Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

UCCP bishops seek speedy trial for pastor accused of murder


MANILA, Philippines — Concerned with the recent corruption allegations in the Court of Appeals, the Council of Bishops of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) on Wednesday marched to the Court of Appeals to demand speedy trial and release of detained Pastor Berlin Guerrero.

“Pastor Berlin may not get a fair hearing on his pending case. We are here to remind justices and citizens alike that we remain vigilant in Pastor Berlin’s case and that all are accountable to God for our conduct,” said Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua, UCCP general secretary, who led the “Pilgrimage Walk for Justice and Freedom.”

According to the bishops, Pastor Berlin Guerrero has been detained for almost one year and three months on a trumped-up charge of murder. They said he was abducted by military intelligence agents on May 27, 2007 as he left his church in barangay Malaban in Bińan, Laguna.

Blindfolded, handcuffed, and beaten, he was brought to a so-called “safe house” where he was tortured and accused of being an officer of the Communist Party in Cavite. After the torture, he was brought to the Philippine National Police’s Camp Pantaleon Garcia in Imus, Cavite.

Only when his lawyer arrived was a faxed copy of a warrant of arrest shown. His lawyer learned later from the police that elements of the Naval Intelligence Security Forces handed Guerrero to them at the camp. State prosecutors subsequently charged him with murder before the Bacoor Regional Trial Court in Cavite.

After the Judge Matias M. Garcia II denied a Motion to Quash the murder charge, the UCCP, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Ecumenical Bishops Forum, Union Theological Seminary, the Kilosbayan Foundation and Bantay Katarungan Foundation took the case to the Supreme Court.

The case was before the Supreme Court for ten months, after which they remanded it to the Court of Appeals on the basis that facts must be adduced and that the Supreme Court is not a “trier of facts.” It is currently under Justice Romeo Barza, 12th Division.

Guerrero remains under detention at the Cavite Provincial Jail awaiting a decision on the motion to quash.

During their march to the Court of Appeals on Wednesday, the bishops expressed concern that the case was taking so long.

“Every day that Pastor Berlin is detained is another day that justice is denied to him. We understand in new ways what languishing in jail is — one of our vibrant church workers is doing his best to minister to other prisoners in the jail, but he could be more productive if he were given his due freedom. His family and church members are unduly suffering his absence as well. Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Bishop Dulce Pia Rose.

Bishop Jessie Suarez said the corruption scandal in the Court of Appeals has added to their worries.

“And now we have to worry about the corruption scandal allegations facing the Court of Appeals and the potential distraction or implications this may have on Pastor Berlin’s case. It is very hard to attain justice, but we will do our utmost to keep the attention of the court on his case. Our prayer for Pastor Berlin’s freedom must be matched by our best actions to appeal for justice,” he said. – GMANews.TV

August 20, 2008 - Posted by | Killer Pastors, Philippines

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