Priest decries 2 pre-Christmas killings in Bicol

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BARCELONA, Sorsogon, Dec. 27, 2014 – Decrying violence, a priest here denounced the murder of two residents, who were separately killed by still unidentified men prior to Christmas.
The executioners of Marlon Gile and Susan Cagalitan, both residents of Barcelona town, did not take into consideration the emotional impact of violence on the victims’ households, said Fr. Edgar B. Cleofe, St. Joseph parish priest.

The murders of Giles and Cagalitan both happened under the jurisdiction of St. Joseph Parish church in Barcelona, Sorsogon, one of the most well-preserved and most-photographed religious sites in the province, Dec. 25, 2014. (Photo: Oliver Samson)

Gile, thirtyish, was shot by armed men at his residence, when his two children were around, in barangay Mapapac.

‘Emotional impact’

The children experienced tremendous emotional outrage because of the shooting, Cleofe said.

A town resident, who requested anonymity, said one of Giles kids asked the suspects why they were shooting his father.

Cagalitan, 58, on the other hand, was picked up outside her residence in barangay Bugtong by armed men and shot dead after an interrogation on the night of Dec. 12. She leaves behind three children.

“The children may bear the emotionally painful and disturbing impact of the violence as they grow,” Cleofe said.

Having a hint that the recent bloodshed was related to armed conflict, the priest pointed out that in contrast similar killings in the past were not carried out in the presence of the victims’ family members.

Violence as ordinary

Giles was a former element of CAFGU at the time of his death, while Cagalitan was suspected of having links with the local New People’s Army (NPA).

Alarmed by escalating violence in recent months aside from the killings of Gile and Cagalitan, Cleofe reminded the townsfolk of the value life.

“The killings have become ordinary incidents,” he said. “People are not bothered anymore. We should be bothered that these are happening.”

Another town resident, who also asked to remain anonymous, observed both killings were part of a string of retaliations between military forces and Leftist guerillas.

Cleofe made clear he does not denounce a person or a group, but the violence, particularly the manner by which Gile and Cagalitan were killed.

Meanwhile, Teodorico Escanilla, a human rights leader in the province, said the government should address the roots of social injustices to resolve the armed conflict. (Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)

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