By Matthew Davies
Bishop Alberto Ramento of Tarlac in the Philippines, former Prime Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church, or Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), was found stabbed to death at his rectory on the morning of October 3.
The initial police report said that he may have been killed by robbers, but others suspect Ramento, an outspoken critic of the Philippine government, could have been the victim of a political killing, the Manila Times reported.
“The true circumstances are still unknown though the initial report describes it as a robbery with homicide,” according to the IFI website.
Those who knew Ramento and his advocacy work for peace and human rights joined in mourning his death, while vigils have been planned in Tarlac and at the cathedral in Manila.
The Rev. Winifred Vergara, missioner for Asian American Ministries in the Episcopal Church, was a priest in the IFI and remembers Ramento as “a prophetic voice in the Philippines” even after his retirement.
“He remained a committed nationalist, devoted to the cause of the Philippine Independent Church,” he said. “He was very bold and always standing up for the oppressed and struggling for a free, humane and just Philippine society.”
“We at the Episcopal Church Center were shocked to receive this horrible news,” said Canon Margaret S. Larom, director of Anglican and Global Relations. “How terrible that this bold church leader should lose his life as a victim of a crime. But if his death is attributable to the foes of justice, how much worse.
“Our prayers are with the faithful members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, and all people in the Philippines who looked to him as a voice of conscience in the wider society. May his soul rest in peace, and all who loved him find strength and patience at this time.”
Matthew Davies is international correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.
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