The cold-blooded and pre-meditated killing of the Catholic priest Fr. Mark Ventura. 37, at about 8:15 am after celebrating mass at a gymnasium in Brgy. Pena Weste in Gattaran town, Cagayan, sends chills to the country. He was killed as he was blessing children and talking with choir members after the mass. The killers knew full well that he was a priest; they were bold enough to kill in broad daylight in front of people. The killers were so brazen! This happened four months after another priest, Fr. Tito Paez, was killed on Dec 4, 2017 in Nueva Ecija, again by raiding in tandem assailants.
What is happening to our country? As of now it is still too early to find the motives for the killing of Fr. Mark Ventura. What is clear, however, is that peace and order is getting out of hand. The killers are so bold because they know that they cannot be caught, either because they are protected by powerful people or they know that the police and the intelligence community in our country are inept – or even both!
How have we come to this? A culture of killing has been unleashed! If they can kill priests, they can kill anybody! Talagang wala ng takot sa Diyos ang pumapatay ng pari. Kung wala ng takot sa Diyos, kahit na ano maaari ng gawin! A great blame can be thrown to the thousands of extra judicial killings that have been done in the name of the War on Drugs. So many so-called vigilante killings and killings by people riding in tandem are just simply listed “under investigation” and not one of the thousands has been solved. This sends a strong message that the police is very inept to solve crimes, if they themselves are not complicit in the killings.
The police has to show that there is no culture of impunity. The criminals are to be brought to trial. Can the police do this? I strongly doubt. The killing of Fr. Tito Paez is still “under investigation.”
If the authorities cannot, or will not, do their responsibilities, the people should stand up. We should demand that killings should stop, that human rights be respected, that the big fishes should be caught and made to answer. We cannot just stand by and let things be.
We can connect this culture of impunity to the case of Sr. Patricia Fox. Can the government just send out missionaries on flimsy accusations without even due process? We can also connect this culture of impunity with the pro warranto case of CJ Sereno. Even the justices of the Supreme Court cannot act with impunity that they can do blatantly illegal decisions. The Supreme Court cannot bend the laws!
Our present Constitution tells us that sovereignty ultimately resides on the people. Let the people now act and stand up!