A Catholic bishop in the central Philippines has condemned the killing of a businessman inside a church compound in the city of Bacolod on Feb. 19. Gunmen shot and killed Filipino-Chinese businessman Alex Yao, 54, inside the compound of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine in Bacolod City. Yao's wife, Maria Theresa, survived the shooting
, which occurred while the couple were leaving the church after attending a prayer meeting. Police, who are still looking for a motive for the attack, said the gunmen shot the victim several times. Bishop Patricio Buzon of Bacolod
called the murder a "deplorable act ... that has no place in Christian communities, more so in a society that upholds the principles of law and order." "We strongly condemn this killing as an act that is indicative of a complete disregard for the Christian and societal ideal we stand for — that any form of violence has no place in and outside our churches," said the prelate. "Ours is a society of laws and reasonable individuals. We do not place the law in our hands. [Violence] is never our way of seeking redress and this incident of killing imperils that order." The bishop appealed to authorities to immediately catch the killers "so that the perpetrators of this violence can be subjected to the rule of law and be held accountable." The murder came days after gunmen shot and killed another businessman, Jose Yulo, in Philippine capital Manila on Feb 17.