Before the final blessing, Valles addressed the killers: “Angay mo mahadlok karon kay gukuron gyud mo. Maayo na lang mangayo mo daan pasaylo, maghinulsol mo daan. I have no doubt about that, maghihunulsul na mo” (You should be afraid now because you will be pursued. Better if you seek forgiveness now, repent now. I have no doubt about that, repent).
In a statement on June 23, the Bishop urged parishioners to let the deaths of the Vigo couple “re-awaken in us (a) renewed commitment to peace. A commitment never to accept violence as inevitable or unstoppable. A commitment to overcome the apathy and fear that weigh down our best intentions. A commitment to do unceasingly the works of peace: to meet with all men and women of good will, to dialogue, to mutually forgive each other our trespasses and failures, to strive to build community of respect for each other, a community of genuine peace.”
At the funeral, friends and the families of George and Maricel wore red shirts, some with the line shot of the couple in front and on the back, the call for “Hustisya kay Macel, Hustisya kay George” (Justice for Macel, Justice for George). White and blue balloons were released at the memorial park.
The Diocese gave George and Macel, who were active in church campaigns, including the protest against the encroachment of banana plantations in the Lumads’ (indigenous peoples) ancestral domain, what Bishop Valles referred to as a “full, complete Catholic burial… full, complete, total Christian burial” as he pointed to the white cloth draped over their caskets, the Easter candle, the Bible, the crucifix and the altar.
The bishop quoted a journalist-friend of the Vigos, Indonesia-based Orlando de Guzman of BBC, that “no child must face such a tragedy ever.”
Indeed, the bishop said, “it must never happen. Not one of us unta (supposedly) must handle, must face such kind of death” and God, he said, “must never face the death of His children (in this manner).”
Pointing to the crucified Christ, he said, “kana na unta ang katapusan” (that crucifixion should have been the last” of what he referred to as the “viciousness of evil.”
The bishop said that while we experience deep sorrow over the loss of the Vigo couple who were killed by the “gahum sa kangitngit, sa gahum sa yawa” (power of darkness, power of evil), we should also experience “tumang kaulaw” (extreme shame) …… “that we still allow such evil,” that “we are supporting such kind of people in so many ways.”
Our faith, he said, “is being tested” but the Church “will always stand against such evil deeds.”
Aside from the Vigos, he said, several others have been killed in Tulunan, Makilala, etc… “Any type of killing, left or right, is sukwahi sa kabubut-on sa Diyos (against the will of God).”
Macel’s younger sister, Maribel, thanked the public not only for the financial support extended to them but the moral support.
Before the Bishop’s final blessings, the churchgoers gave the Vigo couple a hearty applause.
From the cathedral, friends and relatives marched 2.4 kilometers to the Cotabato Memorial Park.
There, Fr. Peter Geremia, the couple’s spiritual adviser whom they visited afternoon of June 19, just before they were killed, led the prayers and blessed the caskets.
Relatives and friends chanted “Hustisya para kay George” as his casket was lowered at around 11 a.m. Maricel’s was interred by 11:40, above George’s. Her high school classmates at Notre Dame Kidapawan sang the school hymn, while her younger sister, Maribel, led the singing of Joey Ayala’s “Walang Hanggang Paalam.”
As her casket was lowered, the crowd also chanted, “Hustisya kay Macel.”
The Vigos’ daughter Aryanne Joy, 5, said, “babay (bye), Mama.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)