Pastoral Statement on the Infamous “Maguindanao Massacre”

The United Methodist Church, Davao Episcopal Area is still in the state of shock since the gruesome Maguindanao Massacre on November 23, 2009. The killing of sixty four (64) innocent and unarmed civilians is abominable to both Christian and Islamic faith. Such a diabolic act is a sacrilege and insolence to the sanctity of human life. We denounce the “Maguindanao Massacre” in strongest terms and pray with utmost sincerity that justice will be served to all the victims of this infamous crime.

We deeply mourn with the families who lost their loved ones and share their anguish in this trying moment. As a Church, we are actually in pain. Jimmy Cabillo of radio station DXKR (Radio Mindanao Network) Koronadal City is one of the members of First United Methodist Church, Koronadal City. We grieve for his loss yet we celebrate his life because he died for a cause. As a Church, we enjoined ourselves with all the victims in their cry for justice and in their shout that let there be no “sacred cows” in this incident. Perpetrators of this heinous crime must not be spared; they must be penalized.

With the magnitude of the crime, we call on the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo not to be beholden to anybody in Maguindanao. Much blood of innocent civilians and helpless poor had already been spilled in Mindanao; let this not be another chapter of our darkened history that furthers hatred and animosity. Prophet Jeremiah of old, made a stern warning of the imminent doom because the leaders of his time have crushed the poor; “your clothes are stained with the blood of the poor and the innocent” (Jeremiah 2:34a). Likewise, let me remind all of us of the strong words in the Holy Scriptures; “Do not deny justice to a poor person when he appears in court. Do not make false accusations, and do not put an innocent person to death for I will condemn anyone who does such an evil thing” (Exodus 23:6).

Let me also take this opportunity to remind our constituency to be more prayerful and at the same time heedful in reading the “signs of the times.” The incident happened at the doorstep of national election. This is reflective of a political culture that some people used for their political gains. Dispel any notion that provokes distrust to Muslim and Christian relations. Let us pray and work hard so that justice will be served and no culprit will be spared.

May God’s favor be upon us, as we risk our lives for truth, peace, and social justice!

Rev. Leo Soriano

Resident Bishop
Davao Episcopal Area
November 28, 2009

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