‘Ceasefire in Murcia’

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BISHOP Vicente Navarra of the Diocese of Bacolod advised officials of Murcia, Negros Occidental and the town’s two parish priests to observe a ceasefire in their conflict regarding the issues on illegal drugs and illegal gambling in the municipality.

This was revealed on Tuesday by Mayor Andrew Montelibano after he, along with Vice Mayor Gerry Rojas and Association of Barangay Captains president Anton Gonzaga, personally submitted to the bishop the petition for the replacement of the two priests.

During a special session Monday, the Municipal Council passed a resolution asking Navarra for the relief of the two priests.


Montelibano said that parish priest Fr. Greg Patiño and his assistant Fr. Agustin Hinayan continue to attack the local government in their campaign against illegal drugs and illegal gambling.

They added that during their sermons, the priests are condemning these illegal activities in the municipality.

The mayor said he was advised by Navarra to stop trading barbs with the priests.

“I said that we will cooperate. After this, we will have no reaction anymore,” he said.

Montelibano added that Navarra assured him that the Diocese of Bacolod will study their request and come up with the best solution.

“I will wait for the decision of the bishop,” the mayor added.

He said that Navarra told him he will discuss the issue with the two priests and will also advise them to refrain from issuing statements to the media and from discussing the issue in their sermons.

“I believe and trust the bishop when he told me that he will find a solution to resume the harmonious relationship between the church and the local government,” Montelibano said.

He added that he is hoping the church will help the Municipal Government in their advocacy against illegal drugs and illegal gambling.

"But the advocacy should be done in a right way. If we advocate, we don’t blame. We advocate to make the people understand. We should not single out,” Montelibano said.

Last week, all town officials and employees led by Montelibano himself underwent a surprise drug test.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 04, 2014.

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