The police killing of a mother and her son in the province of Tarlac this week demonstrated how ingrained impunity has become in Philippine society, said a Catholic bishop.
Bishop Enrique Macaraeg of Tarlac said the killing of Sonia Gregorio, 52, and her son, Frank, 25, by a police officer is only one of the many killings that “have been happening around us.”
“Some of them happened without a video to record them,” said the prelate. “Whether posted on social media or done hidden without a witness, killing is a sin.”
“The suspect was a man tasked to stop killings. Impunity has become ingrained as we saw the daughter, having taunted the mother and son, walking away unaffected by the murder,” said Bishop Macaraeg.
Authorities said the incident was spurred by a confrontation over the firing of a “boga,” an improvised cannon usually used to make noise during New Year celebrations.
They said both parties have long had a right-of-way dispute.
Deploring the incident, the bishop said that murder is not only a sin against the victims and their families. “It is both a sin and a crime that cries out to heaven,” he said.
“Our faith assures us that this cry will reach the ears of God,” said Bishop Macaraeg. “There is no escaping from the justice of God, even if sometimes justice on earth is hard to find.”
“That this murder happened during these holy days preparing for Christmas makes us bow in shame, guilt, and shock,” he added.
The Catholic Church’s social action and justice arm has earlier condemned the incident, saying killings “have no place in our society.”
Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo of Kidapawan, national director of Caritas Philippines, said that the killings were unacceptable, especially given the circumstances surrounding it.
“This bloodshed in broad daylight, witnessed by family members, should not have happened in the first place had we let peaceful reconciliation, not hot-tempered emotion prevail,” said Bishop Bagaforo.
“Hence our strong condemnation of such an abhorrent act, which should have no place in our society,” he said.
Bishop Macaraeg has asked Caritas Tarlac to be at the service of the family of the victims and provide them any possible assistance.
The church leaders also offered their prayers for the victims and asked for a speedy resolution of the case.
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