ANOTHER priest has been murdered.
Last night, June 10, Fr. Richmond Nilo, parish priest of Zaragosa in Nueva Ecija of the diocese of Cabanatuan, was gunned down and killed instantly in the early evening as he was about to celebrate mass in the barangay chapel of Mayamot. Six Sundays ago, Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura was also killed—gunned down—in Gattaran town in Cagayan Valley after celebrating morning mass. He was still in his priestly garb. Both of them were killed as priests. Mistaken identity could not be a reason. They were really killed because they are priests.
This is a very bad sign in the situation of the country now. There is no more consideration of who or what a person is. If people could be so brazen as to kill a priest as he is about to celebrate mass or has just celebrated mass on a Sunday, then who could be safe? There is really no longer any fear of God.
Are these two killings related? We cannot say. It is not only too early to say but the police are so inept that we may never be able to know the facts and the perpetrators. Many high profile killings are not solved—with so many other killings of priests, like the killing of Fr. Tito Paez in December 2017 also in Cabanatuan and even up to killing of Fr. Pops Tintorio in October of 2011 in North Cotabato remains unsolved, or intentionally left unsolved. If killings of priests are left unsolved, then what can the ordinary citizen expect? Thus the more the 20,000 killings in the name of war on drugs are filed “under investigation.” They will remain unsolved!
There is indeed an increasing lawlessness in the country. Why? Not because the police or the military do not have enough power; but because there is a culture of impunity in the country. Those who do wrong are not held accountable while those declared “enemies” of Duterte are made to face flimsy and even trumped up cases, like in the case of Sen Delima, CJ Sereno, Sr. Pat Fox and many lumad and farmer leaders in Mindanao.
Is this sense of lawlessness deliberately created? Some with naughty minds may think so. Like in the time of Marcos, when a “state of anarchy” was created to justify the declaration of Martial Law, it may not be far-fetched to sense that these killings are executed to create a sense of helplessness to justify a declaration of nationwide Martial Law. It is not Martial Law that can stop lawlessness. In fact it will bring about more lawlessness because all the more the police and the military will pursue their operations without any accountability to civilian authorities. More impartial and independent investigations are what we need. More accountability of the government to the people should be the call. The people then have to be more active and vocal to call for accountability. Huwag tayo matakot at huwag tayo magpabaya. No one is now safe. Kaya makialam na tayong lahat!