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Killing of Cagayan priest illustrates thriving climate of impunity in Philippines â Karapatan
Fr. Mark Ventura, 37, was gunned down by armed assailants right after celebrating Sunday mass at a gymnasium in Brgy. Pena Weste, Gattaran in Cagayan province.
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Killing of Cagayan priest illustrates thriving climate of impunity in Philippines — Karapatan

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - April 30, 2018 - 12:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — The killing of priest Fr. Mark Ventura showed that there is a “disturbing trend” of clerics being targeted for their stand on human rights, Karapatan said Monday.  

The 37-year-old priest was gunned down by armed assailants right after celebrating Sunday mass at a gymnasium in Brgy. Pena Weste, Gattaran in Cagayan province.

“When the Church stands up for the poor, its people become targets,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

Palabay noted that there is a possibility that Ventura might have been targeted because of his stance as an anti-mining advocate and his work in indigenous communities.

“There is no doubt that there is a disturbing trend of church people being persecuted for their stance and involvement in human rights,” she said.

Last December 2017, activist priest Marcelito Paez was also killed in a gun attack in Jaen, Nueva Ecija.

“The brutality with which the killing of Fr. Mark Ventura was executed reminds us of the thousands of Filipinos extrajudicially killed by this murderous regime,” Palabay said.

She added: “The scene with the lifeless body of Fr. Ventura on the floor, in front of the altar, with children having witnessed his cold-blooded murder, is indicative of a heinous, evil and wicked crime that highlights the cowardice of men in masks who thrive in the context of this fascist regime.”

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Sunday condemned what it called an “evil act” and urged the authorities to go after the perpetrators of the crime swiftly.

Liberal Party President Francis Pangilinan also denounced the death of Ventura, saying that such attack “has no place in our society and under this administration which boasts of prioritizing law and order and brags about reduced crime rates.”

The Cagayan Valley Police director has ordered an investigation into the killing of the missionary priest and a hot-pursuit operation against the suspects.

READCBCP condemns 'evil' killing of Tuguegarao priest Mark Ventura

CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES KARAPATAN MARK VENTURA
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