ZAMBOANGA CITY: Some 200 university students held a prayer rally on Monday and demanded justice for a slain alumnus of Ateneo De Zamboanga and other victims of gun attacks and senseless killings.
The interfaith rally, attended by Ateneo students and faculty members, held prayers and lighted candles outside the university campus in memory of Justine Raphael Wee, 22, who was fatally shot at close range.
Students held black streamers with writings “Justice for the senseless killing of Justine Raphael Wee.”
Others carried white papers with writings calling for a stop of the unabated killings and gun attacks in Zamboanga: “Let’s pray for justice for Justin and other victims of senseless killing here in our city.”
The rally also called for the safe release of two former Ateneo de Zamboanga students and filmmakers—Muslim sisters Linda and Nadjoua Bansil—who were seized while filming in Sulu province on June 22. It also called for the safe release of Professor Al Rojas, of the Western Mindanao State University, abducted June 22 in Zamboanga City by armed men in military uniform.
“The Ateneo de Zamboanga University mourns and sends our condolences to the family of Justine Raphael Wee, 22 years old, one of our very promising graduate students.
We also pray and beg the authorities for the immediate solution to this senseless killings and justice for Justine,” reads one notice circulated on the social media network Facebook.
Wee, scion of a wealthy Chinese family, was shot June 22 in the head by a lone gunman wearing a motorcycle helmet at a roadside eatery along Veterans Avenue. No individual has claimed responsibility for the killing.
Wee’s Facebook account was flooded with sympathy messages from friends. “A very dear friend was shot! Something Must Be Done! He was such an awesome kid with so much ambition and full of dreams! Justice for Justine Raphael Wee!” one of Wee’s friend wrote in a post on his Facebook wall.
Others cannot believe the bad news that befell Wee, whose mother is now in the United States. Some of his siblings are in Manila; Wee was living alone in Zamboanga City.
Gun attacks are not uncommon in Zamboanga City where hired killers are actively operating. Most of the murder cases in Zamboanga remain unresolved and police and local government officials usually blame the killings to either family feud or grudge.