With Rev. Glofie Baluntong charged with attempted murder, the leaders of the United Methodist Church in the Philippines gathered to express their support against the allegations.
Protest for Rev. Baluntong
The UM News reported that on September 21, UMC bishops in the Philippines held a memorial service for the 50th anniversary of martial law in the country.
In the event, the pastors and bishops held signs, calling for the release of Rev. Glofie Baluntong who is currently held by the authorities. The supporters of the pastor are saying that the charges are a part of the efforts of the government to silence the reverend who is known for supporting indigenous people.
Apart from people who went to the event personally, there were also bishops who expressed their solidarity with the pastor online.
One of these is Bishop Pedro M. Torio Jr. who said that the pastor is not anti-government and is a person who represents the poor and the weak.
Apart from the UMC Philippines, leaders of other church organizations joined in to show their support.
Earlier in September, the National United Methodist Clergywomen Association of the Philippines Board of Women's Work held a candle-lighting service at the Good Samaritan First United Methodist Church for the same cause, calling for the release of their pastor.
The people who went to the event, also held signs for the government to "Stop the Attacks on Church People" and to drop the charges against the pastor.
The article said that Baluntong has been working for the rights of the Mangyans indigenous group since 2019.
According to the report, Baluntong is being held to answer for the country's controversial Anti-Terror law.
The Philippines Central Conference Board of Church and Society called for the government to drop the alleged sham charges against the United Methodist pastor, saying that these are just stopping the pastor from fulfilling her duties of mercy and justice.
In an interview, Rev. Baluntong expressed hope for her release so that she can resume her pastoral duties.
Prior Encounter with the Police
UM News also reported that on June 17, Rev. Glofie G. Baluntong and Rev. Wilfredo Yasay, pastor of Good News United Methodist Church in Roxas were questioned by the Philippine National Police.
Further, according to the report, the police searched the Dangay United Methodist Church without a search warrant and even asked the clergy to surrender their guests, the Karapatan Southern Tagalog quick reaction team. The guests of the church were a human rights group in the Philippines who sought refuge from the church.
Rev. Glofie Baluntong and Her Work for the Mangyans
According to the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Rev. Baluntong has served as a deaconess for 24 years. It added that the reverend is known for having justice and peace in the heart of ministry and service.
When it comes to her aide to the Mangyans, she has been an important part of their fight for their rights and the environment. This includes her active participation in relief and rehabilitation programs for the people of Mindoro.
Also, she has provided sanctuary to "people fleeing from violence and attacks."