The Daily Manila Shimbun


Catholic bishops urge Maute Group to release Marawi priest, parishoners

May 24, 2017

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on the Maute Group to release a priest and several parishioners at a church in Marawi City, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, said in a statement on Wednesday to the  Maute Group members to show mercy by immediately releasing them. "We call on the Maute Group that claims to bear arms in the name of a Merciful and Benevolent God -- the very same God we Christians worship and adore -- to do the One God true honor by the mercy and benevolence that are two of our God's most exalted attributes," said Villegas. "We call on the occupiers, who claim to worship the same God, that we all do not to defile His name by bloodshed," said Villegas. The Maute Group took Fr. Chito Suganob and several parishioners when they occupied the Cathedral of Maria Auxiliadora in Marawi City. "At the time of his capture, Fr. Chito was in the performance of his ministry as a priest. He was not a combatant. He was not bearing arms. He was a threat to none," said Villegas. "His capture and that of his companions violates every norm of civilized conflict," he added. Villegas said the priest and others were inside the cathedral when members of the Maute group forced their way into the Cathedral. He said the group has threatened to kill the hostages if the government forces sent against them are not recalled. Villegas called on Filipinos to "pray fervently for Fr. Chito and for other hostages." Clashes in Marawi have forced President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in e Mindanao for 60 days. DMS