World News

Philippine priest possibly spied on for speaking out against Duterte

Father Robert Reyes of San Isidro Labrador Parish in Quezon City, Philippines, caught uniformed police officers taking pictures of him during Sunday Mass on the 12th of July. Father Reyes is known in his community as the “running priest,” bringing awareness to the social issues of President Duterte while on the run.


According to authorities, the police were performing routine inspections to make sure the church was following COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. Elmo San Diego, head of the Department of Public Order and Safety, said police would arrest any religious leader if they broke COVID-19 guidelines.

Fr. Reyes found the police’s action disturbing and it had left him fearing for his security and that of his parishioners. The authorities did not seek permission from the parish.

In 2019, Duterte’s war on drugs led to the deaths of over 20,000 Filipinos to date, mostly the urban poor. The police and vigilantes, encouraged by the Duterte, are proactively targeting suspected drug users. Many were killed before they could be brought to trial.

Recently, Fr. Reyes has taken a stand against the new anti-terrorism law starting next week. He is sure that government critics of Duterte or of anyone else, could be arrested for inciting citizens to rebel against the state or commit treason.

With fears that government critics will become targets of the new anti-terrorism law and church gathering guidelines, many religious activist leaders prepare for inevitable arrests from the country’s leaders, the same people who took the lives of many who were innocent of drug affiliation.


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