UPDATE: Bukidnon bishop condemns mayor’s killing

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/05 July)–Malaybalay Bishop Jose Cabantan has condemned the slaying of Impasug-ong Mayor Mario Okinlay, stressing the diocese “does not espouse violence as a means to achieve justice and peace.”

“We condemned the killing of Mayor Mario Okinlay and all extra-judicial killings that happened in our diocese. Let us not forget that God is the owner of our lives. We are all just His stewards…. Nobody is given the right to take someone else’s life,” the bishop said in a statement emailed to MindaNews today (Saturday).

“We all long for perfect justice. We wanted to create a society where justice always prevails. We wanted peace and security. We dream of a place where we are not afraid to walk in the night and where we can sleep peacefully in the night,” he added.

Cabantan said there “will never be peace and justice until we know justice and peace in our hearts.”

He quoted Pope Francis as saying that “even today we continue this history of conflict between brothers, even today we raise our hands against our brother. Even today, we let ourselves be guided by idols, by selfishness, by our own interests, and this attitude persists.”

The bishop urged the public not to lose hope and to “continue working to achieve peace and justice” and let it “be done in a non-violent way.”

“We are called to nurture life, to create an atmosphere where life will prosper according to the will of God,” he said.

The New People’s Army (NPA) has admitted responsibility in the killing of Okinlay last Wednesday (see related story, NPA admits killing Bukidnon town mayor). (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)