The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today expressed deep sorrow over the loss of a “staunch human rights defender and peace advocate in the person of Obispo Maximo Alberto Ramento”, the former head of the Philippine Independent Church.
Ramento died of stab wounds in his convent in Tarlac, according to reports reaching the Bayan office. Bayan has immediately called for a swift investigation into the death of Ramento.
The Aglipayan bishop was active in human rights and civil liberties issues, being a founding convenor of the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties (MCCCL). He spoke out against the spate of extrajudicial killings under the Arroyo administration. Progressive church leaders and workers have been among the targets of political assassination in the provinces.
In the June 12 Interfaith Rally against Charter Change, Ramento again took to the stage in Liwasang Bonifacio to denounce the administration’s moves to revise the constitution. During his speech, he proudly announced that during its deliberations, the leadership of the Philippine Independent Church was unanimous in its opposition to charter change. This announcement drew applause from the audience and leaders of other churches and faiths present at the rally.
“The loss of Ramento, especially in these times of intense repression and crisis, will truly be felt by all. His death is as heavy as the Sierra Madre,” Bayan said in its statement.