CALBAYOG CITY – The Diocese of Calbayog through the Justice and Peace Desk of the Social Action Center issued a statement condemning the series of killings that rocked this city. The statement signed by Bishop of Calbayog, Isabelo Abarquez, stressed that taking of human life, and inflicting injury and suffering on anyone, whether as an act of aggression or revenge, can never be justified.

Abarquez also said that the diocese does not tolerate any form of repression especially through extra-judicial killings. “The right to life is a gift for everybody and no one has the right to take it,” the bishop said. It further explains that the “wheel of justice” is the proper venue for resolution of any case. Obviously alarmed over the series of killing incidents in Calbayog, Abarquez called on the “proper authorities to conduct a thorough and speedy investigation…and bring into the bar of justice the ones responsible.”

Based on records of the city police, since the start of the year, there were 15 shooting incidents that hit the city, a perennial “hot spot area” during election period issued by the Commission on Elections. The latest victims were village chiefs Edgar Belleza of Carayman and Rio Lebario of Dagum and his councilor Dionesio Lungsod. Meanwhile Calbayog Mayor Ronaldo Aquino condemned the killing incidents who involved mostly barangay officials. “These are acts of savagery, not expressions of normal persons, and do not in any way characterize Christian formation and being peace loving people,” the mayor said who is also the chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council.

Aquino assured the public that he will pursue every effort, and take every opportunity to bring justice to the victims and place criminal elements to the clutches of law for them to pay the price of their actions and to vindicate the lives of those slain. He also offered a P75, 000 cash reward to anyone who could help police authorities identify the perpetrators.