Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde’s statement downplaying the recent spate of killings of priests “as isolated, not cause for alarm and not reflective of the country’s peace and security situation,” is revolting and inexcusable, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said on Tuesday.
In a statement, Zarate said this remark is “inexcusable, even revolting, coming no less from the PNP chief who, in the same breath also said that there are around 1,000 rogue cops who are armed and dangerous.”
“Just imagine, even if just half of these rogue cops have become hired guns then it should really be a cause for alarm because they could have been hired to assassinate more priests, journalists, activists and critics of the administration,” he added.
Zarate has likewise tasked Albayalde to “go all-out” in finding and arresting these rogue cops and those responsible for the thousands of extrajudicial killings and other violations of human rights in our country.”
“Gen. Albayalde should stop downplaying the extent of the state of impunity in the country because many have already been killed because of it,” Zarate asserted.
On Monday, Albayalde said he has tasked local police chiefs nationwide to “coordinate” with all priests, and has insisted that the recent attacks against priests were “isolated incidents” and should not be a cause for alarm for the public.
Last Sunday, Fr. Richmond Nilo was shot dead by still unidentified gunmen in the Nuestra Señora de la Nieve Chapel in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija as he was preparing for mass.
He was the third priest who had been killed in the recent months.
On April 29, 37-year-old Fr. Mark Ventura, an anti-mining activist and an indigenous peoples advocate, was also shot dead after celebrating a mass in Gattaran, Cagayan.
Last Dec. 5, 72-year-old Fr. Marcelito Paez was gunned down at Jaen town in Nueva Ecija province, hours after he facilitated the release of political prisoner Rommel Tucay in Cabanatuan City. Paez was also a known peace advocate and was pushing for the resumption of the peace talks. /je
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