Filipino church leaders say an "ideology of death" has gripped the nation in the wake of the cold-blooded murder in the street of a pastor on August 2.
Barnabas Aid reports Pastor Ernesto Estrella, 51, was shot dead by one of two motorcycle-riding assailants in the town of Antipas in North Cotabato. Estrella was himself riding a motorcycle when he was shot several times, including in the head, at point-blank range.
The assailants fled after the killing and the reason for the murder was unknown. Estrella's family tells local media that he had no enemies.
A group of Christian leaders from various denominations has lamented the direction the nation is headed under President Rodrigo Duterte, who came to power in 2016.
The group says in a statement that, "the number of violent attacks against Christian human rights defenders has alarmingly increased in the three years of President Rodrigo Duterte’s government" and a culture of impunity is taking hold, demonstrated by the murder of Pastor Estrella.
They're asking the Christian community to "stand together in the name of Christ in upholding the God-given value of human life, dignity, and rights."