Philippine priest-governor says he’s taking extra care after killings

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MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Father Eddie Panlilio, recently elected governor of Pampanga province, has started taking “extra care” to be safe following post-election, deadly ambushes in his province. Speaking with the Asian church news agency UCA News June 6 from Pampanga, northwest of Manila, Father Panlilio said he is “not really worried” about the death threats sent by text message to his cell phone and rumors of plans to assassinate him. But he added that he has taken extra precautions because of his responsibility as an elected official. “I have a province I have committed myself to, so I have to take extra care, and I listen to people more knowledgeable in security matters than I am,” said Father Panlilio. Father Panlilio is the first Catholic priest elected to a political office in the Philippines. He will take leave from his religious ministry while serving his three-year term as governor. He is scheduled take his oath of office June 30. Father Panlilio said religious groups — except the Catholic Church and the indigenous Church of Christ — endorsed his candidacy. Father Panlilio said he wears a bulletproof vest every time he goes out. He also uses security men provided by the Philippine National Police, although he did not request them.

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