Church condemns ‘illegal arrest and detention’ of Bishop

THE Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) has accused the Philippine National Police (PNP) of illegally arresting one of its bishops, his wife and their driver in Ozamiz City in Mindanao last night.

The church said IFI Ozamiz Bishop Carlo Morales, his wife Marie Teofifina and driver Sadome Dalid were “illegally arrested, handcuffed and illegally detained in jail” even after he has identified himself as a prelate.

“Still he was accorded with such maltreatments,” IFI Pagadian Bishop Antonio Ablon said.

“It is a clear violation of human rights and against a person who is a religious reader or a Bishop that has an obligation to provide protection or sanctuary to a person who is in distress or politically persecuted,” Ablon added.

Morales and his wife are being accused of harboring a wanted person for being in a vehicle with a Rommel Salinas (alias Venico, Beto, Carlos, Doming, Artem and Mark) the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division said is a top New People’s Army commander in Western Mindanao.

Salinas is reportedly facing criminal charges for destructive arson, murder, frustrated murder, attempted murder and robbery in band.

The Philippine Army added a hand grenade was allegedly seized from Salinas when the four were flagged down at a police checkpoint in Gango, Ozamis City at six o’clock on May 11.

“We, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, raise our voice to the highest condemnation,” Ablon said, adding they “demand for [Bishop Morales] immediate release.”

Morales and companions reportedly spent the night in a cramped cell in Ozamiz’s Gango Police Station.

Ablon also asked media practitioners “to expose this despicable police malpractice and a clear harassment and human rights violation.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Featured image by the NCCP)