Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon denounced the killing of a red-tagged frontliner in the fight against COVID-19, while the New People’s Army (NPA) denied the accusation that she was a spokesperson of the movement.
Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and husband, Edwin Sancelan, a local government employee, were gunned down while on their way home in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, on December 15.
Guihulngan Mayor Carlo Jorge Reyes has put up a P500,000 reward for the arrest of the killers of the Sancelans.
Meanwhile, Buzon said, “The Diocese of Bacolod denounces all forms of extrajudicial killings, it decries indiscriminate red-tagging, and it deplores the apparent impunity among the perpetrators and enablers of this escalating violence not just in Guihulngan City but also in other parts of Negros Island.”
The NPA denied the accusation of an anti-communist group that the slain Guihulngan City health officer was Ka JB Regalado, the spokesperson of its Leonardo Panaligan Command (LPC) operating in central Negros.
Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Kumunista (KAGUBAK) in 2018 had issued a list of people who were allegedly part of the communist rebel movement and tagged Dr. Sancelan as Ka JB Regalado.
Ka JB Regalado, in a statement Thursday, said tagging Dr. Sancelan as a spokesperson of the rebel movement is a lie being spread by KAGUBAK, the military, police and the US-Duterte regime.
Regalado said the LPC condemns the continuous killing of innocent civilians in Guihulngan, with the Sancelans and Israel Alsong as the latest victims.
He said all units of the NPA under the LPC have been directed to launch tactical offensives to seek justice for the victims of abuse under the US-Duterte regime.
Buzon said the Diocese of Bacolod condemns the continuing killings in the Diocese of San Carlos, the latest victims of whom were the Sancelans.
Dr. Sancelan is said to be a courageous and dedicated frontliner, who was instrumental in placing under control the previous spike of COVID-19 cases in Guihulngan, the bishop said.
“The Diocese of Bacolod believes that the killing of a health worker at a time of great difficulty due to the pandemic is one despicable act worthy of no less than a public condemnation,” the bishop said.
He reiterated the stand of the Diocese of Bacolod for the life and welfare of the people.
The bishop stressed the need to uphold the life and well-being especially of those who bring basic services to communities in dire need, like health workers.
He said the Diocese of Bacolod is praying for an end to this violence and urges concerned local authorities and agencies of government to investigate and act speedily on the resolution of the case.
“We cannot allow our society to go to the dogs. Stop the killings now,” Buzon said.*