Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete in the central Philippines expressed concern over the “prevailing culture of impunity” in his diocese following the killing of a village official last week.
“Despite sounding like a broken record, we keep on asking why this ‘culture of impunity’ prevails in our city,” the bishop said in a statement on June 19.
He said the Diocese of Dumaguete “deeply mourns the violent death” of Harrison Gonzales, head of Poblacion 1 (Tinago) village, who was gunned down on June 16.
Witnesses said Gonzales was with other village officials when still unidentified assailants shot the village chief.
“His killing was planned because he was really targeted during the attack, though he had lots of companions at the time,” said the bishop, quoting a local news report.
“Words fail us whenever somebody takes another person’s life for whatever reason and leave the dead victim’s families groping for answers,” he added.
Bishop Cortes called on the faithful to pray for the city and for the country.
“For us ordinary citizens, these senseless killings may be beyond our minds to comprehend and our hands to resolve,” he said.
“Let us vow to always be compassionate towards our neighbors, towards one another, even to those we do not know,” added the bishop.
Investigators are still looking into the motive of the village chief’s killing.
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