Palace expects ‘speedy investigation’ into killing of red-tagged doc, hubby

A screenshot of the video produced by San Carlos Diocese in 2019 that featured slain Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan, who expressed concern after being red-tagged.

Malacañang Palace expects a speedy investigation into the murder of the Guihulngan City health officer and her husband.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, at a press briefing with Manila reporters today, December 17, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is already investigating the killing of Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan, who was also the local Inter-Agency Task Force incident commander, and her husband Edwin Sancelan, a local government employee.

“Inaasahan po natin na magiging mabilis yung imbestigasyon nang mahuli na po, malitis, at maparusahan ang pumatay kay doktora (We expect a speedy investigation so that the perpetrator would be caught, tried, and penalized),” Roque said.

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has also instructed the PNP to investigate the recent spate of killings “seriously and ultimately bring the perpetrators to justice”.

The governor met Wednesday, December 16, with Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, director of Police Regional Office-7 that is based in Cebu City, and Col. Bryant Demot, acting police provincial director.

On December 15, the Sancelan couple, onboard a motorcycle, were on their way home when they were attacked by an unidentified suspect.

Dr. Sancelan was the number one on the hit list of local anti-communist vigilante group KAGUBAK, or Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Kumunista.

She was said to be the third person on the list to have been killed.

The list also included lawyer Anthony Trinidad, who was shot dead in Guihulngan in July 2019.


The San Carlos Diocese produces this video in 2019 that featured slain Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan

A year before she was murdered, Dr. Sancelan appeared in a video produced by the San Carlos Diocese following the series of killings in Negros Oriental at that time, which prompted the Senate to conduct an inquiry.

In the video, which was released in September 2019, Sancelan said she was the only health doctor serving in Guihulngan.

She said her workload was heavy, doing both consultations and administrative work.

Sancelan also said that she was included in a hitlist that accused her to be rebel leader JB Regalado.

She admitted that she feared for her life.

“I felt helpless and paranoid when I go out to work. Of course, we are afraid to die,” she said.

She added: “I am no longer free to go to the countryside. I am no longer free to do basic services like school-based immunizations.”

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza is appealing to stop the killings in Negros.

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, whose diocese covers Guihulangan City, called on the people today, December 17, to “join me in prayer in the face of unstoppable murders in our Diocese of San Carlos.”

“Please join me in hope that these killings will soon end. Please join me in condemning in the strongest possible terms the senseless murder of helpless civilians and dedicated servants of the government. Let the spiral of violence end. Let there be peace,” he added.*

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