Dear Mayor Rodrigo Duterte:
We write on behalf of 33,000 evangelical local churches with millions of members scattered around the country, expressing concerns about your narrative told during one of your sorties about one of our sisters in the Lord, the late lady missionary Jacqueline Hamill, who died a martyr’s death while performing ministry work in a Davao jail in 1989.
We were taken aback and aghast that the story became a laughing matter to your supporters and some of the viewing public.
This is not about your aspiration to become President of our country, nor anything about politics.
While we agree with the countless claims of changes that led to progress in Davao City under your leadership, allow us to speak on behalf of the church.
With due respect, sir, your derogatory statement as an aspiring father of our beloved country about a woman victim of the heinous crimes of rape and murder in the performance of ministry work for the spiritual well-being of our people, while it may be an expression of utter anger or a joke, is an insult, is offensive and sacrilegious to her family, the Christian Church, the missionary-sending country and the mission society who saw her death as the ultimate sacrifice.
With all due respect, sir, we are not demanding apology or seeking retribution. We will leave it to your judgment on how you will respond to this letter in the listening ears and watchful eyes of millions of devoted followers of Jesus Christ in our country.
Ultimately, all our actions and deeds will be weighed by God, but the public and the religious are concerned how you treat situations such as this and the way you handle yourself as a leader.
While you claim to speak the language of the masses, as an aspiring President of our country, your comments, remarks, jokes and verbal expressions will be heard around the world as first representative of all Filipinos, as it has already been in this case. Whatever you say will bode well or ill for the country.
Please be reminded of the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
“11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.
“18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man,…” (Matthew 15, Holy Bible)
We are praying for you as well as all the other candidates that the word of God may be your rule and guide your thoughts and actions, whether you are elected or not as it is God who ultimately lifts people up.
Bishop Noel Pantoja
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC)
Bishop Efraim Tendero
World Evangelical Alliance
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches
62 Molave Street, Project 3, Quezon City 1102
tel (632) 913. 1655 to 57 / facsimile loc. 601