Red-tagged Negros Occidental doc, husband buried | Inquirer News

Red-tagged Negros Occidental doc, husband buried

/ 07:20 PM December 22, 2020

BACOLOD CITY—A government doctor at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 and her husband, who were assassinated in Guihulngan City, were buried on Tuesday (Dec. 22).

Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and her husband, Edwin, were brought to the Our Lady of Buensuceso Parish Church in Guihulngan City for the funeral Mass before they were buried.

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, who celebrated the Mass, called for an end to the killings and justice for the couple.


“Our people’s doctor dedicated her life to end both the COVID pandemic and the pandemic of injustice,” said Alminaza.


“Committed to social justice, she tirelessly and prophetically spoke against human rights violations, militarization, and the political imbalance in our locality—consistently insisting on the need to address the roots of our social crisis to achieve just peace,” he said.

“Our beloved martyr, Dr. Mary Rose, took eight bullets on our behalf,” the bishop said.

“Her husband, Edwin, took five. Sadly, their son, Red Emmanuel, bears all the pain of the violent demise of his parents. Together, we accompany him in his quest for justice,” he said.

Alminaza said the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights agencies have more reasons to demand from the Philippine government accountability for rampant human rights violations like unbridled summary killings and the absence of the rule of law.

“Peace is nonnegotiable. This is beyond the tyranny of a political leader,” he said.

“We always embrace the goals of any form of peace and dialogue. We can never speak of peace, when the bloodbath continues. We are not Christians at all if we use violence in the name of enforced peace,” he said.


“Peace is real, when we stop firing our guns, when we refuse to pull the trigger on a person’s life, when we stop becoming enablers of injustice.”

Alminaza said the Church was now raising a “prophetic” voice, leading sustained protest actions in Guihulngan and the Diocese of San Carlos to stop the killings and end the silence of people and officials.

“It is sad that militarization defines our peace and order, not the security of our citizens,” said Alminaza.

“We call on our city to seriously work for justice among the citizens living in Guihulngan. We call upon our mayor and city officials to take to heart their utmost duty to protect the people in this city! We challenge our local government to not become a political hostage of this oppressive killing policy,” he said.

“I am asking the police community and the military now deployed in this war-ridden small city– solve the crimes! Avoid creating violence,” he said.

Mary Rose headed the Guihulngan City Inter-Agency Task Force against Emerging Infectious Diseases and was the city’s health officer. She and her husband Edwin were on board a motorcycle on their way home to Carmeville Subdivision at the village of Poblacion around 5:20 p.m. last Dec. 15 when they were shot by one of two men on  another motorcycle that drove alongside them.

The couple suffered multiple gunshot wounds. They were rushed to the Guihulngan Hospital but were pronounced dead there.

The killing came about a year after Mary Rose expressed fears over her safety after she was red-tagged by a group called “Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista” (Kagubak) or loosely translated as “Concerned Guihulnganons against the communists.”

The slain doctor was the first on a list of Guihulngan residents that Kagubak, an anti-communist group of vigilantes, had accused of being supporters of communist rebels.

The list, which was released in 2018, identified the doctor as Ka JB Regalado, who was supposedly the spokesperson of the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command of NPA.

Mary Rose and Edwin’s family, including their 21-year-old son, begged off from issuing any statement as they want to keep their mourning private.

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TAGS: Alimanaza, doctor, EJKs, Guihulngan, Insurgency, Kagubay, NPA, rebels, red-tagging, Regions, Vigilante

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