Cebu archdiocese says shootout 'not attack vs Church'
MANILA, Philippines – The shootout at the Cebu Archbishop's Residence is not "an attack on the Church" but a "wake-up call" about depression, said Cebu Archdiocese media liaison Monsignor Joseph Tan.
"We don't see this as an attack on the Church. We see this as an incident that's a wake-up call for us…that if we know someone who has signs of depression, gone are the days when we dismiss depression," Tan told reporters on Wednesday, July 11, in a mix of English and Cebuano.
"Depression is a real sickness, illness, affecting several of our people. It should be treated as a medical condition. Doctors should be consulted also, other than the counselor," he added.
A shootout with the police at the Cebu Archbishop's Residence on Tuesday, July 10, killed the gunman, Jeffrey Cañedo, who reportedly wanted to see Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
Cañedo was a 41-year-old former overseas Filipino worker who reportedly wanted to seek Palma's advice about his "troubled marriage," the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Wednesday.
The Archdiocese of Cebu said in an earlier statement that Cañedo "exhibited unusual behavior." Tan said he "sounded a bit incoherent" when he appeared at Palma's residence.
'We cannot condemn the man'
Tan said Palma spoke with Cañedo's father, a retired policeman, over the phone.
"I think Archbishop Palma even offered to help the family in whichever way. Archbishop Palma also signified there's a chance for him to go to the wake, as a paternal gesture," Tan said.
Referring to Cañedo, Tan added, "We cannot condemn the man, because it wasn't intentional… He was carried away by a series of events brought about by his depression."
Tan said of Cañedo, "He deserves our prayers, and all the more our compassion and kindness, and for us to extend help, especially to his mother and father."
In the meantime, Tan told Rappler that the Archdiocese of Cebu accepted the offer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to beef up security at the Cebu Archbishop's Residence, but on a temporary basis.
"We have police presence for now to stabilize the situation," Tan said in a text message to Rappler.
"This is temporary. We have enough security measures," he added.
The shootout comes at a time when 3 Catholic priests have been killed in the Philippines, in less than 7 months. Critics have blamed these killings on the culture of impunity fueled by President Rodrigo Duterte's "verbal persecution" of the Catholic Church. – Rappler.com