Filipino Catholics eulogise slain Protestant "bishop of poor"

Protestant Bishop Alberto Ramento, who was stabbed to death in the Philippines early this month, was "a fearless and unwavering prophet and teacher" who courageously denounced scandals that have rocked the Philippines government, says a leading Catholic bishop.

Bishop Ramento, who belonged to the Philippine Independent Church, was found stabbed to death at his rectory on the morning of 3 October.

The Bishop was described by numerous Catholic leaders as a humble, fearless and cheerful leader who was widely admired in the ecumenical movement, UCA News reports.

Bishop Deogracias Iniguez who co-chaired the Philippines Ecumenical Bishops' Forum with Bishop Ramento also released a statement on behalf of the Forum condemning the killing.

"We are outraged by the violent manner by which our esteemed co-chairperson was killed. It was an assault that cannot be dismissed merely as another case of robbery and homicide, as the police reported," he wrote.

However, a Tarlac City police investigation rejected the notion that the killing was politically motivated. Police had earlier arrested four suspects who allegedly are members of a notorious criminal gang in Tarlac and declared the case solved.

Bishop Iniguez, who also chairs the Commission on Public Affairs of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, described Bishop Ramento as "a well-known man of the cloth who lived simply."

He pointed out that the late bishop used public transportation, and that his living quarters were just sufficient for him to sleep in.

Good Shepherd Sr Rosario Battung of the ecumenical forum secretariat eulogised the slain bishop as a cheerful man "who could see humour even when knowing he was a marked man."

Sr Battung recalled advising him to have company at all times, to which Bishop Ramento responded, "What, and have two of us killed?"

Another former Independent Church priest Dionisio Ging-Ging was also killed last week and the church's Supreme Bishop Godofredo David told UCA News that several of its priests who were critical of government policies have also reported receiving threatening text messages from anonymous sources.

Catholic Religious Eulogize 'Bishop of Poor Peasants and Workers' (UCA News, 18/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Independent Church of the Philippines
Independent Church of the Philippines (Wikipedia)
Bishop Deogracias Iniguez (Catholic-Hierarchy)
Bishop Deogracias Iniguez (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines

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19 Oct 2006