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Red-tagged doctor feared for her life before getting killed

Tagged as a New People's Army leader in Negros Oriental, Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan felt so helpless and paranoid that her job as the lone doctor in her community suffered.

On Tuesday, she and her husband were shot and killed just outside their subdivision. They were pronounced dead on arrival at the Guihulngan Hospital.

According to Maki Pulido’s report on “24 Oras,” Sancelan was tagged as NPA rebel JB Regalado.

“Wala akong magawa at everytime na lumalabas para magtrabaho, paranoid ka na. Of course, matatakot ka naman kung mamatay ka,” Sancelan said in the video released by the Diocese of San Carlos in a peace forum.

Sancelan was also the local Inter-Agency Task Force head against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city.

“I am no longer free to go to the countryside. I am no longer free to do basic services like school-based immunization,” Sancelan said.

Reports said motorcycle-riding suspects shot the pair. 14 empty shells and two slugs from a caliber .45 were retrieved from the crime scene.

Sancelan’s colleagues at the City Health Office said that the death of the doctor was a big loss to the community, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most Rev. Gerardo Almaniza, the bishop of the Diocese of San Carlos, condemned the killing of the couple.

“Please join me in hope that these killings will soon end. But please join me too in condemning in the strongest possible terms. Let there be peace,” Almaniza said.

Sancelan is the third to be killed from the list of red-tagged individuals. The list was allegedly made by anti-communist vigilante group Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista (KAGUBAK) in Negros Oriental.

Aside from Sancelan, lawyer Anthony Trinidad was killed in July 2019 and Heidie Malalay Flores was slain in August 2018.

The Commission on Human Rights, meanwhile, said that the incident showed the dangers of red-tagging.

“There is danger in identifying and labeling persons as terrorists or as communists. It puts their lives at danger,” Atty. Jacqueline de Guia said. -Joahna Lei Casilao/NB, GMA News