Priest blesses courtroom, calls for prayers for Pope-A A +A
Thursday, January 24, 2013
PRAY for John Pope, don’t judge him.
Fr. Monico Catubig made the appeal during a mass inside the courtroom of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 6 at the Chief Justice Fernan Palace of Justice yesterday morning.
Catubig also prayed for the souls of Dr. Rene Rafols and lawyer Jubian Achas, who were shot dead by Pope inside MTCC Branch 6 last Tuesday.
“Wa gyod tay katungod mo-judge niya. Duna tay katungdanan nga mag-ampo alang niya (We don’t have the right to judge him, but we have a responsibility to pray for him),” said Catubig.
He said no one knows what influenced Pope’s thinking, prompting him to shoot not just Achas and Rafols, but also Assistant Cebu City Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Casiño.
After the mass, Catubig sprinkled holy water on MTCC Branch 6 courtroom and the hallway outside MTCC Branch 1, where Pope shot Casiño. The priest also blessed the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office, the working area of Cebu City Prosecutor Nicolas Sellon, and the stairwell where Pope fell.
Catubig prayed for negativity to disappear from the MTCC and from court workers.
Cebu City Prosecutor Oscar Capacio, however, told ABS-CBN News he cannot forgive the former Canadian journalist.
"He deserved to die," said Capacio, reportedly one of Pope’s targets.
Floridan Quijano, Pope’s lawyer, said in a phone interview that the Canadian national’s sister, Susan Webb, sent him an e-mail asking about the details of her brother’s death.
She also asked Quijano to secure Pope’s house in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City and obtain a death certificate.
While officials of Barangay Kalunasan remember Pope best as the foreigner who had many complaints, village administrator Jovencio Lopez said the Canadian sent several kids
He said that whenever Pope visited the barangay hall, he would complain about the Philippine justice system. The Canadian also approached the barangay several times to ask about his petition to adopt a 14-year-old girl.
Once, Lopez said, Pope brought pictures of boys and girls. He said Pope told village
officials that he sent the kids, at least five of them with ages ranging from eight to 12, to school.
“Gibilin raman to niya ang mga picture sa among tanod. Wala sad mi kahibaw kung unsa iyang ipabuhat ato. Amo ra sad gidawat (Pope left the pictures of the kids with our tanod. He did not say what we were supposed to do with the photos so we just accepted them),” he added.
The barangay official did not say if Pope presented proof he was the one who paid for the kids’ education.
But teachers of Langtad Elementary School in Argao said Pope donated books and other reading materials to their library sometime in 1999.
A friend of Pope told radio dyLA in an interview yesterday that the Canadian helped her family and paid for the education of her three children.
Jessica (not her real name) said she met Pope in 1998 in Cebu City. She often visited him at his condominium unit in Barangay Guadalupe.
She said Pope was living in Zamboanga and had a girlfriend there, but moved to Cebu when the relationship did not work.
She said Pope had supported her kids through college but the assistance to her family stopped in 2010.
Pope had told them he was having problems and did not want them involved.
Before that, though, Pope had bought land for Jessica and her sister.
Jessica said Pope also helped others in her village and distributed rubber slippers to some kids.
She said Pope also helped some kids in Alcantara, Cebu and in Negros Oriental. She added that the Canadian did not ask for anything in return.
“Buotan gyud siya. Daghan jud na siyag gitabangan nga mga bata og ubang mga taw (He was a good man who helped many people),” she said.
Jessica said Pope did not offer her marriage.
Another resident of Argao said Pope helped pay for his daughter’s college education. He told Sun.Star Cebu that the assistance stopped in 2010.
The source said that Jessica once showed him a letter from Webb in 2011.
In that letter, Webb thanked Pope for sending her a box of good books and dried mangoes.
Webb urged Pope to stop carrying unlicensed firearms and to obey Philippine laws. She also suggested that Pope see a doctor who can help him manage his anger and cope with issues he was facing.
Jessica said the news of the shooting shocked them as well. They were planning to surprise Pope on his birthday yesterday.
She said Pope loved to read and was always visiting bookstores.
Jessica and her children wanted to see Pope’s body but they could not afford the expenses involved in coming to Cebu City.
“Mahadlok mi moadto kay kami nya pabayaron sa hospital. Naguol kayo mi nga wa gyu’y bisan kinsa sa iyang gitabangan nga ni claim sa iyang lawas (We are afraid they will make us pay the hospital bills. We’re sad that not one of those he helped had come forward to claim his body),” Jessica said.
Jessica’s youngest daughter, who is now 17, became emotional on air and defended her “Uncle John.”
“He gave us not just money, but the care we need because we did not have a father. He was a father to us,” the girl said in Bisaya.
Marvin, 16, Pope’s next-door-neighbor in Sitio Pagtimbayayong, Barangay Kalunasan said the Canadian seldom left the house.
He said Pope had no visitors except for the children who came to ask him for school supplies.
Last Sunday, Marvin said, Pope called him and asked for his help in throwing out his garbage. He said that was the last time he saw Pope come out.
“Dili mana siya hasol diri. Wala mi gatuo na mabuhat to niya kay hilumon man kaayo na siya diri (He doesn’t bother us, that’s why we could not believe what happened),” said Marvin.
Marvin said Pope moved into the neighborhood in 2010.
The house in Kalunasan was reportedly bought in the name of the child of a previous live-in partner.
Pope mentioned leaving a house worth P600,000 to the girl he wanted to adopt.
Marvin said the girl does not live with Pope.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 24, 2013.