By Alexandria San Juan and Leslie Aquino
Three more Catholic priests critical of the bloody war on drugs of the present administration revealed Monday that they have been receiving death threats like Caloocan City Bishop Pablo David.
Fathers Robert Reyes, Albert Alejo, and Flavie Villanueva appeared before the media at the St. Vincent School of Theology in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, to expose the threats against them.
“We would like to thank the President because he is having us watched right now. But we are being watched not for our protection but to have us killed,” Reyes said in a press briefing in Quezon City.
“Kidding aside, we do not feel safe right now. I, Fr Flavie, and Fr Bert have been getting a series of (text) messages that aim to threaten us,” he added.
“I don’t want to die. I have a 90-year-old mother,” Reyes said.
“I hope nothing will happen to us,” he added.
Alejo, a Filipino Jesuit priest, said he received text messages last February 10 which include expletives and threats that he will be killed.
He said priests do not feel safe anymore.
Alejo likewise called out the administration to stop its senseless killings.
“Kasabay ng aming paglabas ay isa pong panawagan. Itigil na po ang pagpatay. Itigil na rin po ang paniniwala na ang solusyon sa lahat ng problema ay pagpatay. Kapag maraming pinapatay, dumarami rin ang pumapatay, dumarami rin ang sumusunod sa mga nag-uutos na pumatay (We also surfaced to appeal for an end to the senseless killings. Let’s stop believing that the only solution to our problems is to kill. More deaths will mean more killers, and more will follow the footsteps of these killers),” Alejo added.
He also urged the government to put an end to the “ineffective” killings in the administration’s drug war since illegal drugs continue to proliferate.
Alejo said he believes these people behind the threats are resorting to such tactic because they are afraid of something.
“I think these people are afraid of something. Maybe, they are hiding something and they don’t want people to find out what it is,” Alejo said.
He said they decided to come out to expose the threats against them for fear it might happen.
“Lumabas po kami dahil may takot din po kami. Hindi lang sa baka totohanin nila ang pagapatay sa amin kung hindi baka pagkatapos na patayin kami ay mag-imbento pa sila ng kung anu-anong mga kwento para siraan ang mga nakaburol naming mga bangkay (We decided to surface not only for fear they might make good their threats, but also of the possibility that they make up tales to malign us even in death),” he said.
Villanueva, on the other hand, said they are still lucky because they still get death threats unlike some of their colleagues who were killed without a warning.
“Many of our brothers were killed without warnings,” he said.
“Never in the history of our country that three priests were killed in a span of six months,” added Villanueva.
Despite the threats, the priests said they will continue performing their tasks and mission to protect the rights and welfare of the people.
Reyes said they might bring the matter to the Supreme Court.
Last year, several priests were killed.
Fr. Mark Ventura was killed in Gattaran, Cagayan, on April 29 only four months after Fr. Marcelito Paez was killed in Nueva Ecija.
In June, Father Richmond Nilo was also killed by unknown gunmen in Cabanatuan.