DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 August) – A female Jesuit volunteer was stabbed to death while her fellow volunteer was wounded in an attack by a still unidentified assailant inside their quarters in Pangantucan, Bukidnon on Friday afternoon.
“It is with great sorrow that we inform you that today, August 23, two Jesuit volunteers, serving at Pangantucan Community High School were attacked by a still unknown assailant inside their quarters. One of them, Genifer Buckley (+), from Zamboanga de Sur died from multiple stab wounds. Gen’s remains will be brought to her hometown in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur,” Fr. Jason Dy, SJ, JVP Assistant Chaplain said in his e-mailed letter to colleagues late Friday night.
Buckly was a 2015 graduate of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University who joined the JVP this school year to teach at the Pangantucan Community High School. They were deployed to the area on May 27 this year.
Buckly’s co-volunteer, lawyer Anne Kathleen Gatdula, 30, from Quezon City was wounded but managed to escape. She was rushed to a hospital in Maramag, Bukidnon where she was operated on and was awaiting doctor’s clearance to be moved to a Cagayan de Oro City hospital.
In a statement, Fr. Karel San Juan, President of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU), said: “Your tragic death pains us deeply, Gen. But your life, your joyful love and service console and inspire us. You gave your life to your family, friends, students, and to many others. Your generous spirit will forever stay in our hearts.”
Gen, Buckly’s nickname, finished BS Education, major in Filipino, at the ADZU in 2015. He taught in the university’s Junior High School for four years before joining the JVP this year.
Buckly’s remains would be brought to her hometown in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur. The ADZU will hold a memorial mass for her at 5 p.m. on August 26, at the University Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“We pray especially for her family and loved ones. We pray for the JVP and ADZU communities who grieve her passing. We pray for justice. The JVP Community is soliciting support for the family of Gen and the recovery of Kathleen,” San Juan wrote.
The Provincial Police Office in Malaybalay in its press release Saturday said the stabbing incident occurred at around 2 p.m. Friday in Kinilayan Village, Poblacion, Pangantucan.
Buckly, according to the report, bore multiple stab wounds – “left and right chest, left and right abdomen and right upper portion of her back” while Gatdula sustained one stab wound on the right side of her abdomen.
“Investigation revealed that the unidentified suspect forcibly entered the residence of the victims and without apparent reason, stabbed the victims and immediately fled away heading towards south direction,” the police report said.
A report from the Acting Chief of Police in Pangantucan, PCI Paronia, said the possible motive was robbery.
Paronia’s report said that on August 13, Gatdula went to the police station to report a robbery in their boarding house, the robber taking off with 3,000 pesos and several IDs.
A MindaNews source who requested not to be named said Buckly and Gatdula do not usually go home at noon but they did on Friday to collect their things en route to Malaybalay for an overnight stay and were bound for Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday for a weekend break.
The source said the robber was reportedly inside the house when Buckly and Gatdula opened the door.
It is not clear if the assailant was the same person who went inside their house on August 13.
Buckly and Gatdula were among the “brave souls” who responded to the JVP’s invitation for Batch 40.
According to the JVP website, the volunteers in the past 39 years were sent to work with schools, parishes or non-government agencies to “teach in under-served areas, train grassroot community leaders, assist cooperatives, implement livelihood projects, minister to the disabled and abused, engage in youth formation, advocate environmental issues, uphold the dignity of Indigenous Peoples and fight for the right of the oppressed.”
“We are inviting brave souls who are eager hearts to take the road of loving service for God and country,” the JVP said.
The volunteer must be under 35 years of age, a college graduate or a graduating student, physically fit and emotionally-balanced, willing to serve, share knowledge and skills in a community for at least 10 months, determined to make a positive difference in the lives of others and sincere in the desire to serve where there is a need.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)