THE first time—and the last, actually—we saw Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Philippine Independent Church, was during the rally held at the Liwasang Bonifacio on the occasion of the Philippine Independence Day celebration last June 12. In his talk he bewailed the murder of some 20 pastors in the country since 2001 with 15 or so of them belonging to his church where he was the former Obispo maximo. Little did he know that four months later he would be counted among them.
In the early morning of October 3, 2006, Bishop Ramento was brutally murdered in his own rectory. The police was quick to brandish the motive of the killing: robbery. Being a poor man, there was nothing of consequence that was stolen from the bishop—except his life.
According to NGO statistics, (cf. http://www.cp-union.org/dots/ListVictims.php), a long lists of 725 persons have been murdered from January 2001 up to September 2006—most of them belonging to cause oriented groups, militants, journalists and people critical of the government. Not one of these cases has been solved to date. And the government is neither alarmed nor concerned. A government that does not respect human life, or human rights at the least, will never respect the common good, which is the core value of governance. In such a case, the government ceases to have a raison d’etre.