Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold issued a statement October 12 expressing concern about the murder of Bishop Alberto Ramento of Tarlac, former Obispo Maximo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), who was found stabbed to death at his rectory on the morning of October 3. The full text of Griswold's statement follows:
It is with deep sadness and concern that I have learned about the brutal murder of Bishop Alberto Ramento of Tarlac, former Obispo Maximo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), with whom the Episcopal Church shares a relationship of full communion. Bishop Ramento was found stabbed to death at his rectory on the morning of October 3. I join all those who have called upon the Government of the Philippines to appoint a high-level impartial committee to thoroughly and promptly conduct an investigation of his murder and make their findings public.
All acts of violence, and especially murder, are unacceptable in our eyes. In this case, it is greatly feared that Bishop Ramento's death was not a random act but one that can be traced directly to his work with the poor and oppressed of the Philippines. I note that his last public speech was at an Interfaith Rally on June 12, National Independence Day, where despite death threats he voiced strong objections to the present climate of political killings and corruption. His name now joins those of 17 other Christian human rights activists who have been murdered in the Philippines in the last two years.
In addition to calling for an investigation of Bishop Ramento's murder, I have asked members of my staff to pursue this matter with our partner Church in the Philippines as well as the IFI to see what further actions might be appropriate, including communication between Christian churches with the Philippine government and its major military supporter, the United States. I have a deepening fear for the safety of the people of the Philippines and all those who labor for peace and human rights. Those responsible must be made to know that the international community is watching and will not stand by in the face of such inhuman behavior.
Bishop Ramento was a close friend of the Episcopal Church in the USA and was a faithful and prophetic voice for justice in his beloved Philippines. I ask that he be remembered in the prayers of the faithful departed in all Episcopal congregations.
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
October 12, 2006