“For heaven’s sake, stop the killings!”
This was the call made by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan in the Philippine capital in the wake of the shooting of two people in his diocese over the weekend.
“There is a saying that goes, ‘The death of every human being diminishes us all,’” said Bishop David in a Facebook post on October 18.
“Let us not allow our humanity to continue to be diminished by accepting these acts of violence as normal,” he added.
Quoting media reports, Bishop David said two unidentified assailants fired their guns at their targets who were inside a store in Tangos South, Navotas City, on October 15.
“The killings happened in one of our mission stations,” said the prelate.
Two of the victims immediately died — Jomarie Flores, 30, and his nine-year-old son, Jaycee.
“I was told that Jomarie used to serve at the San Roque de Navotas Parish as an altar server when he was a young boy,” said Bishop David.
He said residents claimed that neither Jomarie nor his wife had any criminal record. “Their son got hit by the bullets that had been fired at his father,” said the bishop.
“Witnesses said he embraced his father when he saw the armed men pointing their guns at his daddy,” wrote Bishop David in his post.
The wife, identified as Cerhina, also got hit but survived, while a certain Gerardo Garcia was also fired at after standing to the gunmen.
“He just happened to be standing near the sari-sari store. He was rushed to the hospital but did not survive,” wrote Bishop David.
Quoting a media report, the prelate said Jomarie had earlier filed a complaint at the Labor department to claim a separation pay from the company he used to work with.
“The [Labor department] had apparently conducted a preliminary investigation and facilitated a dialogue between the company officials and Jomarie,” wrote the bishop.
“Unable to reach a settlement on the issue, they raised the case to the court. Apparently, three days before the killing incidents, Jomarie had mentioned about receiving some death threats by text,” he added.
“They are cruel, abnormal, and inhuman!” wrote Bishop David, as he expressed his appreciation of the efforts of local officials “to pressure the local police to carry out a serious investigation of this case.”
“There are still hundreds of unresolved cases of [deaths under investigation] that remain unresolved up to now, and, like most others, uninvestigated,” he said.
Last month, the National Capital Region Police Office noted that the crime rate in the Philippine capital decreased this year by at least four percent.
From January to August, 4,984 index crimes were recorded in Metro Manila, which is lower than the 5,202 incidents during the same period last year – a decrease of 4.19 percent.
National capital police chief Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo said crime solution efficiency improved from 68 percent to 71 percent for January 2022 to August 2022.
Index crimes involve offenses such as murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft and vehicle theft.