Release IFI bishop and company
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Bishop Carlo Morales, his wife Maria Teofilina, and their companions, who are now in government custody.
Morales is the bishop of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, a member church of NCCP, in Ozamiz City. Maria Teofilina is a public school teacher of good standing, a Vacation Church School writer of NCCP and an active member of the Teatro Ekyumenikal, a cultural-liturgical ministry of NCCP. We condemn this harassment of God’s workers who earnestly work for peace and justice in our land.
The good bishop serves as a shepherd and a prophet not only within the confines of his church and to IFI constituents but also to the local ecumenical movement in their region.
We also condemn their treatment by the military and the Ozamiz police. According to reports, Morales and Maria Teofilina were arrested, handcuffed and placed in a detention cell without warrant last May 11 for being in the company of an alleged NPA member. They are held until now by the military. But they will possibly charge Morales and Maria Teofilina with illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.
The fabricated charges are intended to keep the bishop and his wife in government’s custody and intense scrutiny. This shows the continuing fascist strategy of the state forces against church leaders who are actively advocating for the advancement and protection of the rights of the oppressed and marginalized sectors in our country.
We are calling all member-churches of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the Regional Ecumenical Formations, and the international ecumenical community to express utmost support to our beloved bishop and his wife and their companions as we strongly condemn the State-perpetrated violation of their rights.
We also call our friends from media to visit the military station in Ozamiz City where the bishop and his companions are being held in order to hear their side—not just rely on the information reported by the Philippine National Police—for an impartial and fair report.
DR. ROMMEL F. LINATOC,
Program Unit on Christian,
National Council of Churches in the Philippines,
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