South Cotabato

Preacher’s murder sends ripples through Koronadal evangelical churches

Rommel Rebollido

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Preacher’s murder sends ripples through Koronadal evangelical churches

CRIME SCENE.Police look for clues in the area where motorcycle-riding gunmen killed a prominent preacher in Koronadal City, South Cotabato on August 6, 2023.

PNP-Koronadal City

Police identify a person who could potentially provide information about the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of the evangelical minister

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Police have pinpointed a person of interest in the fatal shooting of a bishop from an evangelical group in South Cotabato province, authorities confirmed on Monday, August 7.

Bishop Juanito Policios was gunned down by assailants on a motorcycle in Barangay San Isidro, Koronadal City, South Cotabato, on Sunday.

The midday murder sent shockwaves through the local evangelical community. Many had just attended morning church services in Koronadal and South Cotabato, where Policios founded several evangelical churches.

Policios, a charismatic figure in South Cotabato, drew a substantial following in Koronadal and South Cotabato.

At 43 years old, Policios was recognized for his philanthropy and humanitarian work. His church, for instance, had donated P1 million worth of rice to families displaced after the 2017 Marawi siege.

The preacher, who served as a religious affairs coordinator of the Koronadal City’s vice mayor office, founded the God’s Family Care in Koronadal City-Philippine Mission Incorporated.

He was rushed to a hospital, but died along the way, said Koronadal Vice Mayor Erlinda Araquil.

Koronadal police chief Lieutenant Colonel Amor Somine said investigators have identified a person who could potentially provide information about the circumstances surrounding Policios’ murder.

Araquil condemned the deadly attack. She said the preacher’s killers “may be able to escape the law of man, but they will not be able to elude, and will certainly be facing the wrath of God.”

Araquil, citing medico legal findings, said Policios succumbed to five gunshot wounds.

Lloyd Gabutin, the chairman of Barangay San Isidro, where the Policios resided, said the preacher had just come from his church where he led a Sunday gathering, and was attacked while he was riding his motorcycle.

Citing witnesses’ account, Gabutin said two motorcycle-riding gunmen shadowed the victim and attacked him as soon as he reached a secluded area. 

Witnesses heard the victim crying out “Diyos ko, Jesus Christ” (My God, Jesus Christ) as the bloodied preacher crawled from his motorcycle.

Araquil said Policios had received death threats, and investigators were provided with details as they work to piece together information about the things that took place before the murder.

For instance, she said, the widow of Policios had shown text messages from the minister last month about the people whom they should question if something bad happened to him.

Policios had also alerted his friends every time he had thought he was being followed.

Gabutin said the shooting on Sunday was the second gun attack on Policios since 2022 when gunmen missed him but killed a man and a child in the process. –

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