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Philippines

Filipino lay minister gunned down in Cebu City

Catholics condemn the cold-blooded murder of Danilo Vestil Bacalso just before Christmas

Filipino lay minister gunned down in Cebu City

A plea to stop murders displayed at a church in San Isidro Labrador Parish in Quezon City after a string of murders left the parish traumatized in August 2020. (Photo supplied)

A Filipino lay minister was shot dead at a public market in Cebu City, located in the Visayas region, around noon on Nov. 28

Danilo Vestil Bacalso, 68, was walking to the market to buy fish when an unidentified man shot him multiple times, hitting him in the head, police reports said.

“There was no altercation or a fight. The victim was at his normal routine in the market to buy fish when the gunman shot him in cold blood,” they said.

Police said they found two empty shells and one live ammunition of a caliber .45 pistol that jammed when the shooter fired at the victim.

Bacalso was a known lay minister who distributed the Eucharist to churchgoers, especially during the pandemic when church doors were closed for mass gatherings.

Bystanders said they could not identify the gunman. “The incident happened so fast … the killer immediately left and disappeared in the crowd … He was wearing a surgical mask,” said an eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous.

Let us not add to the statistics of death caused by coronavirus. Is this not enough?

Another said the shooter was wearing a white T-shirt and grey short pants “just like any ordinary market goer. He was also wearing a baseball cap perhaps to conceal his identity.”

Bacalso’s family members said he was on his way to their family ancestral house to collect their boarders’ rent.

Police said the deceased was not engaged in any public tussle. “It is possible that it was a personal grudge because the information we received from his son was his father’s daily route was just home and church because he was a lay minister,” Police Corporal Jaymos Tordios told Cebu News Daily.

Tordios said he was a popular man in the Catholic Church and so “it is quite unbelievable for now that he was involved in any crime.”

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Catholics in Cebu condemned the attack as “unnecessary” in a time of crisis when the entire nation was recuperating from the effects of the pandemic

“Let Covid be the killer at present. We’ve heard enough of people losing their lives because of the pandemic. Let us not add to the statistics of death caused by coronavirus. Is this not enough?” Cebu parishioner Donald Alcantara told UCA News.

Alcantara said the murder was untimely as the Catholic Church was celebrating the Advent season.

“It’s almost Christmas. I hope this is not the way we welcome Christ,” he added.

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