Press release: National Distribution Union
Tuesday, May 29, 2007 3:30pm
Filipino President promises proved lies: abducted Filipino Pastor found tortured today by police
Despite the assurances of the Filipino President to Helen Clark, the New Zealand Government and the "interfaith dialogue" in Waitangi today, a Pastor who was abducted yesterday was found today detained and tortured by the Philippine National Police, says the National Distribution Union.
Please find included in this email below a press release from The United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
PASTOR BERLIN ABDUCTED AND TORTURED
We have found Pastor Berlin. He is detained here at Camp Pantaleon Garcia in Imus, Cavite. The Philippine National Police (PNP) says he faces murder and sedition cases filed in 1991 and 1993. He is tortured.
*presented to the media, 12 nn, May 28, 2007
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines condemns in strongest terms the latest abduction of one of its pastors, Pastor Berlin V. Guerrero who was taken at gunpoint yesterday at 5:45 pm Sunday, May 27, 2007 in front of Seven Star gas station at Bgy. Casile, Binan, Laguna by undetermined number of armed men who were on board two L 300 FB vans whose plate numbers were covered.
Pastor Guerrero, 46 years old, pastor assigned at the UCCP local in Malaban, was with his wife Mylene and three children when the abduction took place. According to his wife, they were on board a tricycle when military looking armed men blocked their way, poked their guns on them, grabbed her bag as they forced Pastor Guerrero in one of the vans.
According to witnesses, some of the abductors were even video taping the incident. The vans fled to the direction of Carmona.
As of press time, efforts to locate Pastor Guerrero in various military and police facilities are fruitless.
The abduction of Pastor Guerrero took place two months after a similar incident took place on March 30 along Aguinaldo Highway in Dasmarinas, Cavite, where the Union Theological Seminary is located. Pastor Guerrero is a student of the seminary.
Before entering the ministry, Pastor Guerrero served as General Secretary of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Southern Tagalog in 1980's. The UCCP believes that his abduction is linked with the on going crackdown against militants and activists in the labor, farmers, fisherfolks, and urban poor sectors, as well as journalists and human rights workers where almost a thousand have been killed, injured, and forcibly disappeared.
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines has been figured in a military orientation document called "Knowing the Enemy" and listed as a leftist front organization. About 30 UCCP pastors, lay workers have been killed since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assumed office in 2001.
The UCCP joins his wife, Mylene and the rest of the family in appealing to those who abducted his husband to release him immediately and ensure his safety.
The UCCP calls on the government and its security forces to stop this process of harassment of legitimate organizations as a violation of duly constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms.
May 28, 2007, Quezon City, Philippines