Statement of the Supreme Council of Bishops
“Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I found none. Cut it down, why should it use the ground?” (Luke 13:7)
We, the Bishops of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, come together at Cortes, Surigao del Sur on February 16 to 19, 2015, to take counsel with one another as we seek the will of the Spirit and read the signs of the times.
We see peace steered off course and our people scourged by the violence of war. The people’s confidence in President Benigno Aquino III is plummeting as a national crisis embroils the nation over the carnage in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. The battle resulted not only in the killing of forty-four  Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos, but also of eighteen  Moro freedom fighters, and seven  innocent civilians. It has, consequently, imperiled the Bangsamoro Basic Law, an instrument which may pave for lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao.
It can no longer be denied that the botched police operation was clearly a part of the US’ global “war on terror.” Thus, Mamasapano encounter spells another transgression to the Philippine sovereignty with President Aquino knowingly and willingly sending our countrymen to death, turning them into pawns of US imperialist war. Acquiescing to US military intervention in Philippine soil, he had compromised our people’s aspiration, Muslims and Christians alike, for justice and peace in Mindanao.
It is despicable how President Aquino is fleeing from any accountability over the Mamasapano bloodbath. He is not only running away from his misdeeds but is also deliberately keeping the truth from the people. President Aquino’s attempts to evade accountability from the tragedy that took a great toll among the lives of our countrymen mimics the very way Pontius Pilate washed his hands to exonerate himself from the murder of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that the Filipino people have no need for a President who lies and butchers peace and sovereignty in the name of subservience to the US. The people are demanding President Aquino to step down from office as a just penance for his transgression. We are one with them.
We are convinced that President Benigno Aquino III has completely lost his credibility and integrity. He no longer has the legal and moral authority to lead our people.
The Filipino people, above all, have the sovereign right to remove a president who is not only incompetent to lead the country, but is also guilty in betraying their aspiration for justice and peace. We join the people’s mounting call for the resignation of President Benigno Aquino III, and support their alternative for the creation of the People’s Council that will oversee the institution of meaningful reforms and will prepare for the election of the country’s next president.
Nearly five years since he was elected, President Aquino’s “matuwid na daan” has led the nation to nowhere. Instead, bureaucratic corruption and plunder has worsened, human rights violations remain unabated, peace negotiations in the country is constantly undermined, and a war on terror against people advocating for genuine change is being waged.
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I found none. Cut it down, why should it use the ground? (Luke 13:6-7)
President Aquino has no sense of accountability, has no respect for truth and has no regard for justice. We, the bishops-members of the Supreme Council of Bishops, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, find the Lord Jesus’ judgment appropriate for President Aquino as he is like a fig tree that bears no fruit.
† Rt Revd Antonio N. Ablon
Secretary, Supreme Council of Bishops
† Rt Revd Rhee M. Timbang
President, Supreme Council of Bishops
† Most Revd Ephraim S. Fajutagana