Cabanatuan diocese seeks justice for slain Ecija mayor
CABANATUAN CITY — The diocese of Cabanatuan on Sunday expressed alarm over the recent spate of killings in Nueva Ecija, and demanded justice for the July 3 murder of General Tinio town Mayor Ferdinand Bote.
Bote was killed in broad daylight along the busy portion of Maharlika Highway, some two to three meters away from the office of the National Irrigation Administration’s Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System.
“Three weeks after the parish church of San Vicente Ferrer in Zaragoza town lost Fr. Richmond Nilo to a murderer, General Tinio also lost the father of the town,” Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud said in a statement that was read in churches here. General Tinio town is part of the diocese.
Nilo was shot through a chapel window as he prepared to hold Mass at the Nuestra Señora dela Nieve in Barangay Mayamot on June 10. On Dec. 4 last year, retired priest Marcelito Paez was shot dead along the road in Jaen town, after he helped facilitate the release of a political prisoner in Cabanatuan City.
Nilo’s alleged killers have been arrested, but Paez’s case remains unsolved.
The diocese also noted the “prevailing culture of violence,” citing a police report that stated that four people were killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen each day from October last year to May 2018.
“Hundreds of families continue to lose fathers and mothers and many parents have lost children to the sound of a firing gun,” the bishop said.
At the wake of Bote in General Tinio on Saturday, Senator Francis Pangilinan said the Senate committee on public order headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson is set to hear resolutions seeking an investigation on the latest spate of killings involving mayors and priests.
“Twelve local officials have been killed since June 2016… We want to get to the bottom of these murders,” said Pangilinan, who said he was distantly related to Bote.
But the senator said he has no reason to doubt the investigation being conducted by the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation. /ee
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