Temporary Liberty Is Not Enough
On March 15, 2018, Bishop Carlo Morales had gained a temporary liberty after Judge Edmundo Pintac of Ozamiz City Court ordered the granting of bail of an amount of Php 200,000 because “the prosecution’s evidence presented at the bail hearing is not strong enough to convict accused Bishop Carlo Morales of the charge against him.”
On May 11, 2017, Bishop Carlo Morales, his wife, his driver and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Peace Consultant Rommel Salinas were illegally arrested in Ozamiz City and accused of illegal possession of explosive. His wife and his driver were released the following day but Bishop Morales and Rommel Salinas are being detained at BJMP Ozamiz City Jail.
Bishop Morales through his lawyers filed a motion to fix bail. There were four hearings held and after ten months the motion was granted on March 14, 2018. Bishop Morales is now temporarily free but Rommel Salinas remains in jail.
The freedom of Bishop Morales was appreciated by the leadership of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente but the ordeal of Bishop Morales must be continually condemned. The act of prosecuting a servant of God based on trumphed-up charges is a big injustice made to a person and to the Church that expressed solidarity of the struggle of the people and support to the Peace talks between the Government and the NDFP.
The incarceration of Bishop Carlo Morales, NDFP Peace Consultant and all political prisoners is unjust and a violation of human rights. The Duterte regime is liable of the violation of human rights and he must be judged according to law of God. As president, Rodrigo Duterte could not lead the people in this country in righteousness, impartiality and integrity. He has lost his moral authority to administer this nation.
While Bishop Morales is temporarily free, we cannot closed our eyes on the continuing incarcerations of arrested social activists, intensified military operations in the countryside that displace thousands of national minorities, Bangsamoro, peasants, women and fsiherfolk, and the persecution of activists tagged as terrorists.
We steadfastly call on our people to stand firm in the struggle for justice and lasting peace. We further call on our faithful to be in solidarity with the struggling masses and invoke the Holy Spirit to guide us in this struggle.
We ask the Duterte government, if it still desires to be relevant, to pursue governance that leads to peace and justice. We continue to call for the GRP and NDFP Peace Panel to resume the Peace Talks and forge comprehensive agreements on socio-economic reforms and on political and constitutional reforms towards the end of armed conflict in the land and the reign of just and lasting peace in our nation.
We thank the bishops, clergy and people of the IFI, together with the ecumenical and overseas partners, for their continuing, resolute and unwavering support to the campaign to free Bp. Carlo Morales and all political prisoners.
RHEE M. TIMBANG
Iglesia Filipina Independente
March 16, 2018