Are priests target of ‘tokhang’ now? Hontiveros wants Senate probe

Bandera (Mindanao) - - NEWS -

ARE priests and members of the clergy of t he Catholic Church subject of “tokhang” now? Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros wants to find out.

On Wednesday, Hontiveros filed a resolution seeking for a Senate investigation on the spate of killings and attempted killing of Catholic priests.

“Tinotokhang na rin ba pati ang mga paring Pilipino at hinahanay na rin ba sila sa lista ng mga suspected drug pusher at addicts,” Hontiveros said at the regular Kapihan sa Senado forum.

“Ito ba ay bunga ng marahas na pananalita ni Pangulong Duterte laban sa Catholic Church?” she asked.

Hontiveros filed the resolution in the wake of public outrage over the killing of Fr. Richmond Nilo, who was shot by still unidentified gunmen in Nueva Ecija.

Nilo, a priest of the Diocese of Cabanatuan, was gunned down moments before he was to celebrate Mass in Zaragoza town on June 10.

Nilo was the third priest murdered in the last six months. Chinese envoy in Independence Day rites

Hontiveros likewise assailed the “insensitive” participation of Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during the Independence Day rites at the Aguinaldo Shrine amid reports of harassment of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

Zhao joined President Rodrigo Duterte at Tuesday’s Independence Day rites in Kawit, Cavite.

The ambassador briefly talked with Duterte during the celebration. He was also spotted while having a casual talk with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza.

“Hindi ko alam kung bakit nakatayo pa ‘yung Chinese ambassador sa tabi ng Presidente habang itinataas ‘yung watawat… kung bakit nakikipag-usap pa sa ating defense secretary,” Hontiveros said.

“Napaka-insenstive talaga ng mga ganoon.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Lorenza said he relayed his displeasure over the incidents involving Chinese coast guards in the West Philippine Sea.

Hontiveros said it was about time Senate conducts a foreign policy audit to help the Duterte administration craft an “honorable” position on China.

Minority senators have filed several resolutions seeking to investigate the government’s alleged inaction on China’s “creeping invasion” and militarization in the South China Sea.

Hontiveros said she would inquire with Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee on why hearings have not been scheduled yet.

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