Protestant church renews pleas for release of its bishop

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Asia, newsletter-asia

Philippines, August 3, 2017: The Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church) has renewed calls for the release of one of its bishops, Carlo Morales, who is currently detained for alleged illegal position of explosives.

Bishop Morales and his companions were arrested at a checkpoint in the city of Ozamiz in the southern Philippines on May 11.

The arresting soldiers claimed one of the bishop’s companions was a member of the rebel National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The church group called the charge “malicious and ridiculous.”

“We demand the immediate release of Bishop Carlo Morales. He must continue his mission and ministry outside of prison,” said Bishop Joel Porlares, general secretary of the church group.

“His immediate release is just and fair. His captors are the ones who should be jailed for accusing a righteous person,” said Bishop Porlares.

The Mindanao Bishops Conference of the Protestant Church gathered in the city of Cagayan de Oro on Aug. 1 to renew their demand for Bishop Morales’ freedom.

They urged the public to support the campaign to free the prelate by holding prayer meetings, fasting, liturgical activities, and protest marches.

Silvestre Bello III a government peace negotiator involved in talks with communist rebels, said the peace panel had already asked the Department of Justice to expedite the legal process for the release of Bishop Morales.

The peace negotiator said bishops and priests of the Philippine Independent Church have been “assisting the government in its peace efforts.”

The church group called on the government to resume the stalled peace negotiations with communist rebels.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week said he “no longer wants to conduct peace talks with the communist guerrillas” after a band of rebels ambushed soldiers in Mindanao.

– ucan

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