MANILA - Amid dark clouds and knee-deep floods, a five-year-old girl killed in an apparent drug-related assassination was laid to rest Wednesday in Dagupan City.
Scores of relatives and friends attended the burial of Danica May Garcia, who was hit in the head by a stray bullet as men aboard a motorcycle fired at her 52-year old grandfather in their home in Brgy. Mayombo last August 23.
In tears, Danica's father, Joseph Escaño, said "Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala na wala na siya. Bahala na ang Diyos sa kanila."
[I still cannot believe that Danica is gone. I leave her killers' fate to God.]
Escaño said he has heard reports that a witness to the fatal shooting of his daughter has surfaced. But he claimed that his family has yet to receive an update on the case from the police.
Drug war claims life of 5-year old in Dagupan
Jemma Garcia, the girl's grandmother, also shared her fear for their lives.
"'Di namin alam kung uuwi kami kasi paano kung balikan kami?" she said.
[We do not know if we should return home because what if the suspects get back at us?]
The church, meanwhile, extended their condolences to the grieving family and described Danica as a victim of violence.
Danica's grandfather was not seen in the burial.
Dagupan City Police’s initial investigation revealed that the grandfather’s alleged involvement in the drug trade might be the motive behind the shooting.
He had earlier surrendered to authorities after learning from barangay officials that his name was included in the drugs watch list of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC).
The Garcia family firmly denied the grandfather’s alleged drug activities. His wife said they only convinced him to surrender in order to clear his name.
The Garcias also continue to plead for justice for Danica, whose dreams of being a teacher was snuffed by the brutal war on drugs.
Death toll in Philippines' drug war hits 2,000
drugs, Dagupan City, Danica May Garcia, burial, vigilante killings, instant articles