Man shot dead outside venue of CBCP assembly
Jarred by the murder of a man right in front of the building where Catholic bishops were attending their plenary assembly, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas urged the public not to be silent in the face of killings.
The president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday condemned the incident which happened right outside the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center.
“We demand answers. Shepherds must sometimes raise their voices when wolves prey on God’s flock. Does the death squad, any death squad, own up to this latest travesty?” Villegas asked.
The Pope Pius XII Catholic Center on United Nations Avenue in Manila, was where the CBCP held its 115th plenary assembly from July 8 to 10. Less than 100 meters away is the headquarters of the Manila Police District (MPD).
According to the MPD homicide unit, the victim was shot at 11:57 p.m. on Sunday by two men on a motorcycle. Investigators said they were still trying to identify him and the motive for his killing.
The victim was described as between 40 and 45 years old, about 5’8” in height, with fair skin and of medium build.
He had several tattoos on his body, including two on his chest which read “Ortiz Boy” and “Jocelyn.”
Dressed in a red shirt, black shorts and slippers, the victim was shot several times by the motorcycle riders. His body was taken to a funeral home for autopsy.
In a post on his Facebook account, Villegas, the outgoing CBCP president, decried the incident as another incident of extrajudicial execution which the bishops cannot be reconciled with.
“It tells us your bishops that we cannot be reconciled with this situation. Silence in the face of this horrendous deed is complicity,” Villegas said.
He also expressed hope that the public outcry would “reach all concerned, for there must be an outcry.”
“To us all is addressed that voice from heaven: ‘The blood of the brother you have slain calls out from the earth,’” Villegas said.
The incident was not the first time that gunmen in Manila brazenly murdered people in front of religious places or images.
In September, men on a motorcycle killed Sandrex Ampo-an in front of a grotto of the Virgin Mary on Taal Street in Sta. Ana, Manila.
Related story: Nothing sacred in latest Manila drug slay
Ampo-an, who was later called a drug suspect by the Manila police, was whiling away time in a tricycle marked “Jesus” when mask-wearing gunmen shot him four times.
His murder remains unsolved although a surveillance camera was installed just meters away from where he was killed.
A month later, two men with chest stab wounds, their faces wrapped in packaging tape, were dumped in front of Sta. Catalina College. On top of their bodies were cardboard signs bearing messages which branded them as pushers who should not be emulated.
Related story: ‘Sacrilege’ in Manila, ‘extermination’ in Pateros
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.