Murcia Clergy Bent on Combatting Drug Menace, Illegal Gambling

The spark between Murcia town parish priest Fr. Greg Patiño and parochial vicar Fr. Augusto Hinayan, with some pastors, and Mayor Andrew Montelibano, a scion of the Lacson and Montelibano families, is further growing, in the wake of the latter and his municipal council’s call for the priests’ ouster, due to their determined campaign against illegal drugs and various crimes in Murcia town.

In an interview over radio program "Tungkaron Ta Ini", which airs daily at radio station DYRL hosted by Edgar Cadagat and Jeffrey Gelangre, the Murcia parish priest explained that their campaign and that of Protestant pastors with whom they have forged an anti-drugs, and anti-crime alliance, had been going on for a year they and their parishioners, to include the catholic educational institutions, decided that society in the town must be rid of the drug trade culture.

This is also because illegal drugs and its companion, illegal gambling caused petty crimes even in the limited Murcia society and in its communities.

Due to their spiritual and evangelical advocacy against the drug menace, illegal gambling and crimes, the parish collectively decided in a democratic manner, to carry out the determined campaign mentioning only the evils of illegal drugs and gambling sapping the spiritual and moral fiber of the town’s communities.

Symposiums were then conducted along with the pastors, and the campaign took on a life of its own.

The results and intent of the religious aggrupations were relayed to Montelibano who, for one reason, or another, resented it, saying it was destroying the good name of the town of which he is the chief executive.

The local police has also been acting lacklusterly in carrying out the anti-drugs campaign, Patiño said.

Patiño said in the "Tungkaron Ta Ini" interview that he cannot understand the Murcia mayor’s livid reaction against the campaign.

"On the town council’s ouster petition sent to Bacolod bishop Msgr. Vicente Navarra, the Bacolod Diocese’s highest-ranking prelate would have to base his decision on the church’s Canon Law on the ouster petition by Montelibano and the town council."

Patiño also assured the Catholic church’s parishioners in Murcia that as priests, they are prepared for any eventuality and that there are many evil spirits which will test the church’s determination and resolve in its stand on its teachings.* (EACadagat)




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