’s National Cathedral, 1500 Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila.

Bishops, priests and lay leaders of the Church’s Executive Commission, which is meeting on December 1 and 2, 2010, join the sympathy fast today.

The sympathy fast opens with a worship service this morning with church workers and human rights advocates attending. The sympathy fast is organized by the human rights organization Task Force to Defend the Victims of Political Persecution in Southern Tagalog (DEFEND-ST).

The Church supports the call for the release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners.

Archbishop Godofredo David, the Church’s Supreme Bishop, will release
today an “Open Letter to President Aquino” to challenge his government to
take into agenda the issues of human rights violations, extrajudicial killings and culture of impunity that now prevails in the country.

The Church’s Executive Commission is also calling President Aquino to look
into the killing of its lay minister and sugar workers organizer Brother Benjamin Bayles of Negros Occidental. The killers, who are now under the custody of PNP Negros Occidental, were admitted by the Philippine Army Headquarters to be active elements of the 61st Infantry Division of the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Bishop David believes that President Aquino should look into Bayles’ case for
it provides direct evidence to the “explicit involvement of the military with the extrajudicial execution of a civilian individual.”

The bishop says that “this case validates UN Special Rapporteur Phillip Altons’ report in 2007 that extrajudicial killings in the country stems from the counter-insurgency strategy of the AFP.”


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