BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The killing of a lady doctor, who was the local chief of an Inter Agency Task Force for COVID-19, and her husband Tuesday at Carmen Ville Subdivision in Brgy. Poblacion, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, sparked public outrage and condemnation in the strongest terms yesterday.
The victims, Guihulngan City IATF commander, Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan, and her husband, Edwin, were reported by the police to be on their way home on a motorcycle, when they were killed by two motorcycle-riding suspects.
Both victims were declared dead on arrival at the Guihulngan District Hospital, a police report showed.
Recovered at the scene of incident were 15 fired cartridges of a .45 caliber pistol.
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza strongly condemned what he termed as the senseless spate of murders of helpless civilians and dedicated servants of government.
Alminaza described the killing of the couple as brutal, and marked by a desire to end the pro-people service of Dr. Sancelan to her constituents.
“Dr. Sancelan was branded, vilified, red-tagged, and now, executed, by the ruthless pawns of the enablers of systematic killings in this country,” the bishop said.
“Her only crime, much like the soon-to-be born infant Jesus in a manger, was her unselfish service to the poor people of Guihulngan – both as a barrio doctor and as defender of the poor,” Alminaza said.
Sadly, the same government that was expected to recognize her dedication to government service failed to protect her. “If government cannot protect us, how are we ordinary citizens expected to trust this government?” he asked.
The Guihulngan IATF issued a statement describing Dr. Sancelan as a dedicated frontliner, who was instrumental in placing under control the previous spike of Covid-19 cases in November.
“We are confused and shocked by this painful fate befalling our public servants. Even now, we grapple to fill the gaping void Dr. Sancelan left in the service and in the task force,” it added.
The Negros Oriental Medical Society said they are deeply saddened by the recent event in the province. “This is a tragic example of the devaluation of the life of a doctor in public service,” the NOMS said in a statement.
“We cannot keep fighting against both Covid-19 and the threat of a senseless death,” the statement added, and stressed, “We need for the good government to protect us, provide justice for us”.
Karapatan-Negros Island, on its Facebook account, claimed that the name of Sancelan was included in the supposed “hit list” of Kagubak (Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Kumunista), an anti-communist vigilante group. “We believe that this is part of the liquidation operation of the NTF–ELCAC (National Task Force–to End Local Communist Armed Conflict),” the group added.*