• Melo Acuna

Killings puzzle Church, Health officials

Bishop Alminaza, Department of Health condemn Guihulngan killings


MANILA – Catholic Bishop Gerardo A. Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos and the Department of Health condemned the killing of Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and her husband Edwin late afternoon Tuesday.


In separate statements, Bishop Alminaza called for prayer in what he described as “face of unstoppable murders in the Diocese of San Carlos.” He called on the faithful to join him in hoping the killings will end soonest.


“But join me, too, in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the senseless murder of helpless civilians and dedicated servants of government,” he said. He added he thought it was a welcome development among peace-loving Filipinos when the International Criminal Court released its preliminary report. He described it as a step further in their collective desire to end the systematic and uncontrolled killings, as mentioned in the report.


Bishop Alminaza, in his Pastoral Statement entitled “The Unsolved Murders and the Death of Conscience: The Unwelcome Gifts this Christmas”, the 61-year-old prelate said assassins murdered Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and her husband Edwin. He described the killing as “brutal, marked by a desire to end the pro-people service of Dr. Sancelan to her constituents.”


The Guihulngan City Inter-Agency Task Force also issued its statement on the killings.


“The Task Force reels from the courageous and dedicated frontliner who was instrumental in placing under control the previous spike of COVID-19 cases in the City last November,” the local IATF statement disclosed.


The Task Force said they are confused and “in shock of this painful fate befalling our fellow public servants” as they “grapple to fill the gaping void Dr. Sancelan left in the service and in the Task Force.”


Bishop Alminaza said they hope for a swift and determined investigation on the killings.


The Department of Health in Manila said they “denounce all violent acts committed against healthcare workers, especially during these difficult times.”


“The DOH family extends its deepest condolences to the families of Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and Mr. Edwin Sancelan,” the DOH statement said.


Media reports from Negros Island said Dr. Sancelan was “red-tagged” and included in a hitlist from an anti-communist vigilante group known as Kagubak last year. (Melo M. Acuña)


San Carlos Bishop Gerardo A. Alminaza and Department of Health (File Photos/Melo M. Acuña)


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