Parish holds candle-lighting for slain barangay chair

Parish holds candle-lighting for slain barangay chair

The San Isidro Labrador Parish called on the faithful to light a candle and say a prayer for justice for slain Brgy. Chair Crisell Belmi-Beltran, who was murdered along with her driver on Jan. 30, 2019.

By Minnie Agdeppa

Feb. 16, 2019

Quezon City

In the aftermath of the murder of a local public official, Brgy. Chair Crisell Belmi-Beltran, a parish called on its parishioners on Feb. 1 through its Facebook account to light a candle to pray for justice and peace.

“I personally condemn in strongest possible terms this senseless killings and cry to heaven for  justice for you and your driver Melchor Salita,” wrote San Isidro Labrador Parish Priest Fr. Gilbert Billena, OCarm, a close friend of Beltran.

Brgy. Chair Beltran and her driver were ambushed on Jan. 30, 2019 by gunmen on two motorcycles while she was in her car along JP Rizal Street in Barangay Bagong Silangan, according to news reports. 

‘Nobody is safe’

Billena, who had closely collaborated with the slain official on the parish’s programs, immediately shared on social media his remorse and shock over the violent death of Beltran, a supposed Congressional candidate for the 2nd District of this city.

“This culture of death, violence and atmosphere of impunity in our barangay and throughout the country has affected me so much and it seems [nobody] is no longer safe,” said the priest, who helped initiate the Rise Up Movement to fight for justice and peace because of the EJK cases in the country. “May God have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil,” he added.

EJK cases

“We will have a short candle lighting and offering of prayers after every Mass this Sunday,” read the announcement on the Facebook account of San Isidro Labrador Parish in Bagong Silanganan in this city.

The post included a photo of a lighted candle in the dark and the message “Justice for Kap Crisell Belmi-Beltran at kay Melcor Salita! Stop the Culture of Violence and Impunity!” 

San Isidro Labrador Parish is one of the parishes in the Diocese of Novaliches with numerous reported incidents of what many believe to be extra-judicial killings. The local Church has since initiated a Community-Based Drug Rehab Program integrated with a livelihood program to aid the healing of drug dependents.