Philippines: Islamists murder church elder resting in hammock

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By Voice of the Martyrs

Perfecto Padilla, 52, a dedicated church elder from Sultan Kudarat, Philippines, was brutally murdered by two Muslim men on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. local time.

Perfecto was resting outside his house in a hammock when two Muslim men came by on motorbikes and fired from approximately five meters away what was believed to be a 45-caliber pistol, witnesses said. He was struck by seven bullets. The assailants immediately fled the scene.

Perfecto’s 12-year-old daughter, Naomi, ran to her father, crying and screaming for help. A pastor named William was nearby visiting a church member, when he heard the screaming and immediately went to provide assistance. Seeing the seriousness of the wounds, William borrowed a tricycle and took Perfecto to the hospital, but the wounded man died on the journey.

Philippines

Perfectos’ two children Naomi, 12, and Joseph, 10, have lost their only parent. Their mother went overseas to work many years ago and they have lost contact with her.)

A local VOM contact immediately visited the family. When he met the children, Naomi told him, “Our father was a good father. He never did anything wrong. Why has this happened to him?”

“This district was once a peaceful village,” the VOM contact reported. “We always visited the church in the past and there were no close Muslim neighbors, but now Muslims have built a mosque very close to the church. They have been trying to force them to sell the property. There have been evacuations of Christians from this area because of the attacks on neighboring Christian villages. This constant pressure by the Muslims appears to be part of a plan for them to try to claim more of the land for themselves. Perhaps the murder of this church elder has been part of the strategy and pressure put upon this small Christian community by those who are wanting the land.”

Perfecto leaves a legacy of faithful commitment to God. He was so dedicated to the church that he had offered to let their pastor to stay in their small house while Perfecto built a temporary church building beside the house.

Please pray for Naomi and her brother Joseph as they grieve the loss of their loving father, and pray especially for their future. VOM will provide financial assistance to them.

To help VOM provide emergency assistance to families like this, contribute to their Families of Martyrs Fund.