N. Ecija bishop urges faithful to reject violence
CABANATUAN CITY — Bishop Sofronio Bancud of the Diocese of Cabanatuan on Sunday called on the faithful to take a stand against violence as priests have noted an increase in the number of unabated killings in Nueva Ecija recently.
In a circular titled, “Igalang ang buhay, iwaksi ang karahasan (Respect life, reject violence),” Bancud said some people wield violence to address or solve social problems in the country.
Bancud said priests in the diocese were worried about the rising number of funeral rites they held for victims of violence.
“Our priests are witnesses to the sorrows of the grieving families left behind by these victims,” Bancud said in the circular that was read in all churches on Saturday and Sunday.
But the Church leader fell short of saying if the violence was a result of the bloody war on drugs, describing it only as “a tool used by some in resolving the troubles in our society.”
The Catholic Church, in general, has been critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and his brutal anticrime campaign.
“Let’s protect and respect a person’s dignity and rights,” said the circular.
Hours before the circular was read, two alleged drug pushers here were killed in a buy-bust operation.
Supt. Ponciano Zafra, city police chief, said the suspects — Jervis Santos and a certain alias “Jun” — resisted arrest and engaged policemen in a gunfight around 2 a.m.
At least six more drug suspects were also killed in anticrime operations in the province in the past two weeks.
The diocese’s circular also came out as the Church marked the ninth month of the murder of Fr. Richmond Nilo.
Prayers for everyone
Nilo, parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Church, was slain while preparing Mass in Zaragoza town in June 2018.
Bancud asked prayers for Nilo and other victims of violence and their killers as well.
The circular also sought forgiveness “for all the people’s shortcomings, neglect and inability to love and serve the brethren.”
It called on authorities and law enforcers to persevere in keeping a safe community.
“Let’s not get tired of doing good and persevering to obtain justice through due process for all the victims of violence and abuses,” the circular said in Filipino. —Armand Galang
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