Bishop condemns series of unsolved killings in Leyte towns

Bishop condemns series of unsolved killings in Leyte towns

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 04:50 AM June 18, 2024

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Inquirer files

MANILA, Philippines — A Catholic bishop has added his voice to those who have expressed concern over the spate of killings in some areas in Leyte province, with the chief agriculturist of Leyte town the latest victim.

Bishop Marvyn Maceda of San Jose de Antique deplored the “merciless and cold” murder of Marcelino Combate, whose case added to the growing list of “unsolved” killings in the province.


“Another life lost to senseless killings!” Maceda said in a Facebook post on June 13.


READ: Mayor in Leyte renounces killings of barangay officials

“I grieve because a good and innocent man lost his life senselessly. I am alarmed because this is already the 13th killing in the third district of Leyte since last year (and many more cases of individuals gunned down years before),” he added.

The 52-year-old Combate was also president of the Association of Lay Ministers. He was driving home on his motorcycle after leading a liturgical activity in Mataloto and Bagaba-o, two far-flung villages in Leyte town, when he was shot dead on June 9 at Barangay Cabungahan in nearby Villariba municipality.

READ: Ex-rebel tagged in killing of Leyte lawyer

The Leyte Provincial Police Office said the gunman fled on foot after taking the victim’s money, cellphone and sacramental bread. As of Monday, the assailant remains at large.

Maceda recruited Combate as a lay minister in 2011, when he was the parish priest of Immaculate Conception Parish in Leyte town.


According to the bishop, when Combate learned that Mataloto and Baga-bao had no lay ministers, “he volunteered to serve these barangays even if these areas were identified as hot spots because of the previous killings that happened there.”

Not the first victim

“It never occurred to him that one day he would fall on the same spot just like the others before him,” Maceda said.

The prelate described Combate as “approachable and always had a soft spot for the poor and the underprivileged” with no known enemies. He left behind his wife and five children.

On June 13, hundreds of people, including members of farmers and fisherfolk associations, employees of the Leyte municipal government, and family and friends of Combate participated in a “walk for justice” to condemn the “pervasive culture of violence in the third district of Leyte.”

“This solemn walk was not only in memory of Marcelino O. Combate but also in tribute to all those who have tragically lost their lives in recent years and months. The participants called for an end to senseless killings and urged for justice to prevail,” the Leyte municipal government said.

The towns of Calubian, Leyte, San Isidro, Tabango and Villaba comprise the province’s third district.

According to Maceda, the unsolved murder cases in the area had caused great suffering and misery to the people and “fear that had slowly crept into the hearts of people in the different parishes and communities of the district.”

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“I feel disturbed because nobody seems to be safe anymore. If Brod Mars was a target, then anybody can be the next victim! And what is most alarming is the fact that this cycle of violence, impunity and total disregard of the sanctity of life seem to have become the new normal already!” he said.

TAGS: Killings, Leyte

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