By Leslie Ann Aquino
Running priest Robert Reyes on Tuesday slammed Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo for dismissing the death threats that some of the clergy have been receiving.
The priest said death threats should not be belittled as it is a serious matter.
“Panelo’s remarks are very cheap, shallow and lacking in sincerity. We come out endangering our lives. That is not a joke,” he said in an interview.
“They should take this situation very seriously because both he and the President are meant to serve the Filipino people, ensure their safety, prevent violence and untoward violation of our right our life. That is a very serious matter. Mr. Panelo should stop being a clown,” added Reyes.
On Monday, Reyes and two other priests exposed the alleged death threats they have been receiving.
Their expose comes weeks after Caloocan Bishop Pablo David admitted receiving death threats.
But Panelo said such threats could be coming from pranksters or anti-Duterte trolls to put President Duterte in bad light or from personal enemies of priests.
Reyes, meantime, is hoping that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines will discuss the threats against priests in their Permanent Council meeting scheduled today (Wednesday).
“I hope the CBCP Permanent Council considers how serious the situation has deteriorated. If they think a soft statement is helping, they are not at all,” he said.
“When three priests were killed we did not feel anger, anguish, and a stronger reaction from the bishops. Are they waiting for one of them to be sacrificed in order for them to wake up?” added Reyes.
To note, a number of priests in the country have already been killed last year.
Father Mark Ventura was killed in Gattaran, Cagayan on April 29 only four months after Father Marcelito Paez was killed in Nueva Ecija.
In June, Father Richmond Nilo was also killed by unknown gunmen in Cabanatuan.
Read more: Three more priests receive death threats