A Year After Abduction, UCCP Pastor Remains in Jail


The United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the family of Mr.
and Mrs. Samuel and Flora Guerrero, parents of Pastor Berlin Guerrero,
will lead a Pilgrimage Walk for Freedom and Justice at 2:30 pm today
to dramatize the call for the immediate release of Pastor Berlin.

“When my husband Pastor Berlin was ripped from our family’s arms by
plain-clothed men on our way home from Church one-year ago, I had no
idea how our lives would be uprooted. At first I was unspeakably
afraid that Pastor Berlin would be killed and that I would never see
him again. When he was surfaced under the custody of the police, I
was so happy to see my husband alive. One year has passed and our
fight for Pastor Berlin’s freedom is not yet over. We are determined
to fight for justice, for Pastor Berlin and all victims of Human
Rights Violations,” says Mylene Guerrero—wife of Pastor Berlin.

“Pastor Berlin’s courage and principles are an inspiration. He has
always lived in service of the Filipino people and the Church. I am
outraged that torture-death squads are operating within our
government’s intelligence network. And I am indignant that they are
so ‘unintelligent’ as to attack Pastor Berlin and accuse him as a
‘pastor-impostor.’ My brother deserves his freedom,” adds Rev.
Ephraim Guerrero.

“We keep praying that the Supreme Court will release our son Pastor
Berlin. We have faith that God is always with us as we seek justice,”
say Samuel and Flora Guerrero—Pastor Berlin’s elderly parents.

From within the Cavite Provincial Jail, Pastor Berlin has continued
his ministry. A new and thriving choir is even expanding their talent
to include educational theatre. Pastor Berlin conducts a weekly
ecumenical service and bible study with the support of the UCCP. Even
more importantly, Pastor Berlin had just finished a Clinical Pastoral
Education course in the weeks before his abduction; he has applied
these skills as counsellor for his co-detainees. Pastor Berlin
chooses to take a very frustrating and unjust detainment with the
attitude that God can use him in this time to serve the imprisoned,
their families, and the Church.

“Pastor Berlin was even awarded the Community Empowerment Award from
Union Theological Seminary. His work with the people imprisoned at
Cavite Provincial Jail is impressive,” shares Rev. Mary Nebelsick, UTS
Mission Co-worker Professor from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

“We are excited to see the growth in UCCP prison ministry at the
Cavite Provincial Jail. It is certainly disturbing that Pastor Berlin
Guerrero is unjustly detained. At least, God is using Pastor Berlin’s
persecution for ministry amongst the marginalized of Filipino
society,” says Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua, UCCP General Secretary.

The persecution of Pastor Berlin Guerrero has dramatically affected
his three children Mark Eugene (18yrs), Lora (16yrs), and Jairus
(14yrs). Due to security concerns, the family has been dislocated and
two children were forced to stop their schooling. Until now, they
have not been able to maintain their own home. The stress and trauma
has impacted the family. The torturers threatened to sexually assault
Pastor Berlin’s wife Mylene and teenage daughter Lora in front of him;
even with counselling and support, Lora remains traumatized. The
youngest son Jairus also had emergency surgery when he experienced
life-threatening intestinal adhesions; this complication of an
abdominal surgery in infancy was also likely induced by the stress and
trauma of the last year.

“My father has taught us to be strong in the face of adversity. We
are doing our best to follow his example,” says Mark Eugene, the
eldest.

“We just want our father home with us. We miss him very much,” echo
Lora and Jairus.

“Pastor Berlin’s abduction, torture, and detention under a trumped-up
charge have presented heavy challenges to our family, but we will not
be discouraged. We will continue to walk in the way of Jesus Christ
and share our lives with others. Our walk to the Supreme Court today
is testament of our faith and determination,” concludes Mylene
Guerrero.

The Pilgrimage Walk will begin from the UCCP National Office,
Shalom Center, 1667 Antonio Vasquez St., Malate and culminate at the
Supreme Court. The family will be presenting an appeal to the
Honourable Magistrates to facilitate the quick resolution of the case.

Pastor Berlin was abducted one-year ago on May 27, 2007. He was
tortured and interrogated as an alleged member of the Communist Party
of the Philippines. He was then turned over to the PNP Camp Pantaleon,
Imus Cavite where a warrant for a trumped-up murder charge was
presented. Until now, he remains detained at Cavite Provincial Jail
while the Supreme Court deliberates on a Certiorari for his immediate
release.

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