Reference: Rachel Redondiez, BAYAN USA, email: secgen @ bayanusa.org
New York– Less than two weeks after the staging of an international day of action against heightened political killings in the Philippines that brought together Filipinos and non-Filipinos all over the world, the most gruesome death by stabbing has taken place. On Tuesday, October 3, at 4am (Philippine time) Philippine Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) was stabbed to death seven times while asleep in his convent in Tarlac, Central Luzon. Ramento was known as an outspoken critic of the Arroyo administration and convenor of several initiatives in promotion of human and civil rights, including the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties (MCCCL).
“We are most appalled with the gruesome nature by which the murderers took Bishop Ramento’s life. He was 69 years old. He was asleep. Yet he was stabbed. Only an extreme coward would go through such desperate measures to attack a completely defenseless individual,” states BAYAN USA vice-chair Chito Quijano.
The murder of Bp. Ramento follows a national trend of politically-motivated killings under the US-backed Arroyo regime. Ramento was a convenor of Pilgrims for Peace and a supporter of Hacienda Luisita farm workers on strike. He made no qualms of his opposition to Arroyo’s national policies.
“The Arroyo administration has the blood of a beloved peacemaker in her hands. The very name of Gloria Arroyo has become synonymous with bloodshed,” Quijano added.
Alongside a call for the withdrawal of US tax dollars towards Philippine military aid, BAYAN USA continued to echo support for an Arroyo ouster.
“Bishop Ramento’s death will not be in vain. His commitment to justice and to the people will live through the example he has set for the global community of human rights advocates. As we strive to embody his pro-people qualities and continue his work, the Arroyo administration will continue to be weakened. His death is felt throughout the world, across oceans,” Quijano ended.
The alliance also demanded a full investigation of Ramento’s death.
For more information and pictures of candlelight vigils in memoriam, visit www.arkibongbayan.org. ###