Two priests of our sister church, the Independent Philippine Church, were murdered in mid-June. Benjamin Bayles and Jovelito Agustin were committed to human rights in their country and had received numerous death threats. In the last years many members, priests and one bishop of the Independent Philippine Church (IFI) have been murdered because they have been committed to the addressing the plight of many suffering people and actively supporting them.
Since 2001, 15 lawyers, 10 judges and almost 700 other people, who have been championing human rights, have been murdered. Two further victims must now been added to this list. The total disregard of human rights on the Philippines is still being allowed to happen by the government of Arroyo, and is even actively supported. Offenders are neither arrested nor sentenced.
The IFI has declared its intention to continue to uphold the cause of social justice and peace despite such brutal murders. Archbishop Vercammen has assured the IFI that the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht will continue to support it in prayer and solidarity. The Archbishop wrote in a statement that the IFI, in its fight for justice and peace, is an example to all Christians.
Bern, 2nd July 2010