Bishop slams ‘death squads’ prowling Caloocan streets
Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David on Thursday slammed the “death squads” behind the latest murders in his diocese, including that of a widow who had led a support group for families of victims of extrajudicial killings.
In his homily during a Mass for the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at the University of Santo Tomas, David lamented the death of Jennifer Taburada, 27, and Alvin Teng, 36.
Thursday was the last of the three days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving earlier recommended by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to help rid the country of “blasphemers, liars and murderers.”
Taburada and Teng were gunned down by masked killers some three hours apart on Wednesday night, said David, an outspoken critic of extrajudicial killings.
As the shepherd of a diocese that has become a “killing field,” the bishop said he was saddened that he could not protect his flock from the “wolves prowling the streets and alleys of Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas.”
“They have killed hundreds already, and I am unable to protect them with my life,” he said.
What made him “really indignant was how [the killers took] their sweet time… looking up close to check if Jennifer was really dead [or if] they had to fire a few more shots,” the bishop said, quoting his informant.
David lamented that the police seemed to have no will to pursue them. He was also saddened by “the growing indifference among us,” he said.
When Taburada was killed, David said, “people were whispering, ‘maybe she was into drugs.’ It was like [the killing] was justified because she must be into drugs.”
He recalled how his informant sent him a picture of the 27-year-old mother of two children as she lay sprawled on the cold pavement, where she was shot around 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
“I recognized her immediately. She was one of the widows who had applied for a scholarship for her son just a few months ago and it broke my heart to tell her that we took only one scholar per family. She was trying to get slots for her two children,” David said.
He also recounted how Taburada, in one instance, was clutching in her armpit the death certificate of her husband, Ryan, who was also killed by masked men last year.
The widow had narrated how her husband had been abducted and tortured, his eyes gouged out and his private parts cut, the bishop said, adding that he had to warn Taburada that her daughter was listening.
Now her two children — Princess, 13, and Prince, 11 — are complete orphans, David said, as his listeners, most of them priests and nuns, were seen wiping away tears.
A special collection during the Mass raised some P300,000 for the children which will be entrusted to the parish for their needs, the prelate said.
A nun managing the Hospicio de San Jose had also approached him to say they would like to take in the children should no relatives be willing to look after them, David said.
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