“MURA mi og naputlan og ulo (It seems like we have lost a head).”
This is how Lawaan 3 Barangay Councilor Bernard Labalan described the loss of Barangay Captain Jimmy Bartilic, who was killed during a shootout in Lawaan 3, Talisay City last May 16, 2019.
Bartilic was at the scene to help settle a family dispute when he was shot dead by Dean Torefranca, a retired member of the US Marines, who was later killed by responding police. Also killed was Jed Ybañez, Torefranca’s stepson.
Labalan said the death of Bartilic meant their barangay lost a great leader.
According to him, Bartilic solved the barangay’s drainage problem and had the access road to the barangay cemented right after winning the barangay elections last year.
Bartilic was very active in the campaign against illegal drugs, Labalan said. He was the kind of leader who did not rely on his subordinates. Bartilic even accompanied tanods when they conducted their roving patrols, Labalan said.
Bartilic also volunteered to fix their barangay vehicle, he pointed out.
According to Labalan, Bartilic did not hesitate to call a session to address a problem.
Cecilia Gentica, who has resided in the barangay for 25 years, said Bartilic was the best barangay captain they have ever had.
She said he died as a hero because until his last breath, he was doing his job as a barangay leader who protected his people.
His death was painful, Gentica said, because they lost a leader whom they could approach when they needed help.
First Councilor Frederick Marababol, who will take over as barangay captain, said he cannot equal what Bartilic did, but he will continue Bartilic’s dreams.
He said Bartilic served as a father to him and the barangay.
Marababol recalled their last conversation on the morning of May 15. He said Bartilic called him and asked him to visit the barangay hall because the official missed him.
Marababol said he planned to go the next day, but he had other things to attend to.
It was a decision he later regretted. Had he gone, Marababol said, he might have prevented Bartilic from accompanying Ybañez to the Ybañez residence where the shootout took place.
Bartilic was laid to rest at the Talisay City Public Cemetery in Poblacion last Sunday, May 26. (JJL)